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Old 22-05-2019, 10:51   #1
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Motoring across the Bristol Channel - Swansea to Bristol

Motoring across the Bristol Channel - Swansea to Bristol

I'm thinking of buying a boat to learn to sail in but with the intention of keeping it on the inland waterway network most of the time - basically a liveaboard continuous cruiser type thing but with the option to sail. The boat I'm considering is located in Swansea, so to get it onto the canal network it seems I would have to get it to Bristol. Road transport seems far too costly for my budget and I'm not even a beginner when it comes to sailing yet. I'm aware of the Bristol Channel's reputation, but would motoring the yacht across from Swansea to Bristol be an advisable option?

The boat in question is Westerly 22
with Yanmar YSE 8 diesel inboard
schtompenbroner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22-05-2019, 11:20   #2

Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 6,298
Re: Motoring across the Bristol Channel - Swansea to Bristol

There are "hidey holes" all along the south shore of Wales, so getting from Swansea to Bristol (Portishead) is no trick at all navigation-wise. BUT the tides, and consequently the current, in Bristol Channel command respect. The distance from Swansea to Portishead is about 50 NM, and the Nomad under power is good for 4 knots, so IF there were no current, the trip would take you 50/4, say 12 hours. That would be a long day for a novice, so plan on taking break about halfway. And just where would "halfway" be? Well that depends on the tides and the consequent current. Throughout the summer, you'll be able to find a "weather window" that will allow you a pleasant and safe passage.

The first thing you have to do, IMO, before you commit to buying a boat in South Wales, is to get the proper nautical chart for the Bristol Channel and ALSO the tide and current tables. One isn't much good without the other. The second thing you have to do is learn to read them. Only then should you think of buying the boat.

Maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but in a Nomad you CANNOT make headway against a four knot current! Conversely, on a FOLLOWING four knot current, you'll be making EIGHT knots over the ground and you can do the fifty miles in 50/8, i.e. a little over 6 hours! So timing your departure from Swansea becomes all-important :-)!

There's a little more to it than that, but you get the idea. Get the chart and the tables, then come back to us, and we will help you along :-)

All the best,

TrentePieds is offline   Reply With Quote


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