Antipole cruises

From Aberdovey to Conwy with Grandchildren Crew

We had a lovely ten days or so hanging out in Aberdovey. Our berth alongside was ideal for watching activity in the harbour, which is mostly about watching the tide coming in and out, launching of boats and people throwing sticks for their dogs to swim after. We did several Voss family favourite walks around the town and along the beach. We had a day trip to Machynlleth by bus – it rained all day as usual there. We had a lovely ten mile walk over the hills to Cwm Maethlon [The Happy Valley] and then up to Llyn Barfog [The Bearded Lake]. On Monday we cycled to Tywyn to get supplies (which were delivered to the boat) and also had a honey ice cream to keep up Voss traditions.

On Tuesday three of Tony’s grandchildren Lucas, Molly and Maisie arrived by train. They were excited to see Aberdovey again and to be back on board – the first time since they joined us last year in the Netherlands.

From Aberdovey we hoped to sail northwards across Cardigan Bay, around the Lleyn peninsular and hence to the Menai Straights. The tip of the Lleyn peninsular is a major tidal gate and can have quite dangerous overfalls. The trick is to round it at slack water just as the tide is turning northwards. There was no suitable place to wait nearby, given the strong southerly winds, so we sailed first to Abersoch, where we sheltered during the afternoon, while waiting for the right moment. It had been quite a tough sail from Aberdovey so the rest was welcome. Then in early evening we sailed for Bardsey Sound and hence around the tip of the peninsular and up its north coast, partially sheltered by the land. There was a spectacular sunset before we arrived in Porth Dinllaen. It was a long day’s sailing, but very satisfying for the crew, who had all taken turns at helming.

The next day we hung out in Porth Dinllaen, catching up on sleep, enjoying swimming and the crew took the dinghy ashore to explore. In the afternoon there was little wind and an eerie mist, so we postponed our departure until rather early on the Friday, with a 4:30am alarm.

CaernarfonThis was a good choice as we had an excellent sail up to Caernarfon, which was very interesting to visit. The ancient walled town is dominated by its massive castle, which we explored and there were many interesting streets and buildings.

On Saturday we passed eastwards through the Menai Straights,which separate Anglesey from mainland Wales. This includes the narrow and rocky Swellies passage, where the tide runs ferociously. There are about ten minutes near slack water when it is safe to pass and possible to make progress further eastwards. The trick was to leave Caernarfon and be swept along the straights and arrive at the start of the Swellies at the right moment. With the wind against us, this was definitely a time to use the engine, but once we reached Beaumaris we were able to make sail and head for Conwy.

ConwyConwy is another walled town dominated by its castle and very interesting to explore. Close by the castle are three bridges across the Conwy river: the  bridge built by Telford in 1826 and one of the first road suspension bridges in the world; the rail bridge built by  Stephenson in 1849 and a modern road bridge.  Now there is also a road tunnel under the estuary.

There was a final night onboard for the crew before we put them on a train for the journey home.


On passage from Aberdovey - 10We really enjoyed having the crew onboard and it was great having so many hands for the sailing. Both sails and centre plate could be adjusted at the same time and the fenders and mooring lines set up in almost no time. Ynskje enjoyed the rest from being called upon to do several things at once – an impossible task that she usually tackles valiantly. It is strangely quiet now as we wait for viable wind for our passage to the Isle of Man.

That’s the news for now.

love, as ever, Ynske & Tony

One thought on “From Aberdovey to Conwy with Grandchildren Crew

  1. Liz Pill

    Well done everyone! Having now heard about the passage from Lucas Molly and Maisie it sounds as if they thoroughly enjoyed it and found it very exciting.Thank you Grandpa and Ynske. liz x

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