Archive for the ‘Wales’ Category

Aberystwyth towards Falmouth

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Aberystwyth showing Robin and Rosie waving us off despite Sumara still being moored in the harbour!

Jannicke in Aberystwyth

Log 8498 Distance approx 230nm
Grit and I arrived in Aber (as they call it) on Thursday 17th August to have a day preparing and provisioning before setting off towards Falmouth. We went to the Christopher Williams exhibition again where I was surprised to meet Jannicke (I’ll put up a nice picture of her later). In the morning we were greeted by Robin and Rosie who are best friends of Terry, who made Sumara. Robin said he had seen her as a log cut through as planks and he gave a hand casting the keel. We needed to catch the tide so unfortunately couldn’t spend long with them. Robin saw the Scottish Three Peaks sticker on the hull and said he had done the Tilman Three Peaks three times and I should try it! Mnnn, maybe.
We set off at high water-ish with a favourable tide. Robin and Rosie were at the pier head to wave us off. The forecast was a bit uncertain in terms of wind strength but for sure it would be a beat the whole way. Definitely SW or S winds between F3 and 6. We waved goodbye to Aber, a lovely town with plenty to do, and tacked off away from “The Patches” to get a long board down the coast before tacking again a few times to clear St Davids Head. It was spring tides and they run at 4 – 5 kts off St Davids so we were keen to give it a wide berth. We headed for a waypoint between the Smalls and the shipping lanes. The shipping lanes can be quite an obstruction to yachts adding considerable mileage and spoiling advantageous tacks. In this case a wind shift acted in our favour and we managed to slip past the south corner by using a little bit of engine to assist us as the wind had nearly failed.
Across the Bristol Channel the wind varied in strength but was never too strong, one reef was needed at one point but then the genoa was hoisted.

Grit en route to St Davids Head

I was up a lot whilst we sailed around St Davids so it was good to catch up on some snooze. We were making almost south in the SW breeze and after two days or so we reached a point on the coast near to St Ives.

Sailing Off St Ives

Here I hoped to pick up a sea breeze by staying inshore and also I also wanted to catch a reverse tide which proved elusive.We were going to try to use the favourable tide on Monday evening to round Lands End. We were making 4-5 kn SOG but very little boat speed. I was looking forward to easing the sheets after so much windward work but when we reached Longships to bear away we were stuffed by slack winds and needed to motor. The tide here runs strong, very strong. It shifted against us one hour before prediction and there was no twelve’s rule here. It pretty much stopped us dead at one point shifting sidewards in a fierce tide rip towards the rocks. The little Kubota 12 hp did some sterling work and eventually after a long unpleasant struggle we broke free. The wind returned and we romped towards Lizard picking up a favourable tide. Although we gave the headland three miles offing with this spring tide there was still a very confused sea.


Falmouth Marina

Soon Falmoth was in sight and we moored safely in the visitor marina at 1138 on Tuesday morning. Cost £21.00 per night. Fair price for spotless showers with piped Radio 2 (?)! Log 8710.

Torsten in Aberystwyth

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

How nice it was to bump into Torsten during our visit to the National Library of Wales! Torsten is, of course, one of the worlds experts regarding sea bed geology. There can hardly be a sand or mud bank along the east coast that Torsten doesn’t know intimately.

I remember sailing from Ramsgate to Dover in dense fog when the dedicated Torsten decided to spend six hours studying Brake Sand in preference to joining us for a beer in Dover.

Torsten Looking Very Smart!

Christopher Williams

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Christopher Williams (probably Barmouth but I could be wrong)

Jannicke “Kicking the Bar”

In the morning we took a walk along the promenade to “Kick the Bar”, which is apparently the done thing. That took us to the end of town with Britain’s longest vernicular railway (which isn’t very long at all) but made up for missing the train up Snaefell in the Isle of Man. At the top of Constitution Hill is the world’s largest Camera Obscura which also isn’t very large at all. It provides views marginally less spectacular than just walking out on the balcony and just having a look. Never mind it was fun.

National Library of Wales

We then took a walk up to the National Library of Wales. When we arrived they asked us if we had come for “The Opening”. Err “Yes?”. We were shown into a room packed with well dressed and very respectacle people listening to a talk about Christopher Williams. To begin with I didn’t even know if he was a painter but gradually all became clear. I really enjoy talks on almost anything and I also like exhibitions that I can get around without being overwhelmed. I can’t rember his dates but 1875 until 1940 might be a good stab. The exhibition is well worth the visit. His range of styles was huge, varying from formal portraits (Lloyd George was a huge fan) to these rather whacky landscapeswhich he did mainly for his own pleasure. He painted many religious and classical paintings too. If you don’t like one, just move along! I liked his landscapes the best.


Port St Mary to Aberystwyth

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Aberystwyth Mooring

We reckoned the best time to leave would be 1800 but the sun was out so we left at about 1500 with a very gentle southerly breeze. The wind gradually veered to become a westerley generally around force 3-4 but with a couple of light patches which meant a few hours of motoring. We sailed through the night, passed Bardsey Island and had our destination in sight. Sadly, once again, my Lopo light caused radio interference and I had to resort to a handheld radio in the cockpit. This is now my forth Lopo Light and I think I will have to give up. They look beautiful but just don’t work! Aberystwyth only has about .5m of water at MLWS so the pilot books advise new visitors to arrive two hours either side of high water. So it was rather unfortunate that we were going to arrive about an hour before low water with and onshore breeze. Luckily it was neeps. I had a chat with the Harbour Master who was very helpful and basically said proceed with caution. We knew there would theoretically be enough water so long as we found the channel. Care should be taken as you near the north pier  because the leading line of 133 degrees leads you very close to the aptly named “Trap” and a slightly more southerly approach would be advisable. A J29 was lost on the trap not so long ago according to the Marina Manager. The huge floods they had earlier in the year have actually improved the entrance by scouring away some of the banks. If you are thinking of a low water approach (neeps only) I would suggest a call first to the marina or Harbour Master. Waves break on the trap and I would imagine an onshore force five wind would be tricky. The problem is that the next port of refuge would be Milford Haven!

We had about 0.9m under our keel at the lowest point (2.3m deep). We motored up to the marina and found an empty pontoon berth with no trouble. I am leaving Sumara there until mid August so we later moved her in to a snug berth nearer the gate.