The worst summer weather I can recall was in June 2002 we had planned to go to France but Southerly gales kept us trapped in Liverpool Marina. The plan of sailing to France was cancelled because of further Southerly winds on the way. Gentlemen do not sail to windward so the only logical destination was The Isle of Man. We left at 8.00am 18th/6/ 2002 and there was quite a bit of swell left over from the storm. Once we got past Q4 sea state became much calmer and the wind was on the port beam, it was a gloriously sunny day the first for ages. There was nothing else for it I put the kettle on, set the auto pilot to 310 deg T and the chicken in the oven at 180 deg C. Time for a cup of tea a chocolate biscuit and a game of I Spy. After two hours the wind began to ease and the sailing changed from a reach to a beat.
The inner harbour is in the centre of what was the old town quite picturesque and handy for all amenities. The pedestrians in the high street look right down into the boats. The Douglas Bay Sailing Club is the host club for The Tranmere Sailing Club night race. Douglas Bay sailing club was very hospitable they forced beer and food into us till all hours. We were still there when the Tranmere Sailing Club race arrived even though the start had been delayed through bad weather. The Liverpool Clipper won the race and the Mayor of Wirral was there to present the prizes. The Mayor of the IOM was there to congratulate the lads and said that we formed a special bond between Birkenhead and Douglas so we all had a good drink and celebrated like there was no tomorrow. I didn’t envy the Tranmere lads having to go home in these conditions but I knew most of them had to be back at work on Monday.
Our plans for sailing included a short sail round Langness Point to Port Saint Mary and then over to Carlingford Lough in Ireland when the weather was suitable. PSM would provide a safe berth behind the tall harbour wall. In the evening the sailing club had forty boats on the water oppies, toppers, and lasers. Mainly children being tutored or racing around the cans, parents offering encouragement from the sidelines. It was impressive when you consider how sparsely populated the area is. When you live on a tiny island in the middle of the Irish Sea it has a different pace of life, a more traditional fishing village feel. Even Douglas, which is the administrative capital of the IOM, has a village feel to it.
Port Erin is well worth the walk, about an hour; from Port Saint Mary take the scenic route left at the chapel. There’s a lovely paddling beach and a good book shop and round the corner an antique shop full of old boat things. Also there is a supermarket were we topped up provisions the caught a taxi back to the boat. After a couple of days exploring the area and sampling the local hospitality we decided to move on. Unfortunately the weather had remained unsettled and it now appeared that there was no chance of making it to Ireland. We set off and had a terrific sail to Douglas the best for a while. The wind was from the Southwest so it was a reach to Langness Point and then a run down to Douglas.
Liverpool to the Isle of Man