Friday, 17 May 2013

Fishguard to Solva

Sorry for the slow reply, and sorry for lack of pictures atm in this blog, i'm sending it off phone so people dont worry.

Safely into the port of solva awaiting spares and repairs before continueing to st ives cornwall.

So the days passage from Fishguard started bright and breezy. A fresh wind off the land we (myself and Mick Ynyslas's friend Bill... Equipped with a lovely trumpet!) set our sails as we rounded Fishguard north breakwater. We zoomed a lot faster than expected up to Strumble head making 4.5kn. Then as we hit the tidal races and different winds of Strumble the boat stalled. All our joy for earlier speed made us arrive early for the tide. For the best part of an hour we sat at the head beating into a head tide making lots of speed through the water but nothing over ground on the gps. 

The sea here was very confused and in a sudden sway the kettle flew off and attacked the laptop. Laptop no 2 now dead. So so-far 2 laptops an iphone and a gps murdered by the helpless sea.

After what seemed an eternity the tide loosened its grip and we watched as out speed over the ground gradually rose 0kn. 0.5kn 1kn and then we were free and flying at 3 to 5kn!

Half way to st davids head with Bill (who informed me before we left he couldn't sleep at sea) fast asleep i had my first collision course situation. A fishing boat steamed straight across our path, me being the give way vessel and realising a by the book alteration to starboard would just worsen situations altered course to port, and kept checking with binoculars. The boat acted disturbingly, sailing at me and occasionally round in circles. Un sure if there was even people onboard as i could see no one, i approached with caution (incase the fisherman had been dragged overboard by his pots, blew horns (startling Bill) and finally someone popped up it appears they were only looking for pots not where they left them. So onto st davids we went.

Enroute in the monotony of this sail i had the joy of being joined by gannets. These big majestic birds, who wear a superhero like eye make up, followed us for large parts of the coast. Gorgeous!

Then the final approach to Ramsey, a gaff cutter passed us on a northerly passage looking very beaten with sailed heavily reefed, a marine weather forecast with force 10's for st davids head and south, and knowing we were an hour late for the perfect tide so the sound would be running fast... We entered with much trepidation.

The sky grew darker as we rounded st davids head, the infamous numerous rocks, reefs, bishops, clerks and bitches rose through the drizzle, i looked down at the gps speedo, although the engine was taking us at 3kn we were doing 6 with tide and rising.

Passing the head the seas grew huge and confused we had commanding views from above wave peaks suddenly cut to a few meters in the troughs. This high sea was short lived as we made our way into the sound the sea calmed but the tide raced. 

2 lifeboats waited at anchor on the edge of the sound (did they know something we didn't, had my worried mum phoned in advance) we started to really fly, we sped past the infamous bitches at 8kn with the engine barely past tick over, here the tide funnelled raced further, sog for a moment hit 10kn, standing waves formed in the current. I spotted a gap in the waves to slow waters, we went for it.

At this moment on our starboard bow a porpoise rose, riding the waves it swam for us an rose on the otherside! Almost instantaneously a gannet was diving for fish in the turbulent waters. Apparently they dislocate there wings to dive at such a speed, this hardly surprising as the speed was phenomenal! Gleaming white comets! 

 I made the call that Solva was far enough for me and so we began our inshore passage to port. Bill got us to circle a few times first as he wanted a closer look at a fishing boat plying its trade. Basically with unbelievable local know how and seamanship he gained speed on an edie of the big tidal race then darted round the bitches to carry on up the coast against the current... Fair play!

We dodged a plethora of barely marked lobster pots as we approached the rocks that marked Solva. Now low tide here we slowly navigated into the harbour mouth and almost immediately ground on the sandy bottom. Anchors away, the second rowed out on the kayak, we made tea and ate lunch.glad to be safe. I radioed Milford Haven Coastguard to tell we'd made it safely into the harbour mouth, to which they told me i "must get in before the impending strong winds". After a blast on his trumpet Bill went ashore, sat on my lap in the kayak and said his goodbyes.

As afternoon became evening, i slowly edged up the channel. On the final bend before safety i ground on only 1 of the 3 keels. The wind then spun me 180 and with such a small channel to turn i had no choice but to reverse up to the quay... What a sight i must have been!!

Safely tied alongside and day complete i soon crashed to sleep. God i was knackered!

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