After months of phone calls, paperwork, and emails the deal was finalised on Friday 26th October 2018 and the Red Bay Stormforce RIB formerly known as Canongate, officially became part of the Abhainn Cruises fleet.
She is a 1050 Stormforce with two 4.2 litre V6 300 Horse Power Yamaha Engines with 20 inch propellers. She has a top speed in excess of 60 knots. She can be fully or partially enclosed, suitable for night navigation, currently two suspension seats, two jockey seats, and a 4 person bench, and massive internal and external storage. She lives on an extreme tri-axle trailer and comes complete with CD player for party mode.
She was built by Red Bay Boats Cushendall in August 2017 for a man from Tobermory, Scotland. If you’re a parent you might know this place better as Balamory. If you now have the theme tune stuck in your head sorry about that. She was formerly used as a personal pleasure craft but after we have her coded she will be perfect for Sea Safari’s, visiting the islands of Ireland and Scotland, exploring Lough Neagh and the River Bann, and will be a welcome addition to our annual TT Races Water Taxi trips to the Isle of Man.
Her new name is Stormborn, a nod to George R.R. Martin’s HBO series Game of Thrones® which showcased Northern Ireland’s stunning natural beauty spots, and which Abhainn Cruises worked on, providing a film location scouting boat, safety boat, and filming vessel. Our Game of Thrones® Tours will now be held on both RIB Endurance and Stormborn.
On Sunday morning after much prep and well wishes from Tom and Connor of Red Bay Boats, we set off from Cushendall with Ben at the helm. We couldn’t have had a better day for boating as the sun was shining despite it being late October and it felt fresh rather than cold.
Arriving at Rathlin on a Sunday morning was something special. It was like a piece of heaven; quiet and pretty with only seals and birds in the harbour. We received a warm welcome in McCuaig’s and had a leisurely drink.
The people of Rathlin are so genuinely friendly and welcoming it wasn’t long before we got chatting and Sarah offered to show us where the Kelp seedlings are grown for Rathlin Kelp Farm. We’re looking forward to trying the Kelp noodles next time we’re there. After this we embarked on a circumnavigation of Rathlin and were lucky to have a lifetime Rathliner on board with us. What Tim didn’t already know about Rathlin’s lighthouses Catriona was able to tell him, and our new boat got the seal of approval from a real island woman.
After leaving Rathlin we headed straight for Portrush, passing by Portballintrae, Runkerry House, Torr Head, Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway. We’d have stopped to explore but sea air really excites the appetite and everyone agreed it was time to eat. Portrush Harbour was peaceful but Portrush itself was buzzing despite summer being over.
After dining we embarked on our first night navigation with Stormborn. The sea is really something else at night, eerily beautiful and an astronomer’s dream. As we approached Rathlin we were treated to the sight of the fireworks, then we headed for the blue lights of Ballycastle where we moored. Copious amounts of tea was drunk in the Ballycastle Marine Hotel before taking a taxi back to Cushendall. We can’t wait to get Stormborn on the water again for more adventures.