Thank you!

Spring13 020 (4)This is probably our last post on this blog and is a simple, big thank you to everyone who has contributed to our charity. We have now raised over £5000 towards SUDEP Action, which is a fantastic figure to have reached and far exceeds our wildest hopes.

This has allowed us to sponsor the Epilepsy Deaths Register that SUDEP Action has set up at the behest of the government and researchers to provide a national database to record all the circumstances and details surrounding each epilepsy related death. As I mentioned at the start of the fund raising last year, SUDEP (Sudden and Unexpected Death from EPilepsy) is a significant killer, accounting for about 3 deaths per day in the UK (i.e. over 1000 per year), mainly amongst young people in their late teens to early 30’s age range. (This makes it one of the top ten causes of death amongst young people). The aim of the Register is to provide one comprehensive data base which researchers in the UK and overseas can tap into to try to determine what factors might make sufferers more susceptible to SUDEP (such as life style, medication change, diet, activity, etc). Most epilepsy suffers set out to lead a normal life but epilepsy often enforces restrictions on them so the aim of the Register is to provide education and guidance to sufferers and clinicians and hopefully to ultimately identify the means by which SUDEP can be avoided. More information is available at Sudep Register

We finally set the spinnaker!

Our thanks also once again to all those who transported us up and down the country and who took the time to meet up with us, sail with us and e mail us, all of which we greatly appreciated.

A following wind and fair weather to you all.

Yvonne and John

 

 

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Homecoming

Saturday 14th September – Weymouth to Dartmouth

We need to go round Portland Bill to reach Dartmouth. This is the last significant headland for us to round and has one of the roughest patches of water in the country in the form of the Portland Race running past it. We have concluded from Yvonne’s investigations and calculation yesterday that we can go round Portland Bill any time that the tide is flowing west. We plan to round it at 0700 once there is enough light to see the lobster pots off the headland so set the alarm for 0530. It rains again over night and the morning dawns grey and overcast.

Yesterday a couple of boats arrived late in the evening (in the pouring rain) and sought to raft up outside of us but we managed to persuade them both to go elsewhere due to our early start. (Rafting up is necessary when the space is too small to accommodate all boats against the quay or pontoon. It requires an element of tolerance by all concerned as the outside boats crew have to walk over the foredeck of the inside boat to access land so minimising such trips and the inevitable noise is needed. It is normal to help incoming boats to moor up against one’s boat. Sooner or later boaters have to expect to be the inside or outside boat so courtesy and help is the order of the day).

Sunrise over the Dorset coast en route to Portland Bill

Sunrise over the Dorset coast en route to Portland Bill

We are not the only boats on the move. The weather forecast shows that there is a window of opportunity to move today before several days of strong winds and bad weather. This has scuppered our plans for a leisurely few days travelling along this coast but we don’t have the flexibility now to arrive at Dartmouth later than Tuesday.

Part of the huge breakwater that forms Portland Harbour. The harbour is still used by the Navy (witness the Royal Fleet Auxilliary in harbour) as well as commercial shipping, the UK Sailing Academy (constructed for the 2012 Olympics) and as a leisure boating marina. Commenced in 1848, it took convicts 23 years to construct using Portland stone hewn from the Tout Quarry. This quarry is now closed but has been taken over by artists who have created sculptures and carvings in the rock face.

Part of the huge breakwater that forms Portland Harbour. The harbour is still used by the Navy (witness the Royal Fleet Auxiliary in harbour) as well as commercial shipping, the UK Sailing Academy (constructed for the 2012 Olympics) and as a leisure boating marina. Commenced in 1848, it took convicts 23 years to construct using Portland stone hewn from the Tout Quarry. This quarry is now closed but has been taken over by artists who have created sculptures and carvings in the rock faces.

We motor out as the sun rises and set the main sail in the almost windless morning. The clouds gradually clear as we motor up the east of Portland Harbour with its massive breakwater and then on past the headland where we can see the quarries used to provide the stone for the Harbour. We can see a few old wooden gantries that must have been used to load the stone onto barges when the harbour was built by convicts. It must have been hard work!

The advice from Reed’s Almanac and the Coast watch people is to keep within 1 cable of the shore to avoid the Portland Race where there is a strong tidal rip and overfalls. (A cable is 1/10th of a sea mile – about 200 yards).

The lighthouse at the southern end of Portland is the true Portland Bill - not the headland!

The lighthouse at the southern end of Portland is the true Portland Bill – not the headland!

