We have yet another VIVACITY 20 in the Cruiser Fleet, making a total of five in all. She is called DIVA and the proud owner is Bernard Davis, who bought her in Bangor, North Wales.
On Thursday 9th July this year Bernard and I travelled to Bangor with the intention of sailing DIVA back to Wirral. We arrived at the small boatyard near to Bangor Pier where she was lying on the hard. John Evans the yard owner then launched her into the flooding tide whilst Bernard and I already provisioned up, boarded her by inflatable.
Having put all the stores away, including spare radio, outboard, depth sounder & log , we motored across the strait to the Anglesey side, where we picked up a spare mooring adjacent to the Gazelle Hotel, (where else?) We then went ashore to sample the delights of the ’Gazelle’ which included a hot meal and a few pints of Robinsons best ale! We sat there and enjoyed the ambience.
Going back on board, we set the alarm(s) for 0400 hrs. YES! 0400. As we intended slipping the moorings at 0430. After a few hours sleep we awoke to a clear sky, with no wind whatsoever. The surface of the water was like a millpond. Having checked the charts again! Bernard having spent many hours on the navigating with enough information in his large folder to cover all eventualities, we got under way using the outboard to negotiate the channel past Gallows Point and into the Sound between Puffin Island and the main island.
Bernard, having done all the homework, indicated the relevant buoys as I took the helm for this stage of the voyage, whilst also giving ME a crash course in navigation!!!
We then entered the narrow sound between Mona and Puffin Island, where the nature of the water changed considerably….It was very choppy and turbulent as opposed to the Straits! And helming took some concentration. In negotiating the narrows we passed ‘Trwyn Du’ lighthouse to Port, (which for the unfortunate non-Welsh amongst you, translated, is Black Nose . It was very amusing to see in large white letters painted on the side the warning, “NO PASSAGE LANDWARD” as if!!!!
Leaving the Puffin Sound we headed for open water under Genoa & Main encountering deep swells but less turbulence! About a mile out of Puffin Island we were overtaken by a beautiful old sailing vessel. A two masted, square rigged schooner, about 50-60 feet long. We managed to get some decent photographs before she was out of range.
At home I managed to get her name up on the photos which is VILMA, built in Denmark in 1934 as a fishing vessel but later re-rigged in her present guise. She is currently owned by the owner of a large Company in Penrhyn which specializes in the repair, renovation and maintenance of old wooden ships. She is berthed at Penrhyn. North Wales. Unfortunately I did not find any more information on the vessel.
Taking a course that would keep us well clear of Great Ormes Head we then headed for our next way point.
Rounding the Orme seemed to take an age and Puffin Island seemed as close as ever, however onward we went. The wind kept sheering and we had to constantly change direction so as to keep the sails filled. Also the wind kept reducing and we had to resort to engine power to assist the sails and maintain speed. Fortunately, Bernard had brought a large capacity fuel tank which was virtually full (22 litres) so that was not an immediate concern… The sight of the Rhyl Wind farms were quite impressive at that proximity and looking across to the distant shores of Llandudno & Rhyl gave us a panoramic view of those resorts. The visibility throughout was excellent, but looking across at the coast of Point of Ayr, which was just a dark line on the distant horizon made us realize that we still had a way to go!!
We saw very few vessels en-route apart from some fast moving craft heading for the wind farms.
We eventually passed the Prestatyn Buoy and then turned to Port to pick up the South Cardinal buoy at the mouth of the Dee Estuary. Following the channel buoys towards Mostyn, we then had sufficient water under the keel to allow us to sail diagonally across the estuary towards Thurstaston and the moorings. Bernard picked up the mooring buoy and we relaxed!!
We could not have chosen better conditions although a bit more wind would have been helpful. We were obliged to motor sail for a considerable distance.
According to the GPS log, total distance travelled (statute miles) was 49.6. at an average speed of 2.8 knots. Total travelling time, 9 hours (moving). Estimated total fuel consumption for the 7.5 hp engine was 15 litres.
The voyage was completed totally without incident!! Due to the fact that Bernard had done his homework, together with his fastidious attention to detail. Pilot Information for the Straits & New Charts.etc..
I dare say that a good maxim is, better to prepare for the worst! And survive to enjoy the best…
My thanks to Bernard for giving me the opportunity of sailing back with him, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It hardy qualifies me as a Blue Water sailor but I did learn something.
Vic (Taffy) Allen.