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Reply To: Ipswich to Pwithelli via lands end in December

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Roger Sturge

I bought my NC33 in Ipswich but I had reasons for staying in that area for a time and had two and a half good seasons on the East coast from Woodbridge to Ramsgate and Limehouse. As I live in Bristol the plan was eventually to bring her round to the Bristol Channel via Lands End. However, I also had a dream of circumnavigation. With that and the thought of prevailing winds on the South coat, and that I had already twice been as far as Falmouth (in Arthur Ransome’s Nancy Blackett) I decided to go the long way round and take the opportunity of enjoying my favourite cruising grounds on the Scottish West coast on the way. Lowestoft to Hartlepool was the only passage involving an overnight sail. I took a break at Arbroath Harbour (very friendly, good rail connection). I spent 2018 based near Oban and set off South to my new home port at Cardiff Bay yacht Club in 2019 – incidentally stopping one night at Pwllheli, having been in Porthmadog where the tides don’t work for a passage South. I took two breaks (divorce prevention and crew change), one at Ardrossan on the Clyde – a large but efficient marina) and Conwy where there’s a choice of two marinas on opposite sides of the river. The one on the East is more accessible by train. We took two days from Conwy to Porthmadog, anchoring overnight at Porthdinllaen.

I think Lyndon Craig’s advice is good – the sailing in the Ipswich area is first rate, second only to the Hebrides in my book. But you might want to take the break further North than Amble. I was happy with Arbroath as a break on the way to Oban but you could think of Inverness for a more even division of the passage from Ipswich Pwllheli. Stonehaven is a lovely little port but not a good place to leave your boat. Peterhead is a big marina and quiet (across the bay from the main town), but a bit soulless for my liking. If you haven’t been through the Caledonian Canal, it’s idyllic. And we enjoyed the Crinan as well unless you opt for the Mull of Kintyre.

What ever you decide, have a wonderful passage.

Roger Sturge