Sunday, 6 February 2011

Wet and Windy

The picture above is a watercolour from my sketchbook. It shows Druidstone Haven with 2 tankers at anchor in St Brides Bay.

It reminds me of a trip we took across St Brides Bay in our sailing boat. The forecast had been quite good and we left Solva heading for Milford Haven. We set out and started crossing the bay at a good rate with a medium wind on our beam. After 20 minutes the wind started to pick up to point where we had to reef our sails, (reduce them). We couldn’t return to Solva as the tide was going out and were committed to our course.

The wind was soon over 30 knots and we were going like a train with hardly any sail up (something like the size of a handkerchief). Our problem was we had to go through a really difficult piece of water (Jack Sound) at exactly slack water and we didn’t know what the conditions were on the other side. It was raining and blowing hard now.

We locked our dog below and closed everything up attaching ourselves to the boat with lifelines. The wind was now showing over 36 knots, gusting more, and the seas were nasty with waves breaking right over the boat. We negotiated Jack Sound and fortunately the conditions were no worse the other side. We heard a distress message from outside Solva but there was nothing we could do about it. We got to the entrance to Milford Haven hoping the wind would not have shifted. We were lucky and fought our way up the Haven to shelter under the cliffs and drop our anchor next to a professional sailing yacht, which had been sheltering all morning.

We were very tired wet and glad to go below and fall asleep. It was not the strongest wind we had ever been in but it was the worst conditions. Had we known the conditions were going to deteriorate anything like that we would not have left Solva.

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