Positive Impact at her Barmouth mooring.

Part 1 - Delivering the Baby!

After the traditional 350+ mile drive up to Scotland Skud (Skipper Tud) and the Cabin Boy arrived Croab Haven to meet Ballast (Dek), AJ and Charlie who was joining us as his 40th birthday adventure!

A night on board lead to the first leg motoring down the Mull of Kintyre which ended with a short but great sail before a rest and a 4am start for the Isle of Man. So far the score was Dev one vomit the rest nil.

The sea was rough and the wind on the nose so we motor sailed for about 20 hrs getting into Peel harbour on the N side of the island at midnight. By now the score was even between Dek, Tud and Pete with Pete being happy to be the third man to throw! We had a late supper before bedding down at about 2am - sleeping the sleep of the just.

A lazy morning in the harbour was in order as we filled up with water and food. Having sailed past the Island a few times it was good to finally touch the soil. We set out for Wales only to come straight back in when the Skipper let go of the main halliard and it shot up the mast! After sorting it all out and putting in a third reef we set of again for an entertaining trip round the west end of the island. Charlie was loving it in the 10 ╦ 12 ft steep swells, big grin on his face and no sign of sea sickness. He was the only one who would go below to cook at sea, beginners luck but appreciated.

We had a great sail overnight to Bangor with only a short rendezvous with the periscope of a submarine to cause any stress á.! We gently worked in past Puffin Island and up to Menai Bridge in the early hours putting alongside the Ocean Youth Trust yacht GMC.

AJ and Charlie left us there having had a brilliant few days experiencing the sea. The three remaining crew took the boat through the Swellies in bright sunshine before dropping the cabin boy in Felinheli (Port Dinorwig) and then getting a few hours afternoon kip. Next day saw Dek and Skud racing round to Pwlleli for a night in the bar before arriving in Barmouth at Friday lunchtime just inside the last arrival deadline.

Over the next few hours the rest of the crew showed up in dribs and drabs until we suddenly were 10! 7 sailing/running team and three lovely support crew. We booked a table in the Last Inn and got down to the serious business of getting to know each other. All the last minute organising seemed to be under control as shopping and food were sorted, kit organised and bikes transferred. The ladies left for a comfortable night ashore and we went aboard to let the newcomers get to know the boat and start to find their sea legs. We were the closest boat to the sea on the moorings and acted as sea break for the rest of the armada as the boat took the swell from behind all night!

We are now in the process of scrutineering the boat and runners as well as doing lots of interviews to camera etc for the interested international paparatzzi. An hour or two and the fun begins.

Part 2 - The next 37 hours.

After a few problems getting off the mooring at barmouth (getting the lifeboat to cut the lines was the solution!) we headed out with Eddie at the wheel. At the start we kept away from the mayhem and got a clean start, we were off!

The wind was a nice force four and we were enjoying the sailing for the first few hours as the wind slowly picked up. The best entertainment came from watching the camera lady getting soaked sitting at the front of the boat. We pushed up the south coast of the Llyn Penninsular in a freshening 5 ╦ 6 and watched as a couple of boats went very close to the lee shore to pick up the tidal lift.

Going through Bardsey sound gave us our first taste of excitement, as we came through the narrows the tide race was working well and we dropped into it close under the cliffs with the intention of surfing out, unfortunately a wave caught us at the wrong time and the next thing that we knew was when we were 360Úd about 50ft from the rocks by a breaking wave. The boat was flattened and then shot round through the wind and towards the cliffs, Tyd let go of the wheel to let the boat do itÚs thing and we hung on. As we came up through the wind we recovered some control and by shouting a lot and pulling on things we managed to get upright and pointing in the right direction before getting the hell away from the rocks. The good news was that we all did the right things and that there was a camera crew within 100ft of us for the whole episode! They have said that they owe us a pint or two for the show! God only knows what the camera lady on the boat got but she did admit to being terrified.

After that it all calmed down and we were treated to a school of Dolphins escorting us over Caernarfon bar! The runners were off and we dropped anchor hoping for a few hours kip but the anchor kept dragging and we spent most of the night up on deck making sure we didnÚt get blown onto the jetty.

The lads were back at about 6 having done a great job on Snowdon in horizontal rain and strong winds and we pushed off to go through the notorious swellies. Theyturned out to be fine with enough following wind to allow us to beat the tide easily enough. The sun was shinning and the winds about 15 knotts from behind so we had a lovely sail for the majority of the trip to Whitehaven. We sunbathed, cooked and slept little knowing what was brewing behind us!

About 4 hours from Whitehaven we got a gale warning of a possible force 10 on the way so we were keen to get in to harbour. The wind kept picking up as the sunb set and we were fully reefed by the time it got dark. Unfortunately I had the wheel and while Tyd worked out tides, courses and lights for the harbour I had the most terrifying and exhilarating sail ever with up to 40+ knots of wind over the deck and huge breaking waves picking the boat up and throwing it forward. We called Dek up to help drop the main about a mile off the harbour, this was an epic manover with the boys who were at the mast getting thrown about like rag dolls. When you turn into the wind and waves you suddenly realise just how big they are and from the wheel you just see walls of water coming down at you as the boat pitches up in front of you.

When we finally made the shelter of the harbour wall we were all very very relieved and there were a few whoops as we waited in the lock for another boat to join us. The marines were on the way out as we came in and we shouted a warning to them, sure enough about an hour later they came back! It was rough out there!

We kept the runners back until first light as we would not go out again until the weather changed so there was no point pushing things as conditions on the hill were appaling with howling wind and snow!

So we are now sitting in the marina having slept and showered waiting for the runners to return. We will then go to TescoÚs for breakfast and get some more sleep before deciding when to leave.

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