Puffin Island Cruise Saturday 26th March

After a postponement on Easter Saturday, 6 boats braved the blustery conditions on Easter Monday for a thrash around the Bay, according to sailing captain, Steve Gorst, conditions were a gentle force 8 on the Cemaes scale! The wind direction precluded a sail around Puffin Island, so no seal pictures this year. There is however a good video of Bob from Comrades helming Myfanwy that Steve took on the Club Facebook page which gives some idea of the conditions.

The Fitting Out party took place on the Saturday evening in the Clubhouse with an Italian themed supper of lasagne and Italian trifle well laced with Amaretto. 12 members enjoyed the supper with many more joining for the music night organised by Mike Harrison. Seemingly bangers and mash would be a more popular choice for supper in the future – noted by the chefs :)

The next sailing event is the Shakedown Cruise on May Bank holiday weekend. The details of the event are on the website under sailing events.



RYA Yachtmaster Course Success

Five candidates successfully achieved the RYA Yachtmaster qualification at the course recently run as part of the Clubs winter training programme. The course was taught by Tony Mead.

The successful candidates were:

Steve Wade – NWCC member

Stuart Hartley – NWCC member

James Nicholls – NWCC member

Scott Hughes – Conwy Harbour Office
Peter Allison – Conwy Harbour Office

Congratulations to Steve, Stuart, James, Scott and Peter on passing the course and thanks to Tony once again for the expert tuition.

The photo shows the successful candidates with their certificates presented by NWCC President Terry Worthington.

IMG_2289 (1)

Club Raise Funds for Ty Gobaith

North Wales Cruising Club raises funds for local charity.

Ty Gobaith is a hospice for children with life threatening/terminal illness in the Conwy Valley. The Club has raised £725 which was recently presented to Ty Gobaith by the Commodore and club members.


A cheque for £100 donated by “Big T” was also presented to a Ty Gobaith representative.


New North Deep Buoy Positions

I have had the following email form the Harbour Master regarding the new position of the buoys for the North Deeps new route.

*Afternoon all*

*We have now moved the North Deep marks to the co-ordinates listed below to mark the new channel. We have also rigged two ‘race marks’ with yellow beach marker buoys:*

*NDI 53 18′.370 N 03 50′.920 W*
*NDM 53 18′.662 N 03 51′.659 W*
*NDO 53 18′.864 N 03 52′.208 W*

*Race marks*

*53 19′.180 N 03 55′.845 W*
*53 18′.626 N 03 53′.012 W*

*We will issue a local notice to mariners. I would be grateful for any feedback on the positioning of the marks.*

*Many thanks*

This is not official yet and should be used with caution as the North Deep was used. Initial feedback indicates that there is more water in this channel than the old North Deep. If you could feedback any of your own comments to me I will summarise them as a club and pass them on to the harbour master.

All the best

Steve (NWCC Sailing Captain)

New Years Eve Party 2015-6

Seeing in 2015

Despite the low turnout, the New Year bash in the club house was a great success. The theme this year was the Wild West and a good number came in fancy dress which included a horse and a slightly misinterpreted “Native American” who came wearing a turban and set up a corner shop on the end of the bar. The newly installed Video Projector came into its own with an animated welcoming graphic, the Fist Full of Dollars fastest gun in the club competition and Big Ben, which was a bit late due to the web link to the cameras at the Houses of Parliament being in high demand.  As we had catered for about thirty there was loads of food to go round. Music was provided by “Big John” with laser effects, moving lights and colour changes to set the atmosphere. Dancing and singing went on till the wee small hours with the customary Champagne toast as sixteen bells were rung to mark the end watch of 2014 and the start of the new watch for 2015. My thanks to Big John and to all those who came to support the event, especially to those who helped make it yet another successful social evening at the Club. Good luck and best wishes for a prosperous year to come.

Yours in entertainment.

Martin Bushnell.

Traflagar Sailing 25/10/14

Don’t forget the Trafalgar sailing event is coming up in a couple of weeks.

This year we are thinking of a new format to encourage active engagement of the enemy.  Any ideas on how to implement this are welcome.

If you want to take part in this event please use the usual methods ie sign up on the website send me an email or put your name on the list in the club.

Steve Gorst fighting for the French

Steve Gorst fighting for the French

This event has been won by the French for several years now so if you have a British boat come forward, your country needs you!

Update 15/10/14

The following boats have put their names forward

Ruby – French
Viva – French
Harlequin – British
Myfanwy – French
Nightsong – British
Joie de Vivre – French
Lindos – British
Anyway – British
Promises – British
Pinch of Thyme – British

Now we need more Frenchies!!!

Gwennol’s Cruise, 2014

Gwennol’s  Cruise, 2014

Our boat, Gwennol, is a 23 year old, 31 foot Jeaneau Sun Odyssey, with Yanmar 2GM20 engine. The fuel capacity is 10gall, plus a 5 gall jerry can, say 70 litres in all.

