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OGA60: crossing to South Wales

Most of the OGA60 Round Britain fleet have arrived in South Wales. ‘Cygnet of London’, ‘Lahloo’ and ‘Susan J’ are exploring the area around Dale whilst others are berthed in Neyland. Single hander, ‘Charlotte’ crossed the Bristol Channel overnight and is arriving in Milford Haven today. Welcomed by the Bristol Channel Area of the OGA, the fleet is enjoying the opportunity to relax after the long passage from Cornwall. In this post we bring extracts from some skippers’ logs and social media channels.

‘Susan J’ makes landfall SW Pembrokeshire, Wednesday 17 May, after pleasant sail until dawn, then no wind. Peaceful night at Dale. Sailing out of W Channel this morning, towards Skomer for lunch. Tides all wrong so engine exercise!

Julie Patuck, ‘Susan J’

Blue boats in Newlyn Harbour: ‘Moon River’, ‘Step Back in Time’ and ‘Lahloo’. A lovely few days in one of our busiest fishing ports before heading round Lands End . . . Rounding a rather peaceful Lands End, although Longships lighthouse shows where the teeth are! Then on to Padstow, guarded by swirling tides off Trevose Head with it’s classic lighthouse and into the lovely and surprisingly quiet harbour. #rbc60 rolls on towards Wales.

Richard Bailey, ‘Lahloo’

We left Newlyn on Tuesday 16 May at 0700 for a long journey to Neyland at Milford Haven. Our first bit of excitement came as we were rounding Lands End and were effectively cut up by ‘The Scillonian’. Even before this, ‘the Scillonian’ was not my favourite boat. We took it some years ago with Ellie to St Mary’s. Roberta and I were very ill. Anyway on this occasion ‘The Scillonian’ decided that rather than leave two small yachts to port, she would come up between us, travelling at great speed. Issie took decisive action and the upside was that the ferry passengers enjoyed the show. Yet again the wind was against us from the north, so we had to motor sail. Wind aside it was an enjoyable part of our journey but as the day turned into evening, the wind picked up (still against us!) and the sea became rougher and the boat a bit more uncomfortable. Despite the movement of the boat, the crew managed very efficiently to add 10 litres of diesel on the move, without either spilling the diesel or getting water in the fuel tank. As the sun started to go down and it became colder Issie and I weren’t really feeling like dinner and poor Issie’s sea sickness got worse. She was brilliant – very stoical and just got on with it. We took three hour watches and I think all of us were longing for the end of our watch when we could lie down in the warm. The bucking boat didn’t worry us when we were lying flat. I think we all slept well in three hour snatches. Roger and I finished our watch at 0500 and had the best surprise when we woke at 0800 to find the sea calmer, the sun shining and best of all finding our boat surrounded by porpoises playing alongside for at least an hour. It was so joyful. As the wind died down we approached Milford Haven. Once you reach the entrance of the river it is still another 8 miles to the marina at Neyland. We were happy and tired to reach our berth and joy of joy, have a shower after our 36 hour journey. The staff at the marina and local OGA members were fantastic and we had a lovely welcome.

Chris Hardman, ‘Indian Runner’

After a long night at sea motoring into a light head wind, at dawn we saw the gentle hills of Milford Haven. The gaffers are gathering at Neyland, about 8 miles into the Haven, a rural spot though to get there you go past quays, oil storage depots and moored tankers. This, as far as I know, is Bonita’s first visit to Wales as when we went round Britain ten years ago we kept to the west side of the Irish Sea. We had to buy her a courtesy flag with a Welsh dragon on it. There were several Gaffers at the marina, with more arriving later and some due tomorrow. ‘Bonita’ was moored with the prawner ‘Laura’. ‘Laura’ was built by Crossfields at Arnside in 1906, and with both boats together it’s interesting to see some of the differences between them and how the design progressed over the 20 or so years that separate them. ‘Laura’ has been well restored and at one time was well known as a racing boat. She looked in very good condition and is currently kept in North Wales. The Bristol Channel Gaffers welcomed us with drinks and a fish and chip supper and made us feel that now in Wales and with Lands End behind us the Round Britain cruise has really begun.

Mike Beckett, ‘Bonita’