Pembroke Haven Yacht Club

Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock

Maelstrom Scotland trip 2012 (part7)


Alarm went off at 0500hrs for our departure of Bangor NI. Quick cuppa and away by half 5 to catch the tide out of Bangor and down towards Holyhead our planned stop over tonight. Wind in the south all day so motor sailing to maintain speed. Looks like a late arrival and Doug checking tides to see what time we would need to leave on Sunday to get a favourable trip home. Had Argyle pasties for breakfast at about half 11 cos it's a bit lumpy for cooking a full fry up. Still working our way through the never ending supply of welsh cakes on board. We have done 11 hours of motoring since Cambeltown so refuelled after breakfast and settled down for our trip. By settled down I mean me and Chris went to our bunks and Doug and Ben stayed up. Got woken by Ben at quarter to 3 to say Doug and him had checked tides which meant another early start, so how did we feel about heading straight home through the night. Should get in Sunday afternoon. Chris and I agreed so a new course was plotted and what did say 45 miles to destination now says 122 and that's only to broad sound. Still it will be nice to be home and it means Doug should get some of his birthday with his family even if he smells bad and is very tired. Can't waste water washing now. Lol. A pod of about 10 dolphins popped over to see us at 1705hrs and we took some pics and a few videos. Dolphins stayed for an hour, must have been admiring Maelstroms smooth keel. Nice to have them around always puts a smile on our faces. Put a reef in main for the night passage and started our watches. Quiet night. Wind dropped off to 3 knots and sea flattened. Shook reef out of main at 0850hrs and put up number 1. Had a nice sail for 3hrs then wind came round and dropped off so we took number 1 down and motor sailed towards Ramsey sound. Had a cuppa and sang Happy Birthday to Doug. Also gave him a card and a packet of Ashers, Red Velvet Yummie cupcakes. Through Ramsey and in time to get to Jack sound with favourable tide. Wind dropped now so heading gently towards St Anne's under full sail. Ben and I tiding up a bit. Soon be home. Had to motor up river as wind had dropped and didn't want to miss last orders in club. Bit of a boat tradition having a pint to celebrate safe arrival at port. For the stats people among you our last trip from Bangor took a shade over 36hrs to cover a distance of 230.37nm at an average speed of 6.3 knots. Had a couple of pints before saying goodbye to Doug, Chris and Ben.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Doug and Maelstrom for once again giving me a cracking holiday and seeing many places I have never been. Also thanks to Chris, Rob and Ben for being great company and fun reliable sailors. I had a great time. Another thank you goers to all our wives for being understanding about what us boys do for fun. I can imagine it is not easy sometimes when you can't communicate due to no phone signal etc. I hope anyone who has read this has enjoyed our journey with us and it just remains for me to say goodbye.

Maybe I will right again maybe I won't. Been fun tho.


Maelstrom Scotland trip 2012 (part 6)


All up by half 7 ready for our start through the canal. Supposed to open for 8am but they are a bit like Pembs up here so it was 9am before the locks opened for business. Very relaxing few hours in flat water motoring at no more that 4 knots. 1st set of lock gates consisted of 5 rising locks which can cause a bit of turbulence if you open the sluice gate a little quickly. A little like white water rafting in a confined space. Stopped for a pint at the Cairnbaan Hotel which is situated next to the lowering locks. Much quicker to navigate. Headed off to the sea lock then at Ardrishaig to continue our planned trip to Tarbet. Quite breezy, and as luck would have it bang on the nose. So up with good old faithful number 3 and full main for a beat to Tarbet. Wind picked up a tad so we reefed the main and that made life a lot more comfortable. 4 tacks saw us freeing off at the entrance to Tarbet and safely in by 6ish. Been for a hot shower and set up a FaceTime chat for Ben and his girls. Think they would have stayed on for ages but had to end the call to go and get some food. Off into town now to feed and water 4 hungry (and sweet smelling) sailors. Plan tomorrow is head to Cambeltown, a trip of approx 30 miles. Had our evening meal at the Sea Bed restaurant in Tarbet and very nice it was too. Plenty of seafood options(sorry James) oh plus a rib eye steak for Ben. Back on boat now for a nightcap of tea or coffee and a bit of planning for our leave time tomorrow. Best get to Cambeltown as forecast for Wednesday is looking bleak so may be stuck for a day or 2. Well enough of me waffling on for now. Speak to you all tomorrow. Sleep well.


