East Down Yacht Club Family Cruising Week July 22

A brief report on East Down Yacht Club Family (dinghy) Cruising Week July 22

Following last year’s successful cruising week we decided to include it in this year’s club calendar again for 2022.

In preparation for the Rally in France in September to which Rosemary and I are bringing two skiing friends, we decided to try our Mk4 Wayfarer with four up for the first two days of the week.  Usually only racing it with two up, I was slightly apprehensive going four up with the outboard on the back.  However, we soon got into the way of working with the four of us.  Given the strength of the wind we also decided to reef down the main and the genoa.  My apprehension soon disappeared as we worked together in the tacks and only once did I encounter a jib sheet which had become cleated again and a quick flick and the back fill was eliminated.   Our planned programme was similar to that proposed for the 27th  International Rally June 2023 and similar to that completed last year.  Once again we struck good weather, not the 40 degrees that the south of England was encountering but a very pleasant 24 degrees most days some 5 degrees about our average July max of 19 degrees.

The first day our nine boats got to the tidal inlet of Ardkeen somewhat early and we decided not to go to our normal shore in the bay as it was a lee shore today with the southern winds so we anchored on the southern shore of the entrance to the bay where a good 4knt current was running into the enclosed bay.  Following a short talk by our resident archeologist Brian on the Norman Castle and Church we finished our lunch and sailed into the bay and anchored with some shelter and walked up to the mound that had once been the Norman Castle and visited the graves of  the Savage family the old English who then married into the Nugents who arrived in the plantation of Ulster.

The next day we sailed south to the Quoile and picnicked on Salt Island.  Again we enjoyed the sunshine and the heat as we sat on the grass keeping an eye on our anchored boats.  The number of butterflies was noticeable on the grassy field mixed with wild flowers which never encounter chemical sprays.

The next day at 8am we decided to cancel the planned overnight camp at Greyabbey given the northerly forecast of 4 gusting 6 Bft. Which would have been sailable but had the forecast increased beyond forecast it would not have been a great sail back.

The Tuesday we sailed down the Narrows to Kilclief beach where we picniced waiting for the tide to turn.  Indeed it had turned just before we arrived so a few of the later arrivals used our outboards to punch the early flow tide before it got too strong.  I was presented with a freshly caught mackerel on return by David who had been fishing off his Drascombe as we returned.  It made a great starter to our BBQ.

The Wednesday we completed a beautiful coastal walk south from Ballyhornan to Ardglass which had been scheduled for the Friday when quite a few of us were not available or working.  It was repeated minus the road section on the Friday for others that were not available midweek.

Some people returned to compete in the Club Racing.  As I was doing my annual club bar duty I had to give the racing a miss.  I am still to perfect that shamrock on top of the Guiness.


The busy week was starting to take its toll on me and I did not wake up until 9.20 on the Thursday morning.  After a rushed breakfast I was back on track.  Thursday we once again got back on the scheduled programme with a great run down the narrows on the ebb tide out into the Irish Sea.  At times going over 10 knots over the ground with the current speeding us on our way as we ran down the Narrows with a northerly wind behind us.  The Routen Wheel whirl pools were in action and it was fascinating to see one open up below Rodney’s boat with his bow sinking into the foot deep hole and turning the boat some 20 degrees. The closest think to sailing a wayfarer down a bath plug.  We continued on with the ebb flow past the Angus Rock and round Killard point before turning North again into Benderg beach which was deserted apart from ourselves.  Once again we enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine which was followed by dodge ball and rounders.  Some hardy souls also donned their swimsuits and went for a swim.  Hana let us all know how cold the water was as the silence was pierced.

The sail back beating into the northerly whilst being carried by the swirling northerly flow was interesting to say the least as we tacked from side to side whilst being carried rapidly sideways back into Strangford Lough.  Once back into the lough we were able to beat across to the club and enter the Dorn which takes us up to the club.  The Dorn, from the gaelic word narrow channel.  As EDYC dinghy sailors know it can be an area of suddenly changing winds which can lead to capsizes which one of our party suffered five minutes short of the end of the week.

Despite cancelling the camping trip we all had a great week.  Once again the sun shone on us, which is not the forecast for the next two days as I sit here and write this with strong winds and rain forecast.

Here is hoping that next June at we get the good weather for the international Rally.  Is it too much to ask for a hat trick.

Even if we are blown off the water there will be other suggestions of walks and visits that can be made on a day off sailing.  If you are coming to the rally be sure to bring you walking gear.

Next year June 2023

We look forward to welcoming the international sailors to East Down Yacht Club for the 27th International Wayfarer Rally 10 to 17 June Sailing Programme.  This year there are 17 boats and 47 people signed up for the Rally in the Gulfe du Morbihan. 

Je vais devoir continuer à pratiquer mon français.  Cela fait maintenant quarante ans que j’ai passé un été à travailler au Michelin de Clermont Ferrand à reconstruire des tours où je devais parler français à mes collègues chaque jour.

We are planning to meet some Wednesday evening in October for Henry’s Jambalaya and Robin’s Pavlova to start to plan for next years international rally.

For further details chat or offers of help please chat to John or Rosemary Miller at / or care of EDYC.

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