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Stretching from Cork, in the South of Ireland to Western and Northern Ireland, on to Western Scotland and then to the Faroe Islands and to Tromso, in Western Norway, The Cool Route is the untouched superyacht destination of the 2020s.
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The Med gets too crowded! Escape the hustle and bustle and head to the higher latitudes this summer season. We talked to Ben Mahy of Rubis Channel Islands Superyacht Services and Superyacht Captain and Journalist Iain Flockhart about why more and more people are heading north to The Cool Route.
Captain Flockhart says, “With much attendant hassle in the day to day logistics of operating amidst such overcrowding in the places like the Mediterranean, more and more large yachts are heading to North-Western Europe in the summer.”
Alternative summer destinations such as Ireland, Scotland the Faroe Islands, Scandinavia and the far north towards Svalbard offer absolutely stunning cruising. The added benefits of increased amounts of daylight, usually of a beautiful quality of light in it, add to the amazing cruising potential of these higher latitudes.
The Cool Route has one of the most interesting routes to sail aboard a yacht anywhere in the world. It hands down has some of the most scenic and majestic coastlines.
While some of The Cool Route such as Scotland is quickly becoming a popular superyacht destination, parts of the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Faroe Islands remain relatively unexplored by superyachts. But this is looking to change as with the explorer yacht market growing, destinations such as The Cool Route are becoming more and more desirable.
And we can certainly see why! Explorer yachts and their owners are opting to explore these coastlines, as there are many things to do.
Exploring The Cool Route is the perfect opportunity to experience Irish, British and Scandinavian culture all at once. Each corner of the Route offers a distinctive and rugged green landscape with vibrant wildlife.
If you venture towards Guernsey, it is worthwhile visiting the smaller islands of Sark or Herm. They offer gorgeous beaches and have no cars around, making them very tranquil places to visit. From Guernsey, north-west Europe is a superyacht's oyster, whether you wish to explore the west coast of the UK and Ireland or the east coast of the UK and the north-west of Europe and Scandinavia.
Beware, however, the Channel Islands have some of the largest tides in the world so be sure to keep that in mind!
When in Cork, visitors can enjoy one of its many spectacular golf courses, medieval castles or its many eating and drinking establishments. You also can’t miss a tour at a local whisky distillery!
Once you get to the Faroe Islands indulging in a helicopter ride to see the beautiful landscape from above is a must-do. Then over the cooler months, during your final stay in Norway, the fjords offer the ideal spot to see the Northern Lights.
The Cool Route is also one of the most historic sea routes in the world. The waters and coastlines have been voyaged by Vikings for 1,500 years!
Captain Flockhart says, “Lose the summer crowds and head for adventure and exploring on The Cool Route and absorb the local culture ‘craic’ that these parts of the world have to offer.”
Steeped in history, the Route’s coastlines also offer rich sea-life, fantastic local and organically produced foods, local music, culture and heritage from the ancient Celtic and Norse people.
It is also possible to experience all or part of the route with international airports never too far from reach as well as lay over port options in many locations so chartering is a great option for those wishing to explore The Cool Route.
When should you visit? Jump aboard your yacht in the summer months to explore The Cool Route as with longer days it is much lighter at this time of year. This works well as a cruising schedule either after or before a winter refit in one of the northern yards.
Guernsey in the Channel Islands is the “perfect place to stop, fuel and re-provision after the Biscay crossing up from the Med”. Iain explains this is because the next stop heading east is Amsterdam or London before cruising up the west coast of Denmark and on to Norway where you join The Cool Route, which heading west crosses the North Sea over to Scotland. He also suggests, given time, to fully explore The Cool Route sailing further up to Svalbard and stopping at Shetland and the Faroe Islands on the way back down, before exploring all the Scottish islands and west coast.
But what if I need to re-fuel before I get there? Don’t worry, there’s a plethora of superyacht servicing stops along the way, such as KPI Bridge Oil in Denmark. It, like many others, offers a complete range of superyacht services so you can continue on your way.
Iain says, “Each of the ports and cruising areas along The Cool Route offer their own highlights to guests, and services and benefits well worth Captains researching.” After circumnavigating Scotland it is time to head south again through the Irish Sea and on to the Scilly Islands then a return stop to Guernsey in the Channel Islands to fuel, before Biscay again. He also says, “The Cool Route west is a great course to sail, then you can take in the coastline of Ireland stopping at Dublin and Cork as your final ports before heading south and on to the Med.”
Ideally situated for vessels heading to and from The Cool Route and the northern yards, the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey are located alongside the superyacht transit routes at the entrance of the English Channel. Rubis Channel Islands have the bunkering expertise here and along with other stopover benefits such as clearance at a VAT free port, are able to offer superyachts low tax/duty paid fuel and lubricant prices. Ben heads up the superyacht services and first recognised the Channel Islands superyacht market potential some 20 years ago, since then he has been globally promoting the benefits of the Islands. Ben says, “Guernsey is becoming a welcome port of call for many superyachts on transit through the English Channel with numbers of superyacht visits with Rubis tripling in the last 3 years”.
What are the cruising regulations, clearances, customs and immigration procedures in The Cool Route? Iain says, “All of the areas are well accustomed to visiting vessels and will give friendly advice on the practises and procedures to assist your journey.”
The coastline stretching from Cork, around Ireland, Scotland, the Faroe Islands and across to Tromso, in Western Norway is one of the most beautiful in the world. Avoid the rush and set your sights on this unique and stunning superyacht destination.
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