For the uninitiated, Cardiff Bay is a man-made bay formed by a 1km+ barrage separating it from the Bristol Channel. Prior to the construction of the barrage in the 1990's, Cardiff had a marshy/swampy seafront through which 2 rivers flowed, and was accessible only at high tide. The barrage created a permanent large (circa 600 acre lake) with 24 hour access to the Bristol Channel through a number of locks. This greatly improved the appeal of Cardiff and led to a regeneration of the run-down dock area.
Our reason for choosing Cardiff as the initial mooring place for Genesis was the proximity to home and the (relatively safe) lake where we could get to grips with the boat and hone our sailing skills before venturing out into the Bristol Channel.
Why is this necessary? Well, for those who are unfamiliar with the Bristol Channel, it is tidal, seriously tidal. That is perhaps a mild understatement as the tidal range is around 14 metres (45 feet for the non-metrically inclined) at springs. This of course will produce some interesting tidal flows which might make Genesis qualify for a new water speed record for a sail boat, or leave us stranded miles from port!
We want to be completely familiar with the boat before venturing out into this, and have someone at hand with more experience than us (Big Al to the rescue again!).
Here are some pics of the lock system: