The coast of Pembrokeshire offers enormous potential for cruising, whether you are visiting in your own yacht or chartering one locally. With a combination of rugged, spectacular coastline, broad sandy beaches and numerous safe-haven harbours to moor in, there's plenty of scope.
Most of the yachting facilities in Pembrokeshire are focused on the Milford Haven waterway, a 22 mile long natural deep water harbour, sheltered from all but the very worst weather.
Marina facilities are available at both Neyland and Milford Haven, where most of a yachtsman's needs are catered for, from chandleries to charters.
The Haven itself is the perfect environment for a quiet sail in any size of craft, from dinghy to cruiser. It's also a good place to learn the ropes on one of the numerous RYA courses available. There's also the bonus of a choice of eight pubs that have direct access from the water!
Sailing south from the Haven, making sure you stay outside the exclusion area between Freshwater West and St Govans Chapel, make for Broad Haven South. Take a trip ashore to view the unique Bosheston lily pools with their amazing array of wildlife, one of the few places in Britain where you may get a glimpse of wild otters. Sail a little further and you reach the tiny harbour at Stackpole or continue along the coast to Tenby.
The harbour at Tenby can accommodate between 3 and 5 visiting craft alongside the harbour wall but access is only available two hours either side of high tide. The harbour is completely dry at low tide.
Saundersfoot harbour, a little further east, is another alternative but again, is dry at low tide.
Offshore, Caldey Island, with its monastic community is worth a visit. A perfumery, medieval priory, lighthouse, post office/museum, gift shop and tea garden as well as a glorious sandy beach, makes the visit worthwhile.
Travelling north from the Haven, you encounter the first group of islands off the Marloes peninsula. Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm are teeming with sea birds from May to July with some of the worlds biggest colonies of gannets and shearwaters (see the birdwatching section for details). Watch the comings and goings from the nesting colonies, from the comfort of your own yacht.
St Brides Bay, the sheltered bay enclosed by two peninsulas, Marloes and St Davids, provides more sheltered sailing conditions. If you want to stop, drop anchor off Little Haven, a tiny fishing village with a good choice of pubs. Alternatively, negotiate the tricky entrance into the inlet of Solva, for a more sheltered anchorage.
Porthclais harbour is the closest anchorage to the village sized City of St Davids; one mile walk away along a quiet country lane. As with all these small coastal harbours, it is dry at low tide.
Avoid the tide race between St Davids and Ramsey Island at all costs. Submerged rocks will soon remove your keel! Sail around the island instead and head along the rocky north coast, stopping at either Porthgain or lower Fishguard.
At Porthgain, the small enclosed harbour provides a good protection from the elements and has a good pub and restaurant on the quayside. Lower Fishguard shouldn't be confused with the main harbour used by the Stena ferry. Lower Fishguard is a picturesque quay, a mile to the east. All the facilities of Fishguard town are a short walk away.
If you want to sail further afield, Pembrokeshire is a good starting point for a cruise to Lundy Island, the north coast of Devon or Cornwall, the Scilly Isles or Ireland.
Saundersfoot Harbour Office Tel: 01834 812094
Tenby Harbour Master Tel: 01834 842717 / Mobile 07812 559483
Lower Fishguard Tel: 01348 873369 / Mobile 07775 523846
Solva Harbour Master Tel: 01437 721703
Porthgain Harbour Master Tel: 01348 831661
Porth Clais Harbour Master Tel: 01437 720437
ID: 28 Revised: 18/10/2012