Saturday, June 18, 2005

Saturday, 18th June

This evening ‘Bumper’ is anchored in the lee at St Just, which is on the other side of the River Fal from Falmouth, but to the north east. There are 14 yachts here, making the best of this super weather. On the sandy beach to windward, people are still sunbathing although it’s 2000. A couple of barbecues are in progress.

What a picture Carrick Road has been today - so many yachts romping along in the fresh north easterly breeze.

Falmouth is surely the place for classic yachts, many of them fine workboats from the past, renovated and kept Bristol fashion. Down in this part of the West Country, the major sport is sailing, both racing and cruising.

This morning I managed to find a gentlemen’s hairdresser salon where, for the princely sum of £4.50, I had a Senior Citizen’s cut – sufficiently short to last until about mid July, when I hope to be back at the end of the cruise.

Before I set off sailing in the afternoon I saw two interesting boats at the Falmouth Harbour Commission Marina; they were a Loch Broom Post Boat belonging to Chris and Lorna, who are Dinghy Cruising Association members, and the other was a super junk rigged yacht named ‘Water Bear’. The Loch Broom is an open ballasted gaff rigged sloop with a bow sprit, and ‘Water Bear’ is a sleek plywood yacht especially set up for short-handed sailing.

Sailing to St Just was great fun. It was a beat with two reefs set, but at the start before hoisting sail, I had a fright, because the propeller picked up something, perhaps a piece of rope or a plastic bag. By reversing the prop I managed to shed whatever caused the problem. There had been a loss of drive and a juddering. This has only happened to me once before, and that was at Newhaven, when some fishing net caught on the propeller. My crew at the time, Richard Wells, very bravely went into the cold, horribly dirty water and cut it free. I remain grateful to him.

Two large square rigged sailing vessels are moored at Falmouth; one is a Russian Training ship and the other flies a Dutch flag. I managed to get my digital camera working again so that I could take pictures of these grand vessels.

Late in the afternoon I set up the folding dinghy and rowed to the creek at St Just; then I walked along the National Trust footpath to St Mawes, where I bought a Walls Magnum dark chocolate, ice cream – delicious.

At St Mawes Harbour I admired two sleek sea kayaks which were very narrow, maybe having only a 19 inch beam, with an overall length of approximately 19 feet. They reminded me of the kayak I built from plywood on similar lines back in 1970. While practising Eskimo rolling in that kayak that needed balancing like a cycle, I managed to get stuck in the cockpit while upside down! Brian Davies, who had also been practising rolling, helped me breath by swimming me and the kayak to the beach while I held on to him. Perhaps I owe my life to him.

While on my walk to St Mawes I noticed some very attractive houses with beautiful gardens; they were situated on the headland facing west, not far from King Charles Fort. The occupants have a wonderful outlook over Falmouth Roads, where, whenever the weather is fine, they should see glorious sunsets and reflections off the water.

A wedding reception was being held at the Fort and security guards were making sure no strangers were getting admission to the Fort, which is usually open to the public. I could see guests on the veranda in their attire. It could be that some celebrity and his newly wed wife with their relatives and friends where having a lovely time. How fortunate they were with the weather.

Back at the boat I grilled a tasty pork chop, boiled some rice and heated a can of baked beans. My favourite yoghurt with fruit completed the meal.

Tonight, I hope the waves will gently rock me to sleep and my guardian angel will keep an eye on the boat, making sure the anchor will not drag, and that another boat will not collide with ‘Bumper’ in the dark.

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