September 2001 – Leaving Home

Temptress left Falmouth after lunch on September 27th heading for Milford Haven. The first miles down to the Lizard were a beat into a F6 after then it was a comparatively ‘comfortable’ reach north across the Bristol Channel. Will’s first long offshore passage and he was not well retiring to his bunk before supper. The rest of the crew took 2 hour watches through the night – Kevin saw lots of fishing boats and Susie dolphins, porpoises and towards 7am land! At first she thought she had spotted a mast – what on earth is a boat doing out here without sails? Then to the East the dark shadow of hills – looking back the mast had become several…. then it became clear they were the oil refinery chimneys!

With the 2nd reef & the no 3 genoa put up on leaving Falmouth we continued under clear bright skies through the Heads and into the Haven chased by a tanker which thankfully got there first and choose the other channel. With all three of us on deck it was a great sail down the Haven towards Neyland Marina – akin to the Solent windy but with flat waters. Hills rise on either side and despite the presence of the oil industry nature seems to triumph. As we passed the oil jetties the Irish ferry came up behind us so we tacked away. Thus we continued until short tacking became too much like hard work and the sails were put away and the engine on. By lunchtime on 28th September we were snug in the marina 170 miles covered in just over 24 hours. Neyland Marina is in a valley below the village across the Haven from Pembroke Dock. Fortunately for us it is sheltered as the weather rapidly deteriorated – gales and storm force winds swept in from the Western Approaches for the next week or so. Whilst there we made ourselves at home at Susie’s parents…going there to eat, do our washing and watch their telly (TV reception down in the Marina was poor at high tide and reduced to a snowstorm as the water level sank!). Susie’s Mum & Dad also took us out to the pub in Dale (a pretty village just inside the Haven whose main industry seems to be sailing!), to Tescos and regularly acted as a taxi to bring us home from lunchtime sessions in the Ferry Inn (a mile or two west from the marina) when the weather was too foul to walk home.