Piel Island by Malcolm Symons


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I went on my first big sail last week.

I set off from Wardleys Creek on the top of an 8.2 Metre tide at 1500 hrs. in the small boat Taupo, down the river to Knott End and down the ferry channel into Morecambe Bay.

I set sail and had a good sail across the bay on a North West wind about Force 3 towards my destination, Piel Island.

Unfortunately the wind dropped to nothing about three miles away so I started the outboard and motored on, past the seal colony, arriving at 2030 hrs. on an ebbing tide.

There was a buoy vacant right next to the castle so I moored up. It was mirror calm like lake with a lovely red sunset.

I was so glad to get the kettle on have a cup of tea and eat my sandwiches.

It was dark then and I was tired, so I decided to turn in. The wind picked up a bit and the halyard started slapping the mast, so I got up and tied it back, then the mooring buoy started bumping on the hull, so I got up and let the line out a bit, then the flap I have the gps attached to started banging, so I got up and fixed that, then the wind picked up to near gale force and the boat was bouncing all over the place, so by morning I had about an hours sleep and took a picture of the castle. (Attached)

I set off at 0800 hrs. Had to get back for the 8 Metre high tide at 1539 hrs. because the tides were going into the neap cycle and I can't get into the creek at less than 8 Metres.

The wind now had dropped to almost zero, so I motored down the shipping channel onto open water. The problem now was I only had a gallon of fuel left and I wasn't sure if it would take me back.

A little wind sprang up; coming from exactly the direction I was heading for, so I started tacking and very slowly started pulling away from the shipping channel. Then the wind dropped again and I motored for a bit and checked the fuel. I carried on with a bit of sailing and a bit of motoring all the way back across.

When I reached the ferry channel the wind picked up to a Force 4, and I shot down the ferry channel at 7 knots with the tide, there was several boats about so I had to keep on my toes, but had a great sail to Knott End.

At Knott End there's a Coastguard lookout station overlooking the moorings, and they have big orange coloured training boats moored up there. I decided to slip past one of these when the wind suddenly dropped completely and I was heading straight for it with the rush of the tide. Fortunately they're moored up to huge orange rubber buoys, and at the last second I pushed the tiller over, went broadside into the buoy bounced off, pirouetted, accidentally gibed, the wind picked up and I shot off through the moorings and up the river at about 6 knots.

I could just imagine the men in the lookout post, stood there with a cup of tea saying, “Look at that bloody idiot over there"

I arrived at the creek 1530 hrs. 9 minutes early for the 20 minute slot to get moored up.

The lads at the club said I did well for the first time, which pleased me.

Isle of Man next!



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