Irish Sea


The Irish Sea Branch is now in its sixth year and our activity continues to grow. Keep an eye on this page for more events to come

Events To Come

2nd December 2023MeetingRoyal Welsh Yacht Club, Caernarfon
7th January 2024AGMThe Mount Inn, Orrell Road, Wigan, Lancashire WN5 8HQ.


Dave Kitchen

Irish Sea Branch Captain

I have been sailing in the Irish Sea for the last 15 years and have recently moved my Moody Cavalier, ‘Belerion’ from Deganwy in North Wales to Maryport on the Cumbrian Coast.

I am looking forward to exploring this part of the Irish Sea and sharing my experiences with the rest of the Branch.


Irish Sea Branch
Dave KitchenCaptain
Don CampbellVice Captain
Liz Cooper-ClarkSecretary
Barbara WeeksTreasurer
Perri LaundersPort Officer / Conwy
Howard WeeksPort Officer / Whitehaven
Phill EcclesPort Officer / Pwllheli
Dave KitchenPort Officer / Liverpool

Branch information

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Branch Activities 2023

The Branch held a successful AGM on Saturday 14th January at The Mount, Orrell, Lancashire. There were 16 members and a guest speaker, Andrew Freeman. who gave a talk on ‘’The Night the Marques Sank’.  Andrew was a survivor of the Marques disaster in 1984. The ship was taking part in a series of Tall Ships races when it was hit by a squall and sunk quickly with the loss of 19 lives, only 9 survived. Andrew had just come off duty when the square-rigged bark capsized.

There was a change of officers, with David Kitchen taking over as Branch Captain from Howard Weeks who takes on a national role as Membership Registrar, and Liz Cooper-Clark taking over from Carol Woodcock. Carol has kept the branch ship shaped as secretary for a number of years and will be missed greatly. Barbara Weeks remains as Treasurer so there is some a continuity.

The particular problem which faces this Branch is the distances between marinas where we have members making it difficult to meet up at weekends for a sailing event, so what we hope to develop is a small number of meetings based in various marinas around the region. We may even be able to get to know the local pilotage with the help from members who regularly sail in and out of these marinas.  On top of that we will arrange activities based on sailing and maintenance or we may just meet locally for a social gathering.

Most marinas are open and fully functional after covid. Holyhead still has not recovered from the damage of Storm Emma in 2018 when a large number of boats were destroyed. It now offers very limited birthing and you are advised to contact the marina office for the latest updates. Whitehaven is causing concern at the moment, in particular Queens Marina which is suffering from extreme brown water colouration. It is thought to be caused by an overflow from an old iron ore mine. Local boat owners are concerned about how this coloured water affects engine and gel coats however.

I have managed to get Belerion back in the water after a gap of three years. It is interesting that since covid we now have the phenomenon of staycation and that with the loss of Holyhead has resulted in Conwy and Deganwy and Pwhelli becoming oversubscribed. As a result, I had to find a new birth but also wanted a change of location anyway. Maryport on the Cumbrian coast provided the best alternative. From launch to sailing to Maryport we only had 24 hours to make sure Belerion was fully operational. We left Deganwy on a relative warm night in July with a lovely sunset ahead of us   and a rising full moon behind us. Unusually for us the wind was in the right direction and the sea state relatively calm. We made excellent progress through the night to Douglas under sail all the way. We had a day and night in Douglas and sailed to Maryport, in fact we motored. I have never seen the Irish sea so calm and we witnessed a beautiful sunrise. It all proved to be a good test for Belerion after such a long time out of water.

Last year many of us managed to get out and enjoyed good sailing conditions and experiencing the rich wildlife of the area with dolphins, seals and birds providing a welcome and entertaining distraction.

Our next meeting will be at The Royal Welsh Yacht Club on Saturday 2nd December, in the oldest yacht club premises in the world! The Irish Sea Branch AGM will be held on Sunday 7th January 2024 at The Mount, Orrell, Wigan in the Rivington Room. Please check website and emails for updates on meetings etc. We are looking at a future possible meetings in Maryport in the New Year.


Dave Kitchen Oct 2023


Talk at Royal Welsh Yacht club

Our December meet was at the Royal-Welsh Yacht Club which was held in the oldest yacht club premises in the world, the walls of Caernarfon, going back to the 13th Century! Good turnout of over twenty members and a presentation by one of our members on a trip to Iceland. Very informative and actually brought Iceland a lot nearer to some of our aspirations for future voyages. The food was very good too.

Irish Sea Branch October Report

Since our last report the Irish Sea Branch has managed to meet up twice and many of us have enjoyed a number of days sailing this season in spite of the varied weather we have been experiencing.

On 29th April we had a well-attended meeting at Wallasey Yacht Club; apart from being our secretary’s local club geographically it suited many of our members as it is in New Brighton on the Wirral.

The club has an interesting history and is famed for its Seabird half-rated boats. These go back to the late 1890’s and are maintained at the club and raced in the River Mersey. Originally they cost £35 to build and £4 to kit out with sails!   The old techniques and skills working with wood have been passed down from the older members to the new members who are experiencing this old way of sailing for the first time.

I had the pleasure of sailing on Phil Eccles boat, Seibegee, a 30’ Moody, around Angelsey. It was Phil’s first time through the notorious Menai Straits. If you get the timings right it’s hard to see what all the fuss is about, but if you get it wrong it can soon become a nightmare!  On the way around the island we stopped off at Holyhead. It is a shame that the marina is no longer there, having been swept away by Storm Emma in the spring of 2018. There are plenty of mooring buoys and a small pontoon for visitors and the local sailing club runs a volunteer taxi service to the shore. From Holyhead we had a long passage back to Pwllheli going around Bardsey Island and passing the two islands off Abersoch, Saint Tudwal’s Islands East and West. The Eastern island was owned by the author Carla Lane and the Western island is now owned by Bear Grylls, the TV presenter and adventurer.



Plas Heli meeting

On the 2nd of September we had our second meeting at the Plas Heli, Cafon Welsh Sailing Academy at Pwllheli. It was a beautiful day which made going out on to the balcony of the building a treat as it overlooks Tremadoc Bay with the Welsh mountains in the background. We were treated to a very interesting talk and slide presentation by Mark and Liz Cooper Clark about their purchases of a ’20-year-old brand new boat!’

Liz and Mark bought the 20-year-old hull, engine and mast in Plymouth where the boat had been stored in the previous owner’s front garden unused. They brought it back to the NW by transporter and finished the internal construction plus the rigging over the next 5 years. They were hoping to have completed the project in one year but life got in the way and they both had to learn new skills in order to complete the Moody 336, making an excellent job of it. They can truly say they know their boat inside out!

Our next meeting will be at The Royal Welsh Yacht Club on Saturday 2nd December, in the oldest yacht club premises in the world! The Irish Sea Branch AGM will be held on Sunday 7th January 2024 at The Mount, Orrell, Wigan in the Rivington Room. Please check website and emails for updates on meetings etc. We are looking at a future possible meetings in Maryport in the New Year.


Dave Kitchen Oct 2023