Why do it?
Hello again. Once more the time for a blog update has come around.
Well, in the dark hours of Saturday night and Sunday morning while the majority of you were tucked up nice and warm in bed I was in the middle of the Irish Sea battling against some pretty challenging conditions and stormy seas.
So…..Why do it?
I think it must be something about the challenge and the sense of freedom it gives. We were on what is called a Milebuilder Cruise in which the aim is to build up mileage for people wishing to progress further in their training and gain experience. This particular one was for 5 days and started off from Fleetwood on Wednesday afternoon.
It was quite an easy sail over to Piel Island on the Wednesday and the evening gave us another beautiful sunset to behold. We then planned on heading south towards Anglesey where we would spend the night on anchor before continuing on to Dublin. As we were around half way there the weather became quite challenging so instead of our original planned anchorage I decided to head into a small fishing harbour called Amlwch (pronounced…Amluck). Unfortunately there were no places available to moor so it was further west to Cemaes Bay but with the direction of wind and lack of depth of water we were unable to get far enough into the bay to get any shelter.
Our only option as night was falling was to make a dash for Holyhead. Fortunately the tide was in our favour as we rounded the infamous Carmel Head where the tide was running at 6 knots! Yes….6 knots, that’s almost seven miles per hour.
Anyway, as we neared Holyhead the night had fallen and the winds had now increased to 25 knots which is not ideal for mooring up in, especially as it was dark as well. We managed to eventually moor up and made something to eat and take some well earned rest. The weather forecast wasn’t too brilliant and proved to be quite accurate as the next day we were greeted with gale force winds. I made the decision to stay in harbour because to choose to go out in such conditions is at best foolhardy if not just plain stupid. Even though I have sailed in many challenging conditions and have plenty experience and training in such conditions and would never put anyone in what I see as potentially dangerous conditions. All the crew were in agreement and we spent the day relaxing onboard.
This left me with the decision to either battle on against wind and tide to Castletown or come up with a contingency plan.
Although it would mean over 24hrs of continuous sailing I decided to bypass the Isle of Man and head back to Fleetwood. My reasoning was the fact that the two crew who were suffering quite badly would be out of commission for quite some time so I thought they would appreciate getting back on land sooner rather than later and they wouldn’t suffer any longer. Had I chose Castletown we would have spent the night on anchor and they would still have a 10 hour sail against the wind to face when they recovered.
Heading straight to Fleetwood meant that when they did recover and come out of their cabins they would at least be nearer land. When they did rise they appreciated my decision and were relieved to be back a few hours earlier than planned.
I wasn’t alone for the marathon sail as there was one other crew member who joined me and we survived the stormy night by taking the odd cat nap. It wasn’t all bad though, as the evening wore on we were treated to a view of the celestial bodies above as the sky cleared.
I am pleased to say that not all the voyages are like this and I’m just blogging this to show the other side of the sport and that we must never get complacent in respecting the sea and the power of nature. Milebuilders are generally for people with experience but it just goes to show that NOBODY is immune from sea sickness even experienced sailors can suffer. I am pleased to say that there are more good days than bad days at sea and if the weather forecast is, in my opinion too challenging for the experience of people onboard I would postpone rather than have people suffer.
So….Why do it?…… I love it, and I’m sure you will too. Whether it’s just a sailing experience day or a weekend trip or even….a week’s cruise around the Greek Islands with us. You will experience the thrill of being powered by Mother Nature and even learn some new skills. In addition to this you’ll find out about how relative the sea is to our history and everyday life.
So that’s about it for now, I think I deserve some well earned sleep but if you’d like to try us have a visit of our site. I’ve got lots happening, Half & Full Day Sails, Weekend trips to Piel Island, a Father’s Day Cruise and Greek Island Cruises. The page will have more dates posted soon as well.
Thanks for reading Andy