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Shannon cruise - any tips?

13

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  • RMDrive wrote: »
    Glad to have stumbled across this thread! Doing a one-way week from Portumna to Carrick starting on Saturday. It's be great to read the posts and to see the pictures. We're first-timers so excited and nervous about the trip.

    A question please ... what time would we need to be moored up at a marina in order to be confident of having a place for the night? I've read some people say 3-4pm?

    Welcome to the club and hopefully you get the bug like most of us have :) What type of boat are you hiring off ES?

    It really depends on how busy the said marinas are, weekends are probably busier, especially at this time of the year when are lot of "private boat owners" would be out on the water.

    Have you any idea of the marinas you'll be overnighting at? My mode of operation is generally set off in the morning, stop somewhere for lunch and then head off to somewhere else for the evening. Arriving anytime between 1600 - 1800 generally.

    If a marina is busy and no spaces you can always raft against another boat (see pict below), always nice to ask before hand if you can.

    20200817_175913-M.jpg




  • Welcome to the club and hopefully you get the bug like most of us have :) What type of boat are you hiring off ES?

    It really depends on how busy the said marinas are, weekends are probably busier, especially at this time of the year when are lot of "private boat owners" would be out on the water.

    Have you any idea of the marinas you'll be overnighting at? My mode of operation is generally set off in the morning, stop somewhere for lunch and then head off to somewhere else for the evening. Arriving anytime between 1600 - 1800 generally.

    If a marina is busy and no spaces you can always raft against another boat (see pict below), always nice to ask before hand if you can.

    20200817_175913-M.jpg

    Thanks for the reply. We have a Magnifique boat from ES; so probably a large enough boat for our first time out. We were offered 2 free days plus the larger boat (we had booked an elegance) to do a one-way from Portumna to Carrick. It works for us so we said yes.

    Not 100% sure on all of the Marinas we'll be stopping at, but Terryglass, Athlone, Hodson Bay, Tarmonbarry and Lough Key Forest Park are on the list of possibilities.

    Is being allowed to raft against someone else considered a favour? So if they refuse you should try another marina? Or it it par for the course that most people will let you do this?

    Given that we are newbies (and have a larger boat), is there marina/river etiquette that we should be especially aware of?

    Thanks for the help!




  • Just back today from 4 nights/5 days on the Shannon.

    Went Carrick to Dromod to Lanesborough to Boyle to Leitirm Village and back to Carrick (and stopped off at a few other places along the way including Lough Key).

    Got a spot no problem each evening along the way. We were usually in by around 6pm.




  • RMDrive wrote: »
    Is being allowed to raft against someone else considered a favour? So if they refuse you should try another marina? Or it it par for the course that most people will let you do this?

    If there are no other spaces available, it's par for the course.




  • If you're rafting, make sure the boat inside you doesn't want to leave at the crack of dawn!


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  • RMDrive wrote: »
    Thanks for the reply. We have a Magnifique boat from ES; so probably a large enough boat for our first time out. We were offered 2 free days plus the larger boat (we had booked an elegance) to do a one-way from Portumna to Carrick. It works for us so we said yes.

    Not 100% sure on all of the Marinas we'll be stopping at, but Terryglass, Athlone, Hodson Bay, Tarmonbarry and Lough Key Forest Park are on the list of possibilities.

    Is being allowed to raft against someone else considered a favour? So if they refuse you should try another marina? Or it it par for the course that most people will let you do this?

    Given that we are newbies (and have a larger boat), is there marina/river etiquette that we should be especially aware of?

    Thanks for the help!


    The Magnifique is a nice boat. I had its sister vessels, the Royal Mystique on a week cruise from Portumna in 2018. Same bodyshell, window arrangement slightly different, different interior as the Mag has extra bedrooms.

    A lot of those Marinas are fairly big so I say you'll be fine. Just relax and enjoy it.




  • RMDrive wrote: »
    Glad to have stumbled across this thread! Doing a one-way week from Portumna to Carrick starting on Saturday. It's be great to read the posts and to see the pictures. We're first-timers so excited and nervous about the trip.

    A question please ... what time would we need to be moored up at a marina in order to be confident of having a place for the night? I've read some people say 3-4pm?

