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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Hi,

    Planning to sail over from Bristol to Cardiff (via Portishead) later this week. Iím fairly experienced but havenít done any real Bristol Channel sailing since sailing our Sigma 362 back and forth from Plymouth to Bristol a few years back. Cardiff is a new one for us.

    Bit worried about the changing depth horror stories in the approach channel and outer harbour into the barrage locks as we draw nearly 1.9m. Read all the posts re: not cutting the corner and staying mid channel on the recommended track - standard muddy river drill. However, I also noted the cancelled NoM stating dredging due to happen this month was cancelled, does that mean youíre now at peak mud! It will be the first proper trip for our 7 year old son so really trying not to freak him out by getting stuck in the mud for hours!

    How dodgy is it?

    Iím playing it safe by leaving Portishead at HW-1 and crossing from South Middle to drop onto North Cardiff so should easily be into Cardiff between HW+2/+3 and have at least 5m of water.

    Also interested in strategy for getting back to Bristol. If itís not too silted over there Iím hoping to sneak out early enough to make a direct run back into the Avon to reach Bristol at HW. This seems quite doable running east with the tide.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Boat in Milford Haven
    Posts
    2,225

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    You have your tides all wrong. The flood tide runs up-channel at Portishead considerably after HW; assuming you have a big and well found boat (sigma 362) you should leave portishead on a falling tide HW+2. You are 3 hours from Cardiff (an hour before LW). On neaps you will easily get in with a 2m draft.

    We have not kept our boat (1.2m draft) in the area for a few years now but we did this trip any number of times. Pass south of the south mid grounds buoy and south of the north Cardiff buoy. Make for the outer Wrach buoy and pass it to the south, and follow the median line into the small boat channel from the Wrach channel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by bitbaltic View Post
    You have your tides all wrong. The flood tide runs up-channel at Portishead considerably after HW; assuming you have a big and well found boat (sigma 362) you should leave portishead on a falling tide HW+2. You are 3 hours from Cardiff (an hour before LW). On neaps you will easily get in with a 2m draft.
    Thanks, had noted E going stream at Portishead which I'll hit for the first hour or so, and if it were neaps I'd agree with you wholeheartedly - leave later do it the easy way. Unfortunately Friday morning is very springy so there won't be oodles of water in Cardiff near low water.

    With the dredging postponed earlier this month and without recent local knowledge I was planning to push on and get there in the top half of the tide.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    uk
    Posts
    2,338

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    i draw 2mtr and at low water springs I get stuck in the mud in the outer lock basin. one hour either side is good, and has the advantage of seeing where the chanel actually is.

    last visit at low water this june
    David

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    https://cardiffharbour.com/local-notices-to-mariners/

    They have been dredging recently and the buoys have been off station. On a good day, at LW the buouys sit on the mud in any case.

    I would advise leaving before HW+2 to give yourself a buffer and some extra water but best not run aground on a falling tide. If in doubt, sail past and come back up on the rising tide.

    If at LW at the entrance then the outer bends should have the deepest water and you send someone to shout the depth guage.

    Lock number 2 is closed at the moment. Call Barrage control at the outer wrach cardinal.

    I would be aiming for the top half of the tide so maybe even HW-1 lock out
    Last edited by steveej; 01-08-19 at 20:05.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Thanks all. Left Portishead near HW-1 punched tide for a bit and made it into Cardiff yesterday lunchtime with no drama just after HW+2. Saw around 3m under the keel at the tightest bit. To be honest I’d probably do the same again on big springs.

    Planning to be a little more adventurous on the way back tomorrow am and leave around LW+2 and shoot straight for Bristol now I have a feel for the channel, and if I do touch at least I’ll float off in no time ��

    ‘Doing it right’ riding the tide up channel this time so fairly confident of making HW Bristol to lock in, but there’s always the promise of a curry and a day on the cider in Sirens @ Portishead if running late. No bad option here.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    4,481

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Siren's cider is good, "North Street?" £4 a pint!

    Where do you go for the curry

    PS. Glad you had a good sail, we did our first night time crossing on Friday, locked into Cardiff at 22:00, never seen so much water. Cut the corner and headed straight for the the "preferred channel to starboard" bouy, makes a change from ploughing through the mud!
    See the rainbow not the rain

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    s e wales
    Posts
    17,917

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by BristolDiver View Post
    Planning to be a little more adventurous on the way back tomorrow am and leave around LW+2 and shoot straight for Bristol now I have a feel for the channel, and if I do touch at least I’ll float off in no time ��
    Never ever risk touching - it isnt a casual matter. There have been boats rolled over as the incoming tide catches them broadside on. A pal touched off Clevedon, dried out on the sands., put out an anchor downtide to pull his bow into the tide as the boat floated off on the flood - and ripped his skeg out before there was quite enough water to float.

    Depends where you touch . It can be a non event or it can be nasty.
    this post is a personal opinion, and you should not base your actions on it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    1,134

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
    Never ever risk touching - it isnt a casual matter. There have been boats rolled over as the incoming tide catches them broadside on. A pal touched off Clevedon, dried out on the sands., put out an anchor downtide to pull his bow into the tide as the boat floated off on the flood - and ripped his skeg out before there was quite enough water to float.

    Depends where you touch . It can be a non event or it can be nasty.
    35067467_1403537063081168_5057032766487527424_n Sara Standing by! at St Pierre.jpg

    This one was floated safely with SARA on watch!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    271

    Default Re: First time advice for sailing into Cardiff Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by TOKOLOSHI View Post
    Looks like the exit of the Wye?

    It has me nervous coming out of there after a pint in The Boat Inn... the centre section is quite narrow with what must be very steep sandbars given how quickly and high they rise... If the photo is where I think it is, then that confirms my concerns!

    Wye depth.png
    YouTube: Gorjus Boating
    Boat: Sealine 195

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