sail log 2008


The first weekend out


Mast raising




Windy Week


Return home

other information

Harbour master Conwy
Harbour Office, Conwy Quay, Conwy,
LL32 8BB
tel: 01492 596253

Returning home, Plan A, 10th August

Ok, so we got stuck in Beaumaris (see Windy Week). Not the worst place in the world, but Sea Ghost was borrowing somebody elses mooring and we needed to move back to Conwy.

Plan A was to get to Beaumaris at low tide, repair the engine and sail back to Conwy. Not overly complicated but hinging on a few crucials facts

  • Low water
  • Wind less than F7

Exposed in Beaumaris Exposed in Beaumaris

Low water can be calculated from tables or extracted from a PC, but essentially requires one to arrive at the point where the water is low. One hour after low water might give you wet feet.
Out of habit I had checked the Conwy tide table (LW 12:35) and not Beaumaris (LW 12:21). Ok only 15 minutes, but I also forgot that Beaumaris is at least 30 minutes further down the A55. In short, we had to wade.

Bird feeding Bird feeding

Wading wasn't a big problem, the water being warm. The waves caused by a strong South Westerly were more of a problem. It sort of destabilises the stable working platform required to check the engine. We spend 15 minutes on the boat and then waded back before we were forced to row and were blown to the Isle of Man.
Plan B?

Returning home, plan B, 16th August

Well, a week later and 12 hours to leave the mooring left, we arrived again on the Friday night. The timing was somewhat better, as it was actually near low water. A quick check of the outboard petrol supply lines revealed nothing. But a test to see if the plugs were getting wet got the engine started, leaving a slightly puzzled look on my face.

Dark clouds gathering Dark clouds gathering

That was good news anyway and we quickly left Sea Ghost to catch a meal in town. Various pubs in Beaumaris were sampled, and through some enquiries we found out that David Bowie had moved to Liverpool. No not that David Bowie.

The bad news was that the forecast was worse than the one from last week. Saturday promised a Southerly F6,F7 with gusts of F8, veering to SW F4 to F5. Plan B was now extended with a serious look out of the port hole towards the South in the morning.

Matt and Neil sailing happlily along Anglesey Matt and Neil sailing happlily along Anglesey

We got our breakfast shopping in the local Spar and walked down the main street back to the car to start inflating the Dinghy, ready to row back to Sea Ghost. As it was fairly dark we set off in the general direction where Sea Ghost was expected. The rowing was extremely well coordinated with Matt in the front and Neil and I in the back. As soon as Matt expressed his concern about the lack of a straight course, I reminded the team that we had left the shopping on the shore. The following U-turn did nothing good for the straight line impression. The second straight line got us safely to Sea Ghost and we settled in for the night.

Neil on the tiller, Matt on the coffee Neil on the tiller, Matt on the coffee (well, that's what he said)

The next morning, the weather was still fairly calm (F3 from the South) and we decided to get underway as quick as possible. At 08:30 we motored past Alfresco, the yacht which mooring we borrowed, but the owner still seemed to be asleep and we set off towards Puffin. The wind was a F3/F4 from the South and we had a nice run under strom jib and reefed main sail.

Around 09:20 we passed B6, and from B1 we set course towards Great Ormes head, which takes you between Irishman Spit and Conwy Bay sands. When we had left Puffin a mile behind us we set course towards Fairway. From this moment the wind backed to the SE and increased in force considerably. So much considerably that Sea Ghost became quickly a toy of the waves and we were bashed around in the troughs.

After the wind settled a bit After the wind settled a bit

The wind capsized the Dinghy, which then started to act like an effective sea anchor, diving its nose under water. A couple of minutes after it was sorted it decided to dive for some more mussels. This time we dragged it out of the water and put it inside. After 30 minutes battling the wind and waves, the latter shrank to acceptable size and we made good progress towards Conwy, making huge tacks across Conwy sands. The outboard, which was left on make the crossing as quick as possible, cut out twice during the trip. She did restart with one pull on the start-lead but did not give me much confidence entering Conwy channel when the tide started to come out again.

Dreadful long wait in the pub Dreadful long wait in the pub

We sailed into Conwy harbour, still tacking up to the Marina. We dropped the sails, and Sea Ghost struggled against the wind and tide to get to the Quay. At 12:15 we moored along side. The gear was dropped on the side but again the outboard refused to start to take us to the mooring. After bit of fiddling, we got her running and picked up the mooring buoy. The Club Launch took us back ashore.

It was then up to me to get back to get the car from Beaumaris. Like Hansel and Gretel, I left Neil and Matt behind, knowing they would be totally lost outside the Liverpool arms, with Guiness in crawling distance.