As mentioned in the previous post I was now forced to do a long trip or stay where I was until the wind turned westerly, possibly a long time. The potential problem was getting around or behind Copeland Island to enter Belfast Loch, there are strong tides and extensive over-falls, especially to the east of the Island. Going through the over-falls inside Copeland Island with a strong wind, forecast at the time to be S F3-5, and actually F4-5 occasionally 6, against several knots of tide did not appeal and that would mean a detour of 8 - 10 miles. According to the navigation software I could not make it before the tide turned without starting at midnight and probably motoring.
However, I knew something the navigation software did not, the tides are at best ill-defined for a long section of the route and that just might work for me.
I therefore decided to leave at my now habitual 03:30 to take some of the flood northwards into the "slack area", with a strong southerly wind there was a good chance that the northerly flow would be stronger than normal and extend well into the slack area with the converse happening to the north. I should then pick up the north setting ebb on the other side and perhaps carry that to Copeland Island. It was going to be tight, but I just might make it or at least get through before the fiercest tide. If that failed I would be in for a long detour. One way or another I would go into Bangor marine for R&R and to fix my engine cooling problem.
|Heading north from The Skerries, it is 04:30 with a full moon.|
|Donaghadee Harbour approaching the Donaghadee sound and|
the passage inside Copeland Island.
|The passage inside Copeland Island and my track. Note the over-|
falls at the southern end and then narrow channel between the
red (port hand) and green (starboard hand) buoys.