Unusual and unique destinations are a common feature on the itinerary of 38.6m motoryacht Katrion, and this summer was no exception. The yacht undertook a cruise around Ireland and The Crew Report caught up with Captain Ben Chaplin while the boat was in Cork, Ireland waiting for guests to embark on a 12-day cruise southwest around County Cork and County Kerry and then finishing Dublin.

Katrion in Cork, Ireland. Credit: Captain Ben Chaplin.

“It is going to be very different,” explains Captain Chaplin when asked how cruising Ireland will compare to the more familiar superyacht hubs. “It is a cooler climate Mediterranean for the season and so we are prepared for that. It is really about the scenery and history because everywhere you turn there are cathedrals, churches, monasteries and castles. I think the difference between cruising the normal Mediterranean milk run and being up here in the cooler climate is the history and the culture and the beauty of the landscape of Ireland.”

“My fingers are crossed for sunny weather,” he adds. “The locals say that it changes every 20 minutes; it might be raining, then sunshine, and then raining again and you can have several seasons in one day. The crew and guests will have to expect that the weather is going to be very changeable so there is not really going to be any watersports apart from tender trips in and out of little villages. We are at anchor most of the time unless we stop in a city because the owner is quite private and doesn’t really like the attention that the yacht can bring. We are bang in the middle of the city here in Cork and everybody stops by and has a look and takes photos.”

"I think the difference between cruising the normal Mediterranean milk run and being up here in the cooler climate is the history and the culture and the beauty of the landscape of Ireland.”

Regardless of a few concerns over the weather, Captain Chaplin is enthusiastic about what Ireland has to offer. “We have been exploring a lot and when the sun is shining the scenery is stunning,” he describes. “We have been to Skellig Michael, which is one of the two famous Skellig Islands just off the mainland of County Kerry and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We are hoping that, if the weather is right, we can cruise out there, take the guests ashore and have a special tour by one of the guides that live on the island. If you hike up to the top of the island there is a monastery there so it is a very impressive location.”

Skellig Islands. Credit: Captain Ben Chaplin.

But there is a reason that destinations like Ireland have so far remained largely untouched by the superyacht industry as owners tend to prefer destinations which have been developed to suit the needs of superyachts and their guests. Bearing this in mind, we ask Captain Chaplin what it is that has drawn his owner to cruising in Ireland. “I think the owner sees the boat as an opportunity to see places from a different angle,” he explains. “Her family has owned boats for years so she has been to all the hotspots in the Med and Caribbean quite a few times. She has a pool of friends and family that come on board so I think she thinks; ‘What can we do that is new and what can we explore?’”

Because of the owner’s adventurous attitude, Katrion and her crew have had their fair share of unique trips. “We have cruised Scotland twice and also Brittany as well,” says Captain Chaplin. “A few years ago we explored the Baltic and we have done another off-the-beaten-track trip to the Great Lakes, which was fairly unique. We are 38.6m so it is not a huge yacht in the Mediterranean but, because of her size, we can get in places that perhaps a 50m cannot. This means you can end up in the city centres like Cork, whereas other yachts don’t come in as far - it gives you the freedom.”

County Kerry. Credit: Captain Ben Chaplin.

“We are excited to cruise this area that probably doesn’t see many yachts and from what I have researched and seen it looks stunning and I cannot wait for the guests to arrive,” Captain Chaplin concludes. “It is refreshing because all of the locals are very interested and very friendly and they want to point you in the right direction. Fingers crossed that the weather is good and if not it may not be quite as stunning but I think they will appreciate the little anchorages that I have seen. It’s exciting.”

Issue 70 of The Crew Report includes a full interview with Captain Ben Chaplin and can be read online here.

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