Castle Haven and the village of Castletownshend half way up its........ western shore is a popular destination for cruising sailors and is the home of the South Cork Sailing Club. The Sailing Club does not have its own clubhouse but uses the Rowing Club for its formal meetings and the local pubs for social events. The telephone number for the Sailing Club in the Reeds Almanac is that of the Castle which is (and has been since the mid 1600s) the residence of the Townshend family who now open some rooms as B&B.
Anyway, along the coast there are three or four places you could stop for a look. There’s Carrigillihy Cove which is narrow and dries at its landward end. Here there are rocks extending out 50 meters from the west shore of the entrance but you will find enough water to anchor afloat just off the coves on the eastern side. There’s a link to a Google Maps Photo below
Google Maps (Opens in a new tab)
Half a mile to the West of this there is Squince Harbour and it is possible to go through the channel between Rabbit Island and the mainland but ever so carefully. There’s a reef right across that passage with a least depth of only 1.2 meters (so you’ll be ok at HW) and you need to be about 50 meters off the shore of the island as you pass through the narrowest bit. It wouldn’t be too bad in a shallow draft boat but if you are carrying nearly 2 meters draft it’ll certainly exercise your sphincter muscles and you’d probably be best off going round the outside. Squince harbour is absolutely no use in onshore winds. To put it in perspective the Google link below shows the view looking East from the strand at the western end of Squince harbour; that island in the middle of the entrance is Rabbit Island and the gap between it and the headland is the channel we’re talking about; it’s just not worth the candle.
Google Maps (Opens in a new tab)
Of the anchorages along this coast the next, Blind Harbour, is probably the most viable; especially if you can take the ground. It has a fairly narrow entrance strewn with rocks along its eastern side but then opens out into a lagoon which, if you can dry out but only if, will provide shelter in most weathers apart from a howling Southerly gale; if you carry any draft you will have to anchor at the end of the narrows and there’s no protection at all from the weather there.
We have covered most of this except the straight run from Adam’s Island through Big Sound to Skiddy Island.
To follow this route safely using the Mark I eyeball you will need at least five miles visibility and settled conditions; if you intend to use a GPS as primary navigation in low visibility, plot your course in a zigzag through the widest bits of the channel and give that Belly Rock a wide berth; don’t even think about GPessing through between Rabbit Island and South Rock.If you have the necessary visibility to pick out the northern of the twin summits on Beenteeanne then you can line up Black Rock (which is small and low) with it and follow that line through South of Belly Rock to abeam Low Island when you can shape your course for Skiddy Island.
The minor coastal anchorages have been covered above.
In Castle Haven itself there are several options. At Castletownshend anchor either side of the main channel as there are reports of sea grass on the bottom in the middle of the channel which will make the holding weaker. We are told that there is a good place to anchor on the Western side just before you get to the main moorings.
Just to the North of the village there is a promontory (Cat Island) which would give better shelter than further down the bay but tends to have a fair few boats on moorings which limits the chances of finding space for yourself. If you have come up at HW, the lagoon beyond the gravel spit will look inviting but there’s only a very shallow covering of water there and it is not an option unless you want to sit on the mud for a lot of your stay.
There is water on either side available from a tap on Reen Pier and one on the slip at Castletownshend. There is enough depth from half tide to come alongside the pier at Reen if you need substantial re-bunkering. Other than that there is a shop at the top of the main street which does have gas and petrol (but no diesel)
A stroll up the Main Street (“up” being the operative word) will lead you to Mary Ann’s Restaurant which, by all accounts, should not be missed. Our member in Ningaloo was disappointed with this watering hole but it does receive rave reviews elsewhere (though there has been an adverse report on their fish an' chips!) They also house an Art Gallery there.
The Castle is open to visitors during the summer and there is also a church here which holds a series of classical music concerts on Thursday evenings in July and August which are held in high repute. You can expect the village to be very busy on those evenings.