Just after sunrise, at 4:20 Ben spotted land! As promised, he woke me up and I took a good look at the Irish coast before diving back in bed.
We had a rough last night, the wind picked up as we approached land. Usually the wind accelerates around capes. We expected there to be no wind at all, but we could sail all night. During my nightshift from 00:00-03:00 we were doing 7 knots on average, until Thomas came up and made the wise decision to reef. And to do what he got up for in the first place: tie up the dinghy. We had been drying out the boat during the day, and we untied the dinghy to be able to open the hatch. It was so calm that we thought we didn’t need to tie it down again. Wrong!
After Thomas and I took the first reef, we almost immediately went ahead and put the second reef in. We were still heeled over badly! The wind was on the nose and we were beating into it. Luckily there were no waves. After all the reefing excitement and the anticipation of seeing land, we opened a beer and stared at the sky for signs of life. We did see the sky light up where Ireland should be, so at the shift change I noted: Light pollution of Ireland sighted! It wouldn’t take long before Ben saw land.
I slept in until 12. By that time we already had to motor, as the wind had died down like we expected. Cork was still a long motorsail away, so we kept ourselves entertained with filming the dolphins, drying out stuff and drinking the last of our beers. We also took showers and tidied up the boat a little bit. Our final destination was the town dock in Cork, 12 miles up the river. We turned into the river and.. we saw people! And many other boats! And pubs! It was all very exciting, but felt strangely familiar as well. Like we had been on land the day before yesterday, but had just one very long day at sea.
We were welcomed by Martijns parents, who had decorated the pier with balloons and ‘welcome home’ banners. And they brought champagne! We managed to dock and re-dock the boat in a little space between two other boats, tied up and emptied those champagne bottles. We’re safely back on land!
We spent the evening with Martijns parents, who took us out for dinner. We stretched our legs, which was quite strange after only walking a couple of steps per day for almost a month.
All in all, it was an amazing trip. We had so many different weather conditions, which is very different from the southern crossing. We were so lucky to have two amazing sailors on board to help us with everything. Couldn’t have done it without them! And it would have been so boring without them!
Position: Cork! Miles of the day: 110 Miles to go: 0 Highlight of the day: Seeing land and arriving in Cork