Dale is a splendid bolt hole within the Milford Haven Waterway.

Dale has an anchorage, visitors moorings, a public pontoon (in summer months), a slip way, a good pub and a good yacht clubhouse.

It makes a good point from which to start exploring the Claddau, or to rest up during a longer passage.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Dale is officially the sunniest part of Wales.

There are two points worth noting about Dale – firstly the adjacent St Anne’s Head can be brutal for smaller boats with the right combination of wind and tide, while the popular short-cut into Cardigan Bay – Jack Sound – requires careful planning and pilotage, as it needs to be tackled at slack tide, which only lasts for 20 minutes!

Cardiff Bay

Cardiff Bay contains many delights.

The first thing to negotiate is, or course, the Cardiff Barrage.

The barrage is essentialy available at all states of tide if the dredging operations are up to date. It is possible for access to get difficult at really low tides, Most boats under 2 metres draft are not going to have a problem, so long as the channel is followed. The mud banks on both sides are quite high.

The key facts to know about the barrage are that Lock In times are a quarter past and a quarter to every hour, and Lock Out times are on the hour, and half past the hour. You need to be in position BEFORE these times to ensure access. Call up Barrage Control on Ch. 18.

The operating period for the barrage should be checked if you are planning on late night or early morning movements.

Penarth Marina

Penarth has good facilities, with showers, a laundry, fresh water, electric, WiFi, petrol and deisel. The marina is behind a lock (I’ve never worked out why) so you do need to contact the marina office to get access. They listen on Channel 80.

The marina has several engineers on site. There is a crane, and hard standing, which is run by the marina. There is a chandlary on-site. The office advises contacting them directly to discuss requirements as prices around the various contractors ‘vary’. I can certainly recommend Andy Freemantle for rigging work. Some of the berths in the marina are effectively ‘owned’ by various engineers and so it can cost very little to stay in Penarth while having work done.

There is a large Tesco nearby, and several good eating places including a cafe, the ‘Compass’, and several pubs including ‘The Pilot House’ and ‘The Custom House’.

Mermaid Quay

Cardiff Yacht Club

Cardiff Bay Yacht Club

Ilfracombe Harbour

Ilfracombe on the North coast of Devon, is one of the club’s favourite watering holes.

It has

  • An excellent yacht club;
  • Great pubs;
  • Great takeaways.

The inner harbour dries, as does most of the outer harbour. Ilfracombe is great for bilge-keelers, though fin-keelers can take the wall. The anchorage in the deeper water is not so bad in most weather conditions – just make sure you leave room for the lifeboat and the commercial traffic.

Study a pilot book before attempting to use Ilfracombe, and make an effort to contact the harbour master.

Watchet Marina

Watchet is a delightful mud pie on the North coast of Somerset.

It has

  • A Maritime Museum
  • A Boat Museum
  • A Historic Railway Line
  • A Marina
  • Cafes
  • A Hard with a Boat Lift


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