Popped down town at half 8 for breakfast and to get some supplies for the boat. Left Tarbet at about half 9 for a 30 mile trip to Cambeltown. Once again our old favourite the number 3 was in play with a single reef in the main. All this because the wind was on the nose again. A cracking sail nevertheless, which meant we actually sailed 48 miles to get here. Cambletown seems a pretty little town with the berthing being one long pontoon. At the moment the pontoon is full with many boats having to raft. Pity the poor boat alongside us as we are in full game playing mode now at 2345pm, maybe a tad noisy for a while. Decided to tow our para vane and spinner today as we saw lots of diving Gannets. This resulted in me catching 1 mackerel and Ben catching 6 mackerel but only landed 4. Still it made for delicious fresh mackerel sandwiches when we moored up. Yum yum. Went for shower at the local leisure centre as we were told it was open till 9pm, so a bit disappointed to get there and be told it actually closed at 8. Time was 8-10pm. Darn. Shower in a can again and out for food. Indian tonight and very nice too even though we were the only customers. He did seem genuinely pleased to see us. Back on boat for night cap and games now so will sign off and write again tomorrow. Sleep well.


Forecast bad for next 2 days so looks like we are harbour bound. Been up tourist information and over to Bluebell cafe for breakfast. Showers are in the local Aqualibrium so headed over there to get clean. Was the same £3.40 for a shower or a swim so Ben, Chris and I went swimming then showered. Passed an hour nicely. Back to boat and sort out a bit before heading to town to find some cable ties and jubilee clips. Popped into some of the local establishments to check their wares before heading to the Bangladeshi Indian restaurant for food. Bit of a shock that they don't sell beer or wine. Nice food tho then back to the royal hotel for a pint before retiring to the boat. Only 3 games of sequence tonight of which Chris and Ben won 1. Then checked boat was secure before going to bed. Night all.


Lazy start but a hearty (or heart stopping) breakfast. My turn to chef this morning while Chris and Ben tightened the rigging. Doug sorting stuff at chart table ready for possible early departure tomorrow morning. More maintenance after breakfast with a clean up of galley area, replenish diesel and water plus a trip to the shops for food. Boat all sorted now and up The Black Sheep Pub for a lunch time passage planning meeting. It is a recently refurbished pub directly over the road from the pontoon gate, so convenient too. Have booked ourselves into the Royal hotel for evening meal at 9pm cos didn't fancy Indian again. Nice food in the hotel tonight and wine was ok too. Back to boat for a very quick nightcap then early to bed. Night all.


Strange ringing in my ears at 6 o'clock until I realised it was Chris's alarm. Yippee a days sailing ahead. Not so yippee now having looked out of the window. Chucking it down with rain and still feels to blowing a bit. Bloke on the boat opposite(Taplice,nice name), who told us he was heading to Bangor this morning, informed us that the met office was giving 5-7 south east today. Checked forecast on IPad and it was correct but due to drop off so we bit the bullet and suited up after a cuppa. Headed out of Cambeltown with 2 reefs and the number 4. Bit lumpy but not too bad. Soon lost a reef then set number 3 after lorn sausage sandwiches. Put kettle on hold to shake out last reef so now sailing well and not a force 7 in sight. Thankfully. Sun has come out and rain gone away so much cheerier teddies on Maelstrom now. Scotch pies for lunch but unfortunately the wind has died as forecast so under engine by about half 3. Hope to make Bangor early evening although tide is against us now. Arrived safely in Bangor NI at 19.55hrs and in marina berth E15. Been for a couple of pints and picked up a fish supper for tea. Ate on boat with a glass of red wine. We are aware that maybe white wine would be a better accompaniment for fish but out of white at the moment so will need to restock both wines soon. Just planning tomorrows trip before a quick shower and bed. Sleep well.


