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On Thursday the 9th of July, 36 trainee sailors from Mayo Sailing Club departed from Rosmoney pier on an overnight trip to Inishoo Island in Clew bay. The trip concluded the Adventure Module of the ISA Small Boat Sailing Scheme and also marked the end of our Junior Sailing course for this summer.

The sailors began the week by sitting down to decide our destination for the camp. Despite the 365 islands in Clew bay to choose from, Inishoo became a quick favourite due to its horse-shoe shaped, golden beach and gentle sloping hill offering shelter from the prevailing winds. With the destination decided the sailors now had three days to plan and prepare for their new adventure. 

Each day was divided into on-shore workshops on meteorology, boat safety & maintenance, tides, passage planning and navigation along with sailing sessions covering seamanship skills such as anchoring, reefing and towing. As the week progressed the sailors knowledge and enthusiasm increased almost as rapidly as the small mountain of rucksacks, sleeping bags and tents that threatened to engulf our clubhouse.

On Thursday morning, three very apprehensive Adventure Instructors awoke to a glorious sunny day with a fresh westerly breeze. After the trainees finalised our passage plan and applied the now much needed sunscreen we departed from Rosmoney.  Our small fleet had a short beat to Inishgort lighthouse where we beared away to a close reach northwards, putting Croagh Patrick to our backs. At Cloughcormick cardinal mark, our sailors heaved-to for a well earned snack before turning eastward for a quick run downwind to our destination.

As the Instuctors started the bbq, the sailors took advantage of the remaining sunshine to cool off in the water and returned, plates in hand for cheeseburgers and salads. After dinner the group hiked up the hill to catch the sunset and take in the scenic views of Clare Island and Achill Beag. As darkness descended our sailors settled around the campfire for guitars and ceoil. After a well timed cauldron of hot chocolate and several disastrous song choices, the instructors came to the unanimous decision that 1am was bedtime! 

The following morning we awoke to a grey sky which thankfully cleared to blue by the time the last bowl of porridge had been finished. Tents were struck and our campsite cleared of any trace before everybody had one last swim. At 2pm our sailors rigged their boats and departed Inishoo for a challenging beat home on a route that took us through the maze of islands that lie between our campsite and Mayo Sailing Club. Anxious parents were greeted by tired faces and one word responses as our weary group dispersed from what was undoubtedly the highlight of our course this summer.

I would like to congratulate and thank my fellow Adventure Instructors, Emma Bourke and Siobhan Wallace for running an excellent trip. Also a special mention to our Dinghy Instructors Cormac McDonagh, Elspeth Neden and George Kosinski, who accompanied us on the trip and ensured the success of a very memorable Adventure.

Karl Mullee
Senior Instructor
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