As the headland approaches we can see the breaking waves of the Race off shore but we keep almost within touching distance of the shore and travel through relatively smooth water. We round the headland, passing Portland Bill. There are a total of three light houses – the working one with its red and white striped tower and two old disused ones known as the High and Low Lighthouses. To our surprise there is a crowd of photographers at the headland. The sky has cleared and there is a lovely light for photography – or perhaps they were waiting to photograph any boat that misjudged the right track and went through the race. In any event, we come through this notorious stretch of water without difficulty.

We had a fine final sail form Weymouth to Dartmouth, reaching across Lyme Bay in a north westerly wind achieving over 8 knots over the ground for long periods of time.

We had a fine final sail from Weymouth to Dartmouth, reaching across Lyme Bay in a north westerly wind and achieving over 8 knots over the ground for long periods of time.

As we round the head we catch the north-westerly wind so set ¾ of the genoa and full mainsail, switch off the engine and sail away. It turns into a lovely, if lively, sail across Lyme Bay. In the distance we can see the Jurassic Coast with its various cliffs.

We sail on as Portland gradually disappears over the horizon behind us. We see other boats as we cross Lyme Bay. After a couple of hours we see land ahead. Lyme Bay curves in such a way that the orientation of the land is not quite as one would expect. In the distance we can see Torbay, Paignton and Torquay. A large container ship which appears to have been anchored in Torbay comes towards us so we alter course slightly to keep our distance. (Torbay is east facing and has been a favourite anchorage for centuries for ships as they are sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds). Berry Head just south of Brixham becomes clear. We try calling Nigel Thorpe to confirm we will arrive at Dartmouth today but without success.

Th Dartmouth Daymark has been a welcome sight to sailors since the 1860's. This and other daymarks were set up as navigational aids in the days when coastal navigation consisted of a compass, telescope, basic chart and mark 1 eyeball. Much of the coastline looks the same from the sea with inlets to safe havens such as the River Dart merging into the grey rocks of the coast. each day mark is unique - the Dartmouth one is like a stone quadrapod. Dart Harbour Commissioners continue to maintain this structure, even though  modern navigation makes it obsolete for many (but not all ) boats.

The Dartmouth Day Mark has been a welcome sight to sailors since the 1860’s. This and other day marks were set up as navigational aids in the days when coastal navigation consisted of a compass, telescope, lead line, chart and Mk 1 eyeball. Much of the coastline looks the same from the sea with inlets to safe havens such as the River Dart merging into the grey rocks of the coast. Each day mark is unique – the Dartmouth one is like a stone quadruped. Dart Harbour Commissioners continue to maintain this structure, even though modern navigation makes it obsolete for many (but not all ) boats.

The entrance to the River Dart. The Tudor castles on each side once had a chain which could be drawn across the entrance to guard this fine port.

The entrance to the River Dart. The Tudor castles on each side once had a chain which could be drawn across the entrance to guard this fine port.

The Dartmouth Day Mark becomes clear and gives us a definite point to aim for in the otherwise grey cliffs along this stretch of coast. By 1400 we are off the entrance to the River Dart.

A naval frigate departs and the Torbay lifeboat speeds past on a “shout” as we take our sails in for the last time and motor into the river.

The Torbay lifeboat on a "shout" to tow a motor cruiser with failed engines and electrics off Slapton Sands and into Dartmouth. This is a Severn Class lifeboat, the same type as we "drove" in the simulator at the RNLI College in Poole.

The Torbay lifeboat on a “shout” to tow a motor cruiser with failed engines and electrics off Slapton Sands and into Dartmouth. This is a Severn Class lifeboat, the same type as we “drove” in the simulator at the RNLI College in Poole.

Dartmouth is a wonderful home port: it can be entered at any time and state of weather or tide. Once inside, the river provides excellent protection from the weather. The river itself is of outstanding natural beauty and boasts over 1000 years of maritime heritage. Dartmouth on the west side is a lovely and lively old town whilst Kingswear on the east is a proudly independent large village. It is possible to navigate at the appropriate state of tide all the way up to Totnes, about fourteen miles from Dartmouth.

Dartmouth is one of the best natural harbours in the country with a fine town and a beautiful river behind the entrance.

Dartmouth is one of the best natural harbours in the country with a fine town and a beautiful river behind the entrance.

Nigel’s new motor launch, Freia, is on the mooring usually used by Sundart (although it is actually Nigel’s mooring) so we decide to go up river to Dittisham for a quiet cuppa and to wind down from the end of our trip. The river is as lovely as ever in the afternoon sun with boats of all sorts coming and going.

