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  1. #1
    Marlin is offline Registered User
    Location : Y Felinheli/Sheffield
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    Default N Wales to Scilly Planning

    We are planning our summer sailing trip and the Scillies are hot favourite at present. I have 3 weeks of annual leave available so the plan as it stands would be for my dad and I to sail down to Penzance, as fast as possible (within reason for 2 man crew), pick up our good ladies and cross to the Scillies for a week, then the reverse for the way home. The boat is a Moody 33 with fin keel drawing ~1.4m, and we tend to get the motor on if we slip under 5kt SOG and we’re in a hurry, so that’s a good minimum speed for passage planning. We both know the boat pretty well, he has a lot of experience and single-hands regularly; I’ve done a bit of skippering with only inexperienced crew, have just finished YM shore-based and am mile building for YM Offshore, but haven’t sailed single-handed. We’re prepared to do 24hr legs if necessary but would rather stop for an evening meal and sleep, and to see something along the way, if time/weather allow.

    With that in mind our proposed route is Menai – Bardsey/Pwllelli – Skomer/Dale – Lundy – Padstow – Penzance – Scilly. We could skip a stop or two if the weather slows us down early on or threatens to slow us later. What are our options in a NW when we get to Cornwall? When does Padstow become untenable? Could we tuck into the bay at St Ives for some shelter? Any good ideas for an alternative route if we’ve got steady SW all week as that would make for a pretty unrewarding journey - maybe via Ireland would make more sense in this circumstance? Does anyone know of an online source for tidal atlases of this area so I can do some further armchair planning?

    On Scilly my dad and his partner would be shore based while my partner and I would stay on the boat and offer ferry service to the other pair. How practical is this plan with the littering of rocks between the islands – presumably some of the passages between islands are only tenable at high/slack states of tide? Are there likely to be ample moorings available in late July/early Aug? If not we have a Bruce, but have heard the bottom is mostly weed so perhaps this isn’t terribly well suited? I have bought Gibson’s Sailors Guide to IoS but have only browsed through so far so I may actually have some of these answers in there, I will have a proper read tonight.

    Finally, any tips on the shore based accommodation? I guess this is going to be a challenge in high season whilst maintaining the flexibility needed for arriving (and leaving) by sail.

  2. #2
    MoodySabre's Avatar
    MoodySabre is offline Registered User
    Location : Bradwell and Leigh-on-Sea
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    Buy this month's YM for a guide on access to Padstow. This is a single hop from Dale about 70nm. You would save quite a bit of time and effort stopping at Skomer instead. Timing of the tide round Ramsey is important.

    A good read of the pilot is necessary for rock dodging round the Scillies but it is beautiful and worth the effort.

    If you have a mooring in St Mary's harbour then ferrying to and from in a dinghy is OK - weather is everything!

    We did Scillies back to Dale in one hop 120nm but fully crewed on a Co32.

    Having stayed on St Mary's too my impresssion is that it is expensive. Scillypete may know some good places.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    I sailed from Port Dinorwic to the Scillies in a 32ft yacht in July of 2008.

    The outward route was departure late afternoon friday from Dinorwic as soon as the lock gates opened, south through the straits against the tide and then a beautiful evening sail down the Lleyn peninsula with splendid sunset. Short summer darkness and decided to press on past Aberystwith without stopping, similarly passed Skomer and exciting passage through Ramsey Sound (fair tide essential) arrived Padstow about 02.00hrs sunday morning. used engine for about four hours in middle of saturday to maintain progress, like you had target of five knots. Should have used it a bit more on this leg but enjoyed the peace too much. Three days in Padstow enjoying beach holiday before very early wednesday morning departure for Falmouth. Had to stop short at Newlyn (15.00hrs same day) due to headwinds and sea state and crew comfort. Brisk sail to Falmouth next day. Three days relaxation visiting museum and pottering in the estuary. Left Falmouth monday 10.00hrs, arrived St Mary's 19.00hrs ish via Crow Sound. Plenty of moorings available for 32ft boat and helpful harbour master in launch. A lot of French yachts with crew who practised peeing over the side. A few German yachts who did not. Departed three days later at 03.00hrs friday just as daylight started to appear via north west passage. Intended to stop in region of Milford Haven, but couldn't bear to waste strong south westerly late afternoon same day so pressed on arriving Holyhead evening of next day. Back to Dinorwic next day via north of Anglesey.

