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Limerick Ketch Ilen Makes Excellent Progress in Mid-Atlantic on Passage Towards Greenland

7th July 2019
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Ilen’s position yesterday evening indicates the good progress made since she departed the Shannon Estuary on Monday afternoon Ilen’s position yesterday evening indicates the good progress made since she departed the Shannon Estuary on Monday afternoon

The 56ft Limerick traditional ketch Ilen, on her Salmon’s Wake voyage from the Shannon Estuary to Greenland (2019 is the Year of the Salmon), has been making good progress since heading seaward past Loop Head on Monday afternoon writes W M Nixon. In fact, at the moment the sailing is so good, running in a 20-knot easterly, that the crew may ease off the speed in order not to arrive at Greenland’s most southerly point of Cape Farewell any earlier than next Wednesday, when weather conditions at the iconic headland are expected to have improved from the current inclement situation.

The voyage outward has so far gone well, so much so that the most rugged part came in the first 12 hours after passing Loop Head. Generally, the Atlantic has been in a fairly benign mood, but as they come within the weather ambit of Greenland itself, more variable and possibly adverse conditions become increasingly possible.

ketch ilen2Ilen going well. Out in mid-Atlantic on passage to Greenland, progress is currently so good that her crew may have to ease back on speed in order not to reach Cape Farewell until local conditions at the great headland have become more favourable

Published in Ilen
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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The Ilen is the last of Ireland’s traditional wooden sailing ships.

Designed by Limerick man Conor O’Brien and built in Baltimore in 1926, she was delivered by Munster men to the Falkland Islands where she served valiantly for seventy years, enduring and enjoying the Roaring Forties, the Furious Fifties, and Screaming Sixties.

Returned now to Ireland and given a new breath of life, Ilen may be described as the last of Ireland’s timber-built ocean-going sailing ships, yet at a mere 56ft, it is capable of visiting most of the small harbours of Ireland.

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