Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fishguard and Cardigan

05:30. I've been awake for an hour. The forecast is now mist and fog, some rain, no wind. The visibility at the moment is fine, I can see Ramsay Island and passage bout 6 miles way to the North West.
On goes Freddie, up comes the anchor and we're off.

As we approach the Sound, the mist closes in. I can see the rocks that mark the beginning of the passage, can see the ones in the middle that we are to miss but can't see the ones at the far end that we are meant to line up on the get through the passage unscathed. The tide is turning and starting to push northwards.
I resort to a bit of instrument flying. The GPS on my IPAD shows a heading line for the boat eg the way the wind sea and Freddie are pushing us, irrespective of the way the boat is pointing. With heart in mouth, I line up this heading line with the "recommended" course line on the electronic chart.

We're committed.

Twenty minutes later we're through, having seen very little of the Sound. Visibility now gets worse, no more that 50 - 100 metres. I reduce speed to a slow crawl.

A gull, flying without the benefit of instruments, sees us at almost the last minute and catches it's wing on the forestay. It flutters off, no doubt wondering where we had come from.

Visibility improved after about an hour and we were able to continue up the coast of Pembrokeshire at a slightly increased speed but it was now obvious that we would not arrive at Cardigan in time to catch the tide into the river estuary.

I phone the Estate Agent. He wants to get our sale in his month's figures. We have a bargaining session and he agrees to go back to the Vendor. I phone the Owners Agent to tel her the news. He phones me back. We may have a deal.

I go silent as we enter Fishguard, narrowly avoiding (thanks to the AIS warning on the real GPS) a ferry bound for Ireland. I anchor in the pool at Lower Fishguard and phone the agent to get the deal finalised. The vendor now requires a new mortgage arrangement. Will it never be over?

Doris the dinghy is inflated and we go ashore. There's one pub in Lower Fishguard and it's shut. The sailing club is shut until 7pm.

Welsh weather.

Next morning we leave Fishguard, again in no wind and little visibility and Freddie pushes us up to the Teifi estuary at Cardigan. Here's where Swallow boats are based and I've arranged to use their mooring for a week or so. It's nerve wracking getting in - the estuary is shallow and there's a very narrow channel round the bar and into the estuary. Even more so than the instrument trip through the Ramsay Sound. We touch bottom twice before finding the mooring. Fortunately, we went in on a rising tide.......

Leaving Fishguard

Leaving Vagabond secure, under the watchful eye of Charlotte of Swallow boats, I make my way back to Bucks by three trains and two buses to find a Sale Agreed sign outside the house.

By the way, my old persons bus pass doesn't work in Wales - it's a separate country look you.

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