Well Crazysails friends, after a week of higher than usual winds, which kept us weather bound in Weymouth, we then had the opposite sailing challenge – very light head winds and all from the wrong direction. If you are travelling west or south west you don’t really want winds from that direction otherwise known to sailors as ‘ on the nose’ and guess what… most of this last week brought exactly that. It also brought glorious sunshine, clear skies and relatively smooth seas. So it was on with the motor and up with the mainsail, to steady us, and off we went from Fowey round to Padstow, our final Cornish port.
On the way we called at a number of other delightful, interesting and picturesque places and, of course, passed the Lizard, our most southerly point and the Longships Lighthouse at Lands End, our most south westerly point. We have seen more sunfish and dolphins and seen the scenery change from rolling green covered hills and cliffs to craggy, rugged and savage coastlines to beautiful beaches and tranquil countryside – there is no doubt about it, the south west generally and Cornwall, in particular, is a very special area. I apologise this blog is rather longer but we have had poor internet and this is the first time I have been able to bring you up to date with where we are and what we have done in the last few days so pick up a cuppa or a glass of something stronger, curl up in a comfy chair and read on…..
Farewell pretty Fowey (Latitude: 50.33 50 degrees North, Longitude: 4.63 65 degrees West)
Next stop, The Helford River (Latitude: 50.05 60 degrees North, Longitude: 5.05 40 degrees West) – Saturday 18 June
This was the most tranquil sailing haven we had stopped in, so far. As we made our way from Fowey the sun was blazing out of a clear blue sky and we were enjoying a gentle sail across Falmouth Bay when we spied a mass of sails on the horizon. This turned out to be one of the races taking place during the Falmouth Classics weekend. Using our telephoto lens on our new camera we managed to zoom in and take some good pictures of some beautiful classic yachts – all the more pleasing given the distance but also the fact we were moving along and the waves, rather irritatingly, just wouldn’t keep still so we could take good photos – still we were quite pleased with the results. On arrival at the Helford River it was like turning into another world – very lush, green and absolutely mirror calm. It was also incredibly busy – where had these boats come from? We certainly hadn’t seen many en-route. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a very relaxing evening meal on board and had an early night ready for our trip tomorrow around the Lizard and into Newlyn. This is a place definitely not to be missed if you are visiting the south coast of Cornwall – thanks Mark and Jan from MRSC for recommending it – so beautiful.
Helford River to Newlyn (Latitude; 50.10 71 degrees North, Longitude 5.05 40 degrees West) – Sunday 19 June
This passage was one of the first key moments of our trip. Having come out of the Helford River we set off towards Newlyn and managed to make 4.7 knots sailing in what were very light winds. Being determined to sail, thus saving fuel whilst also creating electricity through our wind generator, was something that was not easy with the wind direction being easterly and directly behind us. The wind was light and the tide quite slack so we found we were losing time and after an hour or so decided to boost our speed and motorsail.
As we passed the Lizard (and wondered why it is called the Lizard) we picked up the selfie stick and managed to take some photos of us at the most southerly point of our journey around Britain; we also managed to do a Fathers Day broadcast which I posted on Facebook. Fathers Day is rather tough for me having lost my Dad just over a year ago but we wanted to mark the day for all Dad’s and Dad’s to be (Neil Davy) and remember those who aren’t with us anymore but are always in our thoughts.
After we passed the Lizard we crossed Mounts Bay and finally spied St Michael’s Mount just off the coast before Penzance and Newlyn. It had been a good journey with lots of interest on the way. The scenery had changed yet again and as we came into Newlyn we realised that so had the character of our next port – no more the cutsie character cottages, pretty river frontages, long empty coastlines – we were now in a true commercial fishing port complete with cranes, generators, large fishing trawlers and no yachtie facilities (the shower was broken) other than a few newish pontoon berths at the start of the harbour. We had been warned this was a working port and would therefore be noisy and not a particularly great place but it was the best stopping off place before Lands End and so we bit the bullet and moored up.
I have to say we really enjoyed our night in Newlyn, it was so different and so interesting. We met and chatted with some of the local fishermen, who were very friendly. I met a fellow northerner (from Whitley Bay) who was working on a large rig which had been re-laying buoys for the RNLI. We visited the fish market and peeped through the doors to watch the catches being unloaded and weighed ready for sale and we had a most delicious meal in the very old (14th century) Red Lion pub overlooking the quay. Thanks to the little boy who came to put some pennies in our National Autistic Society box and to the lovely man from Cardiff, who was on a Westerly Konsort yacht called Zest, for his contribution and the great chat about his grandson who is autistic and our Round Britain sailing plans. We left Newlyn the next day, not sorry to leave the smell of fish and fuel and the hum of the generators behind but with also rather glad we had decided to stay there the previous evening. And now to Lands End ….
Lands End to St Ives (Latitude: 50.20 84 degrees North, Longitude: 5.49 09 degrees West) Monday 20th June
We left Newlyn at 6am, the wind was a light north easterly and there was a nip in the air, although the sun was already trying to break through the light haze in the early morning sky. The tide was with us and we made good speed, flying the genoa as we approached Lands End where we had to keep out to avoid the Longships lighthouse and the many large and rather dangerous looking rocks which peppered the shore and grew even larger around this area of the coast. Having read books and watched films about Cornish smugglers when younger I could quite see how ships could be lured onto those rocks. What with avoiding the rocks and the many lobster pots which were scattered abundantly around it was an interesting trip which kept us on our toes. As we rounded Lands End we became aware of a rolling Atlantic swell which marked the end of our time in the English Channel and welcomed us to the Bristol Channel and to north Cornwall. We had now passed the most southwesterly point of our journey and also put the south coast pilot book by Simon’s hero, Tom Cunliffe, away and got out the Wales and Bristol Channel book for the next bit of our travels.