Maelstrom Scotland trip 2012 ( part 5 the sequel )

Friday 10th August.

Early start for the drive back to Glasgow. Picked up Ben at 6 then made our way to get Chris and Doug. Another one way hire courtesy of Europcar. Big thank you to David Silcox and his firm for all their help on our two journeys. Held up by 2 accidents on the motorway but not for too long thankfully. Arrived safely in Glasgow, dropped off car and taxi to Station to catch train to Oban. At station by 4pm and train not till 6-20pm so had a quick pint while we decided what to do to pass time. All of a sudden after much deliberation, and a couple more pints, oops and a meal, the time had suddenly passed so we got on train to Oban. Arrived at half 9 just in time to catch the awaiting ferry to the marina. Glad to see boat again and not too untidy but sleeping kit pretty mouldy, so sorted it as best we could, then off to marina bar to have a last pint before closing time. No whisky tonight as all very tired and mainly cos Chris forgot to bring our Tenby race prize. Early night for some much needed sleep. Night all.


Ben up early and off for a stroll but misjudged and ended up on a hike for 2 hours. Rest of us arose and settled down for a brew while waiting for Ben to return. Showers done then ferry to Oban to have some breakfast and get some shopping. Back to the boat early afternoon to start the job of getting boat ready to leave on Sunday. Rigging and mast done. Also reconnect all electrics for mast and refuel. Quick check of engine whilst the decks were washed and pillow cases cleaned and hung to dry. Been a busy afternoon so treated ourselves to welsh cakes with a cup oftea. Seem to have a huge supply of welsh cakes on this trip. Heading in to town to eat tonight before heading off tomorrow morning for Crinnan. Plan at the moment to try and complete trip as per the 1st attempt in June. Just need to avoid rocks. Very relaxing evening in Oban. At the Steakhouse before testing the beer in the Brewery bar and heading for the 11-10pm ferry back to the marina. There was a gentleman sleeping next to his beer bottle at the bottom of the slip way. We kept an eye on him till his wife turned up reassuring us that he was just very tired not drunk. Amazing how tiredness takes the use of your legs away. Good nightcap on boat with dice wins for Ben and Chris. Board game Sequence was a different story and by bedtime Doug and I had delivered a 3-1 defeat of Ben and Chris. Speaking of bedtime it's now 10 to 3 so best get some sleep as off sailing tomorrow. All looking forward to that. Night night.


Chris up like an old person at death O'clock. Kettle was on by 20 to 8 and the rest of us were wondering where the fire was. He is now cooking breakfast while we drink our morning cuppa and I write this. Giving 10-15 knot East South East winds today so should have a nice sail. Thought about diving under boat to check repair before leaving, but as no water coming in we have decided to trust in the skills of the shipwrights. Departed Oban marina at 11am and headed off towards the sound of Luing and past that "Darn Rock" . Gave the rock a very cautious berth although that didn't stop 4 pairs of eyes staring at it and maybe some under breath cursing. Had a cracking days sailing with full main and number 3 headsail. Wind anywhere from 14 to 25 knots giving a fetch for most of the day. Particularly breezy going thro the Dorus Mor(The big door), a tight channel between rocks on the approach to Crinan. Arrived safely in the Sea lock at Crinan by half 3. Went up to the local hotel and had evening meal in their Seafood Bar. Very nice too. Back on board now and it's only half nine. All fairly tired tonight so early night planned ready for trip through canal tomorrow. Very hard to find mobile signal here but have managed to get on broadband via BT Openzone. plan to head through canal tomorrow morning and stop at Tarbet tomorrow night. Bye for now.