We had not experienced a “weather bound” day since Newlyn in the very south west of Cornwall. It was therefore, to our surprise when the 0600 hrs Met Office Inshore Waters forecast placed a red line round the coast from Great Ormes Head to the Mull of Galloway with force 6 winds.
Whether or not we sail is governed by the “red line” principle…. a force 6 and above is a signal for both difficult and dangerous sailing conditions, so in 99 per cent of red line cases…. we don’t go. If though, in a 24 hour forecast the words ‘force 6 later” appear and we are actually sailing early in the 24 hour forecast… then we might well depart…. as long as can sail to our destination well before the “later” 6 occurs.
Now, over the the past 20 or so years, there has been a massive proliferation in weather forecasting web sites and in the development of weather apps. And in many cases they give different forecasts of wind conditions to the Met Office. So on this particular day, Wind Ghuru and XC Weather apps did not forecast force 6. This raises all sorts of serious questions for a sailor…. do you simply go round all the weather sites and apps until you find one which suits you? Then sail?
By and large, my faith is in the Met Office…. but I will also just check out one or two other forecasts to see if there is any correlation… then I look outside, I look at the synoptic pressure charts, and if they are available… I go to current observations out at sea from weather buoys where the recordings can tell you what the condtions are at a specific time… and then you can work out the possible projections of what might happen later with wind speeds…. eg pressure falling, wind speeds increasing over time etc. But I do not go and search for a weather forecast that “I like”.
So Mike and I spent a few hours walking into the very pleasant little town of Conwy, with its large fortified walls and gateways, plus a magnificent castle dominating the skyline. Breakfast was taken at No.2 The Square…. a lovely cafe where both quality and service were outstanding. We browsed the shops and as time went on, tourists began to appear in ever larger numbers. Mike bought a book on “Tides” and I bought postcards for various folk.
The photo above is the main square in Conwy..the full Welsh Breakfast on the left.
We did spend some time on the Conwy harbour frontage, observing a “grounding”. At this time the tide was flowing out…. the ebb…. quite rapidly. What looked like a classic small yacht with a long bowsprit had run aground close inshore.
Two of the guys ended up jumping off into the muddy shallows, waist deep and trying to push her off… to no avail. Methinks they would be there for a few hours! Hope they had towels and a change of clothes.
T on the Conwy harbour front…. ebb tide.
Out of habit now, if we pass an RNLBI shop or boat station, we nearly always go in and buy some item or items to support the organisation. I looked around, chatted to the lady and pointed out the vessel outside well and truly stuck in the mud. She indicated that they would keep “a watching brief” over the boatl! As I did not need anymore RNLBI mugs or tea towels… I thought, why not…. buy a packet of RNLBI christmas cards …so as to give Margaret a head start.
So I said to the very nice lady…. “oooohh I must be the very first!” To my horror she said not. The Xmas cards had been delivered late… many locals had been asking ( in June for goodness sake! )…. and now her stock had nearly sold out. Mine was the last of three packets! This was early July…. what is the matter with people??
Back to the boat pm…. a big, big wash down and scrub for Poli Poli… she was shampooed but not waxed… got all the horrible salt off the gelcoat hull, the coach roof… and the crumbs from the cockpit floor. Then, after checking the 6pm forecast, and noticing that the red line had come off…. got out the relevant chart, wrote a passage plan and prepared the log book for the morrow. We planned to depart at 11am from Conwy and sail the 50 or so miles to the great port of Liverpool on the River Mersey.
Photo above..Conwy claims to have the smallest house in Great Britain.
In terms of the third revised schedule, I have decided to cancel the leg planned from the Isle of Man to Whitehaven and then the leg from Whitehaven to Bangor ( Belfast ).
I was only going to Whitehaven to meet a retired colleague who I had worked alongside as a Deputy in a Northamptonshire school. He recently informed me that he had sold his house in Cumbria and had moved to Ampleforth in North Yorkshire… ie the other side of the country. We will probably meet up when Poli Poli sails down the north east coast of England in late September, early October. So the “weather bound” day in Conwy has not cost us anything in terms of a delay to the third revised schedule.