How do you write a narrative of a three week sail? How do you describe the planning, formation of a crew, delivery of a yacht to the cruising ground, exploration of new territory, sharing the experience of expanding comfort zones and bringing the yacht and crew home safely?
I suppose you start with the planning, how you realise the importance of the tides to carry the boat from port to port, how the time to depart from Pwllheli and be at Bardsey for low tide is important to carry up to Holyhead, how after Holyhead the tide does not hinder or help until Chicken Point is reached and then the inland tide carries up to Peel for the right time of the lock gates opening and then how much sleep you get before dining at The Creek before departing.
Then there is how far you can travel with each tide before the boat almost goes backwards and turns a six hour sail into twelve.
A crew of two is by any means shorthanded for a week’s sail from Pwllheli to Oban but that's what we did. Myself and Caroline. Me, owner of a Bavaria 33 Cruiser purchased in May and Caroline, a valued friend and sailing partner of some three years.
Pwllheli to Peel. Twenty two hours starting at 4pm on 20th July this year, overnight and arriving before mid-day two hours before the lock opens, the hardest stretch over, during the night two hours on and two hours off, thankfully now having autopilot, something we did not have on our Channel Island trip. A quick shower, sea bass in the Creek and bed till am.
From Peel to Bangor, leaving at 3.15am - why is the best time to leave at night? A pleasant sail passed Copeland Island where I lost my favourite lure to some aggressive fish, where, from the mid sail we could see England, Ilse of Man, Scotland and Ireland. Shall we go into the marina or anchor in Ballyhome Bay? We needed fuel so it was the marina.
And from Bangor, leaving again at early morning to catch the tide through the North Channel to Rathlin Island.
Now that was a sail! North past East Maiden then north west passed the high rugged cliffs of Fair Head, over 10 knots with a following wind, myself at times of rest pinned in my bed by slipped dunnage from a port tack and Caroline on the weather side with a broad smile shouting "Yahoo" as if she were on a bucking bronco.
Rathlin Island, arriving at 10.30am keeping Drake to port, glad that this one was entered in the light given the over falls and tidal streams. After warping round to give shelter from the wind a thankful couple of hours sleep before lunch at the bar followed by a couple of Guinness and a thrashing at pool, a misspent youth for the crew.
Another night time departure. 2.30am, out passed the upside down West lighthouse before the TSS, glad to be out of the confused water of Rathlin Sound. Up and on into the Sound of Jura past Islay to Craighouse, mooring to one of the numerous buoys near the distillery and another sleep before cooking a meal and watching yachts trying to moor under just sail, failing after several attempts.
The last leg now. Up the Jura coast in perfect sailing conditions, helping the auto pilot by using the mainsheet, passed the house Barnhill where George Orwell wrote 1984 and resisting entering the Gulf of Corryveckan, seeing the great mushroom shaped over falls before entering The Sound of Luing.
Nearly there, just some pilotage to do west of Luing, into the Sound of Insh and on to Kerrera, taking the Kerrera Sound to Oban, the yacht then positioned to explore Tobermory, the Sound of Mull, Loch Sunart and up to Fort William.
Monday afternoon to Saturday midday without hurrying, some of the most beautiful sailing I've ever had. We all know that sailing can be hours of relaxation interrupted by hectic action, that we become ultra-alive and watchful during a night sail into a strange port or anchorage and that if we have fun responsibly the rewards of experiences and sights we see are without equal. The above is just a fraction that could be written of the pleasures of such a sail.
Next year I hope to do it again and if the weather is right see Fingal's Cave but in company - who is up for it?
Cruising Meeting Easter Bank Holiday Friday, April the 3rd, 2015
Bohdan welcomed everyone. 64 attended at the Plas Menai Room.
There was a really great warm atmosphere having had a great 2014 season and due to the 'Boat to Boat' , 'Socials' and successful Cruises.
At the beginning of the Year an e:mail was sent asking for Cruising Suggestions. So far mentioned:
A) Ireland inc Greystones and Malahide
B) Greystones, Howth, Ardglass, Peel I.O.M. and back
C) South East coast of Ireland - Kilmore Quay.
