|Restoring Lena-Contact-Sailing Home-Sailing Logs-Uphill photo Tour|
|Summer Cruise 08 - 16th - 23rd June.
We had ten days at our disposal - spanning mid-summer day - and in the nine days out we had three gale warnings for Lundy/Fastnet/ Irish sea - one a storm warning 9/10 - welcome to the glorious British summer.
As it was, we were only holed up for three days of the nine - and did 154 miles. More importantly, we took Lena, and Myself in for the first time to Watchet, Swansea, Barry, Cardiff - without any major mishaps.
So I'm much more confident now to take her for a cruise around on my own. Singlehanded into a strange marina or sea lock is a bit daunting.
These trips always seem to start with us staring at a three foot wide strip of muddy water - 10 feet from the foot of Uphill slipway. To get away as early as possible from Uphill slip, you really have to get the dingy on the river as soon as its feasible to float the thing.
The pile of gear was rather large - what with Ians stuff, 3 x 5 litres water top ups, 10 ltr diesel extra can - Ian's snorkel and wetsuit ( now that's what I call coming prepared ) food for a few days, etc. It more or less filled the dingy and we sat on top !
Got to Lena at about 5.15 pm - HW was about 6.00. Just quickly deflated and stowed the dingy along the side rail, stuffed the food into the cool box - and hit the river out to sea.
Ian at the helm as we clear Brean Down
We were to run down to Blue Anchor for an overnight anchorage. The bay way pretty lumpy with a westerly 4 or more - but settled somewhat once further out. Ian did suggest we go to Barry - and in hindsight, that might have been the better option - as with a decent nights sleep on the mud we may have been in better shape to do Swansea on the Tuesday.
As it was - the wind stiffened to a 5 or more, still in the west - and we hit some heavy overfalls cutting in to Blue Anchor Bay - which was strange. Maybe, again, similar to Weston, some sort of convergence of the tide streams. Being a warm evening, neither of us had foul weather gear on - and it caught us by surprise - a real rodeo ride for a few hundred meters - and we both got a soaking.
Settled a little right in close - and we took her in tight to give us no more than 2 -3 m at LW - didn't mind that as it was only a couple of hours to then. Had to get well in to find any semblance of flat water !
She held ok - but hardly a pleasant night !
By the morming we were like two dead dogs - and the prospect of a hard beat to Swansea for 40 miles, with the tide into a still stiff westerly, was not appealing. Watchet was just 2 miles away and it was HW at about 6.30am.
We upped anchor and chose to go in to the marina for a day.
Not a pretty sight, Watchet Harbour entrance - it still looked like a single garage to me, even fairly close in !
But you need to approach with the piers just open - so it makes it look narrower than it is. Compared to Barry though, it is a single garage !
I made it ok - and when the lights turned green we were into blissful calm water. Got her tied up and and got some kip - neither of us had slept a wink.
The Marina entrance from the outer Harbour. The sill drops when the tide matches the retained water level. If you miss the gate you can always dry out in the outer harbour - plenty of ladders.
Missing the possible sailing day on Tuesday was a blow really - as Wed turned into a full blown gale and on into Thursday.
As it was we had a pleasant day on Wed - an old friend of mine runs the Bakelite Museum in nearby Williton - so Patrick came down to see the boat and took us back for a tour of the museum and tea and cakes on the lawn.
The sea was just a mass of white caps Wed - and just a 100m past the entrance the seas were crashing into a rock filled basin - which made the entrance seem ominous. Not a place to lose your engine in any rough conditions.
The marina at Watchet. The outer harbour, over the wall to the left.
Nice little place - and a very convenient local Library just by the marina office, which has free internet access for 20 mins - with printing at 10 pence a sheet. We printed out the synoptic charts for a few days, from Mr Mark Stronges excellent website ( recommended ) and figured it looked good for Friday to run down to Swansea, or maybe as far as Tenby.
Impressive crane at Watchet - which has doubtless caused a few boat owners some anxious moments !
Watchets main drawback is its expensive - although the electricity is free, if you are set up to take advantage of it.
Maybe I'll get a shore lead set up - then I can hit here in the winter months, armed with portable heater - turned on full blast ( hey, bring the tv as well ! )