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Limerick Ketch Ilen Nears Decision Time on Getting Past Greenland’s Cape Farewell

9th July 2019
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Cape Farewell, Greenland – an iron coast of huge headlands, rocky islands, and much loose ice Cape Farewell, Greenland – an iron coast of huge headlands, rocky islands, and much loose ice

The Limerick ketch Ilen on her Salmons Wake voyage to southwest Greenland had got to within 200-miles of the huge island’s most southerly headland, Cape Farewell, towards midnight last night (Monday). With her speed held back to 6 knots in order to avoid arriving in the region until a local gale has blown itself out through today, her crew are now considering their options, with the inner channel of Prins Christiansund becoming a favoured choice. Reports indicate that this steep-sided Sound - which can provide safe passage inside the many hazards of Cape Farewell – is reasonably clear of ice, proving much safer access to the coast of southwest Greenland and next stage of the voyage, the passage north to Nuuk.

ilen 08 07 19 trackIlen’s position towards midnight last night, slightly over a week after departing seaward past Loop head

Published in Ilen
WM Nixon

About The Author

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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