July 26, 2006

Getting excited

Off sailing in the CATRI 24 trimaran on Friday. Weather looking exciting. The plan is to sail to Porth Dinllaen on Friday, anchor for tea then choose our moment to nip through Bardsey Sound at slack water and take overnight shelter at Aberdaron or Abersoch, depending upon the wind direction. The forecast changes each time I look it up! With stiff southerlies we might be better staying at Porth Dinllaen as a favourable tide through Bardsey would mean wind against tide and rough water so we may reach across to Arklow in Ireland and spending a day there waiting for the wind to veer before heading back across to Pembrokeshire!

If we stay on the Welsh side of the Irish Sea again the wind direction will have some bearing on where we go in Cardigan Bay and which direction we sail in but it seems a shame to bypass the magnificence of the Snowdonia mountain scenery by sailing due south to Newquay. Anyway the wind is predicted to be from the south so sailing across to Aberdovey for lunch and Newquay for supper might be a good plan.

Then it's probably a pause at Fishguard to await the right moment to tackle Ramsey Sound and possibly also Jack Sound en route for Milford Haven where we will take stock before crossing the Bristol Channel. It's a small comfort that all these headlands and sounds have been written about in a book called "FEARSOME PASSAGES". Complusive reading before this trip!

It would be nice to pass by Lundy Island and if possible even stop there, especially as we know somebody who will be staying there at the time. But the tidal flow and the tidal range (supposedly 2nd highest in the world) in the Bristol Channel combined with the Atlantic swell and probably stiff SW winds make this an objective that will require careful planning before we set off. We may have to wait in Milford Haven. Apparently one does not get a comfortable night's sleep anchored off Lundy so we are probably best not stopping there but only pausing, if we go there at all.

Another consideration has to be the time of arrival at Padstow because of the bar and the lock into the town harbour, which we may have to avoid and use the dinghy anyway in order to time our departure for St Ives. Lots to think about as we plan ahead each day.

The tidal gate at Lands End favours northerly passages and so we have to leave St Ives at the right time to get around to Penzance. Here we will take stock again giving consideration to the wind, sea state and tides before we depart for L'Aber Wrach at the tip of Brittany. 100 miles averaging 6 knots will take us over 16 hours. But we can go faster than this, much faster, if the wind is in the right direction and the sea state moderate or less. We'll have to wait and see.

Once there we have to tackle the Chenal de Four, a narrow passage that again has to be timed just right and many British boats wait at L'Aber Wrach for the right moment to leave.

Once through we can take our leisure. I would like to visit Camaret sur Mer and drop in on Ronan Dollo who lives near Brest on the coast before sailing up to the sea lock on the River Aulne, which is apparently 11.5m wide so we do not need to fold TARDIS to get through. Then it's up the river to Chateaulin, our destination.

If you wish to meet us and see one of the most exciting small trimarans in the world and especially if you are thinking about buying a CATRI 24 and wish to join us on one of these legs then please phone me on my mobile +44 (0)7985 043 981. If you cannot get through you should find that I have left a message saying where I am sailing from and to each day.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 11:15 AM

July 17, 2006

CATRI 24 plans for summer

I have been training my trimaran crew for the summer at Holyhead. Practising knots, folding etc. Unfortunately no sailing as the weekend before last when we were there a severe gale blew up. So all we could practise was securing her well and attempting to sleep on board. Useful stuff though. And we are getting better at folding and assembly, launching and retrieval from the water. Discovering the snags so that I can write the manual!

Round turn and...how many half hitches? Half-folded Note wooden spacer to provide extra stability when folded. This is removed for trailing width.

TARDIS, the boat from the future, will only be in Holyhead for another 10 days. On 28th I intend to set sail for France via Porth Dinllaen, Bardsey Sound, Aberdaron, Cardigan Bay maybe visiting Aberdovey or New Quay or possibly taking in Ireland but unlikely, Milford Haven, Bristol Channel, Padstow, north Cornwall coast, St Ives, Lands End, Penzance (where we may be for a while waiting for the right weather opportunity) and thence across the mouth of the English Channel, or should we call it the Atlantic, to L'Aber Wrach, the Chenal de Four, Camaret sur Mer, Brest and ultimately Chateaulin on the river Aulne.

This could take us three days or two weeks depending upon the wind and our inclination.

I have not decided yet where TARDIS will stay thereafter. Chateaulin is free mooring - very tempting. She is of course always FOR SALE but will not be available till after this trip.

If you wish to have a demo of the CATRI 24 trimaran and you can join us on one of these legs at short notice then call me on my mobile +44 (0)7985 043 981. Only really room for one. I shall be leaving a message on the mobile saying where I am sailing from and to each day so you can catch up with us if you are unable to speak to me personally.

If you are out there and can get a good photo of us then please email it to me.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 07:23 PM

July 03, 2006

Essence of Trailer Sailing

Yesterday we took advantage of one of the greatest assets of the Magnum 21 trimaran, its trailability.

It was 29 degrees in Chester so we decided to go sailing at Colwyn Bay along the North Wales coast, only about an hours drive away, even in the heavy traffic.

When we got there the sky was a threatening grey, the visibility was poor with high humidity and rain over the sea. We could just make out the sun was still shining on the Great Orme. A glance at the outside temp revealed a cold front. It was only 22 degrees. A little further on it was raining and the temperature was only 18 degrees! We kept driving.

We tried to contact some people we knew further away in Wales to get an idea of the weather but couldn't so we rang the Marine Call weather service. What a great service. The forecast for the West Wales Coast was good and we should be on the other side of the Snowdonia mountain range so hopefully out of the rain.

At Porthmadog we missed the turning for Black Rock Sands but then stumbled upon Criccieth. What a lovely little town. An accessible slipway with virtually nobody using it. One yacht moored for lunch in the bay. Calm water. Sunshine. A magnificent view. By the time we had had lunch and assembled and launched the trimaran with the sea mirror flat there was still enough wind to sail out of the bay at 3 knots. Then with the spinnaker we were able to achieve speeds of almost six knots. This in a westerly just force 1 to 2. It was scorching hot in the late afternoon.

We stopped out near the Porthmadog fairway buoy by furling the jib and letting go of the tiller so that she looked after herself and then practised reefing. Later with a slightly stronger breeze, now from the NNW we were able to beat back to Criccieth at the same speed, about 5.5kn. It was an ideal day for training my novice crew.

On the way home we drove again through Colwyn Bay where they had evidently had torrential downpours and localised flooding. If we had had a boat on a mooring at Conway, say, we would have had a miserable day. As it was, we only had to drive another 3/4 hour further with the Magnum 21 and we had a great day.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 03:35 PM