Wind and tide in Malahide
By bnitz on Jul 26, 2004
I helped a friend fix up a sailboat he purchased from a racer in Donegal. We replaced broken parts, checked for leaks, slapped 6 layers of tar paint on the keel and 2 layers of anti-fouling bottom paint. We were anxious to take it out Friday but we learned that it is only possible to get in and out of Malahide estuary within 3 hours either side of high tide. So we waited until Saturday when small craft advisories indicated winds up to force 7 (near gale.) Fortunately "Another whiskey" was equipped with a roller furling jib. 1/3 of a jib was plenty enough to get us up near the Howth Yacht Club racers at Ireland's eye and then out to Lambay. A 15kw wind turbine stood as the only obvious reminder of post 19th century civilization on the green island of cattle, wallabees and birds. We managed to log about 20 miles without ever hoisting a mainsail. It took much longer to get back home because wind and tide were against us. The current out of Malahide inlet runs over 3 knots and was harnessed to power tidal mills more than 350 years ago. Ireland's wind energy potential is also enormous. Wind potential has been estimated at more than 500% of Ireland's electricity consumption. A few entrepreneurs have decided to take advantage of this. Unfortunately U.S. political momentum, subsidies and environmental loopholes are currently weighted in favor of fossil fuels. A century from now maybe Chicago will be known as the big smoke and Dublin will become the windy city!