We left Camaret in a brisk westerly, making excellent progress across to the Chenal du Four. As we emerged on the North Coast of France it strengthened to 25 knots making me think again about going straight for Newlyn.

I spent the next two nights in L’Aberwrach where I sat out the gale that would have caught me in mid Channel if I’d continued.

I finally made Newlyn on Thursday morning at 0600. Ray Wilton, a friend from NWVYC and another Vancouver 27 owner, joined me by train and we sailed that evening around Land’s End, moonlit off the Longships at midnight then a fast, though partly engine assisted passage to Padstow where we made the lock opening by a small margin.

From Padstow we had a lively passage to Lundy, arriving as evening fell and the wind rose to gusts of F7. The following morning was fine and sunny and we enjoyed exploring ashore, setting off late in the afternoon for Milford Haven. With a wind of about force 6 on the beam we made the shelter of Dale by midnight.

We spent the next day in Dale, lunch in the pub and Ray got my AIS system working properly then we set out just before sunset to make the final leg of the trip home. The entrance was very rough and with the prospect of meeting similar seas off the Bishops in the dark we turned back into the Haven to try again in the morning.

By day we could use Jack and Ramsey Sounds, shorter and more sheltered than outside. We made Jack Sound just as the tide was turning and were quickly across St Brides Bay to do the same with Ramsey Sound. Our speed over the ground was above 6kn as we made the most of the F6 south-westerly and by the turn of the tide we were abeam of Bardsey, well ahead of our passage plan. We had time for a couple of hours shut-eye in Porth Dinllaen before sailing the last 12 miles to Caernarfon Bar. Crossing the Bar with the wind up to force 7 was the most frightening sailing of the entire trip. The seas were breaking right across the Bar and the buoys were hard to make out in the early light and flying spray. At last we were safely through Belan Narrows, making Victoria Dock a few minutes before the gate opened and a full tide ahead of schedule.

My Biscay Summer was over.

Now to adjust to life ashore until the next time.

Entering L’Aberwrach I again encountered the Figaro fleet

Trimming the jib sheet as Kate tears across Cardigan Bay.

30th August 2008

David Rainsbury

Words and Pictures


Text Box: Kate’s Position
Port Dinorwic, Menai Strait.
Moored in the bay.

Approaching Jack Sound

Ray at the helm, clearly having fun.

Lundy Island, above the anchorage.