The crew, with main responsibilities were Pat Tyson-Jones (sails and chef), Pete Bland (electronic navigation), Gwyn Jones (engine, and general worrying). Three is the ideal crew for  this boat- four would cause too much congestion on a long trip

On this trip, unless conditions were ideal, we preferred to maintain at least 5 kts as distances are often from 20 to 35 miles. Since Gwennol tends to heel in anything but light airs, we reef early, set the foresail to obtain balance, and put the engine on as necessary to maintain this speed. Lazy perhaps, but comfortable and not too tiring- Pat and Gwyn have been drawing their pensions for some years! Tide and overfall effects dominate navigation around the north Irish sea, so it’s essential to get the timing right. It can give very fast sailing- but also unpleasant wind over tide conditions in an area prone to overfalls anyway.

Our route was Conwy, Port St Mary, Douglas (to repair a shroud), Ardglass, Copeland Islands, Bangor(NI), Glenarm, Rathlin Island, Port Ellen(Islay), Ardminish Bay (Gigha), Ballycastle, Bangor (missing out Glenarm), Ardglass, Port St Mary, Moelfre and Conwy. It took us 3 weeks.

In general, the Marinas were fine, costing about £23/night, with Ballycastle being the one we liked best.  Port St Mary was not good- there is no full time harbourmaster, and the facilities are very limited. The 12m ladders on the Albert Pier are rusty and some are not securely attached to the wall. Sadly, not a good place to stop, but with a fin keeler the alternatives of Douglas or Port Erin are less convenient.

Habourmasters everywhere were very helpful, as was everyone we met- Ulster bus drivers included, in spite of being trained by Jeremy Clarkson.

We had very little good sailing due to unhelpful winds. We motored/motor sailed for 100 hours. Otherwise, this was  great holiday with many interesting and pleasant ports, whose details you can find on the internet. The highspots for us were Rathlin, Gigha and Ballycastle.

The following includes what may be obvious to many, no doubt, but it could be of interest to others who may want to undertake a similar cruise-

 What we learnt….

Ride the tides! This is important everywhere, especially along the coasts of Northern Ireland. To avoid wind over tide conditions, a following wind is needed,  for which you may have to wait. Tidal times are not dissimilar to those in Conwy: HW neaps tend to happen at about 0600 and 1800, whilst HW springs are at about 0000 and 1200

Get detailed  Tidal and Overfalls Atlases for IoM and North Channel before setting out. Finding eddies can be very important eg Donaghadee, SE of Bangor.  Go inshore of overfalls where you can eg Langeness on the Isle of Man and possibly Tor point near Ballycastle as well

Go round Fair Head/Tor Point at slack. Even with no wind, the overfalls can be very heavy if taken at the wrong time.

Leaving the North Channel against a South Easterly is very difficult, including crossing to Portpatrick.

Leave PSM near high water. If aiming for Moelfre, arrive off Point Lynas on the flood, but hold off (for example, head for Conwy)  to avoid the east going tidal stream and overfalls.

When crossing 2 tides, such at going to the IoM, it is quicker to steer on the constant compass heading than to  track to a waypoint.

Most convenient places for fuel are Bangor, Ardglass, Carrickfergus. Ballycastle should be possible if less convenient.

Take a trolley to carry groceries and fuel.

Eat at the Boathouse on Gigha if at all possible. Book beforehand. Go ashore in the dinghy.

Craig at the ManxMarine chandler’s at Douglas is most helpful. Support if possible.

May -June is the ideal time to go, with very short nights, and no midges.

Technical Issues


Most boats we have sailed can be quickly stopped by engaging reverse, but not Gwennol. We rarely manoeuvre in marinas and discovered that, at times, reverse embarrassingly had no effect at all.  At first, I thought this was due a failure to engage reverse due to cable stretch, but later I realised it was cavitation- the 2 bladed prop was turning in its own bubbles. So the lesson is to open throttle slowly.

Cap shroud damage

At PSM, on the way out, Pat noticed that half the stainless steel wires of the port cap shroud were broken at the bottlescrew. We sought help from the chandlers at Douglas, who supplied and gave ready help in fitting a ‘Norseman’ to make an effective repair.. You don’t get help like that over the internet and they fully deserve our support when in Douglas

Navigation aids.


Admiralty Small craft Portfolios for N Wales (SC5609) and West Coast of Scotland (SC5611)

Imray Irish Sea (C62), Isle of Man (Y60)

Irish Sea Pilot, David Rainsbury

Isle of Man Pilot

The Yachtsman’s Pilot to the West Coast of Scotland, Martin Lawrence (out of print?)

Nautical almanac (for its tidal charts)

Irish Sea Tide Tables

Hardware and software

Garmin GPS 12. This elderly GPS is very useful as its output is well damped, and is repeated in the cockpit. A more modern GPS was too responsive to be useful.

PC laptop

Meridian chartware and Navstick. This is complete set of Admiralty charts for UK and Ireland, together with a GPS receiver which displays on the laptop making it into a very readable chart plotter. Costs a little over £100- very good value if you have a laptop.

