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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    up on the moors.
    Posts
    33,224

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Then I must have sailed in many bits of the BC that you haven't. Even Ilfracombe harbour and Instow are notorious for soggy sea beds. Deliquescent alluvial deposits, to be more accurate.
    I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    There's a new word for me. Not sure I can pronounce it though.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Thanks again for the comments and advice, especially on keels and anchors. So for those who moor in Cardiff Bay, what would be a weekend in terms of destinations, timings, moorings etc?

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Boat in Milford Haven
    Posts
    2,224

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    For your first question, are you experienced enough, certainly yes. As said tides are more than key, they are critical. But you should do no more than brush up and read and digest the pilots.

    For day and weekend sailing of the sort you propose I also vote for bilge keels on a tough British-built boat. Then you can go to the Devon/Cornwall harbours with confidence.

    All Bristol Channel mistakes are tide and/or weather mistakes eg sailing over grounds without water or- from Cardiff- going west with the ebb against strong winds. Unless you have done some offshore racing (and even if you have) the latter will be an education in sea state and wave height.

    On a less positive note the easiest day trip from Cardiff is Portishead and be aware that at 18nm from Cardiff it is the length of the entire Solent away. Ports (of choice or refuge) are relatively distant. The most pleasant sailing is in Milford and this is 90-odd Nm west and a significant passage, not doable and back in a weekend. On the Welsh coast Swansea is the only viable weekender; better choices on the English side.

    After 5 years in Cardiff and with a new baby we took our boat permanently to Milford so I guess that in the end days where we got to with family sailing in the inner channel and I donít miss it either.

    If you are looking for relaxed blue water and pubs with pontoons or anchorages off in the BC, you should consider going 2 hours down the M4.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    4,458

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Don't forget Portishead, around 20nm from Cardiff Bay
    Up with the flood and home with the ebb, plenty do the trip every weekend, in both directions
    Some even in motor boats ;-)
    See the rainbow not the rain

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    4,458

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Sorry Bitbaltic, just read the end of your post
    See the rainbow not the rain

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    335

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    I have had my boat in Cardiff for 2 years and think that there are pluses and negatives of the location

    + easy and quick to get to for me
    + not crowded on the water
    + interesting and challenging sailing but not as difficult as sometimes made out
    + interesting and characterful places to visit on the English coast
    + the city and bay are great places for a night out
    + cheap at c. £700 per year for club membership and end on pontoon mooring
    + Bay is good for going out for a quick blast
    + good infrastructure such as supermarkets, chandlers, repair agents ect
    + friendly and non snooty people

    - day sailing options severely limited if you want to go ashore for lunch
    - weekend sailing with night away choices are limited by tide times so you might have only one option of location if you want to leave and arrive in daylight hours
    - many of the harbours are only accessible a couple of hours either side of high water so anchoring off is necessary either overnight or to wait for high water.
    - if going West getting back can be involve leaving a harbour just after high water and waiting at anchor for the flood tide
    - wind over tide can result in “interesting” sea states. Not dangerous but be carefull if sailing with less confident people. It would be easy to scare someone off sailing for life if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    You need very good anchoring gear, a good engine, a good understanding of tidal passage planning and the flexibility to go where and when the tide dictates not where and when it suits you. I think it also helps if you are not to much of a sail only purist and are happy to motor sail when needed to keep to schedule or to push into the tide for an hour when required.
    Last edited by Dutch01527; 13-09-18 at 10:05.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    The Pros for me.....

    Closest cruising destination to home (for me anyway)
    Berthing, lift outs in terms of Marina facilities about a third of the south coast if not more.
    Fewer snobby people
    Uncrowded waters
    The bay is great for practise if conditions not allowing you to go out
    Good infrastructure in terms of chandlery, supermarkets etc

    The main challenge as far as I am concerned is not necessarily the speed of the tides as you get similar speeds in Brittany, Western Solent and other places. The big challenge is the tidal range because it complicates the logistics of getting into the drying harbours when you only have a weekend.

    This is mainly when you head west from Cardiff because the time you get to your destination, the ebb tide means have lost the water to get in. You will need to anchor for a good few hours (potentially 4 or 5 hours) and so top notch anchoring gear with long rodes are essential along with a kedge that you can use in areas of poor holding or to stop the uncomfortable action of the boat yawing about when tide and wind are at right angles. You will need a decent dinghy and outboard to lay the kedge and to get ashore.

    To get back east, you then have to wait for water to leave by which time you have lost most of the flood to help you get back to Cardiff, which means you then get stuck at the tidal gate at Lavernock point. So it may well be the case that you will need to leave at the last opportunity (say HW +3 but it all depends on the harbour) and then anchor somewhere before catching the next flood back to Cardiff.

    It is for this reason I mainly anchor off and don't bother going into the harbour, but anchor off and go ashore in the dinghy.

    These points mean that if you really want to get into some of the harbours you really need a long weekend/third day, and because most of my sailing is weekend, my next boat will be a shallow fin or lifting keel.

    Possible weekend trips would be......

    Portishead (Marina)
    Bristol (Marina)
    Lydney (Marina)
    Porthcawl (Marina)
    Swansea (Marina)
    Watchet (Marina)
    Porlock Wier (but you will be at anchor), if you go in, you really need the third day
    Lynmouth (as for porlock)
    Woody Bay (at anchor)
    Combe Martin (at anchor)
    Lundy Island but a third day is better

    I have often done Cardiff to Porlock, Dinghy ashore for pub lunch then up to watchet for the night and back to Cardiff on Sunday. You can also apply this strategy to Lynmouth. Or skip watchet and go straight back to Cardiff. Will give you 2 x 4 hour blocks of sailing with a few hours for lunch in between - nice day sail. Lynmouth, Porlock, Woody and Coombe can all be done there and back in a day but you will not have much time ashore in Woody or Combe because they are further away.

    If you only want a couple of hours then it is a trip around flat holm at slack water just watch out for the wolves.

    For longer periods / holidays you have Pembrokeshire, Ireland, Padstow, Scilly Isles.

    Hope this helps.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Dutch and Steve, thank you for your comprehensive comments, really appreciated. If I am honest I am split 50/50 on being excited/terrified by the concept of BC sailing.

    If anyone needs crew for a day out of Cardiff we would be very interested in helping out

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Advice on Bristol Channel boating

    Quote Originally Posted by Manic76 View Post
    Dutch and Steve, thank you for your comprehensive comments, really appreciated. If I am honest I am split 50/50 on being excited/terrified by the concept of BC sailing.

    If anyone needs crew for a day out of Cardiff we would be very interested in helping out
    I would not be terrified.

    It has a reputation that is totally unjustified in my view.

    You do need to approach your sailing on the basis of assessing conditions and tides on the day and going where they dictate, rather than where you perhaps want. But if you approach it like that, you will get lots of sailing in.

    I did all those weekends when I was as day skipper in a 22ft boat.

    I say you should try it for a few seasons, then if you become bored, move the boat somewhere else.

    And remember that the bilge keel is only going realistically come into use if you have longer than a weekend, so if you do decide to move the boat somewhere else, you are then stuck with a bilge keel.

    It is not the performance issue, it is the fact most are very old boats and are money pits generally requiring much more maintenance.

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