HYC Cruising Group Armada to Redrock
What a wonderful event to celebrate the coming of the Autumn Equinox and the last of the planned Armada season. The Armadas planned for this year were to: Lambay, National Yacht Club, Greystones, Skerries, Killiney Bay and a second trip to Lambay. The second trip to Lambay was postponed because of the weather and it was to take place on Saturday 17th Sept. Once again weather played a trick; the wind swung to North West and as luck would have it the Armada venue was changed to Redrock. It is great to get such accurate weather forecasts that we were able to take advantage, and change sailing plans at short notice. The wind direction was ideal for the trip to Redrock.
There was a great buzz in the HYC Marina. It was the first day of the HYC Autumn League; last-minute preparations for the hot racers, deciding how to make their boats lighter. The Cruisers' last minute preparations were where to stow the picnic baskets and the beverages, and if there was enough stores for the voyage.
At the stroke of 7 Bells (11.30 for our dry land readers) 14 yachts cast off and lined up in the usual formation. The fleet left the harbour in beautiful sunny weather and light North West wind; lead by the Admiral’s flag-ship, Gerryatric. There was full complement of 8 onboard Gerryatric, all prepared for the voyage of the season. As per usual, the enthusiasm for raising the sails was overcome by the intense deep philosophical discussions and the need to admire the view.
The sun was shining and the view of Howth Head from the sea was spectacular. The walkers were having a great day out, plodding along the beautiful stony cliff walk. Some of their faces were green with envy looking at the graceful sail boats passing in the sunshine.
Rounding the Bailey Lighthouse, South Howth Head, Red Rock, Sutton, Clontarf and Dublin Bay all came in to view. The panoramic views of the Lighthouse Keepers’ Cottages, new-build houses on the hill, cruise liner, ferries to Dublin Port, Dun Laoghaire racing yacht sails all light in autumn sunshine were spectacular.
The best view of all was the fleet of cruisers flying the HYC flag from the transom, some of the boats showed support for Ukraine with the yellow and blue colours. There was a great mix of yachts and crews in the fleet. The yachts varied from 26 ft. to 40 ft. The cruising seas for the cruisers ranged from Atlantic Azores, Mediterranean, Spain, Portugal, France, Scotland, U.K. Irish Coast and many more spectacular achievements.
The crews varied from the young to the not-so-young. Rumour has it that the entire crew of Dovetail has a combined age of over 250 years. The 3 crew members of Blaithin had been taken onboard by Dad/skipper Paul; the enthusiastic crew of 3, have a combined age of less than 12 years. It was great to see the young and the not-so-young enjoying cruising to a beautiful safe anchorage.
The anchorage at Redrock is second to none; the 14 boats got good holding on the sandy ground. Gerryatric anchored in sand 30ft. off the shore in 3 meters of clear water. Bluebird availed of the invitation to double up with Gerryatric.
Aperitifs were the order of the day; service commenced at 13.00 (2 bells). Some boats observed silence during aperitif time; however the silence was broken by popping champagne on other boats. The gong for lunch was sounded at 14.00 (4 bells) sharp.
Entertainment was provided by porpoises and seals en route and at the anchorage. After lunch, entertainment was provided by yacht crooners.
Shortly after the crooning entertainment, sadly, the sound of windlasses upping anchor could be heard at 16.00 (8 bells) as the Armada started their trip back to Howth.
On return to Howth the Autumn League fleet were finishing their races. The harbour was alive with an electric atmosphere. Analysis of what “could have,” “should have,” been, “maybe” etc. etc. could be heard from all directions of the racing crews.
What a finish to a fabulous day; the hungry armada crews joined in and availed of the Autumn League barbecue party. The Redrock anchorage will certainly be on the list of future Cruiser Group Armadas.