Miles logged: 33
Total miles logged: 358
Days since leaving Fleetwood: 10
Days at sea: 8
We woke in Newlyn not, as feared, to the racket of the departing fishing fleet but to peace and bright sunlight. There was still a nip in the air, but of course it is still April. As we were preparing to leave a single-handed yacht from France arrived and we attempted to chat with its owner. Surprisingly, he had little English; unsurprisingly, I have little French. Despite our best efforts it would be an exaggeration to say that a lively rapport was struck up. There was no wind at all as we slipped our lines and motored out into Penzance Bay. In the distance, a little shrouded in the morning haze stood St Michael’s Mount. We were called on the radio by the decidedly retro-looking Scilly Isle ferry as our courses were close, but after pleasantries the ship and our two yachts held their courses.
The scenery was marvellous and the weather fine but today’s short leg was a tedious one due to the very light winds. Not long out of Newlyn a breeze arose and we sailed along at a relaxed speed for a while but had to start our engines after barely an hour. We both have very good furling masts (sometimes called ‘in-mast reefing’ systems) – in fact the exact same Seldén system is on both yachts. So we can very easily and quickly set and stow our mainsails without having to leave the cockpit. We don’t even have to point the boat head-to-wind before unfurling or furling our mainsails. Furling masts really are a boon for single-handers although they have their detractors. Typical detractors are owners of yachts that do not have a furling mast.
Several of our legs thus far have featured particular challenges and this one was no exception. We had to round the Lizard*, the most southerly point on the British mainland. As is the case for many of our headlands, due to the barrier placed in the way of passing tidal streams which forces the water to change course, sometimes quite extensive tidal races can develop around these features. There is a considerable tidal race around Lizard Point. In view of the lack of wind and our wish to reach Falmouth, we left Newlyn earlier than if we were aiming to reach the Lizard at slack water in order to pass it when the race is at its least fierce, and we paid the price by having to endure a very uncomfortable chop for a mile or so. The lack of wind meant that there was no significant danger, at least not for well-found yachts such as ours, but the experience served as a valuable and important reminder of the dangers that the sea holds for those who choose to dabble upon it.
As we passed the most southerly point of the Lizard we passed the most southerly point of our entire circumnavigation. I photographed the latitude reading on one of my instruments for this report. We were so far south that much of the chatter we could hear on the VHF marine radio was in French.
Round the Lizard we again unfurled our sails and enjoyed the gorgeous sunny weather and spectacular scenery for a while without engine noise. This being the south coast and, with the proximity to Falmouth, one of the country’s foremost yachting areas, we found that for the first time on our trip we were regularly seeing other yachts. A great many other yachts, in fact, as our day at sea drew to a close and we approached the impressive natural harbour of Falmouth. It was alive with yachts, even out of season and on a weekday. Happily we were able to get berths at Falmouth Haven Marina. As is sometimes the case for visitors’ berths we were allocated ‘alongside’ berths as can be seen in the photo. Whilst it is very easy to enter and leave an alongside berth they are not ideal for yachts such as mine which have a ‘sugar scoop’ stern; my usual practice is to reverse into a marina berth then step off and onto Bubble using the gap in the stern put there for that purpose.
We have decided to have a rest day, or perhaps two, at Falmouth. Berthing here is steeply priced so we want to get our money’s worth.
*The name of this promontory has nothing to do with the reptile. I discovered that it is derived from Cornish-language words for ‘high’ and ‘place’.