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It's Vince and Malcolm

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Milford Haven to Padstow 8th July 2007

Tony has to leave for home today so we check the train times and routes so he can order a taxi in time to get to the station, we part company mid morning and he heads off for the station. I return to the boat to decide what time to leave for Padstow.  Its about 70 miles to Padstow, and I can enter the harbour at ?? before high water, so I plan to leave at 16:00 which will leave me enough time to arrive before the tide beats me. Low water would be good. I am going to re-set the tiller pilot before I leave to see if that is the problem, I did re-set at Fishguard but its still getting lost.

12:50 and I motor out of Neyland, set the main and motor sail down river heading for Dale Roads where there is plenty of room to motor round in circles while the tiller pilot re-sets. That done I head out to sea and set a course for Padstow, and soon found out I will be steering the boat myself. This will be a long night. 18:00. Course 173 deg wind F4 SW close hauled under full sail, and sailing well. the weather is clear with some showers, the forecast is good for the voyage, so I shouldn't have any problems, I will keep a good lookout for shipping leaving the Bristol Channel, but it's a big area, and any shipping should be fairly scarce. the strong tides of the Bristol Channel will not affect me as I will be well out to sea.

20:00 and Lundy is in sight on the port quarter about 15 miles away my course is 180 deg to stay on track for the waypoint, the GPS is working fine since I charged the batteries at Neyland, and there are two ships heading out to sea and towards me. I check their bearing and keep a watchful eye, I re check their bearing after fifteen minutes, which puts me well past their courses. A call on the VHF confirms that I have been seen by both watches, but it is still and anxious time, as I am crossing their bows. The first ship passes astern with plenty of sea room as does the second ship, and I bid them farewell as they head on their way.

21:40 and the sun is setting quite spectacularly through the black and pink/red clouds. There are some nasty looking black clouds ahead which look very menacing, so I put three reefs in the main and roll the genoa in half way. As the clouds close the wind builds to F5, and I sail on. Anita 'A' is handling well and ploughing through the swell, the spray hood  shields me from the spray, and I feel good. I have had some drinks but not too much to eat and am feeling a bit peckish, so when the wind drops to 6kn at 23:00 I take the opportunity to grab some hot food and drink as I suspect this is the lull before the storm. I eat and drink in comfort in the saloon and even have time to clear away before the wind returns, which it does at 03:45. F5/6 W with monsoon like rain, and Anita 'A' is off again. The maelstrom is gone again by 04:30, and the wind is back down to 6kn, so its engine on and motor sail towards my destination, I have noted one good thing while heading south, while helming the boat during a long passage alone, if you loose concentration for too long, the boat rounds up and the sail's flap, which quickly alerts the helmsman to concentrate and to stay on course.

At 06:45 I motor sail into the River Camel, and avoiding the sand bank to starboard, I motor up river and pick up a spare buoy outside Padstow Harbour. 07:30 and after a mug of tea, I climb into my bunk for a well earned rest, and to wait for the tide to allow me to enter the harbour. I am awake at 11:25 in time to make breakfast, before I let go the buoy and head on through the lock into the harbour, where the harbour master directs me to a berth rafted up alongside Sualis. I am the fourth boat out, and being the smallest shouldn't have any other boats rafting up to me. The sun is shining as I cross the decks of the other yachts and venture into the town for a look around, and to do some shopping. First purchase will be a full meal pasty as recomended by Steve Kaye from work.