Ad Hoc 2014 worked well, both on the water and alternative socials, communicating through e:mail. So if anyone has a new e:mail address or as yet isn't on our mailing list please inform us.
If anyone wish to cruise in company and want their destination shared this can be done by e:mailing us and we can put members in touch.
Dic and Mair, 'Concerto' are going to forward their sailing plans if anyone want to sail in company with them.
Richard Smith 'Imladris' has also offered to share his knowledge of sailing the South Coast of Ireland.
We have prepared a sheet of 2014 achievements both on the water and off the water and dates of interest for 2015 for Cruising and website address (see enclosed below).
Due to popularity and already have 100 e:mail listings we will have to request that it is a single e:mail per boat please.
Our Pwllheli SIling Club Commodore gave an interesting talk about his achievements and also the 'Sailing Academy', Plas Heli's intentions for our Cruising Needs. He was very excited by this new development.
Bob also presented our three Cruising trophies.
Cowper Passage Cup.Trophy.
Last Year we presented a questionnaire of suggestions for the season.
The winners of this trophy not only wrote what their intensions were but also managed to achieve them.
Circumnavigate Anglesey on their own.
Cruised to the East Coast of Ireland and Cardigan Bay.
This was their first crossing to Ireland and Circumnavigate Anglesey.
Most probably you have already guessed who we were referring to, Chris and Charles McConnell from Last Orders.
Gimlet Rock Trophy.
It is an achievement always crossing the Irish Sea especially in a new boat. Anxious moment of the Radar deciding not to work when you're in thick fog and not only that, the youngest cruising member on board was only 5 weeks old.
Therefore this trophy was awarded this year to Jake, Cathy and family on board Mako.
We had a wonderful BBQ at Warren Beach this year. Great sunshine plenty of food and maybe a few drinks which sometimes can affect your memory.
This year we had two gentlemen attempting to return to their yacht in their dingy. Their laughter was heard from the beach as they both took it in turns to pull on the engine pull chord until eventually, after exhausting themselves, they remembered that the had not re-engaged the fuel. Their wives after witnessing such action were escorted safely back to their boat by Fidget, we wonder why!
Yes, if you were there, you would Know that we were referring to Alan Jones from Tina Maria. Therefore we proudly presented Alan with this Years 'Pillocks Pot.'
After the meeting many socialised and ate at the Sailing Club.
A great way to finish the meeting and start the season.
OFF THE WATER
Friday April the 13th Cruising Meeting
Saturday April 14th. 10a.m Sailing Club AGM 2p.m PMBHA AGM
ON THE WATER
Boat to Boat
Easter - Abersoch
- Ireland Cruise, Greystones, Malahide.
July 20th- Quarry Beach BBQ
July 25th- Ireland Cruise No 2
Sept 25th- Treasure Hunt
Abersoch three times during the season
OFF THE WATER
Porthmadog by train.
Abererch Autumn BBQ
Boat to Boat.
Dates of interest.
APRIL the 3rd- ( Good Friday). Cruising Meeting 7p.m
Saturday April the 4th. Sailing Club AGM
PMBHA AGM. @2p.m.
BOAT TO BOAT
Easter Bank Hols April 4-6th. ?
Sat 4th HW is and 21.20. Sun 5th is 9.30 and 21.50
May Bank Hols.
Sunday HW 8.30 and 20.50
Monday HW and
All Wales Boat Show at Pwllheli
Spring Bank Hols ( Aberystwyth: HW 12.10). ?
Summer Bank Holiday.
2015 April Boat to Boat
The ' Boat to Boat' was very well supported with 46 of our Cruising section supporting this social.
Trying to facilitate members on different boats and also introducing new members so that we all get to know each other a little better. A sound start to being on the water. Everyone visited two different boats for an hour or so each. This event would not be possible without having the support of the Host Boats welcoming members onto their boats. This time 'Raw Deal', 'Mr. P', 'Lady Redhouse', 'Tina Maria', 'De Ja Vu', 'Termagant', 'Imladris', 'Organised Chaos', and 'Bull Dog', were hosting.
The smiles on the faces in the following pictures is evidence of the great time and wonderful socialising that took place.
