Sully to the Scillies - June 2011


Saturday June 4th - Falmouth to Helford

Sunday June 5th - Helford to Hangman Rock

Monday June 6th - Hangman Rock to Newlyn

Tuesday June 7th - Newlyn to Helford River

Wednesday June 8th - Helford to Fowey

Thursday June 9th - Fowey to Falmouth

Friday June 10th

Saturday June 11th

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Saturday June 4th

Three car-loads this year, but sadly no G, K or RD due to various illnesses.
  • 0915 leave Cardiff
  • 1215 Racehorse Inn for lunch until 1320; sunny weather.
  • 1430 Falmouth Marina. Shortage of luggage trolleys, but just room to squeeze the 3 cars in.
  • 1500 load the boats:-
    • Wheal-Go :– A big lump; two wheels, 46 feet, and a well-travelled well-used vessel? Has a small tear in the mainsail, and the fuel gauge seems dead. The Log shows previous trips to Brighton, and Guernsey, there’s a pilot book for Scotland and the Orkneys, and a folio of charts for the Bristol Channel.
    • New Recruit:- wet. Has to dry out a flood caused by a faulty water-tank overflow venting into the hull.
  • 1700 Stow food, and get a briefing from Nick, including a warning to beware of the Forward Head [sic!] holding tank on Wheal-go. Extricate the boats from very crowded moorings with care.
  • 1800 Make for Helford at about 4kts, arriving 1920 Warm evening with thundery clouds Falmouth.
  • 2030 Dinner, lamb casserole, wine, brownies and tea. New Recruit borrows our sink plug for their washing-up.

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Sunday June 5th

  • 0630 Up to breakfast on cereals and juices before getting away at 0700. Glassy sea shining in the sun.
  • 0800 pass the Manacles. Get used to helming with two wheels; trick seems to be to use the windward one.
  • 0845 second breakfast of bacon rolls and tea. Note that the borrowed sink plug is still missing.
  • 1400 Intercepted in mid-channel by two pigeons, barely able to stop falling into the sea, and desperate to hitch a lift. One hides on the foredeck, the other perches on the outboard engine.
  • 1500 Wind has freshened to about f5, seas N of St Martins rough-ish, but we finally jettison the pigeons
  • 1650 pick up a mooring opposite Hangman Rock, by dint of some amateur gymnastics (Wheal-Go foredeck is an unusually long way from the water). Sun has gone and breeze strong.
  • 1700 Radio New Recruit to confirm they’re at The Hats buoy off St Mary’s. They intend to moor off the South end of Tresco rather than risk crossing Tresco Flats to join Wheal-Go
  • 1900 dinner of Chicken Chasseur, Lasagne, and tinned peaches. Wash up, still without a sink plug. Weather forecast dismal; skipper phones RD in Sully for a cross-check. Further checking with New Recruit elicits warnings (via St.Mary Harbourmaster) of “3 metre swells” coming the Scillies’ way. Debate concluded by agreeing to return safe to the shelter of Newlyn tomorrow.
  • 2200 general retiring to bunks after a tiring day.

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Monday June 6th

  • 0800 Full cooked breakfast before the long haul back.
  • 1015 All in full harnesses to cast off Wheal-Go, making past Round Island in sunshine though with roughish sea from the ebbing tide against f4 wind. Conditions lumpy for an hour or so, but settling down by the time we pass Tater Du light) Passing landmarks ashore read like a Cornish holiday itinerary:- Lands End, Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, Lamorna Cove, Mousehole, Breeze freshens to a bit of a blow nearing Mousehole,
  • 1710 Wheal-Go finally tied onto Newlyn marina pontoon, hampered by gusty conditions . £18 per day fee.
  • 1830 New Recruit arrives, with the Wheal-Go sink-plug, to raft-up in the adjacent space. Realise Newlyn marina isn’t a leisure-boat facility; masses of fishing craft mixed up with yachts. mix 1 A few Welsh/Cardiff registered boats like “Concerto” in mix-2 and a French boat with about a foot of freeboard. No-one is seduced by the single breeze-block shower hut, accessed by key from the harbour office. But C falls for Jasmine, loitering apparently neglected near the marina exit.
  • 1930 Spaghetti Bolognese followed by fruit cocktail.
  • 2100 general sampling of Newlyn sights and the Fisherman’s Arms.
  • 2230 half the crew back on board for cards, leaving the other half hobnobbing with locals. Rain shower.

