Here we are again – the first of our bi-annual trips to Dale. Despite a lacking forecast, the recent sunshine must have lifted the escape desire as we were a good 20+ gathering in the making. After a few OCD moments prompted by a change of car and an overwhelming requirement not to have my kit introduce itself to the hard deck of the M4 “a la Matt”, we were off arriving in Dale for a quick night cap and good nights sleep.
A gloriously sunny Friday morning kicked off with usual catch up and procrastination between car park and beach front bench. Not much on the wind front so Gavin, Tom & I found ourselves joining Mike for a walk (read route march) around St Ann’s Head on his new quest for fitness (of which he looks to be doing rather well I might add). I could at least be deserving of my white chocolate cake on return to the cafe. Some just choose to go straight to the cake… After lunch, and a little more procrastination it was decided practice in rigging up my new kit was needed. Having only rigged my 5.5 and 6.5 once each, who was I to deny the opportunity when nudged. And then of course, not make the effort to bob about a bit in the light afternoon breeze after bothering to do it. I was not alone, although not everybody else needed the practice we at least got out there – The sun must have been getting to us. Or had Frostie not arrived with the backgammon yet!
Saturday faired better, albeit not much, but with big sails and a “lets make the most of it” attitude most of us took to the water. We pottered about, with a few snatches at planning on 6 – 8.5′s. Lucky Darren caught the best break of the day. Sailing his way out of driving fatigue whilst the rest of us grabbed some lunch he found himself sole recipient of some good wind action – Or maybe at that distance, we just couldn’t see how hard he was pumping! Not to be outdone, Simon Michelle (The Beach Inspector) has charged back into the fray taking out a lamppost, hedgerow and almost a small child in his exit from the beach. He made the quickest rig change known to mortal man emerging resplendent from the car park flying a 10.1 Tushingham Max. The term “go big or go home” just is Simon. Sadly, a sail that size tends to come with the curse of a dying wind so he didn’t get to play for long.
And so to The Griffin. Our visit this time was timed with the arrival of their new “Fish shop” style menu, so fayre was not what we went for. A few drinks, cheerful banter and the arrival of a Hen party to amuse the lads all makes for a fun weekend whatever the wind conditions.
Sunday saw an early mist with no wind to speak of so a contingent headed to Newgale. Not much happened wind wise, we hung around in Newgale for a few hours waiting for inspiration before Gav & I gave up and headed back home. With a extra day at their disposal, Frostie, Linz and Neil hung in a bit longer and stopped at Broad Haven having spotted a windsurfer planning in the bay and got a bit excited at the prospect of getting out on the water, only to find he was on his way back in because the tide was not working. I have been told they ended up having a good SUP in the early evening sun at Dale which was cool.
Neil informs me that Monday started off grim – no wind, no sun, with the sea mist rolling in again at Newgale, so yet more coffee and waiting ensued until they could actually see the sea. Patience paid off. The sun and the SUP’s came out as the waves were perfect (read sphincter tightening big!) according to Frostie who I have been told was looking like a surfing God while Neil not so much. We await the addition of Lindsey’s action photos to confirm this!
As ever, it was fun and a perfect way to end a great weekend. See you for the next Dale trip later this year.
Contribution by Candice Betts