Cruising May the 3rd Bank Holiday
Due to the tides on Sunday, May the 3rd being 8:30 and our usual Bank Holiday Cruise to Aberystwyth not viable, also predicted weather not suitable for a 'shake down cruise' , it was decided to have a land based 'Social Meet.'
The intention was a train journey from Pwllheli to Porthmadog for lunch at 'Jenny's Restaurant' and then 'Madog Yacht Club'. It turned out that the train timetable had changed and therefore a swift change to plan, legging it to catch a bus. A scenic bus journey instead, visiting most villages between here and Porthmadog.
We nearly lost Rose at Butlins! An exciting and adventurous travelling experience for the Cruising Section. Excellent turn out, twenty of us in all.
An enjoyable meal followed by a warm welcome at MYC. Some enjoyed a Porthmadog shopping spree. Wowee! Another great day.
Read more: 2015 Cruising. Train To Porthmadog.
Shake Down Cruise' to Abersoch SCYC, May the 23rd, 2015.
Read more: Cruising 2015 Abersoch
These fantastic images of dolphins were taken by Mark and Jo on their trip to Greystones last week
Cruising 2015 Aberystwyth Trip.
Our first Irish Cruise had to be cancelled due to a forecast of gusts of 44 knots over the weekend,
on the Irish side, only for that forecast to change dramatically daily, and as it turned out we might
have been able to go but 'bettersafe than sorry eh! '
Aquaplane had managed to set off a few days earlier and had a great Cruise.
As we didn't want cruisers to be disappointed, we organised an alternative cruise to Aberystwyth
going off on Tuesday June the 9th, great to join boat owners that had not been involved before in
cruising in company.
The beauty of going to Aberystwyth was that we could 'nip' home,so to speak,if the weather changed.
It was a neap tide and all boat owners were advised to contact the marina directly to discuss their
berthing needs,depth etc. Mike welcomed us as always and allocated suitable berths for us all.
Aberystwyth town is still trying to rebuild the damage after the storms, new sea defences etc.
We were the first group of boats visiting Aberystwyth Marina this season as the weather had been
An addition to our choice of eateries at Aberystwyth is a new Fresh Fish Restaurant overlooking the
harbour and also Cardigan Bay.
We all met for a drink at The Pier Restaurant, which has idyllic views, and enjoyed a chat and a drink.
The Tapas Bar was visited by a couple and of course Weatherspoons. On the outside deck of the Pier
there was quite a discussion of what land we could see in the distance only for us to be corrected by
the Restaurant Manager saying that we were looking at Ireland which was 200 miles away. How any
of us kept a straight face God only knows, but it brought the discussion to a holt.
On Wednesday- De Linde went on to Aberdyfi, cruising members met friends and joined in a social
chat on the boats in the evening.
A windy return on Thursday for three of the boats but Roxy Music were continuing on their Summer
Cruise towards Cornwall and of course you've got to mention their crew member 'Snoopy the dog'
who patrols the boat in fine style. They managed to visit Milford Haven,Swansea,Bidesford and dined
in style at Rick Steins' Restaurant Padstow.
This was certainly a 'Shake down' cruise for us all.
Cruising June /July 2015
Isle of Man T.T. Cruise.
In June, six power boats and a sailing boat, true to tradition, themselves arranged to attend the T.T motorcycle race in the Isle of Man. After a little hick up with one of the boats they all powered off, and arrived safely. Had a great time at Peel and Castletown. Of course the T.T. Races lived to all expectations. Was there a race back to Pwllheli? Who knows!
Greystones by motor boat.
In July, Greystones, Ireland was again popular with first time visitors "Chiarli," "Fantasea," "Sacre Cure," "Windy Bottom," and "Indalo" who arranged this cruise together in company.They arrived in fine style. Unfortunately, due to the weather closing in, they were only able to stay one night but indulged in an Italian Meal at "Bonchelis." Now they are looking "When can we go again?" Watch this space.........
We had our first Cruising Meeting on July the 20th at the new Sailing Club to discuss passage planning for Ireland and of course THE WEATHER. It was decided to take advantage of the weather window on the following Thursday when the seas had had a chance to calm after continuous heavy weather.
