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About Kevin

I've been sailing on the yacht 'Phyllis' since her launch in July 2010. Not a 'rag and stick' sailor originally so I've had to learn new skills during this time. She's a lovely, and cosy, little boat who has taken me all around the Irish Sea and the countries on its shores.

Due to the weather and other circumstances, the new departure date was arranged for Tuesday 18 June.  Comrades and Sara Ann could not make the revised timescales and remained in Conwy.  Two boats, Spray & Phyllis, departed Deganwy with the IOM, Northern Ireland and Scotland in our sights. John Hodson joined as the crew on Phyllis with Jimmy Lamb on Spray.  Taking a slightly different route we sailed towards Point Lynas before turning northerly to the IOM.

Phyllis (skippered by Kevin) and Spray (skippered by Tom) continued to the IOM, Port St Mary, before departing to Peel via Calf Sound.  Jimmy was not well when we arrived in Peel and returned home with John, on the fast ferry Manannan from Douglas to Liverpool.

After a couple of days in Peel, we departed to Northern Ireland with landfall close to Portavogie before sailing along the coast through Donaghadee Sound to transverse Belfast Loch to overnight berth in Carrickfergus Marina.

Our next departure took us along the cliffs of the Antrim coast, hosting a multitude of different nesting sea birds before our arrival in Glenarm. With the Mull of Kintyre insight, we then journeyed north to arrive in Campbeltown after passing Sanda Island to port and Alisa Craig well off to starboard.  Lots of Gannets were seen en route feeding, before going to their breeding ground on Alisa Craig, famous too for the granite used for making curling stones.  Alisa Craig dominates the outer Clyde and can be seen for miles and miles on a clear day.

Campbeltown once refuelled and refreshed, we enjoyed a visit to the local distillery 'Springbank'. We then crossed Killbrannan Sound towards the Isle of Arran passing Lochranza to starboard before crossing Bute Sound to enter the inner Firth of Clyde towards Largs Marina.

Once again refuelled, both with diesel and a good meal we set-off up the Clyde the following morning, with the incoming tide, passing Inverkip, Cloch Point lighthouse and Greenock.  We were met by Douglas to show us the way into Sandpoint Marina (a very little known spot known to locals) in his powerful RIB.  Just on the cusp of the tide, Phyllis lightly touched bottom on the soft sand before immediately lifting again to continue down the short channel to Dumbarton, our final destination, on the first phase. Then treated to a fast RIB ride to get some supper in Holy Loch and catching up with some old friends before returning to Dumbarton. We left the marina the following morning, Thursday 27th June, to catch the train from Glasgow back to home, business and other commitments awaited.

Photos from our Scotland phase I voyage.
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Return to Scotland
Our return to Glasgow was almost two weeks later, Wednesday 10 July.  Joined by Tanya (to crew on Phyllis) who had travelled from North Wales to meet up at Warrington Bank Quay before we picked up Tom at Preston railway station.

We arrived in the afternoon at Dumbarton and were met by Douglas, our host at the marina. Both Phyllis and Spray had been well looked after at Sandpoint Marina.  By the time we got ourselves and the boats sorted we joined Douglas for a beer and something to eat in the town that evening.

The following day saw us breakfast at Denny's, the Denny Ship Model Experiment Tank (the last building remaining from the shipbuilding days) which forms part of the Scottish Maritime Museum.  For those who aren't aware Sandpoint was the place where the Cutty Sark was built.  After breakfast, a must-visit as this was the first commercial ship model testing tank built in the world and it retains many original features today: a water tank as long as a football pitch, clay moulding beds for casting wax model ship hulls and the original Victorian machinery used for shaping models.

Then off to the supermarket for victualling the boats with the afternoon on Douglas's RIB upriver to see the upper Clyde and Titan (a huge crane), the famous paddle steamer Waverley and the new navy ships being built by BAE.

A visit too, for Tanya and Tom to the recently opened Glasgow Distillery - No Whiskey there yet!  While Douglas and Kevin visited the wonderful River Side museum and went aboard the tall ship 'Glenlee'.  That evening we all enjoyed a wonderful meal at the 'Sugarboat', down the line in Helensburgh.  Highly recommended.

