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port eynon away weekend

Pierrette and myself had decided to make a weekend of the Gower trip. So after returning home late from the Nomads social at the Jolly Sailor in Saltford, some quick packing was done in preparation for a fast getaway after work on Friday. I finished work early on Friday so I could finish packing our van and avoid some of the Friday rush hour traffic. I hitched my trailer on the back of the van, picked Pierrette up from work and we were off for a weekend's windsurfing.

The journey went well until we (I) took a wrong turn just outside Swansea and got on the A4118 heading the wrong way. The tension was rising in the van as Pierrette who was doing the map reading was blaming me for not turning where I was told and I was arguing that I got on the A4118 as directed.

I suppose it was my fault really. By this time it was obvious that we needed to do a U-turn, not always the easiest thing to do in a motorcaravan pulling a trailer. We were now heading into Swansea and the traffic was getting heavier. A central island appeared in front of me with a lane for turning right. I thought this was an opportunity to make that U-turn so pulled into the right hand lane and stopped at the give-way.

It was at that point I performed what Tim Cranfield later described as a skilful manoeuvre. When a gap appeared in the oncoming traffic I pulled out quickly, looked into my wing mirror to see the offside wheel of my trailer catching the curb. The trailer bounced up in the air. My immediate reaction was to hit the breaks. This was just what was needed to help the momentum carry the trailer up to the balance point where it hesitated for what seemed an age and toppled onto its side.

My mind was swimming, I was thinking MY BOARDS! I jumped out of van to see what damage had been done. The trailer was laying on its side. To my great relief I could see the boards were undamaged. With the help of a passing motorist we righted the trailer and then took a closer look for damage. It proved to be remarkably undamaged: the only real damage was where the towing socket had been twisted on its mountings and was now too loose to continue towing. A phone call to the AA was required. Half an hour later an AA man with a big hammer had carried out a temporary repair and got us back on the road.

It was 9 o'clock before we finally arrived in Port Eynon, feeling a little dazed and rather hungry. We had fish and chips for tea sat on the beach. This cheered me up and had me looking forward to windsurfing the next day.

When we got up on Saturday it was overcast and the wind was blowing a good force 4. I was starting to get excited, until I looked out at the bay and realised the wind was offshore or at least cross offshore. We took out time having breakfast keeping an eye on the wind hoping it would turn a little. We drove down to the beach car park at 11 o'clock to find Tim, Jane & Harry Cranfield (+ Bosley the dog) who had arrived just before us. We all spent an hour sitting around drinking tea and deciding whether or not to go out. In the end common sense won and we went for a walk along the coastal path towards Rhossili.

The sun was out by now and there were some beautiful views walking along the cliffs. We returned to the beach car park about 4 o'clock. There were other windsurfers out by now, some staying in the flat water of the bay, others playing in the waves around the headland.

I could not resist any longer, threw caution to the wind and went out. I decided it was safer to use Pierrette's Rumba with a 7.2m sail and stay in the bay where the wind was a little lighter. It took me half an hour to get rigged up and on the water. By then the wind had started to drop but I still had a good hour and a half just about on the plane.

In the evening, we camped with the Cranfield family in a campsite adjacent to the beach where we enjoyed a good barbecue and a few beers.

On the Sunday morning a glance out of the window revealed there was not much wind although it was now onshore. From the comfort of our van, we watched other Nomads arriving and talking (not windsurfing!!) in the nearby car park. We dragged ourselves to the car park and greeted the assembled Nomads - Martin Farrimond, Ian and Neroli, Carl Edgar, Sam and their dog Bob, Paul, Jill and Ben Byrne, Nigel Rudgyard, Tim Swan. Martin was helping Nigel to rig up his new kit. Pierrette's knee was hurting and she decided to rest in the van. I stole her Rumba again and went out.

Others were already on the water. Tim, Harry, Neroli, Paul and Nigel were sailing in the bay whilst Ian was sailing a long way out in search of wind. There was not much wind to be found. I wallowed around in the bay for one hour before packing up.

Pierrette and I went for a walk along the beach and noticed that Ian seemed to be struggling in the large waves off the headland. We walked out to the point to check all was well. By the time we reached the point, Ian was finally sailing away from the swell just as a Coastguard boat came to rescue him (See confessions from the gower). The rescue was not needed as Ian managed to make his own way back to the beach, feeling tired and relieved. Martin had a good afternoon sailing his new Xantos 310 with a 8.5 m sail. We said good-bye to everybody on the beach and drove home.

Mike Simmons

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This page last updated: 3rd Sep, 2021.