10th – 12th February – Competent Crew Course

After all the dramas about ensuring that our students wear appropriate clothing for sailing in cold weather, we were all finally on our way: our first Competent Crew Course of the year.


Expectation always needs to be managed when it comes to weather in winter, and though there are some wonderful sailing to be had in winter this weekend proved not to be one of them!

The wind was forecast to blow to a Beaufort 9! Not great for our three intrepid first timers and another on board to gain mileage. The positive side to the weekend is that everyone learned a lot about reefing: how to reef, how not to reef, when to reef and how to keep sailing when the wind exceeded 30 knots.


After a morning of boat familiarisation below and above deck alongside the pontoon in Penarth Marina, we set out after an early lunch to Cardiff Bay. The wind was gusting to 30 knots and leaving the pontoon was a well executed evolution in close quarters.


Three reefs had already been set so this did not have to be organised when we  were underway. The conditions were challenging enough in the bay alone let alone further out to sea. The main aim was to demonstrate to the crew how to manage a vessel in inclement weather. We hoisted our sails and executed points of sail for a good few hours. Everyone had a go on the helm and pulling some sheets and by dusk the return to base was welcomed!


The weather by now had deteriorated further with sustained easterlies of severe gale 9. Despite my suggestion of rescheduling the Sunday the crew wanted to meet anyway. We left the pontoon early in the morning but were severely hampered by the wind. There  is a pint where the teaching element of a course is lost in severe weather, and the safety aspects are brought in to sharp relief so we returned to the pontoon.


The remainder of the morning session was devoted to berthing in severe weather, and how to set our lines to protect our vessel in storm conditions. Doubled lines were laid and close attention paid to springs as well as breast lines. The afternoon session covered chartwork, tides, tidal heights and streams and pilotage. The crew thoroughly enjoyed the session, having all been asked to create a secondary port tidal calculation for leaving Cardiff barrage. This exercise alone is an extremely valuable skill to have. The day wrapped with a passage plan and pilotage developed for our next meeting mid March.


In all a great weekend in extremely challenging conditions with a crew who remained upbeat and focussed throughout. A big well done to you all!

3rd October 2015 – One Day Sailing Taster


Fantastic Sailing on OneOcean’s One Day Sail Taster. Saturday 3rd October 2015.

OneOcean ran our first Sailing Taster Day on Saturday 3rd October on Tiger 2, a Bavaria 37, with skipper and principal Meuryn Hughes and 5 budding sailors on board: Richard, Martin, Christine, Nick and Andrew. The forecast was for poor visibility in the morning with light and variable conditions.

We decided to run on an ebbing tide west towards Nash Point. Following the initial welcome tea, coffee and nourishing croissants the crew were taken through a full safety briefing covering every aspect of safety from lifejackets to liferafts to using fire extinguishers to sending a mayday by radio.

By 1030hrs we were singled up and ready to depart Penarth Marina. We locked out of Cardiff Barrage at 1100hrs and ventured out to a smooth sea with calm conditions; visibility was moderate and lifted as the sun rose higher. Ideal conditions for novices, though for some a little more wind would have made the day a perfect day at sea.

We sailed with the ebbing tide running west towards Barry. A loose fender demanded a quick MOB recovery exercise which enthralled everyone on board and demonstrated how things can change quickly in a blink of an eye. The fender was retrieved without drama and the whole exercise was noted with great interest to all those on board.

We ran through a series of tacks whilst in Penarth Bay in order to show the crew how responsive Tiger 2 was, and soon we found ourselves west of Sully Island. the decision not to anchor for lunch was unanimous and we headed west of Nash Point where winds remained light and variable throughout.

At 1500hrs we decided to run for home and headed out to the mid channel to find more wind. Though the wind was forecast to be NW we found mostly the wind from the south and west and used it to make good progress on our return.

A run around the islands of Flatholme and Steepholme was abandoned when poor visibility returned and we wondered if the engulfing fog would force us to navigate blind in to Cardiff. In the event, visibility remained poor but we were able to make out the sector lights in to Cardiff and a safe return to Penarth Marina for 2100. The crew thoroughly enjoyed the day having got a great taste of sailing at sea in pleasant conditions.

We look forward to running this one day sail taster on a monthly basis so if you are interested then email us for the next scheduled sail.