Friday 12 July and we said our goodbyes to Douglas and headed down the Clyde.  In harmony with the music played by Tanya on her Penny Whistle, as she did on every departure.  A great sail towards the Isle of Bute with berthing at Port Bannatyne.  A short bus ride to Rothesay for a visit to the famous, not to missed, Victorian toilets. And then an evening meal in a local hostelry prior to catching a taxi back to the marina.

The following day we departed, to Tanya's music, to sail through the Kyles of Bute. What a marvellous passage along the fjord passing by the Burnt Islands before sailing south past Tighnabruaich and Kames in the West Kyle. It's here that a sudden wind shift saw Phyllis's jib part from the end of the bowsprit.  A swift dropping of the halyard and pulling in of the sail sorted it all out in double-quick fashion.

Then around Ardlamont Point and in a northwesterly direction on Loch Fyne brought us to one of the most astonishing marinas on the Clyde, Portavadie. The complex was originally built for the purpose of constructing concrete oil rigs. After an immediate move to steel platforms, the facility became redundant and after a little time, it was developed into a marina complex, opened in 2010. Five-star luxury apartments, private sauna facilities, a restaurant and conference centre.

Never the less the rock blasting at Portavadie and the resulting very deep water intended for building oil platforms has left an excellent and well-sheltered marina. Well worth a visit, a refuel, an evening meal and breakfast.

Sunday 14 July and we started our homeward bound sail. Exceptionally becalmed conditions saw us motor-sail southwards to Troon.  Another well-protected marina and a wonderful seafood meal in a very busy Scott's Restaurant on the marina complex.

Monday and we ventured along the South Ayrshire coastline passing Ayr, Turnberry Lighthouse and the Trump golf course with Alsa Craig always within sight in the far distance. Girvan was our next port of call en route to Port Patrick and then onto Peel (IOM).  Well, that was the plan!  A meal on board before a restful night and an early start.

Time to depart, the engine started and into gear. Phyllis would not budge!  Forward and reverse gears were selected, still, no way would she would go!  The gearbox was suspected. The harbour master contacted as well as the local ship repairers and marine engineers.  Alas, it was the Scottish wake weeks and no one was available to help. Reluctantly Phyllis was left in Girvan and everyone, Tanya, Kevin & Tom started on our way home on Spray.

The plan was now to return to Deganwy as quickly as possible so the next leg saw us landfall in Peel (IOM) in the wee hours and then after some rest and recovery an evening departure directly to Deganwy.  Arriving late afternoon on Thursday 18 July. Two and half days after leaving Phyllis in Girvan.

Photos from our Scotland phase II voyage.
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Phyllis Remains in Scotland
Phyllis was eventually repaired after a couple of trips back and forth to Girvan.  It transpired to be only the Drive Plate which once replaced were fitted on to a newly acquired gearbox.  Everything fitted and ran like a dream.  During our sea trials, we took her to Troon where she stayed for approx six weeks prior to moving Phyllis for overwintering in Largs Marina, where she is now berthed until the spring of 2020.

Photos from our Scotland phase III.
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Watch a short, one minute, video of the boats in Scotland.

Thursday 23 May and we left Deganwy, in remarkable weather with flat seas, all the way to the Mersey to Liverpool Marina. Arriving in good time for the start of the Festival (Friday 31 May). Moved the boat the previous Thursday from the Marina to Albert Dock, now renamed the Royal Albert Dock. Phyllis remained on static display along with the other boats from the Nobby Owners Association.

Seven boats attended the event in the Royal Albert Dock, including Spray, Phyllis, Comrades, Sara Ann, Jean, Hearts of Oak, and the Anna Elldi. With no sailing programme, it was a social weekend for the Association. It was good to catch up with everyone.

It was Tuesday 4 June when we all left Liverpool to return to Deganwy. Some five boats, Comrades, Sara Ann, Phyllis, Spray and Anna Elldi departed the River Mersey back to Conwy, with Anna Elldi returning to the Menai Straits.

