The Pilot Book gave dire warnings about how difficult the seas could be on leaving Strangford Lough, but in the event it was very straightforward, and the overfalls only lasted for about 100 meters. We managed to sail virtually all the way to Bangor (about 35 miles) with only a small blip where we were temporarily caught by the tide between Copeland Island and the mainland.
Bangor Marina turned out to be very sheltered and well equipped – and busy – because there had been a rally of the Irish Cruising Clubs and the Clyde Cruising Clubs. This didn’t really affect us except in the very positive sense that it was great to see so many boats and people actually enjoying cruising. Also Rod and Dorrie Wade-Thomas were there in their Rustler 36 Siosarnoir. Apparently Graham Rabbitts had already warned them that we were in the area, so they weren’t that surprised to see us.
Richard had some business to do and needed to find a “notary” to witness his signature on a document. We decided that it would be best to try to organise it in Bangor or Belfast, as some of the places we were going to next might be too small to have such “facilities”. It turned out that Bangor had a very obliging notary, but he couldn’t give us an appointment until the next day,Tuesday – so we had to stay. Spent a very wet day in Bangor shopping and generally just “mulching”, but the highlight was drinks and nibbles on Siosarnoir in the evening.
After Richard had seen the notary we caught the train into Belfast to have a look around and went to the most amazing Victorian pub called The Crown. It is a working pub, owned by the National Trust, with many of its original features including gas lights and little cubicles, or snugs, built to accommodate the pubs more “reserved” clients
Had a happy afternoon following the history of shipbuilding on the river Lagan – obviously with an emphasis on the Titanic and the old Harland and Wolff shipyard where it was built, and then came back to Bangor for a drink in the Royal Ulster Yacht Club. It had just been celebrating its 150th anniversary and a very enthusiastic barman showed us around its treasures – a large and impressive trophy room, and “The Lipton Room” named after the “boating grocer”, Sir Thomas Lipton who, having been blackballed from the Royal Yacht Squadron, launched his America’s Cup bid from the RUYC in 1898.