Tuesday, 24 June 2014

An easy day in The Milford Estuary, Wales

We had a fun day sailing today, enjoying the knowledge that an easy day pottering around in the Milford Estuary  (photo attached) was our reward  for making such good progress over the last week. I am certain that the current high pressure system will lose its identity soon and we shall be due a period of rainy and unsettled weather, but not yet. That said, the high pressure has meant quite high winds from a Northerly direction, and this has resulted in cooler higher winds with quite uncomfortable seas at times, so life has not been without its challenges. 

We had breakfast at 9.30 this morning which was a treat after the week's challenging regime of early departures in order to capture the tide, and the food was a treat too. A light Welsh breakfast, enjoyed knowing very well that we shall burn up the calories soon afterwards. We did indeed, with a great sail up and down the Estuary in 20 knots of wind, genoa and main only, but still 8 knots' speed at times on a 40 degree angle...not at all bad. 

As before, there were virtually no other yachts around this excellent cruising ground, apart from Challenge  Wales, the ex BT Challenge 72 foot yacht which came in as we were leaving. A friendly wave was exchanged by both vessels.

Lunch was super relaxed, cobbled together with leftovers and eaten at anchor off the river Cleddau, pronounced Clevo, then back for jobs. Fuel, provisions (Mark and Alastair), the mysteries of the laundry (me), and a general boaty miscellany. 

While waiting for our reasonably priced taxi, to take us to our reasonably priced dinner,  Mark bumped into a lady with whom he had sailed with from Australia to The Phillipines in the Clipper challenge several years ago. She was just off Challenge Wales, which had just berthed in Nayland, and she and four other crew were also going to dinner at the same place as we were. What an extraordinary coincidence! A very happy conversation occurred between us all. 

Tomorrow will be our next big push, leaving Milford Haven at 0600 and  sailing across the Irish sea to Ireland during when we hope we shall have more cooperative beam (NE) or even a broad (E) wind. We were originally aiming for Arklow but have just changed our passage plan to Wexford, Ireland. The angle of wind (though not much is forecast) is better, the distance is shorter and the recommendation from Challenge Wales was stronger. The approach to Wexford is described as 'daunting' in the pilot books but we think our rather hurried preparations are sufficient to take us safely over the shallow and ever changing sandbanks where waves routinely break. We should be there around 1800 tomorrow, and expect to spend the night at anchor.

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