Afraid not all the planned work was completed during her lift out. The most important, fixing a persistent leak and an increase in the bowsprit length was completed. Along with new anti-foul and hull painting. Varnishing too of the cockpit and all the spars. The leak was found by Roger, from the boatyard, who spotted that a plank gap had appeared starboard side directly behind the rear engine beam. A tingle was made to complete the repair.

While out of the water a survey was completed 6 March 2019 by Jonathan Jackson (Ulverston) which proved more than satisfactory for the insurers.

The anti-foul paint job ruined the log paddle, ascertained once in the water, so a new replacement was procured at a very favourable price. The fitting of it, in the water, was a very slick job which resulted in less than a tablespoonful of water entering the boat!

April 5th and Phyllis was re-launched for our return to Deganwy, on 10th April, after a short stay in Fleetwood Dock. We were now prepared for the season ahead.

Tues 29 May - Sun 3 June 2018
The end of the Tall Ships at Liverpool was the catalyst for the start of the Nobby Owners Association's 2018 summer cruise.

As previously posted "Phyllis' visited Caernarfon via the Menai Strait en-route to Dublin.  The remaining boats chose to sail (well motor sail) directly to Dublin, the thought was that they would be arriving in time to see the Tall Ships as they sailed down the River Liffey.  Alas, the fleet had become becalmed at the top end of the Isle of Man. Meanwhile, the crews took the opportunity to explore the delights of Dublin and enjoy the exceptional sunshine covering the whole of western Europe.

After which we joined in with the Dublin Bay OGA for their annual regatta and their participation with the visiting Tall Ships as part of our summer cruise, our boats then starting our own sailing flotilla together.

  • Adelaide
  • Anna Ellidi
  • Phyllis
  • Spray
  • Master Frank [who headed home, Ramsey, IOM]
Tall Ships Leaving Dublin

Mon 4 June 2018
After watching the departing Tall Ships leave the Liffey we went to Howth Marina for a few days to enjoy the fine seafood restaurants that this major Irish fishing port has to offer. Visits to the quayside restaurants of 'The Oar House' & 'Crabby Joe's' provided much joy and merriment.  While at the same time an opportunity to catch up on provisions and a little laundry.

Weds 6 June 2018
'Adelaide' returned early morning directly to Conwy via Holyhead as some crew had work commitments.

Some of the larger vessels in the marina.

With the wind remaining predominantly northeasterly in the offing, and the remarkable high temperatures of the summer we decided to go south to Dún Laoghaire Marina which must be one of the largest in Europe with berthing for 850 yachts.  For guests unfamiliar with the marina they despatch a small tender to lead you to your visitor's berth.  The pontoons to the offices and services are extensive and they provide a barge mid-way for toilet and shower facilities.

In the glorious sunshine, we enjoyed our visit to this pretty little town and their Irish National Maritime Museum.

That evening we all gathered together and shared our provisions for an impromptu onboard dinner on 'Phyllis' while watching the various yacht fleets making the best of the weather.  The crystal clear waters enabled us to see the fascinating sea creatures attached to the pontoons. We were Joined too by a resident seal in the marina.

ANNA ELLIDI passing Sorrento Point

Thurs 7 June 2018
The following day we left Dún Laoghaire Marina and still going south took a wonderful passage thro’ Dalky Sound passing Sorrento Point and Bray Head en-route to Greystones Marina. 

This new marina is in its last stages of development, the marina office and facilities in portacabins, not a problem as they were wonderfully appointed. A new office and permanent facilities were under construction in a very large block on the quayside which will have a top tier bar and restaurant providing a 360º view of the Irish Sea, the Marina with a backdrop of the Wicklow Mountains and the Great Sugar Loaf.

The pontoons were immaculate and the only downside at this time was the unavailability of fuel.  Construction of the fuel berth was underway to be completed soonest.

A pleasant walk into town for provisions and well, some wine really, gift shopping and coffee shop stopovers all before enjoying another impromptu meal aboard 'Anna Ellidi'.

