South coast boats making for the west of Scotland first have to reach about 56o latitude, where the sheltered waters of the Clyde provide a convenient jumping-off point for the spectacular sounds, firths and sea lochs of the highlands and islands.

South coast boats making for the west of Scotland first have to reach about 56o latitude, where the sheltered waters of the Clyde provide a convenient jumping-off point for the spectacular sounds, firths and sea lochs of the highlands and islands.

A delivery cruise to the Clyde via Land’s End is an ambitious undertaking, but this trip is well suited to fast motor boats that can take advantage of short weather breaks.

Most skippers make for Milford Haven after rounding Land’s End. Your route north is then determined by the wind and weather, and by whether you prefer to hug the east coast of Ireland or keep to the Welsh side via the Menai Strait and Isle of Man.

I usually favour the east coast of Ireland as the most comfortable route north. In westerly weather, the lee of that long Irish shore allows you to make daily progress even in quite fresh winds.

Milford Haven to Rosslare

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Although Rosslare is not particularly convenient for cruising boats, it is at least a bolt hole from which you can press on north as soon as possible. Ideally, neaps are preferable for this 60-mile passage. The south-west corner of Wales is an uneasy stretch of water and the streams can run hard off Milford Haven and through the offshore islands and shoals to the west.

The tidal races near Skokholm, Skomer and Grassholme need a wide berth and you should aim to pass these islands at slack water, either about 11Ž2 hours before HW Milford Haven or 41Ž2 hours after.

The slack period 11Ž2 hours before HW gives you a slightly fair stream between St David’s Head and Rosslare. In Milford Haven, you can leave Neyland Yacht Haven lower basin at any state of tide and lock out of Milford Dock Marina for three hours each side

of HW.

From Milford Haven entrance, I usually head due west for six miles, to pass a mile south of Skokholm and run clear of Wild Goose Race. Then you can make about 325oT towards a departure waypoint 21Ž2 miles NE of the low mound of Grassholme Island.

From here it’s 40 miles NW across two sets of shipping lanes to the famous Tuskar Rock lighthouse off the corner of Ireland. From Tuskar it’s only seven miles to Rosslare, where yachts on passage can lie on the west side of the inner mole. This berth is usually quite snug overnight before you press on north the next day.