Tuesday, April 30, 2024

2024 April 30th days 27 - 32, 2 steps forward, 1 back.

I did go into the harbour early on Thursday mainly because rain was forecast all day on Friday and I needed to walk into Penzance to do my laundry and I did not want to get wet. That was done, Friday was, as promised, wet and miserable and 3 solo sailors heading north spend the drier periods lamenting our fate. Saturday was spent visiting sailing friends in Hale.

Sunday was another wet day but it looked as if there would be a brief window on Tuesday to get to Milford Haven, then on Monday the inshore forecast predicted seas would be moderate of rough from Lands End to St Davids Head becoming rough, probably due to strong winds to the SW or Ireland. 

That evening I downloaded all of the available weather maps, 6 of them, for the next 7 - 10 days, no two agreed due to uncertainty over the position of a complex low pressure area off Ireland and how it would develop, what was clear however was that none suggested an easy passage up the Irish Sea and the possibility of strong winds coming from different directions in quick succession as fronts moved through, some models showing very strong winds likely on Thursday, possibly from the SE or SSE in Milford Haven which would mean a long trip up the river for a secure anchorage. Also tides to go up the coast of Wales were very inconvenient and a leg direct to Ireland would require a very early start (03:00 ish) to clear "The Smalls" before the tide turned adverse at several knots.

I posted on Facebook:

This weather is crazy, I might be able to get away tomorrow but it is looking unlikely with the sea state currently forecast to be rough tomorrow. And rough around Land’s End is seriously nasty. If I don’t leave tomorrow then I probably won’t be able to for a week due to strong head winds or no wind plus unfavourable tides. I suspect I will be heading back to the Fal to live on the anchor for a week to avoid berthing fees at Newlyn 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

Tuesday morning the 07:00 inshore forecast had improved somewhat but not by much:

Lyme Regis to Lands End including the Isles of Scilly - Strong wind warning

24 hour forecast: Southerly or southwesterly 4 to 6, occasionally 7 at first, decreasing 2 to 4 later. Moderate or rough becoming slight or moderate in east and later elsewhere. Rain then showers later. Moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

Lands End to St Davids Head including the Bristol Channel - Strong wind warning

24 hour forecast: Southerly or southeasterly 4 to 6, occasionally 7 at first in west, decreasing 2 to 4 later. Slight or moderate in east, moderate or rough in west. Rain or showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.

So decision made,  the sea state, weather (still raining as I write at 10:30 and like to continue well into the afternoon) compounded by a lack of sleep due to surge coming into the harbour causing the mooring lines to creak very loudly every few seconds, made worse by the weight of a 34 foot boat that is rafted up on me. Due to tidal gates around Land's End I could not leave till about 11:30 for an all night sail getting to Milford late afternoon or early evening on Wednesday but possibly having to motor for the last few hours as the wind goes light then turning into a headwind.

I will be moving back to the Fal tomorrow a.m. for a few days, I would go now but for the rain and the tide turning adverse and against a F4-6 wind before I could get round The Lizard (waves are predicted to be c3 metres, not allowing for tidal effects), tomorrow the wind will be much lighter. With the wind all over the place I will probably spend some time at St Mawes and some up the river switching between them as the wind changes - at least it will give me something to do some days.

One or two of the other boats here may well be leaving, but they are all bigger with younger skippers, I am not changing my revised plan, although I can't say I am pleased with progress, 16 days weather bound in 32 and 400 miles to get to Newlyn before retreating to the Fal.

Back to St Mawes

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