Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Padstow..........Milford Haven....

Setting off towards Milford Haven

Finally the weather took a turn for the better and there were no longer any Gale Warnings for the Lundy area!

As the Padstow harbour is a lock-bound harbour, I had to wait for the required amount of tide before the gates could be opened and as soon as they were, there were several other yachts scrambling to get out - all of us had been waiting for a break in the wind. 
A puffin taking off...
I was on my way by about 10.30AM.
Milford Haven is just about due North from Padstow and as there is no coast line involved, this was more or less a straight line journey of about 70 miles.

During this journey I only saw one other yacht and a fishing boat, but countless seabirds and I reckon well over 30 different dolphins came to join me, many of them swimming in front of the bow of Brown Eyes or alongside.  Trying to sail a yacht single handed and get pictures of dolphins at the same time is not easy, but here are my best shots.

I managed to use sail power for a few hours and then, when the wind dropped below 10kts I had to resort to using the engine, but at least this meant I would arrive at Milford whilst it was still light.
An angry, but beautiful night sky.
Brown Eyes has an auto-pilot, which allows me to leave the wheel and have the confidence that she will continue steering on the same bearing; it is a belt driven device that is mounted next to the ship’s wheel and linked to a compass.  As you can imagine this is a very useful device, although I must still maintain a ‘watch’ at all times.

About an hour out from Milford Haven that belt snapped!  Not only did it snap, it jammed the wheel so that steering became very difficult and it became obvious to me that I would have great difficulty maneuvering in a tight area if it  remained like that.

I throttled back on the engine and grabbed the auto-pilot manual.  The only thing it said in the manual about the belt was- 'The belt should be replaced by a professional'!  Nothing to say how it could be removed or what to do if the belt becomes jammed! 
In the end my solution was to remove the whole auto-pilot unit, which at one point involved removing the wheel so that I could not steer Brown Eyes at all - and while all this was happening the sun was getting lower.
The auto-pilot removed.
Once I had removed the auto-pilot, normal steering was returned and I was able to carry on with my journey.  I decided to find a buoy to moor off and enter Milford Haven Marina the following day - Anita had told me there was a birthday present waiting for me there!!
Milford oil refinery at night.
A tanker on it's way in to Milford Haven.
With the last drop of light I managed to pick-up a buoy in Dale bay about 5 miles short of Milford.
My overnight bay.
So today it was just a leisurely motor further up the river and through another lock into Milford Haven Marina.....simples!
The lock leading into Milford Marina 
Safely in Milford Marina

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