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Drake’s Pool

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Overview





Drake’s Pool is situated on the south coast of Ireland, within Cork’s extensive natural harbour and two miles up the Owenboy River. It offers a river anchorage in a secluded location with a town just within walking range.

Approached through Cork's Lower Harbour and well up-river, Drake’s Pool offers complete protection from all conditions. Safe access is assured in all reasonable conditions by Cork Harbour, one of the most easily approached, well-marked and safest natural harbours in the world but daylight is required to pass through the numerous moorings that commence at Crosshaven.



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Keyfacts for Drake’s Pool
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

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
5 stars: Safe access; all reasonable conditions.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
July 2nd 2020

Summary

A completely protected location with safe access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

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



HM  +353 21 4273125      info@portofcork.ie      Ch.12, 14 &16
Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 48.310' N, 008° 20.000' W

In the ‘S’ bend of the river where Drake’s Pool resides.

What is the initial fix?

The following Cork Harbour initial will set up a final approach:
51° 46.580' N, 008° 15.460' W
This waypoint is a mile out from the entrance and near the Outflow Marker Fl(Y) 20s. It is set on the alignment of 354° (T) of the Dogsnose leading lights that are situated on the east side of Cork Harbour entrance. This waypoint sets up an east channel approach but a vessel may alter course to and enter via the west channel.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in Ireland’s coastal overviews for Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location or Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location as appropriate. Use the Crosshaven Click to view haven entry for entry instructions to the Owenboy River.


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 Drake’s Pool for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Crosshaven - 0.8 miles E
  2. Cork Harbour Marina - 1.5 miles N
  3. Ringabella Bay - 1.5 miles SSE
  4. Spike Island - 1.6 miles NE
  5. Cobh - 1.8 miles NNE
  6. White Bay - 1.9 miles E
  7. Glenbrook - 2 miles N
  8. Cuskinny - 2.4 miles NE
  9. Robert's Cove - 2.4 miles SSE
  10. Aghada - 3.2 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Crosshaven - 0.8 miles E
  2. Cork Harbour Marina - 1.5 miles N
  3. Ringabella Bay - 1.5 miles SSE
  4. Spike Island - 1.6 miles NE
  5. Cobh - 1.8 miles NNE
  6. White Bay - 1.9 miles E
  7. Glenbrook - 2 miles N
  8. Cuskinny - 2.4 miles NE
  9. Robert's Cove - 2.4 miles SSE
  10. Aghada - 3.2 miles ENE
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?
Drake's Pool
Image: Michael Harpur


Drake’s Pool is located 1½ miles above the entrance to the Owenboy River that is accessed from the western side of Waterford Harbour. It is a river anchorage in a sequestered forested section of the river.


Drake's Pool as seen from the landing hard on the southern spur
Image: Michael Harpur


The channel from Crosshaven is not marked but it has more than 2 metres LAT all the way up to the anchorage which has about 4 metres LAT. Most of the river is mud so there is very little of anything hard to hit and following the lines of moored vessels make the pathway clear albeit during daylight.


How to get in?
The leg from Crosshaven past the the marinas to the first bend
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use Ireland’s coastal overviews Rosslare Harbour to Cork Harbour Route location or Cork Harbour to Mizen Head Route location as appropriate for seaward approaches. Directions for entry and run up through Cork Harbour and the entry to the Owenboy River are provided in the Cork City Marina Click to view haven and Crosshaven Click to view haven entries.

After arriving at Crosshaven continue past the latter two of the village’s three marinas, Salve and The Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC). The fairway narrows alongside the marinas being situated between the outermost pontoon heads and the moored craft that encroach from the north side of the river. A host of RCYC moorings will then be seen upriver of their pontoon.
Please note

It is sometimes possible for small vessels to anchor beyond these, just upriver from the RCYC, but the area is normally highly congested with vessels.




The river leading up from the Lower Harbour to Drake's Pool
Image: Michael Harpur


Above Crosshaven the river takes a west-northwest direction whit its best depths tending towards the Gilroy Pontoon on the north shore. After this, the deepest water follows the outside of the first up-river bend, and then, when it narrows, mid-channel provides best depths.


