Articles of



Irish Cruising Notes

Uncharted Rocks and Depths

Resources from: Dave Murray, Robin McConkey and William Carlisle

Admiralty Notices to Mariners No 5404 and 5428 of 2013, based on multibeam echosounder full-seabed-coverage surveys on the east coast of County Down between Killough and Donaghadee, have some very surprising findings, including many rocks hitherto uncharted, and many known ones revised shallower.

There are significant implications for pilotage of the minor channels in the entrance to Strangford Lough.

The Irish Cruising Club has checked the findings and they were found to be correct. A new 12th edition of the Club's 'North and East Coasts Sailing Directions' will be available in March. However we consider these changes to be significant enough to offer you the attached potted version of the Sailing Directions as they relate to Strangford entrance. This has kindly been produced by Norman Kean who is the editor of the ICC Sailing Directions.

Basically the new survey information from NM 5404 and 5428 of 2013 was confirmed. We found the newly reported rocks in the west channel, and a depth of 0.5m over the rock previously charted at 1.4m (and now reported 0.1m). The rock in 54 19.4 N 5 31.4 W, charted at 0.8m (and not mentioned in the Notices) gave us a sounding which suggests that it dries. We can't of course say that we were precisely over the highest point of rocks, but everything we saw indicates that the government survey carried out by the Emu Fugro is correct.

The existing charted transit of 320 on Kilclief Church in line with the clump of trees now leads too close to the newly detected rocks. We established a new transit line, 314 on the church in line with the dip in the skyline east of a pointed drumlin hill (photographed). This leads NE rather than SW of the 0.1m (formerly 1.4m) rock. The line has the disadvantage of taking a boat further out from Killard Point and into rougher water, but it's still quite safe to come in close to the point before picking up the transit line half a mile SSE of the Tail of Angus. There appears to be at least 3m of water at LAT for a width of half a cable on the revised line and it's now the widest deep channel there. Of course at slack high water there is ample water over the rocks.

On the Bar Pladdy side, we found 1.1m over the Knob, as newly reported. There is some indication that the Knob extends a little further N than charted. This means that the best transit for this passage is Kilclief church in line with the Angus tower, 289.

Irish Cruising Club Publications

Select East 7North

Select amemdments for the 11th edition

Select amendment No.26 Pg 79 onwards