    One other thing to note before your trip.

    Do your research on understanding the maps and what the markers mean and also make sure you crew understand how to tie knots to the cleats.
    The cruise Ireland website (carrickcraft) has an excellent online resource for this, the best of all the hire companies.

    An online copy of the navigation map is at
    https://www.cruise-ireland.com/boating-guide/charts/

    Online tutorials
    https://www.cruise-ireland.com/boating.../online-tutorial/

    It is highly recommended that you go through these to get an idea of what to expect.




  • Tip on rafting - it's considered impolite to tramp across a cabintop in the dark; if in daylight cross via the foredeck, not the cockpit.




  • Delighted that you had a great holiday on the Shannon, it's the undiscovered country of Irish holidays. Since first doing a 3 night trip in 2016 I've been hooked and done one every year since then except 2019 when we got married (would have done one if I could have afforded it!).

    Sorry to hear of your issues with the boat itself. The hire boats take a lot of punishment from the clients and I always expect to have some issue with them along the way. I've always hired from Emerald Star (ESL) and have found the boats to be very clean. But the basics should be right, no excuse for that so it's disappointing to hear that the boat wasn't to the standard you expected it, make sure you feed that back to them.

    I might have mentioned it already, but for this year we originally planned to go in May, and wanted to go to Lough Erne. Looking at ESL they wanted €4k for a Horizon 3 boat for 7 nights ex Carrick, that is a high season price to me! I wasn't going to pay that. So I went looking at Silverline who have always been "that bit more expensive" but with ESL jacking their prices up so high Silverline are now cheaper. I booked the Silver Ocean for 12 nights (to go from Banagher to Lough Erne) for €3850, yes an extra 5 nights for a cheaper price than what ESL wanted!

    Anyway lockdown was dragging on so in February we made a judgement call and decided to defer our holiday to end of August. The Silver Ocean wasn't available (booked solid all summer), but the Silver Shadow was (Silverline's other premier boat class). As we hit the special offer season and getting a slightly cheaper boat we managed to knock €1380 off the original quote! So not bad all round. I didn't take notes, but I did check ESL for the same week to compare costs for a 7 night trip ex Carrick and they were still more expensive with the limited availability they had.

    So I'm looking forward to my cruise with Silverline and they are regarded as the best hire boats on the Shannon for being well maintained / presented etc.

    As an aside I did manage to have a good chat with a ESL person recently, a chance encounter, and when asked the question "are you hiring this summer" I sheepishly had to admit we defected to Silverline! He admitted that the ESL owning company, Le Boat, have "got greedy" and raised their prices and we were't the only ones to have gone elsewhere. He hopes if people vote with their feet and go elsewhere they will realise the error of their ways and reduce prices accordingly, but it could be too late by then.



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  • Having been moored in various harbors most weekends in the last few months I don't know if it will make any difference, rental boats everywhere and from what I hear they are all pretty much booked solid for the summer. Little doubt that they knew they would fill up regardless of the price and so raised their prices to capitalize





  • Is it realistic to get from Carrick to Athlone and back with 4 nights?





  • Yes, the very first time we went down as a group of friends, we made it from Carrick down to Hodsons Bay (Athlone is only about 45 minutes further south) and back in only a 3 night stay.


    last year we went from Carrick down to Mountshannon and back in only 6 days





  • That's great! We are a group of friends aswell so want to stop somewhere lively. Would you need to stay overnight between Carrick and Hodson Bay?

    It says 9hrs to Athlone on the timetable?





  • Ye have to tie up every night with the hire boats. One of the main t&cs.





  • I'm planning to do Athlone - Carrick in a single day this year as we power full steam ahead to get to the Shannon / Erne Canal and Lough Erne from Banagher so its entirely possible to do it in four nights.

    Possible suggestion would be:

    Day 1: Carrick - Dromod (if no room at Dromod, go to Roosky 20 mins further on).

    Day 2: Dromod - Athlone stopping for lunch at Lanesborough.

    Day 3: Athlone - stop somewhere on Lough Ree for Lunch - Tarmonbarry.

    Day 4: Tarmonbarry - Carnodoe Lakes (Grange Lough / Kilglass Lough for a lunch stop) Jamestown.