A remarkable flat Irish Sea, a true mill pond..!

Fri 8 June 2018
An early morning start and once again we departed in benign weather conditions resulting in motor sailing across to Wales, on a mirror calm Irish Sea to Caernarfon.  Unusually for 'Spray', she lagged behind for a considerable part of the crossing, only just making the tidal gate for the Caernarfon Bar and entrance into Victoria Dock.

An excessive amount of fuel was used by 'Spray' who had quite literally 'put-putted' on to the fuel berth for refuelling the following morning.  The dilemma causing some head-scratching over dinner in the 'Black Buoy Inn' before retiring for a nightcap in the welcoming  Royal Welsh Yacht Club. 

Sat 9 June 2018
Once 'Spray' was fully fuelled up she rafted alongside 'Phyllis' to clear the fuel berth.  In the bright light of day, and luckily berthed starboard side to, her propeller could clearly be seen wrapped up in some discarded plastic rope and streaming a metre or so of line. Using our boat hook and after tugging and pulling we managed to free the foul-up before the option of diving overboard with a knife in hand to cut-away the rope. Phew..!

Bryan tiding up before the crew came aboard.

Before transiting the Swellies, 'Anna Ellidi' picked up her mooring at Y Felinheli, formerly known in English as Port Dinorwic. The crew Trash, Tanya and the dog Bosun came aboard 'Phyllis' to sail up the Menai Strait before returning to Conwy. The tides were good for a low water transit of the Swellies but too soon for a direct return to Conwy.  A stopover at Menai Bridge and lunch in the Liverpool Arms.  

Our final leg saw 'Spray' motor to Deganwy Marina with 'Phyllis' joining in with the local Beaumaris Sailing fleet in a short sail up the Straits.  A final drop off of the crew of 'Anna Ellidi' at Conwy Marina before 'Phyllis' crossed the river to her homeport of Deganwy.

Although the Summer Cruise was not as expected as we originally planned to go north and then to Peel on the IOM, due to the wind direction and the realisation, with some crews, that the Conwy River Festival was before and not after the Peel Traditional Boat Festival.  A southerly route back to the mainland was thoroughly enjoyed.  A great adventure in great company.

View Photo Gallery

 

Saturday 19 May 2018

Just before the closure of the cill at Deganwy Marina [05:00 hrs], an early morning start, to catch the last of the ebb to catch the flood shortly after passing the Gt. Orme. Two nobbies, ourselves, Phyllis from Deganwy and Comrades from Conwy, en-route to Liverpool to rendezvous with the Tall Ships over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

We managed a little sailing until we got to the Orme and we had to motor most of the way. Rhyl Flats and we crossed a massive algae bloom brought on no doubt by the nice warm weather. Not a single turbine blade turned on any of the windmills as we passed them by. A leisurely cruise to lose some passage time so we could enter the Mersey via Rock Channel which is only navigable typically a few hours either side of HW. New Brighton as expected was full of families enjoying the sunny day.

Finally on a berth at 14:20 hrs, after our lock-in. Then to catch up with other Nobby owners and share a few jars of liquid refreshment.

Hopefully, that is!  After dreadful winter months of rain after rain followed by the beast from the east temperatures are now starting to rise.

A maritime historical marker too this March.  The total loss of Holyhead Marina along with some 80 boats during the storm Emma with a force 10 northeasterly which brought disaster to Holyhead. Not only millions of £'s worth of boats lost and sunk but the work and income for many who relied on the income from visiting and permanent berthed yachts and working vessels in this deepwater port.

Storm surges of 5 metres totally wrecked the marina pontoons and virtually all the boats berthed in the harbour. Remarkably this disaster was not reported by UK mainstream media. Fortunately, Facebook and YouTube provided the evidence. For some upsetting scenes for any mariner check out the videos on YouTube.  Simply search Holyhead Marina storm, Emma.

With the weather steadily improving 'Phyllis', with just a couple of small jobs to complete her winter slumber, is raring to go. A visit this coming weekend to the Beaulieu Boat Jumble might just find an interesting item or two to fit on 'Phyllis'.