What is the route?
- • Close South of the Old Head of Kinsale
- • South of The Stags
- • South Of Clear Island
Why sail this route?This is a coastal sequence for cruisers who want to stay in inshore waters to enjoy the coastal scenery that this simply beautiful sailing area has to offer. It is also conveniently close to the many listed passage havens in the islands, bights and estuaries described along the way.
What are the navigational notes?
The sixty-three miles of coast between Cork Harbour and Mizen Head is one of the countries prime leisure sailing destinations as well as being the normal landfall for vessels approaching Ireland from the Atlantic Ocean.
The section of coast is characterised by rock cliffs interspersed by numerous headlands and peninsulas. The area near Clear Island, the south-westernmost corner of Ireland, is high and bold with the northerly mainland increasing in height in the backdrop. To the east of Clear Island, the shore retains its bold aspect but is less indented.
The southwest portion of the coast takes the full violence of the North Atlantic’s prevailing westerly gales and is subject to heavy seas and swell. This has created the irregular broken aspect particularly within the area between Mizen Head and Cape Clear Island. Here the coast is indented with a broken bay that abounds in islands, bights and estuaries. It offers a host of safe and beautiful anchorages. The seas become less turbulent as a vessel progresses to the east and likewise the coastline.
The coastline is relatively free of hidden dangers. Fastnet Rock, with a lighthouse, lies about nine miles east-southeast of Mizen Head. It has a Traffic Separation Scheme established to the southeast of the rock. Inshore the well covered but breaking Daunt Rock, off the entrance of Cork Harbour, and the 20 metres high Stag Rocks, off Toe Head, are the principal dangers. There are a few additional off-lying dangers that lie off the salient points.
Tides are weak in this area with spring rates seldom exceeding a maximum of 1 to 1.5 knots offshore although they can run stronger off headlands.
Cruisers should pay particular attention to the areas excellent weather forecasting and not risk a gale at sea over what would most likely be a lee shore here. On the first appearance of a change, seek shelter in one of the many havens the coast has to offer. Marine farming in and around this coastal area is rapidly growing. Large steel-jointed fish cages with tubular rubber sides, are marked on the charts but may be placed anywhere, and the structures are hardly visible. Each cage is required to be marked by two yellow flashing lights and a radar reflector.
The complete course is 63.17 miles from the waypoint '½ a mile east of the Cork Sea Buoy' to '½ a mile southwest of Mizen Head' tending in a west south westerly direction (reciprocal east north easterly).
½ a mile east of the Cork Sea Buoy, 51° 42.935' N, 008° 14.910' W
The Cork Sea Buoy has LFl 10s and is situated 5 miles south of the Cork Harbour entrance. The waypoint is in the alignment 354°T of the leading lights at Dogsnose situated about 1½ miles within the entrance and on the east side of Cork Harbour.
► Next waypoint: 12.62 miles, course ⇓ 237.38°T (reciprocal ⇑ 57.38°T)
250 metres south of the Old Head of Kinsale headland, 51° 36.113' N, 008° 32.018' W
This is close in under the Old Head Of Kinsale headland where there stands a lighthouse, black with two white bands, Fl (2) 10s 72m 20M. The southern side of projecting headland has steep cliffs. Comming in close under the headland passes to the north of a race, or overfalls, that extend for nearly a mile southward of the head, that set on the ebb tide it in a south-westerly direction, and on the flood to a south-easterly direction.
► Next waypoint: 27.42 miles, course ⇓ 251.56°T (reciprocal ⇑ 71.56°T)
¼ south of Kowloon Bridge South Cardinal (The Stags), 51° 27.323' N, 009° 13.735' W
This passes south of Toe Head and The Stag Rocks, a cluster of rugged, precipitous rocks, 20 metres high, that lies ¾ of a mile south of the headland. A wreck lies about 0.2 of a mile southwest of The Stags and it is marked by Kowloon Bridge south cardinal buoy, Q(6)+L Fl.15s which is moored 800 metres southward of The Stags.
► Next waypoint: 10.99 miles, course ⇓ 256.16°T (reciprocal ⇑ 76.16°T)
½ a mile south of the southernmost point of Cape Clear (Clear Island), 51° 24.675' N, 009° 30.830' W
This is south of Clear Island's southernmost extremity Blananarragaun.
► Next waypoint: 12.14 miles, course ⇓ 279.16°T (reciprocal ⇑ 99.16°T)