Trip log: Barmouth to Pwllheli
Zephyr and Aurora spent an interesting night alongside the wall. Niki left us and returned to Porthmadog on the train. Russell prepared an excellent meal in his new galley- chicken and chorizo with butter beans in a white wine and creme fraiche sauce with French bread for dipping, followed by pear halves in ambrosia rice pudding.
Having taken the ground uneventfully, we decided to get some sleep before the tide returned at about midnight. The wind stayed in the East and had strengthened somewhat. When the water returned, the strong wind had us bouncing around pretty fiercely. I think we would have been more comfortable on a mooring, but I was very glad of the hookup to run a fan heater against the frosty conditions outside. I dozed until we took the ground once more at about 5am and got some more sleep.
Niki rejoined us at mid morning and when we had enough water, began our journey back to Tremadog. Russell in Zephyr was single handed and the wind strength was quite challenging but we could not haul out at Barmouth and with the wind forecast to strengthen further, if we did not move off then, we would have to wait several days in Barmouth.
We made textbook departure from the wall, even in the strong wind pinning us on. Picked up a mooring briefly to wait while Russell sorted Selma technical difficulties, we then sailed off the mooring with the engine running in neutral as a backup. We ran down the channel on main only with 2 reefs in the F5-6 Easterly and avoided the safe water mark, as a local shrimp fisherman had warned us of some lost gear and a great deal of rope in that area!
Staysail unfurled we made great time on a close reach close along the shore. Niki helmed beautifully and Aurora gave great confidence as she took some very big gusts in her stride. Off Mochras point, we bore away across Tremadog bay straight towards Pwllheli on a broad reach. The GPS speed seldom dropped below 5kts and Aurora powered across the swell.
We arrived outside Pwllheli and dropped sails and motored across a nasty bit of swell in the harbour mouth and took moorings on opposite sides of a pontoon in the marina. Sailing in company was enjoyable and seeing Zephyr sailing along close by made a fine sight.