Nick was a little nervous about taking us out and at first we thought that the adventure might be canceled. The boat needs at least two experienced sailors and Cal and I certainly didn’t qualify. It turned out that Alan had sufficient experience and he convinced Nick that he could operate the wheel while Nick handled the sails.Our first step was launching Dave’s (Alan’s Dad) boat. It had been out of the water for the season so we trailered it down to the launch and with a little effort got it into the water. Then it was an inflatable dingy to Dave’s boat which shuttled us to Nick’s sailboat at anchor a half mile away.
We started with tea and cookies in the cabin which I found very civilized and appropriate. Dave then decamped for home and we were off. The seas where fairly calm, but the wind was steady and strong coming from the land. We ran before the wind out of Clifden Bay at a pretty good clip. When we reached the open sea, we turned toward a lighthouse that until recently was manned and then back toward Clifden Bay.
The return into the bay was great fun for the sailors and pretty cold for us landlubbers. We were sailing upwind and had to tack a bazillion times with the wind in our face. It was a far cry from running with the wind behind us in terms of comfort. Nick is a purest and we sailed until we anchored, never turning on the motor except to set the anchor.We sailed for six hours and traveled around 18 miles. By the time we arrived we were all pretty cold and ready for the bottle of Jameson we opened when Dave returned to pick us up. This day was a highlight of the trip and something that I’ll always remember.
That night Cal and I took Nick, Suzanne, Dave, Eleanor, and Alan to dinner at Mitchell’s Restaurant in Clifden. They have great seafood there. After dinner, we moved the party to a local pub and listened to some music there and had a few pints to polish off a very nice evening.