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Date set for Ocean Ski Race



Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.17.23ON SATURDAY (Apr 9) Benjamin Edom invited The Herald to join him and Blue Ocean Adventures in the filming of the promotional video for the up and coming Fishguard Bay Ocean Ski Race.

Embarking on the family business’ 600-horse-power rib boat at 9am The Herald was joined by film students, who under the instruction of Benjamin were to film the racers in a number of scenarios.

The rib set off from St Justinian’s with another boat from Voyages of Discovery and set course for Porthgain along the coast past the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy where the official race is to begin later this year, carefully avoiding a pod of dolphins as we sped around the St Davids headland.

Once at the small harbour village the ocean ski paddlers performed a number of sprint starts which were being filmed from both vessels as well as from the air by drone.

Benjamin explained: “Emerging from Porthgain’s minute and spectacular harbour were 9 high-tech racing machines – 7 ocean skis and 2 ocean canoes most of whom had travelled hundreds of miles for this chance to paddle their extreme sea-going racing boats in our world-class coastal seas.”

The paddlers took to the very choppy open sea out of the bay and began to catch the waves allowing them to propel themselves forward at impressive speeds using the tide, waves and wind to their advantage.

Benjamin described how similar conditions on the day of the race would make the race a challenging one: “The wind had been up the night before, so the sea outside Porthgain showed us pretty quickly that any race along this stretch of the Pembrokeshire coastline would be a real challenge”

After the filming at Porthgain was finished, and Mike and Sam Rodgers who man and operate Blue Ocean Adventures’ boat were satisfied that all paddlers were within the harbour walls, the rib shot off back along the coast, this time meeting huge waves, which Mike had to tactfully steer between.

Despite the rough sea conditions Sam (Mike’s son) was still able to throw in a few bits of his acquired knowledge from usually operating the wildlife tours around Ramsey Island, he explained to us about the various sea birds we encountered and was also able to explain the specific subspecies and gender of a seal which had been following us.

Along with the film crew and Benjamin, The Herald took to Goodwick harbour where the ocean ski paddlers had relocated to commence the second bout of filming.

At Goodwick the paddlers and film team fought against the tide to get the best footage in the little time they had available, but were still able to get many ‘finishing’ scenes completed, demonstrating the scenery, location and sea-environment that paddlers from the across the globe will be facing at the full 25km race over the weekend of September 24 – 25.

Willem Prinsloo a South African ocean skier spoke about paddling in our county’s waters: “What a wonderful experience being on a surfski offshore in Pembrokeshire. The Atlantic offers everything an ocean paddler could wish for – big rolling swells and a good following wind will guarantee a fast, challenging race that will test the best of the best.

“Throw in the mix stunning scenery and people passionate about the sea and their environment with the organising skills to match, and you have a race that is equal to any in the world. Bring it on!”

Another paddler from Port Talbot, Scot Cuthertson said: “I have enjoyed the sea around South Wales all my life. The Pembrokeshire coast is some of the most spectacular in the UK and to experience it from a craft that’s absolutely suited to our weather is fantastic.

“Surf Skis are launched when most other boats are safely moored up. We surf the offshore swells, reaching quadruple the speed of paddle power alone.”

“The Fishguard race will deliver the pleasure and excitement all paddlers travel the world to search for. The waters and the scenery along the Pembrokeshire coastline will be the inspiration for many a tale in the years to come.” said Gaven Mumberson from Zimbabwe.’s John Galilee spoke about the race to be: “This is most definitely an ocean race and we can expect conditions that a Hawaiian six man canoe will relish. A beach start, a stunning rocky coastline with the tide pushing, a good chance of wind and swell helping us too. There’ll be tide induced bumps round the headlands whatever the weather, while the start and finish have great access for trailers which is important for these canoes.”

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent



A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50



EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea



A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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