Saturday, July 07, 2007

St Mawes

High water at Falmouth was at 1057 BST which meant I could launch ‘Faith’ at 0815 from the pebbly beach at St Just in Roseland. Everything went to plan and that was partly due to the fact there was hardly any wind, but there was sufficient to allow me to sail out of the creek into the River Fal where the wind freshened a little from the North West. That was ideal for a sail to Helford River, about 3 nautical miles from Pendennis Point

As ‘Faith’ sailed across Falmouth Bay on a fine reach I enjoyed looking at scenery; to the north there were some white beaches and behind them large buildings, including a prominent hotel, and to the south there were two ships at anchor laying side by side while transferring their cargo. Before I arrived off the entrance to the Helford River both ships got under way; the smaller black hulled vessel with a white superstructure crossed ahead in search of an anchorage. I was impressed by the way that whoever was in charge of the vessel carefully considered my slow progress and patiently waited until I was well clear before going astern to set the anchor.

The weather was almost perfect with white clouds set against an azure sky. ‘Faith’ sailed mostly unattended on her course towards Helford where the wind petered out giving me an opportunity to try the yuloh. There was no way I could get into the Helford River, as the ebb was on the run; I therefore turned the boat towards Falmouth with the prospect of playing with the sail to make the best of the fickle light wind. I had never before sailed close to the shore of Falmouth Bay and as the wind came in from the North West I took the opportunity. By then hundreds of yachts were sailing towards Helford from Falmouth and nearby there were many Pico dinghies from Bob Warren’s Sailing School practising their capsize drill in the lee of the cliffs.

When I arrived back at Pendennis Point the ebb was on the run and making into the Fal Estuary was hard going because the wind was negligible. I wondered if I would be able to pass to the north of Black Rock Beacon, which is an enormous monument with two black balls on the top, marking the spot of the infamous rock right in the middle of the entrance to the Fal.

I spent three hours trying to make progress northwards against the wind and the ebb tide; in the end I gave up and ran for St Mawes where I anchored in 15 feet of water to the east of the granite Castle. Setting the anchor was OK, but I had to make sure I was well away from three other yachts at anchor and as I tried rolling in the sail it did not go perfectly so the end of the boom went into the water, but I dropped the anchor astern and moved it forwards before sorting out the mess with the rig.

‘Faith’ is such an unusual boat she causes people to come and have a look; one such person, with the name of Jason, was intrigued with her. He spent a full half hour alongside on a fact-finding mission. He had a large Westerly yacht that he renovated after she had sunk.

As I type this log ‘Faith’ is sheltered from the North wind, but she is near the fairway that the St Mawes Ferry uses and every half hour I’m subjected to the buffeting of her wash and there are numerous runabouts going to and fro, some deliberately come close for the fun of it. I guess my night here will not be very quiet, as it is a Saturday which most probably means there will be a lot of activity well into the early hours of the morning.

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