Saturday, 14 October 2017

On our way again

Tides dictated as early a start time as the lock would allow, so we were awake at 06:00, and had the engine on to warm up at ten to seven, ready to lock out of the marina and the Tawe Lock at their earliest openings of 07:00. We shared both locks with a 40' ketch called Piel Piper, who gave us a thumbs up on hearing we planned to go through the Nash Channel. There was no time to exchange more than a few words though.

Julian had been ready to hoist the no1 jib, but we sailed into the Tawe Lock on bare poles, so decided to bend on the no 2 instead. We raised the main in the harbour, and put a reef in, but once we were out into Swansea Bay we rolled even more round the boom.

The swell and the wind were both higher than we had hoped, but Robinetta loved the course we were on, and we romped along at over 4 knots. Peil Piper raised sail here, and soon disappeared ahead. By 08:50 the wind had eased and we were back to no 1 jib and full main. The swell was still uncomfortably large.

We sailed inside the Scarweather sands, and saw the swells breaking with a roar on our starboard side. The same happened as we headed inside the Nash sands, and felt very disconcerting, especially as the wind went very light, and the sands funnel boats in towards Nash Point, which has overfalls off it. Luckily we had a fully functioning engine, and we used it to give us proper steerage way through the Nash Passage and across the overfalls, which were not too bad, since we were only a day after neaps.
Nash Point
Once we were clear of the overfalls the swell was much reduced, and we turned the engine off and ate lunch as we sailed towards Aberthaw. The contrast between the flat water now, and the swell by the Nash Sands was incredible.

I phoned Bristol Harbour up, to tell them we would be coming in tomorrow. Apparently I should have done it yesterday, to give them 48, not 24 hours notice. This is not for the lock, but for the bridge swing on the Cumberland Basin exit. Luckily the Matthew caravel replica had already booked a swing, so we were okay.

By 14:40 the wind had gone very light, and since the tide would soon turn against us the engine went on to help us past Lavernock Spit. By the time we reached Ranie Head we were on engine power alone, and with the tide against us were only just making 2 knots.

We got all the sails away once we rounded Ranny Spit bouy, and began to head towards the Cardiff Barrage. We called the Barrage up as instructed, and they told us to go in on the 1645 lock in. We were still over half a mile away though, and missed the lock in by 3 minutes.

Twenty minutes hanging around inside the barrage with the engine in idle, waiting for the lock to cycle through, was not stressful. Robinetta just sat there, and it gave Julian time to bring the bowsprit in. We were glad he had done it when another 4 boats appeared through the breakwater just in time to go ahead of us into the lock. We squeezed in on the end, with Worm alongside, then a big rib came in to take the last space in the lock.
Cardiff lock no 1
We headed for the Cardiff Sailing Club (free pontoon berthing and showers!) and tied up at 17:40. Martin, from Piel Piper appeared to take our lines. He was glad to see us, saying he had wanted to tell us to come to the Club when we were in the lock together at Swansea, but had not had time.

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