A sailing blog about a skipper and his yacht

Summer 2011 Last Cruise in Dansa

I always enjoy planning the summer cruise, thinking of places that I have not been to before or that I want to revisit. This summer my sights were set on Lundy. In my climbing years it was  somewhere I had always wanted to visit to climb on the magnificent granite cliffs, but for one reason and another I have never made it there. It was time to go and visit it in Dansa.

Monday 27th June – Menai Bridge to Abersoch

N or NW 4-5 increasing 5-6 for a time mainly good

Early on a calm but cloudy morning I slipped the mooring and we motored down to Menai Bridge and through the Swellies, past Caernarfon and out over the bar. By now the wind had picked up so hoisted main and the no3 and we were off down the Llyn. Progress was good and shortly after 1pm saw us in Bardsey Sound. Through the Sound was Ok but then the wind decided to pipe up to a NW 30 knots with gusts up to 40. This was not so much fun but I thought just around the corner I would get into the shelter of Abersoch but indeed its a long corner to round. Thankfully conditions eased before St Tudwal islands and a beat into the bay led me to a vacant mooring.

11hrs 40 mins 42nm


Tuesday 28th – Abersoch to Fishguard

N – NW 5 or 6 becoming var 4 showers then good

It looked a better day this morning – the sun was out. I slipped the mooring under a light northerly breeze and was soon joined by a pod of Dolphins who escorted me towards St Tudwals islands.

A little later I hoisted the spinnaker but after an hour or so I handed it as the wind seemed to be increasing and they are not the easiest of sails to deal with on ones own. Of course having down that the breeze did not increase, still progress was reasonable, the seas quiet and the sun still shone. No other boats though – its a lonely sort of a place is Cardigan Bay.

Early eve and we anchored near Saddle point near Fishguard old town.

13 hrs 48 nm

Weds 29th – Fishguard to Dale

W or SW v NW 3-4 occ 5 at first

Another 6 am start – try and catch the tides for Ramsey Sound. Of course I had to beat along the coast against the tide, so missed the tidal gate for the sound. Oh well outside of the Bishops it was to be, only it was a bit rough out there. I was glad it was sunny, somehow it makes the waves not look quite so threatening, an illusion I know. It is a fairly awesome place, all those jagged  rocks, big waves, white crests, careful helming was in order.

Someway past South Bishop conditions eased and we were soon in Broad Sound and then into Milford Haven to end up alongside the floating pontoon in Dale

10 hrs 34 nm

Thursday -Dale to Neyland

An easy day – a gentle sail then motor up to Neyland. I’d not had a chance to fuel up before the cruise so refuel with diesel, top up the water, shower and shopping for supplies, oh and a couple of beers.

Friday 1st July – Neyland to Lundy

Var 3 or less increasing 4 at times, ss smooth or slight fair good Following 24 hrs var 3 or less.

It sounded settled for  the passage to Lundy.

Passing the Oil jetties the range boat came alongside and pointed out that there was firing today so I needed to keep away from the range. Accordingly outside of the haven I set course to pass outside of St Governs S cardinal.

Sailing wise a little frustrating the breeze kept dropping so it was hand the sails ,motor on, hoist sails motor off, hand sails, motor on etc etc. The compensation was the dolphins, I was visited by 5 or 6 pods including young ones who played around the boat, it was fantastic.

Eventually I dropped anchor at the normal Lundy anchorage. Once satisfied the anchor was properly set I lost little time in inflating the dinghy and rowing ashore. A steep pull up the track- it felt like a long way but I reached the Marisco Tavern and having worked up a good thirst quenched it with good ale. Perfect end to a grand day.

11hrs 45 mins 43 nm

Sat 2nd July -Lundy

The weather seemed set fair so today was an ideal opportunity  to explore the island. I headed up to the North end of the island and then  over to the cliffs on the western side before wending my way back via the old lighthouse. It was a grand sunny day, I saw the wild goats, the soay sheep, plenty of birds and got a little sunburnt.

Sunday 3rd -Lundy to Dale

14 hrs 36 nm

High pressure dominating Lundy variable 3-4 fair good

Being mindful of the warning about tide races in the pilot, I timed my departure so that I could round the southern end of the island at slack water. I gave a good offing to Black Rock  then sailed up the western coast for  a  good views of the cliffs.

The return back to the Welsh mainland was made in light NE winds so frustrating progress at times.Once  again I was accompaigned by many dolphins. I had though of going to Tenby or Caldey Island but close hauled could not make that heading so opted for Dale, where I arrived quite late.

Monday 4th -Dale to Whitesand Bay

LE to SDH SE 3 or less increasing 4-5 fair good

Mid afternoon saw me weighing anchor to leave the Haven. Arriving at Jack Sound the tide was still just a little bit against me but about to turn. Better a little early than a little late I always think. Then across  to Ramsey Sound where the tide had just started running in my favour. It was my first time though here, I was impressed. Once through I turned into Whitesand bay and anchored snug in the south corner

5hrs 15 nm

Tues 5th -Whitesand Bay to Porth Dinllean

Large Atlantic low moving into UK, Irish Sea SE v southerly 4-5 increasing 5-6 for a time

The weather had deteriorated overnight and the morning was windy raining and misty with bad visibility, St David’s head at the end of the bay  could not be seen.  I was concerned about missing the tide but it was certainly not the conditions to set out. Later it eased enough to enable a departure for Fishguard at least, although we were now 3 hours into the flood tide.

Throughout the  morning the weather improved further and  approaching Strumble Head I decided on a change of plan namely to push on north across Cardigan Bay. The decision had been coloured by the weather forecast with bad weather due I had a small window to get home.

Early afternoon and the sun had emerged and a with SW 15 knots was making good progress.

With Bardsey Island emerging from the haze I made the decision to round the outside rather than through the Sound where the tide would be running hard. It’s longer but more prudent.

Later the wind died right away so it was slow progress along the Llyn but late that night I was at anchor in Porth Dinllean. A tricky night approach this, the hazards are unlit  and there are few shore lights. I certainly wouldn’t contemplate it without GPS. I am glad that at anchor one time I was there I marked my anchorage on the GPS and set up some other waypoints to allow a safe approach.

18 hrs 54 nm

Weds 6th – Porth Dinllean to Menai Bridge

Complex low moving into UK today, Irish Sea S 4 becoming cyclonic 5-7 showers

Weighed anchor under sail  and ran down to Caernarfon Bar, I arrived there a little too early so jilled about some and put in some reefs before crossing the bar and running up the straits in 25 knots of wind. I was pleased to be back on my mooring before the bad weather arrived and I  had fulfilled my wish to visit Lundy.

6 hrs 19 nm

Total trip 291 nm