Early May Bank Holiday Cruise in Company report

may01The crews of 11 boats from Caernarfon, 1 from Y Felinheli & 2 from Conwy/Deganwy were up bright and early and away from their berths around 0730 on Saturday 5th May to sail in company to Holyhead. It was a cold morning with a fresh North Easterly wind so it was a case of motorsailing all of the way through the Swellies and up to Puffin Sound, where the 2 boats from Conwy & Deganwy joined the flotilla which, by then, was quite spread out due to the range of sizes of the boats, from 25’ up to 39’.

Once through Puffin Sound we were able to dispense with the services of the “donk” and sail on a reach all the way to Point Lynas – the seas were quite lumpy approaching Lynas and all the way past Middle Mouse where the tide was running very strongly, kicking up some overfalls and strange flat patches where the wind seemed to
coincidentally fall light.

One of the boats, Kiwi, being sailed solo by Andy suffered an engine problem (overheating and no cooling water passing) and when the wind again fell light close to Carmel Head (not good timing with the tide running at 6 knots) Aslan offered to take her in tow for the rest of the way to Holyhead. The tow was successfully passed without incident in the turbulent water close to Passage & Carmel rocks and we continued on our may02way. Once inside the breakwater I hauled Kiwi alongside Aslan and the “Sadler 29 catamaran” berthed in a vacant bay in the marina where there were lots of willing hands from the rest of our flotilla to take our lines. Dave from Simo put on his mechanic’s hat and, after a bit of detective work it turned out the impellor, which looked perfect (and which Andy had checked when the engine alarm first sounded), had in fact failed and the rubber part that has the “fins” had come apart from the central metal hub so that the cam in the water pump was turning just the central hub and not the rubber fins. (Some other skippers said they had also come across this happening so, in the event of overheating engines, it would seem a wise move to change the impellor even if it appears OK!).


Martin Ellis and Martin Rigby arrived from the Isle of Man to further swell the ranks to 15 boats – a record number for one of our cruises in company by a long way (at least since I’ve been arranging them).

It was very busy at Holyhead marina with over 30 visiting boats including our party so it was not possible to eat together at the HSC this time – some ate on board, some went in search of a new Chinese restaurant and some went to the Indian restaurant, but all met back in the HSC bar later for a beer or two and some pleasant chat. I’ve since heard that it was chaotic in the HSC restaurant with long waits for food so maybe it’s a good thing that we “did our own thing” this time! There is a rumour that the Commodore was lead astray on one of the boats later until the wee small hours, but I cannot confirm or deny this as I, for once, was well behaved and in my bunk while it was still Saturday!

may04The forecast for Monday was not looking good so we decided to head back to the Straits on Sunday – David and Jenny on Huckleberry Friend left at 0900 to go back to Conwy via the North coast after waiting at Cemaes for a few hours for low water. The rest of the fleet left at a variety of times to round the Stacks with the ebb – there was very little wind so most of the passage had to be made under engine.may05 Those that left early anchored at Llanddwyn to await the tide before continuing back to Caernarfon. I decided to carry on to Rowen Bay near Y Felinheli where we had a quiet night sheltered from the
SE wind which freshened on Monday morning and returned to Caernarfon at HW on Monday.

All in all a very well attended and successful rally which, I think, everyone enjoyed. Thanks to all who came and I hope that you will all be able to make it to future events.


Geoff Hilditch

Pictures by Geoff Hilditch, Ian Cuthbertson and
Dave Calvert and his shiny new camera..

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