The final length that leads into Drake's Pool
Image: Michael Harpur


The first bend swings the river into a southwestward direction where it then snakes around the contours of the Owenabue Valley on the approach to Drake’s Pool.


Moored boats on the final run into Drake's Pool
Image: Michael Harpur


About 1½ miles upriver Drake’s Pool will be encountered a broadening of the river within steep wooded banks. A road runs along the southern edge.


Drake's Pool nested into a bend of the river
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location The enclosed and wooded Drake's Pool has two pools that are joined by a shallow ledge. The perfectly protected river tuck is nearly overrun now with local moorings but some space should be found to anchor. When an anchoring location is found the holding is very good in mud. This is much needed as the river has strong currents.
Please note

A tripping line should be considered essential in this ancient anchorage and highly congested mooring area.




Natural slip on the small outcrop extending from the shore
Image: Michael Harpur


There is a natural slip on the small outcrop to the south of the lower pool. Tenders are drawn up and stored here. An open area will be found behind the trees, stepped back from the road, where BBQs are commonly held. There is also a cement jetty about 20 metres southwestward of this.


Jetty
Image: Michael Harpur


Vessels with a shallow draught that can take to the hard may continue towards Carrigaline, about two miles upstream where a good drying anchorage may be had. Alternatively, the town can be addressed by a tender near high water. Tie up at a slip or alongside the old sand quay just below the town.


Above Drake's Pool the river narrows and continues towards Carrigaline
Image: Tourism Ireland



Why visit here?
In 1589, the legendary English explorer and admiral Sir Francis Drake, was on the run with a squadron of five sloops and a vastly superior Spanish fleet closing in close behind. Running into Cork Harbour, he rounded Rams Head and then quickly slipped into the River Owenboy. Sailing past Crosshaven the small fleet dropped in behind the rounded mound of the Currabinny Peninsula that hid it from the lower harbour. Leaving nothing to chance at that, the squadron continued up the river as it snaked inland to finally moor in this basin, set deep in woodland under Coolmore Hill where they could not even be sighted from Crosshaven.

Sir Francis Drake
Image: CC0
Shortly after the Spanish fleet entered the harbour and sailed past the river entrance into the Lower Harbour. They did not notice the well-hidden river entrance and found themselves perplexed to see the very sudden and complete disappearance of the five ships they were pursuing. The Spanish fleet then continued to sail around the shores of the Lower Harbour probing its intricacies to find where Drake had secreted himself. But in hostile territory and increasingly coming to the conclusion that they had missed their prey, they exited a few days later empty-handed. Thereafter this refuge of the River Owenboy has been called Drake's Pool.

The River Owenboy, also spelt 'Owenabue' and in Irish 'Abhainn Buí' which means 'yellow river', begins just north of Crossbarry and flows east towards the sea for roughly 32 kilometres. Along its southern shore, from Carrigaline to Crosshaven and passing the anchorage, is a very attractive riverside walk that has fine views of this pretty estuary. This was where the Crosshaven to Cork railway ran until 1932 and the lovely river walk now occupies the path of the railway line. Recent enthusiast efforts have seen railway signals, some small platforms and sample sections of track reinstated along the way to suggest its past.


Reestablished signal mark on the pathway
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating point of view, the river is a secure home to many moored craft that safely, swing all year round to the ebb and flood tides flowing between the mudflats. If an anchorage can be found here a vessel is assured perfect security surrounded by verdant woodlands all round with leaves that run down to the water’s edge.


Leafy Drake's Pool as seen from the southern shore
Image: Michael Harpur


River anchorages are unusual treats for coastal boaters and this one is particularly beautiful. It is an enclosed pocket of tranquillity that has little changed since it was the refuge that saved Sir Francis Drake and his crews half a millennia ago.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this secluded anchorage. A riverside footpath along the southern shore leads to the sizable town of Carrigaline, population of about 15 thousand, about 2 KM away. The town is accessible at HW by tender that can tie up at a slip or alongside the old sand quay just below the town.


Any security concerns?
Never an incident known to have happened to a vessel in Drake’s Pool.


With thanks to:
Anthony McCarthy, local yachtsman. Photography with thanks to Robert Ashby.




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