Greystones now being visited by a different group of 7 boats, some on their first visit. The jolly group consisted of one motor boat"Cosmic Star" and six sailing yachts "Jangle," " Blue Jay," "Sea Otter," "Prada" "Hal" and "Nice Lady of Purbeck."
"Cosmic Star" ploughed through the waves in style and due to her speed had to leave the sailing fleet just after Bardsey to enable her to make way in the choppy seas. Congrats to them on their first journey alone across the Irish Sea from Bardsey to Greystones. Another great achievement for "Prada" sailing across for the first time. They were so proficient and looked as if they were really enjoying the trip, Ellie being the youngest member of the group and joining in with radio calls etc. riding the waves with confidence.
On the way "Blue Jay" had engine problems whilst motor sailing. All boats were supportive and held back in case assistance was needed. "Blue Jay" sailed as far as possible and tried everything they could to avoid calling for assistance including changing the water impeller at sea. When the wind dropped they were drifting south with several big ships around. The Coast Guard informed shipping to avoid "Blue Jay." However, calling the LifeBoat was inevitable and Wicklow Lifeboat came to their assistance. 'Blue Jay's'conduct and calm communication skills were admired by us all showing a wealth of experience. Proud to be sailing in company with them. After a very strenuous and stressful day for them both they were towed and buddied to Greystones and it was great to see Carol and Emrys smiling and breathing a sigh of relief.
our friends from Malahide and Howth joined us in the rustic music bar Dunns and Son, chatting away and exchanging experiences. The music started but was more like Indi music rather than Irish Music. However, we all had a great natter.
As always we all do our own thing and sometimes meet together. One group went on the dart to explore Howth for future berthing and visited the Fun Fair in Bray on their return journey, not advisable after a couple of pints of Guiness. Others chilled in Greystones, Dalkey etc. where the most elegant pub was found and some had the best Indian meal ever at the local Indian Restaurant. Not forgetting 'The Guiness Factory' and 'Dublin Zoo'. Something for everybody."Hal" and 'Nice Lady' went along to Howth.
"Cosmic Star" and "Prada" were eager to explore Dun Laoghaire by sea as they hadn't visited before and then intended to meet the rest of the Cruisers at Malahide once the few days of bad weather had gone through. However, Malahide did not materialise due to us all deciding to go back across the Irish Sea between two 'lows'. Turned out to be a good decision. Who needs a fun fair when we can bounce on the Irish Sea - a fab trip. Cardigan Bay gave us a calm and inviting return to Pwllheli.
Great to see Chris and Charles "Last Orders" back after their explorations on land and at sea including crewing on a yacht doing 'The Arc'. The crew consisted of a few doctors and became handy when Charles had injured his head.
Abersoch visit by sea by several of our members on Saturday the August the 8th.
A great delight to see glorious sunshine on the first Friday and Saturday in August and everyone taking advantage of this weather. Members organising themselves to go to Abersoch for lunch and having quality time with friends. This was a favourite by a good few of our members absorbing the sunshine and dining outdoors in style. 'The Cove' welcoming members with good food as always.
Many of our members have ventured to different places,despite the weather. 'Hummingbird 2' reached Oban, Scotland and crossing to Northern Ireland,'Concerto' to Padestow, ' Imladris' and "Morlander" reaching the South/ SW Coast of Ireland.
Please contact us of your Cruising adventures if you would like to share your experiences with other members on our website.
Saturday the 15th of August. -Quarry Beach BBQ
'Porth Bach Beach' / otherwise known as 'Half Penny Beach'.
The cruising venturers left the harbour with enthusiasm. The mother ship "Bulldog" was the first to arrive at Quarry Beach. They contacted "Tilia" to inform that it was lumpy there and 'Rockin and Rolin' due to other pleasure craft. 'Tilia' checked out Llanbedrog on the way, only to find that there was not much protection there as we would have to anchor quite a way out due to the congestion of anchored boats already there. Four boats initially anchored at Quarry Beach whilst 'Swirling Mist' swirled around to see what was the 'Game Plan'. A short committee meeting and a drink on 'Tilia', whilst making a decision, relaying messages by radio to the Mother Ship 'Bulldog'.
