Blog Archive

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Early Summer Conwy 2013

Shimshal spent the winter securely tied up in Conwy Marina which meant that we were regularly to and fro for boaty jobs and a little bit of relaxation in the north Wales countryside. Easter was particularly spectacular with fine weather and super hard frosts. Easter Sunday saw a film of ice covering the marina and in the afternoon we climbed up into the hills past frozen waterfalls and glittering snow smothered peaks. More alpine than than I have ever seen the mountains of North Wales.

Aber Falls at Easter!

Film of ice on Easter Sunday covers the Marina
We hauled out at the end of April and Barry and his boys from TLC set about the arduous task of stripping off the accumulated seasons of anti fouling to get back to the epoxy ready for copper coating. Then the weather took a turn for the worse with the wettest May on record. As a result our launch got  put back into June with 3 layers of Coppershield going on during the first week of June when the sun finally arrived.
On goes the copper

New SSB groundplate

Whilst on the hard James Potter  made us a shiny new stainless bow plate to replace the piece of junk that had been yanked off the previous summer whilst on a mooring in Ullapool. He made a spectacular job of this piece of stainless sculpture.
New stainless bow protector

Byron fitted running backstays and tuned up the rigging and I completed the wiring for our new electric headsail furler.

Sally went up for a weekday launch on a fine early summers day and 4 men manoeuvred Shimshal into a tight berth jammed in by a massive gin palace. We were almost ready to go.

Launch day at Conwy

The weekend came and we set about some spring cleaning. I was on deck with the pressure hose and Sally was below with the vacuum but it was my 1700 watt hose that blew up the 1600 watt inverter. A very stupid and expensive mistake that arose because I thought I was drawing power from shore power and thus could exceed what the inverter could supply. It seems that the enormously expensive replacement does let you do this but I won't be putting it to the test any time soon!

Denzil now brings his own electronics kit when he comes sailing with us so he took the burned out inverter episode in his stride

The following Friday we took the train to Conwy hoping to sail on the afternoon tide but it blew like mad as a 48 hour gale screamed in from the west. It wasn't until 4 am Sunday that the wind and tides were right for us to prize our way out of our berth and bead off down river into a grey and unwelcoming dawn. It's 4 miles from marina to the fairway buoy down a tortuous estuary and a narrow channel known for its shifting sands.

Sally emerged on deck once the wind had died to the north of the Isle of Man

It was a relief to be out into the open sea with double digits on the sounder. We shaped a course for the Chicken Rock and out came the sails. After long months cooped up in a muddy river marina Shimshal was finally able to spread her wings and fly. We tore north at 9 knots and Sally went below to suffer form her unloved but familiar Irish Sea sickness.

The Irish Sea in benign conditions