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Tuesday June 7th

  • 0730 all up for a cereals breakfast after a blustery wet night; a few drips inside the cabins
  • 0900 shopping expedition to the Coop, bakers, post-office, and solid non-rolling public toilets.
  • 1000 leave harbour with some crew-members swapped over between boats. Very gusty progress across Mounts Bay to the Lizard, well reefed but still making 8 kts in New Recruit at one point. Awkward following sea. Early lunch of still-warm pasties from the bakery very welcome. Few other boats visible en route to Black Head; Wind f6 plus, with New Recruit log reading 8 to 9 kts . But sunny, and thundery squalls seem to miss us.
  • 1900 beat up into Helford mouth in the usual Hooley of 20 – 30 kts, before mooring and rafting-up.
  • 2000 curry, with pineapple chunks pudding and cider and wine.
  • 2100 most crew don lifejackets to visit the Shipwright for pints, braving a really cold f3 knifing down the estuary,.
  • 2230 boats swinging and wind droning in the rigging, but nothing nastier than a cold wet evening develops. Wheal-Go needs to switch water supply from the aft tank, already empty.
  • 0030 all to bed after a late night. Stars clear in a cold black sky, no moon.

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Wednesday June 8th

  • 0540 Sun rising over Falmouth, mixed in with rain showers.
  • 0800 Cereals and a full English breakfast today. Breeze at the moorings is gusting f6 – f7 from NW
  • 0945 leave the moorings, with more crew members swapped boats for the day. Sails up at 1000. Wind veering N. f4 as we traverse Falmouth Bay. Wheal-Go making 6kts to 7 kts under a reefed Genoa and Main, sea only slight, plenty of sunshine.
  • 1100 coffee and sponge cake. En route to Dodman Point Wheal-Go touches 10kts in a f4 / f5
  • 1300 sails down to motor into Fowey. Tie up at the Albert Pontoon at 1330 to take on water and get hot showers. (£1 for 6 minutes worth). L uses the Ladies shower, but by accident and alone, he says. General leisurely shopping / card-posting by crews.
  • 1540 Note the Celtic Pioneer out of Cardiff passing down the estuary, dwarfing everything in sight.
  • 1600 Move over to the Pont Pill pontoons. After checking the site, decide to relocate. Wheal-Go skipper takes the 46-foot boat through an interesting 3-point turn in the 56-foot gap between the pontoons. Tie up again further up-river opposite the Fowey lifeboat and just below the Daphne Du Maurier mansion “Ferryside” and the actual river ferry. New Recruit has another yacht rafted up to it.
  • 1700 Tea fruit cake and brownies. Harbour Master’s tender arrives to take £19 and £15 fees off Wheal Go and New Recruit respectively. Fee collector turns out to be from Llanelli, and Malcolm spots an ex-Milford Haven tug upriver at the China Clay jetties. Sit in sunshine but cold wind, watching local boats – Troys, Fowey River Class-ers, and gigs, racing in the estuary. Looks like organised chaos, but no actual collisions.
  • 1930 over to the Lifeboat Pontoon to sit down and relish a fish-&-chip dinner in the Other Plaice. Move on for drinks afterwards, this year in the Lubber, since the Galleon looks to have turned a bit too ‘Tourist Bistro’. Try the pub quiz, and after a jovial evening our two teams finish joint 6th. Back to the boats for cards, turning in about midnight. Very quiet, on the pontoon.

