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west wales week 11/2000 (or part thereof)

I'm writing this a bit after the event - 2 months - so it's a case of the whole truth and nothing like the truth.

Unfortunately I missed the social evening before this trip. But it was for a good reason. I was picking up 36 pints of Smiles Best from the Brewery Tap in Bristol. Martin and I had decided that, since drinking and driving don't mix, we were going to have a suitable supply of drink in the caravan.

So on to Saturday. A non-eventful journey down to Broadhaven. Except I'd left my sandwiches in the freezer so had to buy lunch. I had to go via Nolton Cross caravan site to take care of the most important business of setting up the beer box in the caravan - it takes 12 hours to settle. Then on down to the beach where I spotted Steve and Viv having lunch on the sea front.

The sun was shining, there was no wind and therefore no windsurfing. Soon Chris and Gerry appeared and then Peter. As usual, a discussion took place about the exciting sailing conditions and what we should do. A typically Nomadic decision was made - adjourn to a table outside the Galleon and sit in the end of October sun - and now we're back to beer again - and two very nice pints of Speckled Hen. It was about the best the Galleon managed all week.

We all ate at the Harbour Inn in Solva that evening. By now Martin and Joy had joined us. The food was good but the choice of beer was a bit disappointing. They also tried to charge Martin twice for his food - he had a couple of interesting calls from his credit card company the next day - anti-fraud software etc. - but it was all right in the end.

Martin, Joy, Peter and me then headed back to the caravan where, surprise, surprise, we had a sudden urge to see if the Smiles had settled out - it had. Windsurfing does come into this article somewhere, honest.

And then it was Sunday and there was wind. We met down at Broadhaven where there were waves as well. Adrian was already in the car park ready to sail. Martin and Phil decided to sail there, but Peter and I decided to follow all the others over to Dale. The wind was blowing from the South West which is offshore and not a very good direction for Dale because it comes across a headland which makes it very gusty. It was floaty board time so you had something to stand on during the lulls - I used a very floaty board - I'll let you guess what.

After finishing at Dale I headed back to Broadhaven to see what had been going on. Martin had left to get Joy to the railway station in Haverfordwest for 4 p.m. We later heard that a train actually came as well! Gerry and Chris had headed back home due to lack of holiday - but they were sneaking off to the South of France at the end of the week so we had no sympathy. Adrian's wife managed to lock them out of their camper van. They tried calling the RAC but got passed on to their insurance company and then got lost on the transfer back.

Adrian ended up removing a ventilation fan on the roof to get in - only 24 screws. Lucky he's not a large chap. This has apparently happened before.

photo of Adrian breaking-into his camper vanAdrian the van-breaker

Me, Martin, Peter and Tony ate in that evening. Martin produced an epic Spag Bol and a bottle of wine. Followed by Smiles for dessert. We then had great fun trying to assemble the pull out bed in the lounge for Tony to sleep on. It had a built in self collapse mode.

Monday. Tony survived the night on the bendomatic bed but decided he wouldn't risk it again. We met down at Broadhaven again and Adrian, Phil, Martin, Tony and me decided to sail there. I thought the waves were a bit smaller than yesterday so thought I had to give it a go. The others once again went down to Dale.

There was enough wind for 5m'ish sails. I didn't use my raceboard, which made a change for this summer, but got the Gecko out instead. I had a good few hours sailing even though I didn't make it out past the shorebreak. I know I was worried that, if I did, I would then get washed up on the rocks further along the coast. No sense of adventure. The Gecko was getting through the shore break much easier than my old HiFly the previous year. Some day I'll crack this. The others seemed to be enjoying themselves except that Phil broke a mast. Tony had borrowed/demo'd a board from Haven Sports, which survived the ordeal, but he didn't buy it. This seems a good way to supplement your windsurfing kit.

We all went over to Little Haven in the evening and ate in The Castle. The food was pretty good and the beer was as good as Worthington gets. The Nolton Cross group then headed back to the caravan and carried on Smiling.

Tuesday. We decided it was time for a greasy breakfast so headed to the café at Newgale. This was considered a good move and so, suitably full, we then headed back to Broadhaven. Me, Peter and Jim went to Dale. Martin, Tony and Phil stayed in Broadhaven. At Dale the wind was still coming over the headland but the gusts were lasting longer. Again it was raceboard time with 7.5 sail. Jim was using a Techno 283 and Peter an F2 Phoenix. We went over towards the other side of the bay and had some really good blasts for a couple of hours. It was quite an effort for Jim to get all the way back up wind when sailing back in again. No trouble for those of us with daggerboards.
Peter and Jim then headed off back home.

Martin, Tony and me went into Haverfordwest to hit Tescos and the chippy. Martin and Tony had fun in the horizontal rain with cash machines and shopping. The chippy sold the generous sized portions we don't seem to see in Bristol. We took an interesting cross country route back to Nolton Cross - this was by design - and it was considerably shorter. Back to the caravan for fish and chips and... Smiles. It's lucky that none of our other halves were present. The table was covered in chip papers, bread, butter, ketchup, but no plates, with the pint glasses carefully wedged in between - luxury.

Wednesday. I decided to head off home because I didn't feel much like windsurfing - too many beers the previous night.

The rest of the weeks activities will have to be reported by someone else or remain a mystery.

Keith Shepherd

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