A Mobile phone with apps for  tides, XCweather, Meteo weather (good, French, but some continental timings)

Very useful websites: http://www.visitmyharbour.com  and http://www.sailingalmanac.com

Sailing Notes  

Note:Times are approximate, and are given with respect to Dover


Sunday 25.  To Port Saint Mary (PSM), 57nm. SSE 8 kts. Left at 6.30 (HW Conwy-0120)  wind died around 1430.  Arrived PSM at 1730

Monday 25. To Douglas, 13nm. SE3. Planned to arrive at HW-2, when gate and bridge could open.  Left PSM at LW+0030. Inside overfalls (1 cable offshore) at Langeness. Strong favourable tide, arrived comfortably at Douglas at HW-2. Rafted 6 deep to wait for bridge and tidal gate.

Wednesday 27 Towards Ardglass, 46nm, or maybe Port Erin or PSM. NE3. Left Douglas at HW. No overfalls. Went around the Calf, again, no overfalls, arriving Ardglass HW-4. (8 hours)

Thursday 28 Towards Bangor, 35nm. ENE3. Left at HW+1. Headwind and foul tide approaching Donaghadee, down to 3kts SOG. Found a favourable eddy near shore and anchored for the night in Chapel Bay, Copeland Islands at HW-0430. Should have left earlier, and had a detailed a tidal atlas to show tides and  overfalls around the Copelands.

Friday 29. Moved to Bangor, 6nm. Refuelled.

Saturday 31. to Glenarm, 23nm.  SE3, dropping to zero. Left Bangor at HW, arrived Glenarm HW+0430


Sunday1. Towards Ballycastle, 23nm. SE4. Left at HW, arrived at Tor point/ Fair Head at HW+3. Luckily, only slight overfalls. Decided to go to Rathlin Island Marina.

Tuesday 3. To Port  Ellen on Islay, 24nm. Little wind. Passing W of Rathlin and avoiding TSS.  Left at HW-6 (1000) arrived 1500

Thursday 5. To Ardminish Bay, Gigha, 18nm. NW4.  Left at HW-2, arrived HW+2. As Southerlies were forecast, we decided not to proceed to Craighouse on Jura, but to return to Ballycastle next day to await fair winds.

Friday 6. To Ballycastle 35nm. SE3/4. Left at HW+5, down the Mull of Kintyre, then across TSS at 90 deg, approx. Arrived HW-0030. Tides and overflows aound Rathlin are fierce and complex. Again, detailed Tidal atlas much needed.

Saturday to Tuesday, 7-10. SE4-6.  Difficult to leave the North Channel against a South Easterly, so stayed in Ballycastle (nice area to stop in) for 4 days. Also, wind over south-going tide avoided.

Wednesday 11 June. To Bangor, 44nm. SW2/3. Left at HW-0530. Heavy overfalls at Fair Head. Should have left at HW+6!. Reached Black Head, N of Belfast Loch as the tide turned, arrived Bangor HW+2

Thursday 12 To Ardglass, 35nm. Little wind. Left at HW-6, arrived HW+1.

Friday, 13. To PSM.  Little wind. Left at HW+5 to avoid shallows at LWS, near marina. Arrived Calf Sound at HW-1, and PSM at HW

Saturday 14. Towards Conwy, 57 nm. N2. Left at HW-0100, ie 11.30. Decided to stop at Moelfre to avoid coming into Conwy at midnight, feeling tired. Anchored at 2300.

Sunday 15. Left Moelfre at HW-0430, arrived Conwy HW-0100, ie near mid-day. Job done!

Midsummer Cup Results

We had another good turnout for the Midsummer Pursuit Race last Saturday 14th of June.  The conditions started off as very light winds but a better breeze developed during the afternoon and we enjoyed some good sailing conditions.

The winds were NNW 1 and we sailed C2a to FWY and on to the Long outfall buoy and back to the FWY.  Two boat rounded the FWY and headed back to Long Outfall.

The winner for the first time was Mahano,  crewed by Austin and Mary Goudge.  Congratulations to them.

Second place was Pinch of Thyme crewed by Mike and Sally Ousby.  Still looking for their first win but always in the mix at the end.

Third was My Cloud making a guest appearance crewed by John Broadhead.

The current positions for the Commodores Cup are now

Myfanwy 68 points
Pinch of Thyme 50 points
Joie de Vivre 40 points

The next event is the Cemaes Bay BBQ. 

All the best and hope to see you on the water next time.


Rock Channel

The Rock Channel is a useful half tide access to Liverpool for small boats (which includes large yachts) as opposed to ships.  This route can cut 5 miles off the journey and can also be a lot calmer in my experience than the swell you can experience at the entrance to the main channel.

I’ve put the following two links in which you can choose between. The first link is older but has some nice chartlets and a historical article about the Rock channel.  I followed this route with success on the way back from the tall ships race and never had less than 4m under the boat 2 hours before high tide.  The depths were similar to our standard trip in and out of Conwy.

Liverpool Yacht Club Guide to the Rock Channel can be accessed from this link. Updated 2010.

Alternative guide at Chris Michael’s page on liv.ac.uk can be accessed from this link. Updated 2013.

1 2 3 5