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Thursday June 9th

  • 0920 After a quiet night, apart from one big wash from something heavy going downriver in the small hours, rise for a full breakfast and get under way
  • 1000 Sea flat, but heading West we have wind f4 on the nose and against the tide, so at first progress is slow past Dodman Point. New Recruit looks almost stranded further inshore, and catches one of the cold rain squalls that mar the morning and chill exposed fingers numb.
  • 1300 Lunch on tuna-mayo rolls and crisps. Wind drops leaving us crawling across Falmouth Bay. New Recruit catches up and passes Wheal-Go. Breeze is variable in speed but steady enough in bearing to allow a straight course for Helford. Notice the Coastguard & RNLI busy with rescue practice sessions near the Fal entrance, and a twin-masted Chinese Junk in the Bay.
  • 1600 Finally pick up buoy 320 again and raft-up together. Time for tea, and ginger cake and malt loaf. Wind from NW is chilly despite sunshine. Move on to a red Shiraz. Over on New Recruit there’s crisp-eating, accompanied by a memorable detonation when one sealed packet is sat on.
  • 1800 Main meal, a “two-pepper” spicy beef casserole, (N opting perhaps wisely for fish instead.)
  • 2000 crews decamp to the Ferry Boat Inn. It’s also gone casual-chic and Tourist-Bistro, with expensive-looking dining inside. Crews retire outside to the chilly patio for our refreshment. Approached for a chat by a lad who turns out to be from Lisvane shop, visiting grandparents who live locally.
  • 2200 back to the boats for a session of “Alternative Rules” find-the-lady, using two packs and two black queens creating even more mayhem than usual. The bottle of Taylor’s Port is a treat though. Midnight, general retiring to bunks. Another clear black cold night with the Plough bright in the sky. Ironic to recall that a week ago there were complaints that it was too warm and stuffy to sleep.

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Friday June 10th

  • 0800 rise for full breakfast including chef’s new dish of ‘cheese scramblette.’ Very tasty.
  • 0950 raining, but flubbers are tied to buoy 320 to try and reserve it, while we motor off in feeble wind. Conditions stay damp and chilly all the way up Carrick Roads. Note a 27-metre Russian maxi-yacht racer AlyeParusa tied up at the lower pontoon. [Later note:- It once did a solo-helm circumnavigation; on sale now for half a million Euros.] There is only one bulk-carrier stuck in the Fal this year.
  • 1230 tie up at the Fal pontoon with New Recruit, as the sun comes out. Clear out the food lockers and eat what we can while binning the rest. 1320 away again under diesel. Rain restarts as we pass the King Harry Ferry, and we see yacht Carolina Moon from Cardiff going up river.
  • 1400 breeze picks up to f4 plus at the entrance to Penryn, and we round Pendennis with full sails up doing 6kts, heading by close-hauled tacks for Helford mouth; a good sail. At the entrance to the river there’s a colourful little carnival of Optimists Toppers and Picos at Porth Saxon, juniors from the HRSC presumably.
  • 1530 reach the 320 buoy for a general pantomime of swapping places with the two flubbers. The mooring lines have somehow got transformed into a giant cat’s-cradle to sort out, providing some amusement for passing crews. Finally succeed, and relax with cider, coke, mars bars and malt loaf.
  • 1700 onwards – excursions to the HRSC showers for the annual luxury.
  • 2000 dinner at HRSC, which is very busy. The [former?] French chef’s repertoire seems to have been replaced by a more limited and familiar British fare, but no less welcome after a week at sea.
  • 2200 back to the boats for cards, but the stink from the now brim-full Aft Head [sic] and holding tank finally forces an emergency baling out, with a notably heroic effort from N shaming the rest of the crew who contributed to the general blockage. Fresher air and peace restored, everyone gets to bed, late.

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Saturday June 11th

  • 0700 up to a sunny, clear, calm morning. Deflate and stow the flubber away.
  • 0730 small flood in the cabin due to washing the decks with the galley porthole open.
  • 0800 leave the mooring for the last time.
  • 0930 tie up at the fuel pontoon at Penryn. Sky clouded over and a weak cold N. breeze set in. Wheal-Go takes £103 worth of diesel. Pack the cars and depart at 1045, leaving the boat shipshape, clean and fresh smelling. But also leaving a heavy load of hidden effluent to be cleared by Cornish Cruising, who could perhaps have checked their plumbing and warned us about it better in the first place.
  • 1225 the Racehorse again for the final dinner. N has made an interesting detour via part of North Cornwall en route, thanks to A’s navigation with the car Satnav. (No paper maps on board!)
  • 1600 Finally back in Pentwyn at the B&Q turnoff, to swap car loads, and bid farewells.

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