We had hoped to see some more dolphins but they weren’t coming out to play today but we did see three sun fish as we passed the craggy, barren headlands of this bit of the coastline. This was a harsher environment with the cliffs falling dramatically into the sea and the skyline broken only by the occasional deserted tin mine – instantly recognisable if you have seen Poldark!
St Ives Monday 20 -Weds 22 June
After a few days sailing every day we decided to have a couple of days break in the sunshine in St Ives. We crossed the sand bar to the visitors buoys (all two of them for bilge keelers) in the inner harbour around 2pm. It was hot hot hot and the decision was hard – what came first food and a beer or a swim. Given one of the reasons we had come to St Ives was to scrub the bottom off we decided to eat first (a pasty of course) on the sea wall overlooking the beach where I came as a child on holiday, then as the tide went out we would scrub the bottom and enjoy a refreshing swim. In actual fact there was little to scrub off (thanks to our new copper coating put on by Simon in the spring) so a quick whiz round with the brush and then a dip in the chilly but truly clear turquoise waters was really refreshing – and totally amazing as there aren’t many UK harbours clean or clear enough to risk your health with a swim.
The next couple of days were lovely, warm and relaxing. It is true what they say about the beautiful light in St Ives and no wonder artists flock there; as a result, there are many galleries (including the Tate Modern) and shops selling wonderful art and lovely pottery and homewares – but I resisted given space and mode of transport plus the fundraising purpose of the trip means no money on unnecessary purchases. We had to leave the haven of the harbour at 3pm on Tuesday to pick up a buoy outside the harbour which would allow us to hit the morning tide. If we hadn’t left then we wouldn’t have got over the sand bar in time for the tide to be in our favour going up to Padstow. But oh dear, what a rock and roll afternoon and evening we had – definitely the least pleasant time on the boat of our trip. Those with weak landlubber stomachs would have spent a lot of time with their head over the side or in the toilet – know what I mean! There is one thing being gently rocked to sleep with the motion of a light swell and quite another being almost thrown from one side of the bunk to another as the lumbering Atlantic swells, made worse with tidal changes, made repetitive bludgeoning contact with the side of the boat hour after hour! It wasn’t even particularly rough or windy, just relentless rolling swells – Trevor Anderson, not for you! Note to all future sailors to St Ives – best to avoid the visitors buoys outside the harbour, unless you are either desperate or it’s absolutely flat calm.
St Ives to Padstow (Latitude: 50.54 21 degrees North, Longitude: 4.93 90 degrees West) Wednesday 22 June
Our final passage in Cornwall has taken us from St Ives up the coast to Padstow, home of Rick Stein and all things fishy and cookery. After another journey dodging rocks and lobster pots in blazing sunshine and little wind we arrived in Padstow around 2pm, exactly as Simon’s passage plan had predicted. We had flown the cruising chute for a short while but there was not enough wind to carry it, so we ended up under mainsail and motor but made speedy progress as strong tides carried us up the coast. We saw two more dolphins today as they dived and swam around the boat – they were too quick for my camera though. As we approached Padstow we came down an estuary and were amazed by the truly beautiful beaches, with what seemed endless amounts of pale golden sand – who needs the Caribbean with the beaches and sea that North Cornwall has? Oh yes I forgot about the weather – although hot and sunny yesterday by the evening it had changed and the clouds rolled over and there they have stayed all through today.
We are berthed in the inner harbour which is small and very close to the shops, cafes and other buildings which surround it. We are looking forward to a Rick Stein fish and chips meal tonight as his café bistro is booked up and his restaurant a little on the pricey side!!!!!! -though it looks really lovely – a future treat, maybe. Padstow is heaving with tourists, even at this time of the year – and most of them seem to have big dogs with them, holding the lead in one hand and eating a pasty from the other – curious. Like Lymington the tourists like to come and sit by the harbour wall and watch the activity on the boats, which does make you feel a little like a goldfish in a bowl. Nevertheless we like Padstow; it has a laid back holiday town atmosphere and more lovely galleries and small shops to mooch around in. It was great to see Chris and Paul Dew again who came to visit us for dinner last night.
Views of Padstow Harbour and life on board Kairos.
Yesterday was washing day and a bit of work for me while Simon did domestic chores between the cooker and the laundry – a multi talented, well trained skipper!
It was also the day when we passed a quarter of the way to our target of £2017 for the National Autistic Society. We can’t thank enough those of you who have donated, it’s very much appreciated, as are all the messages of support we have had on email and Facebook.
Today is again cloudy and rather blustery so this means a bit more work for me and Simon completing the passage planning for Milford Haven, Wales on Saturday but that my friends, is quite enough of this mammoth epistle. I hope you have enjoyed reading what we have been up to and seeing some of our pictures. I promise to make the next blog post much shorter – I will have some of the bests and worsts of our trip to share with you then. too. Until then though, it’s goodbye from me and goodbye from him – goodbye x