Nigel T greeting us on our safe arrival back at our home port with a bottle of bubbly

Nigel Thorpe greeting us on our safe arrival back at our home port with a bottle of bubbly

As we moor up Nigel calls us over the VHF and we arrange to meet at Dittisham. Nigel has had a busy day already, ferrying his cousin’s daughter and her friends for a morning out to Salcombe. He brings a bottle of champagne to celebrate our return and we sit drinking it in the sun, catching up on the latest news. It is lovely to be welcomed back to our home port. He kindly invites us to supper with some old family friends.

The South Devon Steam Railway Company was founded to prreserve the railway between Piagnton and Kingswear (opposite Dartmouth). It runs a regular steam hauled service during the tourist season and has expanded its services to include the river ferries and tourist boats. The Kingswear Castle, a steam powered ferry,  is the latest addition to their fleet

The South Devon Steam Railway Company was founded to preserve the railway between Paignton and Kingswear (opposite Dartmouth). It runs a regular steam hauled service during the tourist season and has expanded its services to include the river ferries and tourist boats. The Kingswear Castle, a steam-powered ferry, is the latest addition to their fleet

We motor back down the Dart and moor at one of the Dart Harbour Authority deep water pontoons. Nigel brings his tender Arwen over for us to use to get to shore and after John has run him back to shore we pack the boat up for the last time and complete and sign off the log that we have been keeping for the last 121 days. We have covered around 2600 nautical miles (equivalent to about 3000 land or statute miles), stopped at 88 ports, harbours, marinas and anchorages and achieved our aim of visiting all 4 countries of the United Kingdom. Surprisingly, we have ended up back at Dartmouth on the exact day that we scheduled when we were planning the trip all those months ago.

For full details of our trip click here: Sundart round UK trip 2013 – The final tally

The boat tidied up, we set off around 1800 for Nigel’s and walk up Clarence Hill to his lovely house and an interesting evening learning about wine from Nigel’s family friends Peter and Pippa, who are both Masters of Wine and who select wines for Asda.

Ship’s log

Day’s run:                                        48.4 nm

Total miles for the trip:                     2598.6 nm

Engine hours:                                 2.5 hours

Total engine hours for the trip:         314.0 hours

Hours sailed:                                   7.0 Hours

Total hours sailed for the trip           573.6 hours

Sunday 15th September – A wet day in Dartmouth

True to forecast, the weather is wet and windy for most of the day. John makes a quick trip to shore in Arwen for the Sunday paper and milk. We are rather tired so we enjoy the paper in the morning before setting to to pack our bags. We need to clear space so we can also strip the boat of the loose items that will not be sold with it.

Monday 16th September – Packing up and a brief trip up river.

Our personal stuff packed, we take Sundart up river to the Noss Marina where we have arranged to meet co-owners Phil and Nigel to visit a prospective broker to sell the boat. As part of the deal Sundart will be lifted out at Noss later this week to be polished up and antifouled and a few tidying up jobs done pending storage on the hard whilst she is sold. This will avoid paying for extra moorings.

We off-load our bags into Nigel’s car and return to the deep water pontoon opposite Dartmouth to start clearing out all the lockers of 29 years of accumulated “stuff”. It is just like moving house but in a smaller space!

We receive a message from our friends Errol and Joy DeBono to say that they and another couple Len and Eileen Darling will come to Dartmouth tomorrow to welcome us home. They are part of a wider group of John’s ex-university friends (who we have been going on an annual holiday with for the past 34 years!). They had been expecting us on Tuesday due to our last blog so it will be a delayed welcome.

Tuesday 16th September – Clearing Sundart and a delayed welcome home.

Tea at the Sloping Deck Restaurant in Dartmouth with the "welcome home" party: Joy, Len, JR, Nigel, Di, YV, Eileen and Errol. The Sloping Deck is a fine old institution at Dartmouth. Situated in the Butterwalk - a restored timbered Jacobean row of shops - it provides a wonderful array of bread, pasties and patisserie onthe ground floor and lunches and teas on the first floor with a true "sloping deck" of a floor without a single level area on it!

Tea at the Sloping Deck Restaurant in Dartmouth with the “welcome home” party: Joy, Len, JR, Nigel, Di, YV, Eileen and Errol. The Sloping Deck is a fine old institution at Dartmouth. Situated in the Butterwalk – a restored timbered Jacobean row of shops – it provides a wonderful array of bread, pasties and  patisserie on the ground floor and lunches and teas on the first floor with a true “sloping deck” of a floor without a single level area on it!

