Menai Bridge 53:13.575N 004:09.408W

Frans & Sarah Toonen
Tue 25 Apr 2017 19:00
Tuesday 25 April 2017. 16.1nm. N 4/6. 3.5 engine hours. Passage 4 hours.

What a busy day as we rushed to get ready to depart. It is always like this. 

Pelagia was lifted out on March 27 for planned anode check, prop service, clean down, de-barnacle and hull polish. Shortly before this the shore power was not working and during investigations there was a loud bang with smoke as the inverter blew up. Whilst we still had the 12V boat instruments it is not possible to use any power tools without shore power so this was a major issue. Further, when the crane driver tried to get her in the slings he realised that many of the aerials on our arch (and the wind turbine generator) were in the way. Several had to come down in a hurry and restoring them was quite a few days work when she was back in the water. One turbine blade fell in the sea and was lost to add to our challenges. A new inverter, fuse board and switching gear was required and Frans was busy designing, sourcing and installing all this during time that should have been spent on hull - out of the water- work. 

On Monday 24 April Pelagia went back in the water and despite this Sarah was not allowed on board to start cleaning and stowing due to the maintenance and tool explosion covering every surface below decks. This is when the 2 showers are most handy and bags of clothes, linen, provisions etc can be piled up over a meter high in both of them. Tuesday 6am we left home in the snow so Frans could be dropped at Conwy for his day’s work. Sarah took the car home via the supermarket (again) and carried on with the closing up of the house tasks. Chris ( what a good girl) came from Manchester after work to take Sarah and another car load to be dropped at the boat. Hail and icy wind were swirling around but still Chris had to go up a ladder and close off the hole in the chimney so favoured by the jackdaws as soon as our backs are turned. 
In addition to the rush to get everything on board the rigger was also on the boat to install a new decklight (to illuminate the foredeck) and to reinstall one of the aerials that had to come off for the haul out.

Conwy marina has a cill (to keep the water in) and we left as soon as there was 2m over the cill. The notorious Menai strait is very time sensitive and due to  the timed exit from Conwy we had to overnight in the strait. Previously we have been able to moor onto the Prince Madog which is a large research vessel kept at the bridge. When we go there somebody had had the same idea and there was a tiny yacht using the whole vessel. We had to take a mooring! It’s dark, it’s windy, it’s freezing, the current is running at 2 knots, Sarah is as agile as a tortoise and our deck is about 6’ above the waterline. We lost count of the number of times Frans steered past the wildly bobbing pick up float whilst Sarah threw herself on the deck and poked around in the water under the guardrail, but to not avail. The pick up float is about 20cm diameter whereas the mooring buoy is about 100cm. Sarah is quite good at swinging a rope around a cleat on approach (anything to avoid having to jump off) and so the decision was made to try and swing a line around the actual mooring buoy. One wouldn’t usually do this as the line can get fouled in the chain or the buoy may be attached to the chain by something flimsy and we are 18tonnes.  The swing was successful and held us whilst Frans got the wretched pick up float and hauled the mooring chain onboard. Hurray, we’ve been up nearly 20 hours, we can eat supper and go to bed.

An indication of how tired we were is that we forgot to put on the newly installed decklight which would have been rather helpful during the mooring experience… muppets!

Snow and frost on day of departure.