As Charles Henry Ashley is taken out of Cemaes harbour for her annual winter maintenance programme, this is an opportunity to review the highs and lows of the 2023 season from April to October.
First the bad news.
Although Cemaes is such a beautiful bay, it is not an easy location because of the tidal nature of the harbour. This places restrictions upon the opportunities to take Charles Henry Ashley out – and then the weather can be a further hindrance. When timing, tide and wind are all against us it can be very demoralising.
Another difficulty is having an appropriate balance of crew who are available to man the boat. We need an experienced coxswain, at least six strong rowers and another five or six members with a variety of skills who are physically able, willing to take orders from the ‘skipper’ and learn!
Although we have a steady and committed number of Boat Club members, not everyone is able to attend all sailings and there have been a number of occasions when we haven’t been able to provide a full crew.
But now for the good news.
When timing, tide, wind and crew are all correct, there is nothing better than sailing out of Cemaes Bay in this wonderful historic lifeboat. It is a truly joyous voyage – and this is what brings everyone back to try and repeat this uplifting experience.
Social events included our Pirate themed Beach Party and Carnival Parade, both of which are important community events for the Boat Club, and which despite the weather we were able to call a success.
One particularly poignant sailing day in September was when Norman Mason’s ashes were scattered at sea off the coast near Llanbadrig. As Charles Henry Ashley’s Boatswain, Norman’s contribution to Cemaes Boat Club was enormous. It was fitting that this was his last voyage on Charles Henry Ashley, surrounded by family and friends and accompanied by RNLI Lifeboat Christopher Pearce.
The final sail took place in September and with all the stars in alignment, it was a memorable and thrilling day that has been documented by Alun Pari Huws in another article on the website.
Charles Henry Ashley will be lifted out and taken to The Firs for winter maintenance in October – and a team of volunteers will spend some happy weekends getting her ready to brave the seas yet again in 2024. If you want to join us just get in touch – we welcome willing helpers!
Looking forward to next year, we want to encourage more members to join and come along to sail – and row – CHA. We can’t control the wind and the weather, but if we can guarantee a full crew for each possible opportunity, we have a better chance to realise more enjoyable experiences.
Please sign up and join the club…….we need you!