A sailing blog about a skipper and his yacht

Around the other Island

Around the other Island

Around Alone – the other Island

A cruise around Anglesey

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jun. 10, 2008


At last a reasonable forecast. Still northerly winds but at least just F3 – 4 and seas state slight. With northerlies, it seemed sensible to head to the south coast of Anglesey. To catch the tide through the Swellies an early start was necessary so I was off as soon as I had caught the early morning shipping forecaste. There was little breeze so it was a case of motoring to Caernarfon and then out over the bar. This proved a pleasant change from usual – a calm sea and no chop. Once clear I hoisted full sail the breeze was very light NW so to head for Borthwen, Rhoscolyn. I would need to tack along the coast but no matter I had all day. The weather was a little hazy at first but later the sun burnt it off and I had a lovely relaxing sail. Lunchtime found me at anchor at Borthwen, a lovely spot that is just a little spoiled by its popularity with the speedboat brigade.
A plan had been forming in my mind, instead of going back in over the Bar why don’t I sail right around the Island. Checking time and tide I worked out to catch the last of the flood around the Stacks and overnight in Holyhead. So 5pm saw me underway again and tacking towards the Stacks. Rounding South Stack the wind was dying and by North Stack I was becalmed, so on with the motor for the last couple of miles. I picked up a vacant mooring by the Holyhead sailing club and sat in the cockpit with a G&T on what was a beautiful evening.

Rounding Carmel Head is one of the crucial points on passage from Holyhead to Puffin Island. It is advised to arrive at Carmel head at Low water slack so mimimising any tide race, standing waves or turbulence and then you can carry a fair tide all the way along the North Coast. That would have meant a 3 am start, with light winds it wasn’t likely to be very rough or as swirly as it can be. So instead I planned a later start meaning to carry the last of the flood around. OK for the rest of the passage I would have a foul tide but I thought that an acceptable compromise.
Clear of the harbour there was little wind but I hoisted the sails and cut the engine anyway. My faith was rewarded by a strengthening breeze so I began tacking out across Holyhead bay. For a change this time I decided to take the middle passage around Carmel head, that is pass between Carmel Head and The Skerries but then pass between Coal Rock and West Mouse, one of 3 rocky islets just off the coast. The main danger is the unmarked Platters Rocks. In good visibility a transit of North and South Stacks keeps one clear, trouble was the visibility was not so good but I could just see the flash on South Stack light so a clearing bearing on that had to suffice.
By the time I was passing Middle Mouse the tide had turned against me but now I was on a close reach and the visibility was improving. The next stage to pass Point Lynas took rather a long time as I suspected it would. Dansa could steer herself with my low tech low cost self steering working – a bungee controlling the tiller that is, which left me free to brew up and get food.
Crossing Red Wharf Bay the wind increased 18 -19 knots across the deck – almost on the point of changing down from the no 2 genoa but it was just manageble and we were zipping through the water at 6 knots, a heady speed for little old Dansa. Through Puffin Sound and we had the luxury of the wind from behind so we had a fast run goose-winged down the Straits and back to the mooring.
87 miles not a bad weekend.