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It's Vince and Malcolm

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Fishguard to Milford Haven (Newland) 7th July 2007

6th July and the weather seemed to be getting better so we may be able to leave Fishguard today, there are four crew on the other yacht moored in the bay sheltering from the weather, and by lunch time the sea looked calm enough to set off. Tony and myself prepared to leave Fishguard, and set off with two reefs still in the main and the genoa furled two thirds in, but as we rounded Strumble Head, the sea was still rough and the wind instrument was showing 28 plus knots so I decided to come about and run back to our previous safe haven. I am sure Tony would have coped with the weather and I know the boat would have, but I felt Tony deserved better, and why take a beating and put extra strain on the rigging etc when it's not necessary. As we entered Fishguard, we headed for the buoy that was next to the other yacht, the crew were on deck preparing to leave, but they waited until we arrived at the buoy and asked why we had returned, on the news of the wind and sea conditions round Strumble Head, they too stayed put, and we joined them for a wee dram, they were from Glasgow, and heading for Spain. After an exchange of sailing tales and a few more drinks Tony and me went back to Anita and spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching the weather. The Fishguard to Rosslare ferry came in and left but nothing else moved.

Saturday 7th July and the weather is much improved, The tide dictated an early start so at 04:00 we were pleased to let go the mooring buoy and once again headed out to sea. I leave the reefs in the sails, until we could check the sea state, and the strength of the wind after we round Strumble Head. 05:20 and we round Strumble Head, the sea and wind F3 NNE is perfect we set full main and genoa and head for St David's Head, where we would once again check sea and wind conditions before deciding whether to pass through Ramsey Sound, or take the long route round the outside of the Bishops and Clerks rocks etc.

Its 08:50 and we have rounded St David's Head, to just north of Point St John, The sun is out and the day is warming up nicely, Tony is enjoying the more comfortable sailing experience, and we have arrived in perfect time for the tide to take us safely through Ramsey Sound, which will be another exiting experience for me as passing through narrow channels with the swirling waters caused by the tide passing over an undulating bottom. Passing the Point of St John we are running with the tide heading through the sound, there are rocks halfway through lying off Ramsey Island to starboard, but they are very visible and its easy to keep well clear. 09:20 and we have covered the two miles through the sound, heading for Scomer Island, seven plus miles south, across the Celtic Sea. Not knowing the channel inside, I decided to play safe, and stay outside Scomer Island. We altered course once past Scomer Island the course was set for St Ann's Head, just then the GPS went off, I turned it back on, and it went off again, I guess the batteries are too low, so its back to the paper chart, course to steer 121deg and we carry onto St Ann's Head just over six miles away. its nice and warm now so all is well and we are really enjoying the sail, Tony has stopped trying to photograph the birds, as he has enough bruises from loosing his balance and falling over.

We round St Ann's Head keeping about half a mile to the south, and head into Milford Haven following the channel buoys and heading for Neyland Yacht Haven, which is nine miles up river, the wind has dropped to F2/3 so we make slow progress up river taking in the scenery including the oil refinery and terminals where the tankers load and unload their cargoes, there is a cloud of fumes above us looking like a yellowish haze together with the smell of the fumes being released by the refineries. 13:00 and we have entered Neyland and moored at the visitor pontoon until we find where our allocated berth will be, we get booked in, move to the berth, and head for the restaurant for a hearty fish and chip meal.