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OGA60 fleet departs Neyland

After an excellent welcome from the Bristol Channel Area OGA in Neyland, Milford Haven, seven boats from the OGA60 Round Britain Cruise fleet left on passage to Ireland and North Wales on Sunday 21 May: ‘Bonita’, ‘Indian Runner’, ‘Susan J’, ‘Lahloo’, ‘Barbarossa’, ‘Minstrel’ and ‘Moon River’. Four more left today: ‘Hilda’, ‘Recipe’, ‘Swift II’ and ‘Peggy’.

With the fleet on passage to Ireland, for the next ‘gathering of gaffers’, hosted by Dublin Bay OGA, we hear that Richard, skipper of ‘Lahloo’ has already left Arklow for Poolbeg as they need some urgent repairs to the mast.

Mike, skipper of ‘Bonita’, notes in his log: “Neyland is completely sheltered, but the northerlies are predicted to last for pretty much as far as the forecasters can forsee, which is concerning.” Despite the weather, everyone has had an enjoyable time in Neyland, “We have been well cared for while we are here by members of the Bristol Channel OGA who have put a lot of effort into making our visit a success.” Sadly, ‘Bonita’ will have to miss the gathering in Dublin and has sailed to North Wales.

The winds remain persistently from the north. On Sunday morning Jerry and I, after much discussion of likely and possible combinations of wind and tide,  decided to leave at first light to avoid deteriorating weather. With a spring tide behind us we soon passed the islands off SW Wales which are important bird sanctuaries and are surrounded by complicated swirling tides. Things slowed down considerably once the tide was against us. However, after 24 hr at sea we watched the sun come up behind the mountains of Snowdonia and entered the little port of Pwllheli. Due to other commitments, ’Bonita’ stays there for a few days, surrounded by white plastic until we hope to be able to rejoin the Gaffers further north.

Mike Beckett, ‘Bonita’

We hear that Barbara, sailing ‘Moon River’ to Ireland overnight, had to call the coastguard when all her electrics failed five miles off Kilmore Quay. Having been guided ashore safely by the lifeboat a local marine electrician fixed everything and she’s ready to continue up the Irish coast. “I could just see the coast faintly & hand steered on the same compass heading. I phoned the coastguard who sent out the lifeboat & they guided me in via St. Patrick’s bridge with rocks all around & under water.“

We bring two extracts from the ’Indian Runner’ log, with Sunday 21 May entitled “No plan survives the weather forecast”

Sunday 21 May: Last night we were all set to leave Neyland on Monday morning. However this morning (Sunday) it was clear that we either had to go this morning or wait until Tuesday. The calculations are tricky. The wind is important (direction, strength) but so are the tides and tidal streams. On this trip it seems as if we have had wind on the nose practically the whole way and today, so far, is no different. Our aim for this leg of the trip is to get to Kilmore Quay in Southern Ireland by tomorrow afternoon. At the moment (14.00) we are making painfully slow progress. Wind against us and being swept south by the tide. All is due to change in a few hours time. Fingers crossed. The plus side is that at the moment it is a glorious sunny day with a flat sea, so at least we are warm and not feeling seasick! The plan after Kilmore Quay, is that on Wednesday we travel to Arklow and then Thursday, Dublin, our next party port. Perfectly timed for Roger’s 75th birthday on Friday!

Monday 22 May: It felt quite something to sail away from mainland Britain to Ireland. The passage from Neyland to Kilmore Quay in Ireland went well, we arrived earlier than expected at about 0800. In fact we had to slow down for the last few miles as we didn’t want to negotiate the variety of rocks in the dark. Once again we were surrounded by wonderful porpoises who seemed to be playing on our bow wave. Tomorrow we leave here at 0530 am to catch a favourable tide to help us on our way to our next destination, Arklow, further north up the Irish Coast. 

Chris Hardman, ‘Indian Runner’