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Belmullet to Lanzarote – Leg 1 august 2021



After many months of planning, equipping and dreaming finally Ruth II is ready to Sail Around The World skippered by Liam Shanahan and co skippered by Ruth Shanahan, and James Goates. Liam & Ruth’s many friends will join them on legs in exotic locations and experience their incredible adventure. Our home from home Ruth II at anchor in Belmullet.[pic 195809].  The first leg was to sail from Belmullet, Co Mayo, Ireland to Lanzarote, Grand Canary departing on Wednesday 4th of August 2021 and allowing for an 8 or 9 day passage. Estimated at 1,500 nautical miles, 1,800 miles or 2,800 kilometres. Ruth, Mags & Catherine wave Liam off as he prepares to depart.


At 7am on Wed 4th Aug 21 we lifted anchor and headed out between the Aran Islands for Rossaveal to fuel. Conditions were favourable for a fast passage once we bore away 5 miles the far side of Aran. A wonderful sail with the 12 pins as the backdrop down to Slyne Head [pic 114456] and into Rossaveal a notable fishing port, ferry port to the Aran Islands and prosperous community. We arrived at 4pm and went alongside to meet the fuel truck. Here we met Garoid and learned were to shop, eat and get a beer important details. Liam had prebooked a berth as increasing winds and an approaching low of Kerry meant we needed to wait a day or two in Rossaveal. This was not a hardship as we sampled their restaurants The Garden and Tir na Nog pub. The wind blew between 25 to 35 knots, with 18 fenders on one side, we remained in Rossaveal for 4 days. Liam was constantly tracking weather and saw a window that allowed us depart Rossaveal at 8am on Sunday 8th of August.


We set sail and hugged the coast to set sails and stow fenders. Tom Shanahan, Paddy Riordan, Kieran Hall & James O Connor cheered as we headed South. I looked over at the wheel and saw two giddy faces. discussing how well she sits in 20 knots in an Atlantic swell, . Sailing 12 miles off the coast making 8 to 9 knots  with the Irish flag astern, you have to pinch yourself, is this real!.

In the first 24 hours we had covered 197 miles in search of the Trades, the promise of warm weather and the knowledge that the lows were not far over our starboard beam. On the 9th of august our 2nd day out of Rossaveal we sailed 207 miles at an average of 9.5 knots. Liam thought we did not believe that it might get warmer, so he put on shorts.


Day & night, whatever the wave direction or wind strength Ruth II majestically maintained her rhythm [jpeg 171111]. Likewise the crew found theirs, be it splicing, exercising, fishing, eating, sleeping, star gazing or more eating everyone was happy as we lost track of time. [jpegs 183013] & [jpeg 125539]. Our daily routine partly revolved around the watch system of 3 hours on and 6 hrs off. [jpeg 132755].  In watches of 2 , each person got sufficient sleep to be awake and on deck for most of the day. I especially loved the 4.30 am watch because at 7am Liam would say , would you like scrambled egg and hot buttered toast. Oh Yea!. Each day we enjoyed an hour of cleaning the boat and looking after her as she does us. Kieran was poorly for a few hours, we don’t know if it was because he was seasick, had 4 pot noodles in 40 minutes or ate 7 times that day. He recovered quickly and beamed as we continued South. Day 3 Wed 11th we recorded 176 miles in 24 hours. Whilst it was an interesting measure of progress it took until the 3rd day to realise we were not racing!.


You could be forgiven for thinking Ruth II is a restaurant, not a boat. Endless breakfasts, lunches and dinner including a barbecue of freshly caught Tuna. Meal times interspersed by Plums, Platters, Cakes, Ruth’s fruit cake, jellies, Pizza and 11 varieties of homemade bread over two weeks, and more.  Tuesday the 10th Ruth’s curry with green beans at 8pm. Wed 11th chicken & Broccoli.

So good the lads kept growing


Wednesday 11th may be remembered as getting to grip with the 36 DD formerly known as a Trade Wind made by North Sails. Like all bras the first handling takes a bit of getting used to. We started at 12 and not until 3pm, anyone and everyone who had a view were happy. It was twisted , raised up, pulled down and stretched until finally it was set.


Thursday 12th as Paddy said “flat out” after sunrise tomato on toast with pepper. At 9am Tom strikes his first Tuna, landed after a hard fought battle, with outstanding team work in slowing the boat, rolling away the 36 DD. The skipper altered course by 5 degrees. Time for a second coffee on deck. Lunch, an hour tidy up and another coffee.  Liam transferred fuel between tanks. At 3 we caught our 2nd tuna. At 4pm James and Paddy called home by Satellite phone both leaving voicemails. At 7pm we had barbecued Tuna and Toms homemade salad, see what I mean “flat out”.

James O'Connor