Although a possibility exists to anchor in very settled conditions, Dursey Sound is of more interest to sailors for the shortcut it offers in and out of Bantry Bay. Careful navigation is required and in this context, it may also present a challenge in boisterous conditions. Exposed to the Atlantic Ocean on either side there can be a large seaway running that is further complicated by shifting and funnelling winds over the tide; it should be noted that this is not a foul weather shortcut.
Keyfacts for Dursey Sound
SummaryAn exposed location with careful navigation required for access.
Position and approaches
Haven position51° 36.340' N, 010° 8.725' W
Just inside the 3 metre contour in the middle of the anchorage.
What are the initial fixes?The following waypoints will set up a final approach:
(i) North entrance initial fix
51° 37.134' N, 010° 9.934' W
This position is approx 1,000 metres north-by-northwest of the northern entrance.
(ii) South Entrance initial fix
51° 34.822' N, 010° 10.866' W
This position is approx 1,200 metres west of the southern point of Crow Island.
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Garnish Bay - 0.6 miles NE
- Dunboy Bay & Traillaun Harbour - 5.2 miles ENE
- Castletownbere (Castletown Bearhaven) - 5.7 miles ENE
- Darrynane Harbour - 5.8 miles N
- Ballycrovane Harbour - 5.9 miles NE
- West Cove - 6.4 miles NNE
- Mill Cove - 6.7 miles ENE
- Lawrence Cove - 7.5 miles E
- Lonehort Harbour - 8.1 miles E
- Ballinskellig Bay - 8.2 miles NNW
How to get in?
Image: Graham Rabbits
Navigating through Dursey Sound covers the passage through Dursey Sound.
Image: Burke Corbett
Anchor in a patch of sand off the mainland about 800 metres to the southeast of the narrows. Eight metres can be found off the quay on Dursey Island and you may be able to find a berth in settled conditions if you hunt around. There is reportedly a slip and a telephone within 50 metres.
Image: Burke Corbett
Why visit here?Dursey Sound is a lovely shortcut from Bantry Bay to Kenmare bay that saves ten to twelve miles of passage or possibly more. When rounding the west side of Dursey island keep in mind the off-lying rocks of the Bull, the Cow and the Calf of which only the Bull is lit.
In fine weather, it is possible to land on the island at the boat slip in Dursey Sound. Dursey Island, Irish: Baoi Bhéarra or Oileán Baoi, is a peaceful island 3.5M long and 250 metres high, and on its highest point stands an old watchtower.
The island is connected to the mainland by Ireland's only cable car, which is reportedly the only cable car that goes over open water in Europe. The cable car is one of the islands main attractions, but the island is also well known for the nesting colonies of seabirds.
If you plan to cruise around the island you will find the shores of Dursey Island clear of dangers except for Lea rock off Dursey Head at the south-west corner. With tidal streams in the sound attaining rates of up to 4 kn, this anchoring point could provide a useful tide wait location.
What facilities are available?None.
Any security concerns?Not applicable as it is not advisable to leave a vessel unattended in this area due to strong tides and shifting winds.
With thanks to:Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford.
An overview of Dursey Island
Scenic views of Dursey Island
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