is an account of a sea crossing made by Martin Lennox in an Interceptor 33,
written in his own words.
On 12 November 1999 I took delivery of the Interceptor 33 demonstration boat
from Poole in Dorset. Crewed by Alan Esprey and
myself fora 3-4 day / night passage to Bangor, Co Down. The 48hr forecast when we
left was force 3-4.After leaving PooleBay
wesoonrealised the change to a following tide and wind in a force 4-5, soon to
become force 5-6 and followed latter by a coastguard warning “gale imminent”We were now running with a heavy following sea sometimes surfing at
22-23kts when a particularly large and steep wave would pick us up, initially we
considered seeking shelter but as the boat was handling these conditions
brilliantly with no tendency whatsoever to broach or be upset we continued on.
At we berthed at Plymouth.
Two days latter minus Alan, but crewed by Mike Kitt, (a retired lifeboat
member) we made Newlyn mostly in a force 4-5 but lastly in a 6.Next morning we left Newlyn at for Arklow, Ireland, but this was not to be!. At sunrise we passed Lands End /
Longships in a calm sea which soon changed to a N.N.W. head wind in a force 5-6.
We decided to change course and make for Dunmore East, on the Irish south coast
where we arrived some ten hours latter and 505 litres of diesel less (11 gallons
per hour in these conditions at 15-16 kts). We stayed here two days and Mike had
to fly home from Cork. I then gained a member of Dunmore East lifeboat crew who
was going to visit a friend in Dublin. We left Dunmore East at for an early lunch in Arklow and dinner in Dun Laoghaire. With a forecast again of a force 3-4 we left port. All was
well until we passed “Tusker Rock” when things worsened. Soon we were in a
force 6-7 and decided to shelter in RosslareHarbour as best we could for over two hours. A lull appeared and we
set off again for Arklow. Unfortunately this lull was only the calmbefore the storm, with the weather soon deteriated to a force 9 gale and
to make matters worse the tide turned giving us wind over tideconditions.
speed reduced by now to 5 kts, the heavy existing swell soon built up and by the
evening we were facing waves that were the size of houses, we both estimated the
size of the largest waves as at least 20-25ft. On two occasions, the boat was
hit by exceptionally large waves that struck the boat with such force that she
was literally stopped, driven backwards only to fall off the top of the wave and
crash down into the trougth. Before the boat could recover herself the following
wave broke clean over the cabin and the boat was buried under a weight of water
that left the aft cockpit awash up to the level of the gunwale. To give an idea
of the depth the boat submerged, throughout the trip the two forwardwindows had been leaking, proving only an irritation but on these
occasions water spurted in through the leaking window with tremendous force as
if the whole boat was under water. For a long time neither of us spoke, after
been hit by these large waves I thought “This is it” but each time she shook
her head, cleared the sea and eventually at we entered Arklow.
After a good nights rest, the next morning we headed for Dun Laoghaire where we arrived late afternoon, conditions during the trip
where better than the day before but still blowing 5 – 6. We rested up for two
days and were rejoined by Alan. We left early Sunday morning (21st
Nov) on passage to Bangor, Co Down. Easier conditions this time with winds 3-4
we arrived late Sunday afternoon. The next day, my son Stephen arrived and
crewed with me on the final leg of the journey, passage to Coleraine marina.
Weather was fine until we passed the “Maidens” when a N/Wforce 4-5 blew up. Closer to home conditions deteriorated rapidly and
once again the sea tried to test this boat. As we passed Fair Head and into
Rathlin Sound we were met by huge Atlantic breakers and a NNW wind, both head
on. A reduced speed of 5 knots we carried on, the boat handled the conditions
admirably, it was well uncomfortable with no chance to rest, and at times pretty
hairy, with the wind up to force seven and facing those great Atlantic rollers,
but conditions eased as we passed the “Giants Causeway” and the
“Skerries”. As we entered the bar mouth of the river Bann we surfed in to
the river at full throttle, and were well glad to see the marina. A 3-4 day
crossing took 11 days, the only damage- two leaking windows.
is some boat and a credit to its designer and builder Frank Kowalski, of
Safehaven Marine LTD, Cobh Co Cork. Anyone wishing a demo come and see me at PortrushHarbour, April – Sept.Martin Lennox