A big weather decision rests with the cruise leader

 

Position 54° 42.61 N 005° 48.79 W Carrcikfergus Marina

A big decision rests upon the shoulders of cruise leader Neale overnight. He has two choices: break for the Isle of Man early, or stick around Belfast Lough hoping that the forecast for the weekend stays true.

The situation is this: the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for the Irish Sea is not looking good, and it’s unlikely we’ll be able to make passage to the Isle of Man over these days.

But Saturday and Sunday are shaping up nicely. So we could stay here in Belfast Lough until the weekend, explore the city and the town of Bangor (which sits about 5 miles over the Lough from our current location) and gamble on next weekend staying as forecast for the leg all the way back to Conwy, with Saturday night on the Isle of Man.

Or we could play safe and head to the Isle of Man tomorrow as when we leave it will be wind with tide, and a maximum force 4 (as forecast). At least if we’re on the Isle of Man tomorrow night, we have a big weekend window of good weather to play with for the relatively short trip back to North Wales.

While Neale has been wrestling with this decision, crews have been soaking up the sun on flybridges, and taking the train into Belfast. Chris and Carolyn from Dragonfly and Mike and Helena from Seascape IV all made the trip into Northern Ireland’s capital this afternoon. They recommended the round-town tour bus.

Our arrival in Belfast Lough this morning did not go as smoothly as planned. The fuel berth at Carrickfergus ran out of diesel as the first boat started fuelling, so the whole fleet had to head over to Bangor Marina instead. Luckily, they had a super-charged double pump action diesel setup and we got through it quickly. Then it was just a case of motoring back across the Lough and mooring up in Carrickfergus Marina.

At the briefing this evening, crews took the news of the gamble/play safe scenario well. It seems like the majority would rather gamble, but this could mean we’re delayed in Northern Ireland into a third week if the weekend’s weather doesn’t play ball.

It’s all to play for.

Photos:

Dragonfly leaves Strangford Lough
Mike and Helena from Seascape IV and Keith and Ann from Sea O2 enjoy the sun
Carrickfergus Marina