Spring Cruise 2017

Our 2017 Spring Cruise took place over the week of 27th May to 2nd June, including the bank holiday Monday. Five boats took part:

  • Free Will
  • Happy Daze
  • Mahalo
  • Pisces
  • Tessa

Read on for the full story…

Day 1 – Conwy to Trwyn Du

The plan was to get out of Conwy and overnight at an anchorage so we could catch the early tide to Liverpool.  We chose to anchor at Trwyn Du (Puffin Island) as it would be sheltered from the Strong Westerlies that were forecast and not add too much to the journey the following day.  Although the wind did blow hard that nightall the anchors held well and we can testify to the quality of the holding at Trwyn Du.  There was however a certain amount of rolling around which peaked at mid tide and died off at slack water.  Nothing was broken though so the following day we set off for Liverpool on schedule.

Day 2 – Trwyn Du to Liverpool

We lifted anchors at 0600 to catch the tide through to LIverpool HW 1340.  As we set off there was no wind at all so we took the opportunity on Free Will to have a cooked breakfast.  Mahalo however showed us up by launching his spinnaker for the downwind sail and his sail set beautifully.  With this as an example we launched ours after breakfast.  I won’t go into detail but as it was the first time on Free Will it took a couple of attempts to get it right but when it was we really took off sailing most of the way at well over 6 knots.  The Spinnaker run lasted almost all the way to Liverpool and we only took them down to enter the Rock Channel.  We entered the Rock Channel at 12:15, an hour and a half before High Water and found plenty of water throughout and nothing scary.  It was a huge tide just under 10m so as we entered the Mersey we got flushed along at over 10 knots and made it to the lock in record time completing the whole journey in 7 hours.

We rounded the day off with drinks and a curry dinner on Free Will and met up with Bob on Comrades who had made the Journey on Saturday morning.

Day 3 – Liverpool

This was a Lay day in Liverpool and was spent shopping and making minor repairs to the boats.  I made good use of Free Wills mast steps to give my furling gear a quick service with WD 40 and re route the Spinnaker Halyard slightly.  [What the Sailing Captain fails to mention here is that he needed to demonstrate his mast steps not once, or twice, but a full three times to ensure they were working correctly – ed]

We had quite a discussion with the marina about the planned 5 o clock lock out as they were concerned we might run out of water if we were not on the ball.  What we didn’t know until later was that a yacht had run aground at the marina entrance that afternoon which was obviously causing their nervousness.  As we reassured them about our skill and promised to be at the gate for 0445 they agreed to operate it for us.

That evening we met up on Happy Days with Les and Marg and prepared our plans for the morning.

Day 4 – Liverpool – Piel

The plan to leave the dock went well and we were all through by 5:05 with no difficulty.  The current in the mersey was strong again and flushed us up the river all the way to Q2 where we turned North for Piel.  We were really lucky again and it was up with the Spinnakers for another Spinnaker run all the way to Sea 2 the entrance to the channel into Piel.  We assembled at Sea 2 for the entrance up the channel and Mahalo went on ahead to scout out the moorings.  By 1230 we were all anchored and preparing  ourselves for lunch ashore at the Ship Inn.  The food and beer were both excellent as was the ferry service.  That evening we settled down on our own boats and turned in for an early night.

 

Day 5 – Piel – Douglas

At 0700 we lifted our anchors to catch the ebb out of Piel.  Mahalo left us at this point to return to Conwy and the rest of us headed on to Douglas.  As there was no wind and we were motoring we elected to go through the wind farm.  You don’t really understand the scale of these things until you get up close to them.  They are huge.  As we exited the wind farm we were intercepted by one of the wind farm boats who escorted us around the new wind farm that was still under construction.  This was a slight deviation before we could head for Douglas again. On Free Will we tried flying the Spinnaker a couple of times but there just wasn’t enough wind to maintain a passage making speed and we reverted to diesel power.  We made Douglas at 5:00 but as the road was closed for an hour for the TT we had to wait till 1815 to enter the marina.  This did however give us an opportunity to be given our berths and directions to them.  As it was TT time the marina was busy but we got in fine and tied up for the night.

It was Sues Birthday so we made our way to the upstairs room in the British to have a nice meal and sample some designer Gins.  We finished off the evening on Tessa with Barry and Sue were the girls carried on sampling designer Gins and the lads sampled the Rum including Patricks excellent home spiced rum.

(Day 5 – Piel – Conwy)

Mahalo set off earlier as she only had half a week so had to head home. She had a fine trip back to Conwy, with a completely calm start, but wind filling in from the East after a couple of hours. The final stretch was a beam reach home.

Day 6 – Douglas

We had agreed to met up at 1030 but given the celebrations of the night before it worked out a little later than that.  Once we were sorted though we set out for a day in Douglas.  We elected to meet up at the electric railway and take a trip up to Laxey to view the wheel and the mines.  Despite a bit of rain It was an excellent day out and we rounded it off with a trip back down the prom on a horse drawn tram.

To complete the set of boat visits we met up on Pisces with Patrick and Hilary for aperitifs before dinner.

Day 7 – Douglas – Conwy

We left Douglas on the 0715 bridge lift.  The first half of the journey was a nice sail in Force 3 WSW and we just about managed to keep up a reasonable passage making speed but about half way over the wind died and we reverted to diesel again.  The trip went without a hitch and we were back in Conwy for 1800 after a leisurely crossing.

When I planned this week I thought it was an ambitious goal but the tides were just right and the weather helped us as well.  As usual the company was good and we all enjoyed each other’s hospitality.  All in all it was an excellent trip and I am looking forward to the next one up to Scotland.

I also have tentative aims for Brittany next year but that’s another story…

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