Cruise to Duke of Lancaster Anchorage

Our aim was simply to sail across the estuary towards Mostyn and try to find the channel which would lead us up to the anchorage beneath the Duke of Lancaster Fun Ship, we had surveyed a few weeks previously. Throughout the 2 day cruise we were relying on the sunny conditions to create a sea breeze. While the forecast was for gentle winds we often were lucky to have a steady Force 3 breeze.

Cruisers: Lily Fox (Noel) and Kingfisher (Duncan)

5th May (HW 15:00): The start of our cruise coincided with the Open Day. Both Lily Fox & Kingfisher took passengers out to have a try a cruising. Before the tide came in there had been a dead calm on land but with the tide a very steady Force 3 Northwesterly picked up with the result that, according to the log, Lily Fox spent the time from when she cast off (13:45 to 15:15) tacking up the channel against wind and tide. Kingfisher was doing the same but, starting from further down the channel, she was ​very
​ slightly ahead. It was great sailing tacking and fighting for every inch – although Lily Fox did pass her moorings 3 times before the tide eased and she was able to do more than hold position and make progress. Once Dee Rescue had picked up the passengers the flotilla made across the estuary towards Mostyn easily making 4 Knots now that the tide was past High Water. By 16:15 we had passed the first buoys on the Mostyn Channel leading into the service boat port and were graced with the sight of a service boat moving carefully toward harbour.

The channel was very clearly marked by 4 red buoys which we kept roughly in line with and were able to maintain around 20’ depth. Once we had passed the harbour entrance the channel buoys came to an end.

We left the last buoy behind at 17:00 but a series on N Power moorings made the channel easy to follow up to the fun ship.

As we neared the Duke of Lancaster we were able to follow the coastline staying near to the landward side where the water was deepest. At one point we had 50’ depth but never less than 10’.

A pool was clearly forming beneath the Duke of Lancaster by the time we arrived but there was 6 to 10’ depth as we explored the anchorage looking for the deepest water. In the event we anchored in around 6’ water in the middle.

As the tide ebbed it became clear we could have anchored 10’ closer to the Duke and had more water beneath the keels for easier access by tender. However, there was firm sand beneath the boats so it was easy to walk on and off.

Sunset and sunrise were beautiful.

At low water the slipway was inaccessible due to a high mud bank. Also, the stream was only partly navigable so that the steps could not be reached except by, perhaps, taking ones tender part way up, and then wading the rest of the way to the steps. In the event is was much easier to take the tender to a rocky slope on the downstream side of the Duke of Lancaster from the anchorage. However, the slope was very steep and needed to be navigated with care. At the end of the night when it came to re-launch the tender it was very definitely a two man job getting the tender across a 2o foot muddy slope which had emerged below the stones. Steps leading down to the low water mark to make a low water landing easier would seem to be a good idea and might be put in place without too much difficulty.

That night we visited The Old Tavern which has an 11th Century room made in the traditional cruck frame constructions. The locals were very friendly and while they did not do food in the evening we were allowed to order food delivered to eat on the premises. The Kebabs from Cheeky Chicken were excellent.

The following days there was a fair at the Duke of Lancaster with Donkey rides and a range of stalls. In the bright sunshine it felt like a mid-summer fair! The Old Tavern was serving 3 course Sunday Lunches with all the trimmings for around £8. Both Captains were well fed on vegetable soup, roast beef and apple crumble and custard!

6th May We weighed anchor at 12;45 with a steady South Easterly F3 wind on our starboard quarter and made steady progress back the way we had come. Given the wind direction we were able to follow the channel under sail and make the turn at Mostyn to follow the red buoys back towards the NW and Thurstaston.

Just as we neared the end of the red buoyed area both boats were suddenly becalmed but then just as suddenly the wind came back with equal force but from the opposite direction blowing right up the channel from the NW. With a steady wind and current Lily Fox easily managed 5 knots at times and Kingfisher at least matched that speed.

With both wind and tide flowing steadily from the North West sailing up the channel without engine power was straight forward. However, mooring up was tricky and both boats needed 2 attempts to hook on. By 15:00 all were moored and stowing away after an excellent, relaxing cruise to an excellent destination.

Coronation Race