Restoring Lena-Contact-Sailing Home-Sailing Logs-Uphill photo Tour
Summer Cruise 08 - 16th - 23rd June.

Weston to Blue Anchor | Blue Anchor to Watchet | Watchet to Swansea | Swansea to Barry | Barry to Cardiff | Cardiff to Weston.

Ian knew Cardiff of old - but had never been in since the barrage development. Its pretty easy to navigate - with Penarth head being so distinctive and once past the Wrach cardinal - you just turn to Port before the preferred channel green/red/green. buoy.

There are controlling lights on the outer harbour - but none were lit ? As I had radio'd the lock and been told gate 1 - 1015 - I just went in. Its pretty spacious in there, before the locks - and there are two large rubber clad holding bosses as well.

Approach to Cardiff - Penarth Head to left - heading for the first of the red buoys after passing the Wrach.

All fairly easy into the sea lock - very similar to Swansea outer Tawe. We were set on a fried breakfast in Cardiff - and to check out the visitors moorings at CYC - who we know welcome guests from neighbouring clubs.

Cardiff Barrage Sea Lock - all very impressive, and free and on demand 24/7 - can't be bad.

Cardiff Bay lagoon seemed smaller than we imagined. Motored over to the CYC moorings and didn't really find the visitors pontoons - so stuck it on the end of one of them.

Soon sussed out the visitors were right up the middle, on the cross over pontoon. Told that we could stay put where we were for a couple of hours we walked into the city centre docklands development - with the recommendation from a local member for the 'Old LIghtship' by the Swedish Church for a good fry up !

CYC Pontoons - visitors moor or raft up across the arm with the old sloop with the blue mainsail cover, centre foreground. From here the sea locks are over to the far left of pic.

Most impressed by the Cardiff docklands development - many a place could learn from what they have done here - especially Swansea. Rather ironic to go ashore to have breakfast and end up on a ship, up on deck, with the deisel engines running !

Enjoyable few hours in Cardiff - and had a nice chat with the CYC self styled 'moorngs master', who was a bit of a character - and made us very welcome.

Got chatting to an old timer, who moored on the mud in Tiger Bay before the barrage. He came aboard to take a look at Lena. Being an ex-engineer, I was flattered that he was impressed by my engine bay. Also, as soon as I said the only problem I've had is with the alternator belt wearing - he took one glance and reckoned the two pulleys were slightly out of line. I'd have never thought of that - wise eyes you see.

The plan was to leave 2 hrs berfore LW - then drift back west, past the Wolves and head across toward Hinkley - killing time for running up to Weston on the flood. We could get in the Axe at about 8.45pm - so had time to kill.

After the sea state early on we were well decked out for the worst. We had leaned our lesson going down into Blue Anchor to put on the wet gear anyway - then take it off if conditions warranted.

An Ungainly Exit

Probably being a little complacent now with entering sea locks - we called the barrage and gently drifted in - had the lock to ourselves. Ian tied the bow and before I knew it she swung around at the stern and I couldn't stop her !

Sideways on - duhh, we settled for pulling around and tied up backwards to the open water. The lockmaster quipped on the vhf - 'reverse her out'. Thankfully - with her narrow transom, Lena goes backwards quite well - but it was a ungainly exit - though, if I say so myself, a rather neat bit of reversing !

Heading out to open water - forwards - we were confronted by a glassy sea - with hardly a ripple in sight for miles. Such a tranformation from earlier.

The forecast was for 6-7 later and worse - the lull before the storm. As it was we had a balmy, windless, and rare smooth Bristol Channel for the day.

Off with all the gear - on with the sun block - and we hoisted the main to see what it would do, but generally just let her drift toward One Fathom and E Culver. Resorted to the engine for a half hour or so, just to get over to Hinkley - for a look close inshore.

Skies were thickening in the west though - and about 7pm the wind was beginning to pick up a touch and rain was in the air.

Tried to sail her into Weston Bay - but the breeze was in the S, and not even a 3. With the tide ripping along at 3.5 kts NE it proved difficult. It did pick up enough to get her going at a close haul off Birnbeck at about 9pm - but we were making 3,2 kts though the water and 0.7 over the ground ! If we could have got into the bay proper we would have picked up the reverse tide around from Birnbeck to the Axe - but light was fading fast.

So on with the engine and left the main up and crashed across the bay at 5.3 kts. Made the red buoy by Black Rock, with the light fading, at about 9.40pm - and on the mooring shortly after.

A pleasant night aboard - the weather now hammering in, wind and rain - and we didn't care one bit. Arranged the sleeping for a 15 deg heel to port on the mud !

I stick the spare jib sail along the side of the berth - with a cockpit cushion leaned against it. Ian had to improvise as the vee berth to port is a short ass cushion - so he made a pile of the coolbox for his feet ! As it was she didn't go over to badly. A bit unpredictable on the mud - seldom upright, but always heels to port, if facing upstream.

A breezy, but sunny trip up the river to Uphill - with the minor setback of the Suzuki refusing to start.

I'm keeping it in the cockpit locker now, so it was warm I suppose - and am also running it on a run-in 30:1 mix after fitting new rings - so she flooded with normal choke. Changed the plug and fired first time.

9 days - 6 we sailed on, 154 miles, 4 ports of call, one overnight anchorage - three gale warning for Lundy/Irish sea !

So Milford Haven - and beyond, has to wait a while !

Geoff - June 08