Dominic Haley and Faye Harper from our firm were lucky enough to go sailing upon the ocean waves of the Irish Sea recently aboard a beautiful 50 foot cruising yacht operated by Andrew Dobson of Atlas Sailing Ltd. Dominic Haley shares his experience at sea with us in this article!
The day began by leaving Fleetwood marina at just gone 9 a.m. or ‘high water’ as our skipper informed us, and as we set off out of the channel towards Morecambe bay, we were given a lesson as to what each of the coloured buoys meant and what the safest minimum water level was for the boat. As we emerged into open water the sun was upon us and with spots of light dancing off the deep blue sea and our lungs filled with crisp, clean salty air, we set off in search of adventure!
Soon we were hard at it, Ms Harper in charge at the helm - the steering wheel to you and I - and me unravelling the sails like an experienced deck hand. As had been assured by the crew, it was a hard and demanding work out but totally enjoyable. By this time we had started to work up an appetite as well as a sweat!
Brunch was served on deck by the skipper who had suddenly transformed himself into a Michelin starred chef by disappearing into the cabin. The Sausage and Egg sandwiches he served to us while we gently floated in the glistening ocean, with nothing but the sounds of the wash slapping the side of the yacht and the distant call of seagulls was one of the most relaxing, delicious and rewarding brunches I had ever eaten.
Piel Island off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness was the destination, a charming little 50 acre island with a population of around 12 people, conveniently located with a lovely little pub dating back almost 300 years – the Ship Inn. Once the boat was safely moored, our intrepid crew headed straight to the bar to enjoy a tipple of Ulverston’s finest blonde ale, thoroughly recommended! A flying trip around the ruined 14th century castle rounded off the afternoon before we headed back to Atlas for some well-deserved and especially delicious beef chilli - again prepared by our fantastic Chef/Skipper. With full stomachs and stiffening breeze we weighed anchor and headed home.
The weather changed quite suddenly at this point with cold heavy rain lashing down onto us as we scrambled for cover aboard the bobbing yacht. We shouldn’t have worried at all because within minutes our unruffled crew disappeared below decks returning with armfuls of warm and dry wet weather clothing for us all. Sitting in a cosy and dry waterproof suit, we sat and enjoyed what would be the final stage of our nautical adventure. The journey back to Fleetwood was made more challenging by the cold whipping wind and driving rain however the weather couldn’t dampen our spirits and we remained ‘jolly sailors’ to the end. By the time we returned to Fleetwood marina at 8:45pm we were cold and tired but couldn’t remove the silly grins from our faces.
For a first experience of travelling on the ocean waves we couldn’t have asked for a better introduction or a better Captain and crew, Andy and his team were quite simply outstanding and couldn’t have been more helpful or friendly. The 12 hours we spent aboard Atlas will live long in our memories and we are already planning our next high seas adventure with Andy, watch this space!