Before the rest of the fleet arrived 'Bulldog' kindly went ahead to suss out alternatives. An idyllic beach round the corner from the Old Life Boat Station (Abersoch) seemed to fit the bill.
Members who had informed us that they were coming by land were contacted but car parks were heaving and not so easy to get down to Porth Bach. Unfortunately, not ALL plans,or changes, come together eh!
Eight boats ( plus three other boat owners, who had joined on friends boats, - making it 11 boat owners in all ) managed to make it to this secluded beach and able to demonstrate their BBQ skills in glorious sunshine. Ian from 'Rospico' had a "Formula One" dingy and engine. Pull the chord then 0 to 5 knots in a second - immediately in flight, literally, whilst water was pouring into the dinghy. It looked more like a paddling pool upon arrival at destination.
Unfortunately, a couple of boats did not manage to find us......we weren't hiding honest!!!!!
Fifteen boats, both sail and power, had shown an interest in this venture and most made it to enjoy a fabulous day, good food, good company at a beautiful destination at the right state of tide. Our persistence to find a more appropriate shelter for the day paid off. Thanks "Bulldog".
Hopefully, another visit soon. We are privileged to have such beautiful beaches hugging our bay for us all to enjoy. All we need is a bit of sunshine and fair weather.
Abererch BBQ Bank Holiday Saturday (29/8/2015)
It was wonderful to see 46 participants attending this BBQ, kids building sand castles, everyone eating and socialising and the
doggies having fun digging.
We welcomed some new members to the Cruising Club and a good time was had by all.
We also had an additional treat being entertained with music and song and members joining in with the singing, also having a
few dances on the beach burning off the calories. Have to mention that Alan was determined to be the first in the queue for the
Every picture tells a story and the following pics gives the 'magic' feel of the day.
Glad we were able to take advantage of the weather to enjoy each others company on this beautiful beach.
Abersoch SCYC by sea, September the 6th. 2015.
Richard Smiths' suggestion to go to SCYC came into fruition. The overcast sky did not stop 'Imladris', 'Prada', 'Cosmic Star',
'Fidget', 'Sea Otter', and 'Tina Maria' going over to the Sailing Club.
Many boat owners had doubled up (12 in all) and 30 of us enjoyed the usual welcome at SCYC. Nan had communicated with
'The Cove' in advance and most of us tucked into a good lunch and a pint, so to speak.
It was a special day for Alan 'Tina Maria', his birthday and time to celebrate.
Some hardy sailors tried to sit outside on the veranda but it was a bit cold....brrrrrrr!
The wind picked up and that meant a good sail for the sailing boats back to Pwllheli and a flat sea for the motor boats to
A couple of new helmsmen and crew having a go at sailing.
A very pleasurable day and great to welcome some new members joining us on this local cruise.
Glasfryn, Oct 10th, 2015.
Sixteen attended Glasfryn to enjoy our Cruising Section Land Based Social 'Ten Pin Bowling'and without forgetting 'Air Footballing'
Tactics were well in play and we certainly had a 'ringer' amongst us! Gresham and Paul were the clear winners bowling and although
others were keen participants they were having frustrating moments trying to gain a 'strike'.
The 'Air Football' brought out the determination in us all, but Paul "Chill Out",yet again, took the lead. Whilst the competitiveness
was evident amongst the adults,Olivia and Kaylin were chilling and enjoying the 'Kids Play Area'.
The beaming smiles in the pics below is evident of us all having a GREAT time.
Boat to Boat 2015 October 31st.
A great support from host boats and participants.
We all met at Plas Heli for a lunch time drink before being allocated boats for this social.
Members of the Cruising spent an hour on the first boat when then a horn was blown by two
halloween characters ensuring that people were now going on to their second allocated boat.
After another hour the trick or treaters went round again.
A couple of quality hours having a chat a laugh and meeting new Cruisers.
Some carried on visiting other boats for a coffee or partying the night away ending our Cruising Sailing Season in style.
Since we started keeping data October 2013, in five sessions we have had over 200 participants, evident
of the popularity of this social event, long may it carry on.