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Port Dandy

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Overview





Port Dandy on Copeland Island, the principal of the Copeland Islands group, is located in the Irish Sea off the northeast coast of Ireland. The island group is situated on the south side of the entrance to Belfast Lough and Copeland Island is the largest island and closest to the mainland. Port Dandy is a very small inlet on the west side of the secluded island where a vessel may anchorage for a maximum of two or three boats.

Port Dandy on Copeland Island, the principal of the Copeland Islands group, is located in the Irish Sea off the northeast coast of Ireland. The island group is situated on the south side of the entrance to Belfast Lough and Copeland Island is the largest island and closest to the mainland. Port Dandy is a very small inlet on the west side of the secluded island where a vessel may anchorage for a maximum of two or three boats.

The bay provides good anchorage in the north through east to southerly conditions, but is exposed to all conditions with a westerly component and holding is not the best. Access is straightforward in daylight at any stage of the tide although a great measure of tidal planning will be required to operate in this area.
Please note

Any trip to the Copeland Islands will require good charts and careful navigation as the waters are shoal, encumbered with rocks and the channels between are swept by rapid tides. This is particularly true of Donaghadee Sound, where streams achieve 4.5 knots in places and great care plus tidal planning is necessary on approach and departure. In thick weather, the area should be avoided entirely.




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Keyfacts for Port Dandy
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tender

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
November 17th 2022

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tender

Considerations
Note: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 40.555' N, 005° 32.640' W

This is in the middle of Port Dandy inlet on the 2-meter contour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Port Dandy Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 40.556' N, 005° 32.893' W
This is 300 metres west of the inlet.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location and the Donaghadee Sound Route location for local tidal optimisations.

  • From the north and east leave Lighthouse, Mew and Copeland Islands well clear to port.

  • From Belfast Lough or the north there are no dangers beyond 150 metres from the shoreline.

  • Approach Port Dandy from Donaghadee Sound fairway, or from due south, pay particular attention to stand clear of the very dangerous Rid Rock when rounding the island.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Port Dandy for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Chapel Bay - 0.3 nautical miles SE
  2. Donaghadee Harbour - 1.9 nautical miles SSE
  3. Copelands Marina - 2.2 nautical miles SSE
  4. Groomsport - 2.5 nautical miles W
  5. Ballyholme Bay - 3.7 nautical miles W
  6. Bangor Harbour & Marina - 4.5 nautical miles W
  7. Helen’s Bay - 6.6 nautical miles W
  8. Whitehead - 7.2 nautical miles NW
  9. Ballywalter - 8.6 nautical miles SSE
  10. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 9.5 nautical miles WNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Chapel Bay - 0.3 miles SE
  2. Donaghadee Harbour - 1.9 miles SSE
  3. Copelands Marina - 2.2 miles SSE
  4. Groomsport - 2.5 miles W
  5. Ballyholme Bay - 3.7 miles W
  6. Bangor Harbour & Marina - 4.5 miles W
  7. Helen’s Bay - 6.6 miles W
  8. Whitehead - 7.2 miles NW
  9. Ballywalter - 8.6 miles SSE
  10. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 9.5 miles WNW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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What's the story here?
Port Dandy
Image: Francis Robinson via CC BY SA 2.0


Copeland Island is by far the largest of the group of three islands, Lighthouse Island and Mew Island being the others, that mark the southern entrance to Belfast Lough. It is nearly 1 mile long, a ⅓ of a mile wide and it is low only rising to a modest 31 metres at its highest point. It forms the eastern side of Donaghadee Sound and Port Dandy is a narrow west-facing bay located close south of the western extremity of the island. The island is privately owned, with residents who come to stay during the summertime. Tourist boats bring visitors from Donaghadee who land at the jetty in the opposite Chapel Bay.

Port Dandy is a very small inlet that provides a popular anchorage for a maximum of two or three boats with a beach to land.


How to get in?
Port Dandy is a narrow west-facing bay located close south
of the western extremity of the island

Image: © Brian Mason


Convergance Point Use the details available in the northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location for local approaches and the Donaghadee Sound Route location for local tidal optimisations. The bay is clear from all approaches with one single exception for vessels approaching from the opposite Chapel Bay, around its western arm, or cutting in from Donaghadee Sound. A vessel approaching Port Dandy from these directions will have the very dangerous and awash Rid Rock in the pathway.


Port Dandy and Chapel Bay on the opposite side of the arm
Image: Drone across Ireland in 4k External link


This is a detached termination of a reef off the drying area that extends a ¼ of a mile southward from Copeland Island's southwesternmost point. This visually terminates at the continually exposed 1 metre-high islet of Carn Point but foul ground then extends a further 200 metres south by southeastward from Carn Point to the dangerous Rid Rock.

Rid Rock - Awash detached rock position: 54° 40.130' N 005° 32.590' W


Port Dandy as seen from the west with Carn Point right
Image: Drone across Ireland in 4k External link


So it is essential not be tempted to follow the southwestern coastline of Copeland Island from Chapel Bay into port Dandy. Rather it is necessary to drop south of Chapel Bay, and then circle south around Rid Rock, before approaching Port Dandy from the west. Rid Rock is positioned almost due west of the southeastern extreme of Copeland Island. So when it is on a bearing of 85°, or less, it is safe to proceed westward on that line, southward of Rid Rock, until Carn Point is aft of the beam, before turning northward.

Vessels approaching from all other directions may cut in closer as there are no dangers 150 metres out from the western shoreline of Copeland Island.


Initial fix location From the Port Dandy Initial Fix sound in due east to approach the inlet that is just over 300 metres away. Be vigilant not to be pushed off course by the tidal streams of Donaghadee Sound. Port Dandy’s sheltered waters lie close inside the small and narrow slot.

The Port Dandy inlet
Image: Drone across Ireland in 4k External link


Haven location Come right into the centre of the slot where enough space will be found to accommodate at least a couple of boats. The inlet is steep-too with good water close in. Anchor according to draught over a bottom of rock and stones where holding is not great.


Port Dandy's beach
Image: Dillon Osborne


Dinghy landings are possible on the rocky beach at the head of the inlet. Copeland Island is owned by Alan and Ryan McCulla and access to the island beyond is only by direct permission from the owners.


Why visit here?
Port Dandy is an alternative anchorage to Copeland Island’s more spacious primary anchorage situated in the adjacent Chapel Bay. Small and enclosed it is very different to Chapel Bay and very popular during the sailing season. Doubtlessly that is how it got its name with 'Port' literally meaning port and 'Dandy' meaning 'an excellent thing of its kind'. Further information is available for the island in the Chapel Bay Click to view havenentry.

From a boating point of view, akin to Chapel Bay, is a very useful anchorage on the southern entrance to Belfast Lough. It provides easy access and perfect shelter in easterly conditions where it offers a useful tide-wait anchorage for those heading along the coast or up towards the North Channel without the time it takes to set down in a harbour or marina or indeed take a detour into Belfast Lough.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities available off this secluded island.


Any security concerns?
Never an incident known to have happened to a vessel anchored in Port Dandy.


With thanks to:
Michael Fitzsimons, Groomsport Harbour Master.







Aerial views of Donaghadee Sound and Copeland Island



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