    I do not have personal experience of St Ives. The Irish coast is worth a holiday in itself, but may seriously distract you from your objective. From your description of boat and crew I would press on to your objective if the weather is fair - unless travelling is as important as arriving.
    Last edited by lotusman; 13-04-12 at 13:44. Reason: .

  4. #4
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    Oct 2010
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    We've done Conwy down to Penzance many times as one trip, just me and SWMBO. Down the Straits and over the bar, ebb along the Lleyn, then to waypoint west of the Smalls light, next one off Longships then round the corner to Penzance. 36-40 hours. Had to divert to Padstow one time due to SSW F8 at Lands End but, it's a long way off track so you can add another day to get to Longships from there.

    Tidal gates at Padstow and Penzance are small but there were (are?) visitor mooring buoys off Penzance quay wall or, if wind suitable, plenty of room to anchor off.

    If you are in a hurry, why not go direct to Hughtown and get the ladies to go out on the Scillonian? The route you suggest will take you a while and you could well get stuck if the weather changes.

  5. #5
    vyv_cox's Avatar
    vyv_cox is online now Registered User
    Location : North Wales, sailing Aegean Sea or Menai Strait
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    I have done that trip several times. By leaving Abermenai as the tide turns south you can carry it well past Bardsey. The flood inside Cardigan Bay is relatively weak, getting you to somewhere north of Ramsey just as the ebb starts again. Carry this south, outside Ramsey, Skomer, Skokholm is far easier, then head for Padstow. The whole trip can be done with one overnight. The weather at Padstow has to be very heavy before you have trouble crossing the bar, in this case you would probably be better to divert into Milford Haven beforehand.

    We never found any shelter from swells in St Ives, have always headed straight for Scilly or round to Penzance.
    Answers to some technical queries at http://coxengineering.sharepoint.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    When you leaving? I'll be doing this exact trip from Conwy to Penzance around mid may to beginning of June. Although I plan Conwy- Holyhead not the straits.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marlin View Post

    On Scilly my dad and his partner would be shore based while my partner and I would stay on the boat and offer ferry service to the other pair. How practical is this plan with the littering of rocks between the islands – presumably some of the passages between islands are only tenable at high/slack states of tide? Are there likely to be ample moorings available in late July/early Aug? If not we have a Bruce, but have heard the bottom is mostly weed so perhaps this isn’t terribly well suited? I have bought Gibson’s Sailors Guide to IoS but have only browsed through so far so I may actually have some of these answers in there, I will have a proper read tonight.

    Finally, any tips on the shore based accommodation? I guess this is going to be a challenge in high season whilst maintaining the flexibility needed for arriving (and leaving) by sail.
    It would be a perfectly practicle plan to use your own boat to ferry between the islands so long as you navigate with care. As you say some of the channels will require a reasonable rise of tide for you to pass through and although tidal streams may slow your progress when against you they should not stop you getting there. The are a few places with visitor moorings (St Marys harbour, New grimsby Tresco, Old Grimsby Tresco and in Tean sound) expect to pay for using them even for a few hours with the exception of the ones in Tean sound which belong to the hotel. For visits to any of the islands you should always be able to find somewhere to anchor on the proviso that the weather is fit, even with a bruce
    Do not limit yourself to staying overnight everynight on the moorings in St Marys harbour as it might turn out to be more comfortable at anchor in Porthcressa or elsewhere.

    As for the shore based accommodation for that time of the year I would normally say you need to book well in advance but times are anything but normal and a number of guesthouse owners have plenty of vacancies but that could change, so I will have to sit on the fence about what you should do.
    Dinner without wine is like summer without sunshine.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    So you're doing a Scilly trip?
    If I'd wanted to live in a Banana Republic I'd have gone to South America.

  9. #9
    hlb's Avatar
    hlb is offline Registered User
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    Consider Newlyn rather than Penzance. There are pontoons and you can go in or out at any time.

    Keep your eye on the weather when at the Scillies, you will need to move round the islands as the wind changes.



  10. #10
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    You need to check out the pub with the best view in the world - on St Agnes.
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