With Sundart cleared up, we meet co-owners Nigel and Phil at the quayside to off-load all the removable items, the sails and life raft before returning to the deep water pontoon.

Joy and Errol, Eileen and Len and also Nigel and Di Pepperdine (who are kindly ferrying us home) all arrive mid-afternoon so we go to a favourite old haunt at the Sloping deck to enjoy tea and their excellent cakes to catch up. Errol presents us with a bottle of bubbly and a welcome home card from the whole gang. It is a lovely gesture.

The welcome party moved on to the Windjammer in Dartmouth where we enjoyed a good meal.

The welcome party moved on to the Windjammer in Dartmouth where we enjoyed a good meal.

After loading Nigel’s car with about half our clobber (there not being room for it all!) we rejoin the others and enjoy a good meal and plenty of chat at the Windjammer – a traditional pub in Dartmouth that serves decent beer and food.

Nigel and Di return with us to Sundart for a final night on the boat before she is taken up to Noss tomorrow for lift out. The boat looks rather bare now that everything has been packed up and taken off.

Wednesday 17th September – Home

Farewell to Sundart on Wednesday 15th September. Later that day she was taken to Noss Marina and lifted out in readiness for sale. Our friends Di and Nigel Pepperdine kindly transported us and much of our clobber back to Melbourne.

Farewell to Sundart on Wednesday 15th September. Later that day she was taken to Noss Marina and lifted out in readiness for sale. Our friends Di and Nigel Pepperdine kindly transported us and much of our clobber back to Melbourne.

We leave the boat by mid-morning as Nigel T and Phil will take her up to Noss at midday. We make a final effort to maximise what we can fit in the car then set off. We are very grateful to Nigel and Di Pepperdine for coming to fetch us as we avoid having to leave most of our stuff in Dartmouth and travelling home by train.

After an uneventful journey we arrive home by mid-afternoon. The adventure is over and it is time to tackle a mountain of post and adjust to “normal” life – whatever that is!

We have had a wonderful trip with 4 months of adventure and interest and the odd scary bit! We have been touched by the support we have received, the family, friends and people we have met round our coasts, those who have sailed with us and the messages of support and interest we have received. (Messages have come from as far afield as Australia!). The support and interest has been wonderful.

Above all, we have been hugely grateful to all those who have supported our charity. We have so far raised over £3000 for SUDEP Action which has surpassed our wildest expectations and allowed us to sponsor their Epilepsy Deaths Register, which we will write about further in our final blog once the money is all gathered in. In the meantime, if you want to learn about this then click here: Epilepsy Register. If you want to contribute to our charity then click here: The Crusoes Virgin Money Giving Page.

Finally, if anyone is dreaming of an adventure such as this then our advice is: JUST DO IT!

A following wind and fair weather to you all.

Yvonne and John

Wales via Lundy

Monday 21st May The weather forecast looks good for the next three days as although the wind will remain in the NNW we can sail to Lundy and hopefully on to Milford so we decide to go. The plan is to sail in the afternoon to Lundy, anchor or moor off overnight and then visit the island the next day before going up to Milford on Wednesday. We cook up a veggie lasagna to eat in the evening and Paul makes up a lunch box. We also do a few final bits of shopping including pasties from Cranchie’s Bakery (these pasties are the best we have tasted-even better than the Sloping Deck at Dartmouth). The inner harbour gates open at midday, letting us out. We refuel at the outer harbour where the fishing fleet refuels (which is usually the cheapest fuel) and are pleased to see that over 24 hours of using the engine has only consumed 54 litres (12 gallons) of diesel – try driving a car for 24 hours and use only that amount of fuel! We motor out over the Doom Bar, then set full sail for a fetch up to Lundy. (For non-sailors a fetch is with sails pulled in and with the wind about 45 degrees to the direction of travel – this is the classic picture of a sailing boat with the boat heeled over a bit). The tide is initially with us but soon turns against us – the result of having to wait until the tide was high enough in Padstow to let us out of the harbour. However, the wind is a good force 3 or 4 and we make good progress, leaving a mist shrouded north Cornish coast line behind us. We see the by now familiar array of sea birds as we progress. A flock of manx shearwaters alight on a patch of turbulent sea near to us – we think they have spotted a shoal of fish. Suddenly the shearwaters fly up in alarm: the cause is a school of 20 to 30 dolphins who have also spotted the fish and make a dash for the area, scattering the birds. Within five minutes the dolphins have joined our boat and stay with us for over half an hour.

