0033 - Fishguard to Dale, Milford Haven

Fishguard was ok - until we heard a knock on the hull one morning - in short - we have to leave this place - pronto.


So, blowing up the dingy and rowing ashore to find some water and diesel was a quick, trip but carrying 50 litres of fuel and 25 litres of water, just over a mile was a true test of strength and endurance - but it had to be done in order to vacate this place.


Getting it all back into the dingy and rowing back to the yacht meant that I was soaked in sweat and could barely close my hands as they were just soo sore from carrying all that weight - but gotta do what needs to be done, regardless of whether it hurts or not.

We had planned to stay until Sunday but left on a Friday morning and the weather wasn't right for doing our super jump, but off we go further down the coast. We had learned of a pontoon to the South of us that we hope will be a refuge for a day or so, but some new situations would change our other plans...but we would start our trip with a rainbow...just a single rainbow - but a rainbow nonetheless...

Leaving the mooring ball and slowly making our way out of the harbour, we head out toward one last bonus stop in Wales.

So we're headed to a place called Milford Haven - It's not a long trip but the place is located just to the South and it would put us in a more prime position for our jump to the South Coast.

As we got around the breakwater, we were on our way...moving slowly against the current we had tried to time our arrival at Saint David's to be that of a beneficial one, but - the current was perhaps a little stronger than I had thought and the winds were not as strong as I had hoped - so we were a little behind.

But the scenery was nice though...love all the fields of green all along this bit of coastline, plus we passed Strumble Head Lighthouse that was still flashing, I guess it flashes all day...

After we passed the lighthouse, things started to pick up - quite a bit in fact, and the sailing got quite interesting as we started to pick up speed - really shifting at 7 knots.

Looking ahead, I decided to slow the boat and put a reef into the mainsail - just to be safe(er), but perhaps I should have put a double reef in the sail, but, well - hindsight being 20/20 - meh - you live and learn...

At Saint David's we had considered going through Ramsey Sound - but we were late and missed the slack tide, plus the winds had picked up yet again. With the wind up to 30 knots, rain, and currents on the rise we decided to give it a skip - we'll just go around these islands...

Take a look at this place - Would you go in there? From the cockpit, it just looked too sketchy. The way this place is with all the rocks in combination with the high winds and currents - this place, if not taken correctly, can become a trap. #Nochances.

I was told that Ramsey Sound was gorgeous when the inside route is taken, but today just wasn't right...the real story is that we probably would've been fine, but there's still that little chance of the unknown...but I was quite pleased with the outside route and it only added about 20 minutes to our journey time, plus we got a chance to see the islands that live behind Ramsey Island.


There are three little groups of Islands behind Ramsey - 'North Bishop'

... And the other two, 'The Bishops and Clerks', and 'South Bishop Island' with the lighthouse visible in the distance...

...and then there was also this rock, all by its lonesome...

Ramsey Island itself was interesting to look at, just a very imposing little island with a tiny beach on the westside, I can't imagine too many people walk that beach too often.


It was also around this point that the wind and waves really began to pick up...

Next up was Skomer Island, we were also going to go in between Skomer and the Mainland, but we were on the outside and just stayed there.

The cut-through between Skomer and the Mainland is another sketchy place, and we had missed out tidal/current window and just decided to play it safe and stay to the West of what could be, trouble...was a shame really, was kinda hoping to have got a bit closer for a better look, but it just is what it is...

It was at the back of this island we got blasted with 41 knot winds - I was able to come off the wind a bit to protect the Mainsail, but I couldn't shorten the genoa quick enough and it started to tear...

The gust only lasted for about four minutes, but that's all that was needed to rip a hole in the already weak sail...by the time we got into Milford Haven the hole had grown to a 6ft tear right where the UV strip had been ripped off behind the Island of Arran some weeks ago - to be honest - it was going to happen sooner or later...

After passing Skomer Island, there was one last Island we were going to pass by called Skokholm Island - and we would be passing between this island and the mainland as just past the Eastside of the island is the turn-in for Milford Haven.

Now sailing with the current, we were going by everything very quickly, but the current was also pushing us into this island a little faster than I would've liked, a quick adjustment to our course got us back on track, well sort of, but away from this island...

Tearing the sail is bad news for our trip South, we need that sail - it will have to be repaired - and soon - not exactly sure what the heck we're going to do - but we're going to have to figure something out just directly...

We hadn't planned on coming here, but with a damaged sail, now, we need to stop...we can't continue with this sail - if we continue to use it - the rip will just get bigger and more expensive to repair...the high winds were now much less but the waves remained as we approached Saint Anne's Lighthouse that marks the corner we have to go around...

Getting around the corner wasn't too difficult with the current and 20 knots of wind behind us - it was no sweat - but the waves were still a bit in the chunky side as we passed the lighthouse...

After passing the Port (red) channel marker things seemed to settle down and the remainder of the trip was quite smooth, and we were almost to the pontoon at Dale.

I'm glad that we're here. This trip wasn't planned or expected - and to be honest - it was a pain leaving Fishguard at the wrong time with the weather not being as we wanted it - but in a way, I'm glad the sail failed here and not halfway across the Bristol Channel or as we rounded Land's End. At least here there are some humans here who might be able to help us get this problem, and a few others, fixed.

As well as the sail, there seems to be an issue at the top of the mast and an important piece of safety gear, our AIS, has stopped working, a window has started to leak after getting hit with a huge wave... but, geez, this day is just about done...

After 1500 km - things are beginning to break on the regular - and that's to be expected, but I had kinda hoped things would have held together for just a bit longer. I am sure I can fix everything but I will need a touch of help - but we shall see what happens, and once we get to Dale - I'm going to have to make a new plan.

Arriving in Dale, we found the pontoon empty - except for a few birds who were not happy to see us and left as soon as we got there. This is a strange pontoon, just sitting in the middle of a bay...but it'll do for tonight.

But now, it's time for something to eat for both the crew and myself - with our rushed departure breakfast was skipped for all onboard.

Sorry if this post seems a bit rushed, but, yeah, it was - a lot has been going on to get us back underway - but I think if we hemorrhage the last of our funds on parts we should be on our way just directly - either way, we'll figure something out - tomorrow is going to be an interesting day...it will be a true test of the Captain's resourcefulness, I have complete faith ;)

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