Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A long day out to Holyhead

After a well deserve rest in Liverpool, we are now on Leg 13, with Will, Tyler, James, Beth and Victoria, as well as Mike Stoner from Skandia Southampton. Our crew arrived on Monday afternoon and with an early start planned for the next day, we got through all our briefings in the evening. The evening was pretty quiet, with a board game or two keeping us entertained. Will also did a great job making dinner.
With very limited time to get out of the Mersey, we left Liverpool Marina at 8:30am. It was quiet tricky getting out though, as the entrance to the lock had silted up quite a bit, and where we were expecting to have 2m of water beneath us, we ended up with none, so had to back out again and creep around the side wall to get into the lock, clearing the silted area with only about 10cm of water underneath us, but at least we managed to get into the lock and then out into the Mersey River. It’s always impressive taking a boat through a city, and seeing the Liver Birds on top of the Liver Building from the water was quite impressive. Liverpool definitely was a pleasant surprise and yet again the people were fantastic and really friendly.
Our day out sailing was not the best day out I must admit. With tidal restrictions into Conwy, the only option for us was to sail straight to Holyhead. The plan in the morning was to try get to the Skerries (a group of rocks off the NW corner of Anglesley) by 3pm, at the slack tide. With a forecast of moderate westerlies it was looking good for a beautiful reach on a lee shore. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite like that once we were out, so we ended up with 40degree wind shifts, and speeds ranging from 6kts to 20kts, making for a rather frustrating morning out on the water – reef in, reef out, engine on, engine off…. All a little tiring. By the afternoon the wind finally filled in, but quite strong, so we ended up beating into 20 to 25kts. Unfortunately due to our slow progress in the middle of the day, we ended up missing the tide and had to punch wind and tide around the corner, extending our passage time by about 4hrs! Our crew were all quite enjoying themselves for most of the day, but slowly we started loosing one after the other to the dreaded illness of the seas… Victoria was definitely the star of the sailing day though. Even with waves braking over the bow and soaking her time after time (which admittedly everyone enjoyed in the beginning, but after a few hours of it got a bit cold and tired) Victoria was still up and involved with all the sailing going on, all with a big smile on her face! It was quite amusing, the guys disappeared into their various bunks not looking too pleased with life, but after a good sleep at sea (the best kind of sleep) all reappeared as new people, full of fun and laughter, possibly also relief at getting over seasickness. After a rather long, cold and wet day out, we finally got into Holyhead Marina at about 10pm, where we were met by Geoff of Holyhead Marina. He was incredibly helpful, catching our lines with strong winds blowing us off the dock and then helping us sort out some much needed food – Pizza! After showers and food everyone was feeling much better, but it didn’t take long at all for us all to fall into bed.
Today was a rather windy day, and I must admit that yet again, although we’ve arrived in Holyhead a couple days early, I’m really glad we took the window we had yesterday. It’s been blowing gales all day and is very wet, so after a well deserved lie in, we’ve managed to entertain ourselves with board games (Articulate being the favourite again) and Holyhead Sailing Club welcomed us in their Club house, where we spent the afternoon playing pool. Another quiet (ish… laughter and shouting over Articulate on the go again) evening on Scarlet, but the giggles coming from the saloon is very comforting. I might just have to join in on the fun.
Cheerio, Cath

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