Richard putting dinghy away in peace and quiet at Lydstep
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.
Amazing geology along the Pembrokeshire coast
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.
We left Swansea Marina at more or less high tide to catch the first of the ebb at the Mumbles. A great breeze once we were there, so sails up and off on a broad reach towards Saundersfoot. Where were all the other boats on a bank holiday weekend? Does anybody ever leave the marina?
Anyway after a great start the wind dropped and we tried the cruising chute for a little more speed but the wind dropped and dropped so by the time we arrived just south of Worms Head we gave up and switched on the motor. Took a short cut through the Helwick Swatch and motored all the way to Saundersfoot across Carmarthen Bay. Not great visibility and very boring. By the time we arrived in Saundersfoot it was early evening so anchored up after deciding not to use the visitors pontoon moored in Saundersfoot Bay. Any swell and it looks very uncomfortable and we are more confident anchoring.
A really peaceful night with no wind and hardly any swell so in the morning we inflated the dinghy and motored over to the harbour. It is a drying harbour so only usable a few hours either side of high water and it was pandemonium with every body trying to leave at once (it was bank holiday Sunday after all) and with no where to tie up the dinghy, we landed on the beach instead.
Bank holiday at Saundersfoot…
Richard’s family spent many summer holidays in Saundersfoot so it was a trip down memory lane for him. We walked along the footpath to Wisemans Bridge through the tunnels in the cliff as the path follows the old railway line that was used to carry the coal from the local mines to the harbour. After a walk around the town, not much has changed, we stopped at the sailing club to write postcards and have lunch. A fantastic view of the bay where the sailing club was holding a dinghy regatta. We felt sorry for them as there was hardly any wind at all so it must have been really tedious.
By the time we were back onboard the northerly breeze had set in so we unfurled the genoa and gently ran round Monkstone Point (happy memories of mackerel fishing for Richard) to Tenby where we were intending to go ashore. We anchored close to the beach but Richard felt we were too exposed in the freshening northerly breeze, so we upped anchor and gently motored down Caldey Sound between Caldey Island and the mainland to Lydstep Haven. Here the anchorage was really sheltered and we had a really peaceful night.
We thought we were going to get a good sail to Portishead but, once again, the wind died after about 15 minutes and we had to motor sail. Still, with the strong tides it only took us about 2 1/2 hours to do the 18 miles, and we locked into Portishead marina with no trouble. On arrival the weather miraculously improved and we had a brilliant day.
Anne with Sue and John
My cousin, Sue, lives very close to the marina, and she and her husband John, gave us a warm welcome. In fact we got so hot that we had to move from the cockpit and go to the pub! Charlotte says that reading our blog makes it sound like we have just been on a pub crawl around the south coast – so we felt it would be a pity to disappoint her!
Then in the evening my sister Pat and her husband, John, came down to supper – and we managed to sit outside right up until about 7pm before going below to eat.
Pat and John in Portishead
We had now run out of friends and family to visit in this part of the UK and were keen to start the part of our voyage that takes us into pastures new. Also we were beginning to get a bit bored with the permanently brown waters of the Bristol Channel, so we elected to have a long day putting some miles behind us. We did the bulk of the 60 odd miles back to Swansea in around 6 hours – in other words in just one tide – but it was fairly boring. The visibility wasn’t very good and there was no wind – so more motor sailing. We managed just 45 minutes of sailing by Mumbles when a small breeze set in from the west but even that died away. At least it was warmish. For the first time we had an hour in the middle of the day when we didn’t have to wear our Mustos. However, by the time we were through the Tawe lock at Swansea it was pouring with rain again.
Richard had to go back to Romsey for a couple of days, and I wanted to do some varnishing in Harvard’s companionway. This involves putting the “tent” up over the cockpit and leaving the hatch cover off – so we needed to put the boat in a safe and sheltered marina. Penarth, all of half a mile away on the other side of Cardiff Bay, was the perfect place. It also has a couple of railway stations so Richard could get home easily, and it is in easy walking distance of all Cardiff’s attractions so I was well entertained. However, three days in a port is more than enough, so looking forward to getting going again tomorrow.