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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    45

    Default Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Hi all,

    We are currently contemplating buying a bigger yacht and mooring it in Cardiff Bay. However we are slightly concerned that we are not experienced enough and that leisurely weekend cruising may not be that viable?

    In terms of experience, I have day skipper, radio etc qualifications and have sailed extensively on the south and east coasts, but only as crew and not since around 2010 so navigation skills are a bit/very rusty). We currently have a yacht on Windermere where those skills are not being tested...

    Usage wise, sadly I still have to work, so primary use would be at weekend and the occasional week away.

    So the question is, am I being overly cautious? Would a few trips out as crew be a good starting point to ensure we are happy with the area and the challenges it can throw up? And how easy are weekend jaunts to interesting places (with pubs!)?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts...
    Gibsea 76, Gibsea 362 (share), Coronet 31 Aft

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    up on the moors.
    Posts
    33,289

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    What's the size and configuration of the boat ? Draught, keels, air height, length, displacement etc.
    I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Likely to be 33 - 35 ft, I am favouring bilge over fin. So draft around 3ft?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    up on the moors.
    Posts
    33,289

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    For Bristol Channelyou will be better off with twin bilge keels as it allows you to creep into harbours like Instow, Minehead, Ilfracombe, etc. and dry out. Watchet also a possibility.

    Have a look at pics of e.g. Ilfracombe and see what the harbour looks like at low tide.

    With that sort of length you should be able to overcome the tidal streams except in the strongest places (which you will be avoiding anyway). Decent engine advisable.

    Heading W along the Welsh coast takes you to deep water and good wandering round Milford Haven.

    There a few harbours on the N Coast of Devon and Cornwall that do need care. It is not as easy a coast as English Channel, but much quieter in terms of boat density, and the beer is better

    Cardiff is full of experienced and friendly cruising types. Some of them even post on the forum
    I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Thanks for the info. To my mind the English Channel out of Southampton is fairly straightforward, barring the traffic. The east coast (out of Harwich) was definitely more challenging but I suspect less so than the BC?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Bristol Channel
    Posts
    777

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Essentially you can only go with the tide in the upper BC, except perhaps for quick trip round the bay. However that 3+kt tide gives you legs on both outward and inbound legs. My elderly 31ft westerly did 11kt over ground yesterday on way home

    No harbours of refuge on the English/Cornish side, and only 3 non-drying marinas but some safe anchorages. More on the Welsh side but though trips to bays are possible, trips to pubs are not except in Milford sound. You will row ashore a lot unless you restrict yourself greatly. I would recommend a bilge keeler so you can use the drying harbours easily. Drying out a long keeler with 5m rise and fall in the drying harbours is a challenge (though I have just bought one) and drying out fin keelers has same challenge with additional risk of damage to fin due to bumpy drying outs and surge. However big your engine you will sometimes wish for more, you need to be able to make 3 against a 3 to 4 kt tide and chop on occasions. 20hp wont do for a 33ft.

    33 ft large for some of the creeks but fine in Cardiff and gives you better cruising speed. For comfort the heavier the better particularly if like myself you suffer mal-de-mare. BC chop worse than English Channel. And the biggest best anchor you can manage: Bruce a start with Delta, Rocna or Spade as spare. No CQR copies.

    On the plus side you will learn more about tides than most sailors in any waters and have the sea mostly to your self. And pilotage not navigation will be the order of the day.

    The BC is a great place, after a few seasons you will love it
    A boat is for going places

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    UK - Solent region
    Posts
    37,617

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Quote Originally Posted by Manic76 View Post
    Hi all,

    We are currently contemplating buying a bigger yacht and mooring it in Cardiff Bay. However we are slightly concerned that we are not experienced enough and that leisurely weekend cruising may not be that viable?

    In terms of experience, I have day skipper, radio etc qualifications and have sailed extensively on the south and east coasts, but only as crew and not since around 2010 so navigation skills are a bit/very rusty). We currently have a yacht on Windermere where those skills are not being tested...

    Usage wise, sadly I still have to work, so primary use would be at weekend and the occasional week away.

    So the question is, am I being overly cautious? Would a few trips out as crew be a good starting point to ensure we are happy with the area and the challenges it can throw up? And how easy are weekend jaunts to interesting places (with pubs!)?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts...
    The tide goes up & down a long way leaving behind lots of hard sand, not the soft mud experienced on the East Coast. It also moves at an alarming speed. If anchoring, you will be amazed at how much time you have for beachcombing, as the deep water quickly becomes a vast strand of beach. You have to understand & use the tides.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    up on the moors.
    Posts
    33,289

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    No soft mud in the Bristol Channel ? Local knowledge would prove you wrong....
    I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    UK - Solent region
    Posts
    37,617

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Quote Originally Posted by sarabande View Post
    For Bristol Channelyou will be better off with twin bilge keels as it allows you to creep into harbours like Instow, Minehead, Ilfracombe, etc. and dry out. Watchet also a possibility.

    Have a look at pics of e.g. Ilfracombe and see what the harbour looks like at low tide.

    With that sort of length you should be able to overcome the tidal streams except in the strongest places (which you will be avoiding anyway). Decent engine advisable.

    Heading W along the Welsh coast takes you to deep water and good wandering round Milford Haven.

    There a few harbours on the N Coast of Devon and Cornwall that do need care. It is not as easy a coast as English Channel, but much quieter in terms of boat density, and the beer is better

    Cardiff is full of experienced and friendly cruising types. Some of them even post on the forum
    I well remember being just off Ilfracombe at low tide (delivery trip) & getting a crick in my neck as I gazed almost vertically upward toward the harbour.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    UK - Solent region
    Posts
    37,617

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Quote Originally Posted by sarabande View Post
    No soft mud in the Bristol Channel ? Local knowledge would prove you wrong....
    Not the bits I've sailed on.

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