Dolphins escorting Sundart en route to Lundy

Dolphins escorting Sundart en route to Lundy

Dolphins lining up to ride our bow wave

Dolphins lining up to ride our bow wave

There are all sizes of dolphins from baby ones about two feet long to full-grown adults six feet or so long. The animals give us a magnificent display of riding our bow wave, diving under the boat and leaping through the water. This is the best display we have ever seen, beating the display in Mounts Bay or any other trip. We have taken a video of them but it is not possible to upload it to this blog so if you want a copy click on this link and we will send it to you: We have taken a video but as this cannot be loaded onto this blog contact us if you want a copy (click this link: Dolphin video). Finally the dolphins leave us, although over the next day we see the odd sight of dolphins and porpoises – there must be a lot of them at present in the Bristol Channel and approaches.

We thought some dolphins bumped the boat!

We thought some dolphins bumped the boat!

Lundy gradually comes into view. The plan is to anchor or pick up a mooring buoy off

Approaching the south side of Lundy with the ruin of Marisco Castle and the south lighthouse visible

Approaching the south side of Lundy with the ruin of Marisco Castle and the south lighthouse visible

the south-east coast (which is the only realistic place to land on Lundy). We round the southern end but find that the swell in the bay with the moorings is much larger than we had expected. There is one other boat moored up there, rocking about. We really have no other option as night is drawing in so we pick up a mooring and sit down to a rather rocky meal. We retire to get a rather fitful nights sleep. In the morning the swell has, if anything, increased making it dangerous to launch the rubber dinghy to motor ashore.

Ship’s log

Day’s mileage: 49.0 nm

Engine hours: 1.5 hours

Tuesday 22nd May

The rocky anchorage at Lundy

The rocky anchorage at Lundy

The overnight weather forecast has come in on the Navtex: the forecast  has deteriorated over night, giving strengthening NNW winds over the next 48 hours. Lundy was one of the highlights of our trip but the swell is too big to use the rubber dinghy to go ashore so we have no option but to abandon all thoughts of landing and to get to a safer anchorage as soon as possible. This means going north to Milford Haven, motoring thorough some fairly rough and confused seas. We plough on, the engine working hard to get us through the seas. After about five hours, the weather changes for the better, the sun shows signs of coming out and the winds drop, allowing us to set out mainsail with two reefs. Things gradually improve, the seas calm down, the wind gets more to our liking and the sun actually shines out of a blue sky as if someone has thrown a weather switch. We set full sails and with the refinery chimneys at Milford Haven coming into sight our spirits lift and we sail towards them.

At around 2 o’clock a large official looking patrol boat comes speeding over the horizon towards us, circles nears us and then calls us on the VHF radio. It appears that the Castle Martin artillery range on the coast is carrying out live firing and we are in the way!!!  The range is not on any of our charts (even after John’s chart corrections over the winter) nor the latest navigation package we have on our Samsung tablet. At 1400 hours the commander had presumably finished his (or her) lunch and needs to put the troops to work. Castle Martin control then called us up and directed us on a different course, not the direct route to Milford Haven, and promised to call us up when we could change course back towards Milford. No option there so we sail along the coast, making more gradual progress towards port than originally planned. An hour and a half later, Castle Martin called up to tell us we were far enough away to later course for Milford. Happily, the weather and sailing is now excellent so we sail into Milford Haven in bright sunshine in fine style. Paul decides to catch the last train from Milford Haven to see his

Paul Williams finally gets to his native Wales - the long way round

Paul Williams finally gets to his native Wales – the long way round

Dad in Llanelli so packs rapidly. Paul has been with us since Dartmouth and has been a tremendous help and good company in getting us this far so we are sorry to see him leave us.

We reach Milford Haven which is a wonderful natural harbour formed from a flooded valley (a “ria”) after the last ice age and is reputed to be the third largest natural harbour in the UK. The waterway is over 20 miles long. The lower (western) part is where the commercial ports are – these days the oil and gas terminals dominate with a constant flow of tankers discharging on both sides of the waterway. Efforts have obviously been made to hide the storage tanks and processing plants behind hills and trees to preserve the natural beauty of the area. Previously this area was a major navy base with ship yards & fortifications (including Martello like towers known as Palmerston Towers).

