Couldn’t leave the marina until early afternoon as they were doing work on the lock. Pottered about in the sunshine, bought new charts and an Irish courtesy flag in the chandlery, did our passage plan for tomorrow, and experimented with making a Welsh cawl in our vacuum casserole pot to keep us going as it looks like tomorrow will be a long day. Managed to leave the marina at 3.30pm, unfurled a bit of genoa and just sailed the couple of miles back to Dale where we anchored in the same place as a couple of days ago. It was equally sheltered.
A day off. I had been disappointed not to go ashore at Tenby as I had heard how pretty it is, so we went today. Caught a bus to Pembroke and then the train to Tenby, and spent a happy couple of hours looking around. It is a lovely place but…
That was more than enough. It is half term and beautiful weather so it was crawling with people. I think we will have to come back out of season to see it at its best.
In spite of the wind, our anchorage at Dale was really comfortable, and we were joined by two French boats for the night. The great thing about Milford Haven is that, like the Solent, however windy it is the waves never become too big and there is always somewhere to shelter. Our only problem was that having tucked ourselves in out of the northerly wind it would have been a long and uncomfortable ride in the dinghy to get ashore – and we needed more food…
First thing the next morning we were up early, which was fortunate as a large powerful RIB came to wake us up to tell us that the Castlemartin Range would be active and if we were thinking of leaving, we might have to go up to 12 miles off shore to avoid it. Thank goodness we arrived on a bank holiday when the ranges were not active. It would have been such a pain to go so far out of our way. Anyway, we thanked them politely, even though they said very rude things about the French who were not up at that time in the morning to receive their warnings. We could imagine which way the range operators might be voting in the EU referendum…!!!
We had 29 knots of northerly wind inside the estuary – not good for trying to go to Ireland – so we decided that we should take the opportunity of doing some maintenance on the boat – which was much needed particularly as we have used the motor much more than expected. Up-anchored and, with just a pocket handkerchief of genoa, sailed to Milford Marina. The lock was on free flow and, once again, we were thankful that we had a bow thruster as the marina staff gave us a berth downwind and in a tight corner. However, once securely moored up we had a shower and relaxed.
Went for a walk around the town but couldn’t find anywhere that we wanted to eat out, so settled on a drink in the marina – a good choice as we met Dave, one of the marina staff who was a volunteer lifeboatman with the Angle lifeboat (Tamar lifeboat 16-11) who kept us well entertained for the evening.
Milford Haven is not particularly scenic and clearly suffering the effects of the recession but, once again, the Welsh people were incredibly friendly. We spent the next day cleaning, re-provisioning, changing the gear box oil, replacing a clip on a cooling pipe on the engine, and mending the taps in the toilet. Richard couldn’t believe how much help and support he was given from the local chandlery – where the owner even offered the use of his workshop if we needed it.
It looked as if it would be a great sail to Milford Haven with a force 4 to 5 northerly forecast. The wind off the land so no waves and a fast reach once the tide began to ebb all with a clear sky, bright and warm sunshine. No firing on the local ranges so we could take the shortest route; ideal. And so it turned out until we were off Linney Head when the wind built and built and went a little more westerly. Needless to say we ended up beating into Milford Haven with two reefs in the mainsail and a heavily furled headsail in 26 to 28 knots of breeze, force 6 nearly 7. Harvard went beautifully with the Hydrovane self-steering doing a fantastic job so we made quite good progress until we hit the tide ebbing out of the harbour. Lots of shipping movements so we had to be aware of what was going on.
We decided to anchor near Dale as we needed a break so tucked in under Musselwick Point where a French yacht was already sheltering from the strong northerly breeze.