Voyage LN959C BB03
Cardiff – Poole
20th-24th September 2018
This was the voyage of the rapidly constantly changing plans. I am sure we got onto the third time of using the alphabet in plans. The voyage crew joined in Cardiff, we were in front of a Tall building and in a lock so protected from the worst of the weather. Once the voyage crew were on board, and signed on, they then helped with getting the stores on board. The safety briefings and training them began. In the afternoon whilst it was fairly light winds and only a bit damp we did climbs for those needing assistance and also self- ascending for those who could not climb but could haul themselves up onto the platform. Just after we finished the rain started. The forecast was for it to be very windy on the Friday hence not leaving in the late afternoon lock as previously planned.
Friday dawned cold, wet and windy. The training continued with the rest of the voyage crew having a chance to climb aloft. The sound of the midships gangway creaking whilst we were alongside, due to the strong winds buffeting the ship, was not encouraging. The plans for the rest of the voyage went through many changes. The forecast was for a windy Saturday night and Sunday. We needed to be able to get out of the Bristol Channel and then down the North Devon and North Cornish coast and around Lands End. Getting round Land’s End looked to be the problem as we did not want to be headed by strong winds. At one point it looked like we would be unable to get to Poole or possibly Weymouth until the Tuesday night. The weather forecast was closely watched during the day and the next plan was to leave on Saturday evening then the worst of the weather would be through by the time we got to Lands End.
On Saturday morning some of the crew got a shock being woken at 05.00 in preparation for leaving on the 06.30 lock. Not everyone heard the news that we were sailing in the morning before they went to bed the previous night, some woke up to find that we were underway. There was a weather window of opportunity due to occur around Lands End with Northerly winds taking us down the coast and then south westerly winds going up the English Channel, and a slight lull due to occur around Lands End.
The Bristol Channel was calmer than when we went into Cardiff and it was also much calmer than the 2.5-3 metre swells of the previous evening, when the pilots went out to bring in another vessel. We had a great sail down the north Devon coast and rounded Lands End in the early hours of Sunday morning. Very few people managed to sleep in the very lumpy seas.
We managed 7 -8 knots of speed for most of the first 24 hours at sea, which meant it was now a very good chance of getting into Poole on the morning high tide as originally planned. South of Plymouth we set the square sails, turned the engines off and managed to sail round Start Point into Lyme Bay.
On Monday morning we were in sheltered waters off Poole waiting for the pilot and the sun was shining and there were big smiles all around as the seasickness was all resolved. Yes we did make the original arrival time after all, but after many changes of plans and anxious weather forecast watching, We were all glad to get into port.