Milford Haven. Old town is on the hill on the right, harbour with boat lock centre, dry dock on the left

Milford Haven. Old town is on the hill on the right, harbour with boat lock centre, dry dock on the left

It was also the largest seaplane base in the UK. (A seaplane is reportedly lying on the sea floor with plans afoot to raise it for preservation).There is still some fishing and ship repair done here and Irish ferries operate quite large Ro-Ro ferries from Pembroke Docks. From about ten miles in the waterway gradually narrows and all industry gives way to wooded shores and farms with some wonderful properties overlooking the water. Eventually the waterway narrows to become the River Cleddau (pronounced Clethy).

The boat lock at Milford Haven - big enough for a frigate but a lot of water to shift for two little boats!

The boat lock at Milford Haven – big enough for a frigate but a lot of water to shift for two little boats!

We arrive at the town of Milford Haven (both the town and the waterway have the same name – confusing!). We have to get into the marina via an enormous ship lock – built by the Victorians to serve the large docks at Milford. It is big enough for a frigate but this evening there are just two of us in little boats. Milford Haven marina is built within a former dock area that was part of a regeneration scheme. There is a bit of ship building still left at Milford – we see a corvette being prepared for the Indonesian navy in the dry dock next to the boat lock. We also see a couple of small navy patrol boats and a few fishing boats so some of the old businesses survive.

Ship’s log

Mileage today: 53.2 nautical miles

Total mileage to date:290.7 nm

Wednesday 23rd May

The marina has all the facilities we need: water, electricity, showers, a laundrette and a nearby Tesco to replenish stores, all of which we use. The staff is very welcoming and the whole place is very efficient. However, these places are rather characterless and resemble the marine equivalent of a well serviced car park so we only stay one night. The weather forecast is for very strong winds until the weekend so we decide to explore the area a bit. Our friend Bob Belk from Melbourne has a caravan on Dinas Head a few miles away near Fishguard so we arrange to do a walk with him on Friday. We also hope to meet Karen Osland, the CEO of Sudep Action (the charity we are supporting) on Friday as she and her partner have a boat moored here.

The graceful box girder bridge across Milford Haven linking Pembroke Docks with Neyland. It needs constant maintenance. When it was being built in the 70's one section fell off into the river, taking a cement truck with it!

The graceful box girder bridge across Milford Haven linking Pembroke Docks with Neyland. It needs constant maintenance. When it was being built in the 70’s one section fell off into the river, taking a cement truck with it!

We decide to sail up-river and anchor about 7 miles up from Milford Haven opposite Lawrenny. The wind is so strong that we can sail up against the tide with just the foresail. En route Yvonne manages to avoid the Neyland Sailing Club yachts out for their Wednesday evening race by some racing tactics of her own. We pass under the bridge linking Pembroke Docks with the mainland at Neyland. As we sail up the river the surroundings become very rural with attractive woods and houses and then farmland on the steeply sloping banks.

Anchorage opposite Lawrenny - evening of 22/5/13

Anchorage opposite Lawrenny – evening of 22/5/13

Our anchorage with strong winds the next morning.

Our anchorage with strong winds the next morning.

We anchor on one side of the river under the shelter of a high bank with Benton Castle just showing above the trees. The scene is very peaceful but we make sure the anchor is well dug in as strong winds are forecast the next day. Sure enough, it is very windy the next morning but the anchor does its job, which is pleasing as this is the first real test of our new anchor which we bought for this eventuality. Given the strong wind forecast (up to gale force 8) and the need to meet up with Bob on Friday we decide to de-camp to the marina at Neyland but before sailing down the river we have a look further up river and stop at Lawrenny for a bite of lunch. A quick sail down the river under a small foresail takes us past Rudders Boatyard, previously owned by friends of that name in Melbourne.

At  Neyland we walk up to the

Rudders boatyard at Druidstone

Rudders boatyard

village, whose main claim to fame seems to be as the birthplace of the engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who engineered the Great Western Railway, the ships the Great Britain (now preserved at Bristol). the Great Western and Great Eastern (which laid the first telegraph cable  across the Atlantic). He also co-invented the tunnelling shield with his father for the first tunnel under the Thames, which is still the system used for OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAtunnelling in London and elsewhere today.

Tomorrow we hope to have a good walk and a sociable day. If the weather plays ball we hope to leave Milford Haven sometime on Saturday to work our way round to Aberwryswyth stopping at Skoma Island and Fishguard, but as ever the weather will dictate what actually happens.

Fair Winds to you All

Yvonne & John