Friday 31st May: Porth Dinllaen, Lleyn Peninsula
We left at 9am this morning, expecting a lively sail to Holyhead. The winds however, were not as strong as forecast, so we ended up anchored 10.5 hours later at our backup spot, near Morfa Nefyn, off Porth Dinllaen. This is almost across from Criccieth, where we stayed with my mum a few years ago. Many happy memories from that trip! And we did have Mount Snowdon in front of us at the end of the passage, which was very nice.
As we left Fishguard this morning another yacht arrived at the harbour; must have set off early! This was the only vessel we saw all day. We went across the whole of Cardigan Bay and we didn’t even come across a moored tanker. How strange is that! We saw some birds, and a very lonely target practice buoy. Otherwise it was just water, and a lot of it!
We had Bardsey Island as our waypoint. St Cadfan built a monastery here in the 6th century, and in medieval times it was a well-known place of pilgrimage. Three trips to Bardsey was worth one to Rome!
The photo of Bardsey is a bit grey. Like the day; it was a long and cold day. The sun tried to peak through a few times, but didn’t manage it. Rain threatened on the horizon but luckily we only caught a few drops of it. In Dominic’s words: Frustrating passage across Cardigan Bay with tide (-2kts) almost all against and only F4 (sometimes 5) SW winds with jib only. Once reached Bardsey Island tide came good and wind increased to F6 so very fast run to Porth Dinllaen.
Stats: distance 63.8M, underway 10hrs 23m, average speed 6.1 kts, max speed 11.7 kts
Saturday 1st June: Holyhead
Today we did go to Holyhead! Not much wind and tides partly against us (seems to be the case at the moment unless we want to travel at night!) but we wanted to get to Holyhead today to shelter from the strong winds on Sunday. So we slowly made our way on a very straight course. We have been to Anglesey before, so seeing it unfold in front of our eyes made us remember previous visits. It’s quite nice remembering together! We got to South Stack lighthouse at slack tide, just as planned, to avoid the overfalls. I went there to the RSPB reserve with Mum in 2015 and it was fun to look at the old photos from that trip. We then went past North Stack fog signal station before going in to the harbour, where we rang the sailing club to ask permission to use one of their visitors’ buoys. Catching a mooring buoy is something I dread, as Idun is so high, and I have to reach through the guardrail and stretch as much as possible with the boathook in hand, but I caught the buoy line first try so very pleased.
It’s been a bit of a slog the last three days of sailing, but we both feel a sense of achievement and that we have reached a goal in getting to Holyhead.
Stats: distance 30.0M, underway 6hrs 47m, average speed 4.4 kts, max speed 10.8 kts
The marina here at Holyhead was completely destroyed in March 2018 when storm Emma tore through the harbour area. There is in fact a very substantial breakwater here, but despite this a large number of boats of all sizes were beached and destroyed. There was also significant concern as to the environmental damage of not only diesel spillage, but the large amount of polystyrene coming from the damaged pontoons. BBC news report on Holyhead and storm Emma
Sunday 2nd June: Holyhead
Rainy and grey in the morning, so we stayed in and relaxed and discussed the next leg of our journey. We had planned on visiting Liverpool next, but looking at the wind forecast and tides, the obvious choice is Isle of Man, so that’s where we’re heading next.
We got glorious sun with almighty winds all afternoon, and we went food shopping and visited the Maritime Museum. This was a lovely little museum, with displays sought out and compiled by local volunteers, who also run the museum. We had a really knowledgeable and friendly guide taking us through the museum which made it an inspiring visit. He used to be an electrician for Stena Line (who seem to own the harbour area) and he remembered at 17 years old, being sent out to the breakwater lighthouse to do the necessary for its electrification, only to be met with a less than friendly welcome by the three lighthouse men. They wouldn’t even give him hot water for a cup of tea. Harsh, but understandable.
I’m quite sure Dominic will say that the best part of the day was watching the performance of our renewables. With full sun on the panels and winds gusting to 50 m/h, our battery was being powered fast. The highest input we saw was 76.82 amps, and the highest evidenced was 69.27 amps. Each of the wind turbines cut out at times, when they reached their maximum output of 35 amps.