    Day 5: Jamestown - Carrick.

    Navigational guide can be viewed at the link below to get some ideas of places to visit.






  • Hi folks,

    How is navigating off the chart/map? How are you referencing where you are on the river at any given time?

    Cheers






  • The markers are all numbered (lettered in some cases) and you'll be cross referencing your position on the map with your location. You need to be aware of your location on the map at all times otherwise you run the risk of going aground if you don't pay attention to the markers and the map.





  • If you wanted, you could download the a Navionics app and subscribe to the Ireland/U.K./Holland maps, which would give you your position on the map fairly accurately….. a bit overkill if your only doing it once, but still a nice feature to have.


    Also a great way to track your journeys…..




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  • how much experience do you need to hire boats? I've done some boating with smaller boats on Holidays before but nothing bigger than may 15ft.





  • Its the price I want to know :)





  • On the Shannon 2 x years ago Banagher to Lough Key and back in a week found Google Maps a great help along with the Paper Navigation Charts !





  • They say none. People tend to get the hang of it within a couple of hours.





  • Having just come off my maiden voyage ... no experience required :)

    If you've done a bit before then you'll be better off than most. Novices will have a more enjoyable time if they read a few threads like this and if you have a crew/family that will step up and help you out.





  • No experience required.


    they'll bring you out for a small orientation run to show you how the boat operates and how to steer/control it (think like a forklift that steers from the back wheels). They'll observe you driving the boat, and once they are happy you have the basics, they'll let you away.


    My advice would be that when entering locks or marina's/docks, drive the boat as slow as it will go while still maintaining control of it (for most rental boats this would be just having the forward or reverse gear engaged, but with no revs added (I'd call this ticking over in ahead or ticking over in astern), so engine idling, but with the forward or reverse gear engaged), once the boat is moving through the water you should have directional control with the steering wheel turning the rudder. If the boat is not moving, the steering wheel is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

    I'd advise finding some nice open areas like small/mid sized lakes with plenty of space in them, and just 'messing around' practicing various manoeuvres at slow speeds, to get the feel for how the boat reacts at such speeds (and also to give everyone a go at it). Likewise in reverse... some boats can manoeuvre quite well once moving in reverse, but some boats are also dogs in reverse. You'd mostly only use a burst of reverse power to slow down in a hurry, or to reverse out of a marina berth, but it's still good practice to be able to manouvre in reverse.





  • Thanks,

    We ended up doing:


    Day 1 Carrick - Tarmonbarry

    Day 2 Tarmonbarry - Athlone

    Day 3 Athlone - Carrick (Took about 7hrs)





  • Emerald star very dear, We've never hired a cruiser, but was doing one this week, we were hiring a clipper based on the photographs. €1900 for the week ++++lots of extras.

    We decided we'd see the boat beforehand, it's supposed to be a 4+2 so thought, based on the photos, it'd be fine for 4 of us.

    Anyway, we got a chance to see it yesterday, it was horrible, It was just about big enough for a couple with one child.

    We even looked at a ten berth and compared to boats I was looking at to buy, I'd consider them only big enough for a 4 -6 berth.

    I guess what I'm saying is to see the boat before you commit





  • ESL have gone very dear. After being a loyal customer since 2016 when I had my first trip, for this year we are going with Silverline which are now very competitive on price and are regarded as the best on the Shannon.

    There is plenty of photographs on the various hire boat company websites to get a feel for the boat before hand.

    4 + 2 means 2 cabins (2 persons in each) and the main saloon which the seat can covert into a double bed (the + 2).

    First rule of boating, get a boat bigger than your needs if possible, i.e. in this case 3 cabins, so you can store all your bits in the spare cabin. I've generally stuck to this rule where possible, but not this year due to circumstances outside my control I had to defer my planned trip so the original boat I wanted (sticking to that rule) wasn't available.



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  • There's no way two adults would sleep in the bow cabin of the clipper (4 +2), The whole boat was stuffy to say the least and small.

    I only found silverline in the last few days and they look far better value. even their 8,9 berth isn't that much more expensive than 1900

    Events have overtaken us now and would've had to cancel anyway but so lucky we went to see the boat before we booked



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