And so to Penzance

And on to Penzance 7th May 2015

 

A belated snapshot of the ‘crooked’ boathouse at Fowey;

The old crooked boathouse of Fo(we)y

Silent witness to history

From behind the lens, like a toy

Stands across the river from me”

 

Well if the calamari was the saving grace of Fowey, the steak and ale pie, enjoyed in the company of the Cornish Willi, at the Shipwright & Chain Store merely added to the pleasure of being here in Falmouth.  Later I was gobsmacked to be asked by the barmaid if I was that guy sailing round Britain …. small place Falmouth.  I persuaded her (I think)  that I should get a free pint of Cornish Knocker on my way back.

 

Solo parking can go wrong!

Solo parking can go wrong!

I think a quick note of appreciation of my 35 camp followers would be in order.  My WordPress ‘dashboard’ informs me that there have been 2,522 views, 121 on the best day ever; wow!!  I have to confess to press ganging the 35th follower (good day Peter Willis) and true, it doesn’t quite match Adele’s 22,500,000 or Goldfrapp’s 44,500 Twitter followers

 

Salcombe mud remains!

Salcombe mud remains!

I’ve been watching the barometer (I’ve called him Barry), though I don’t think he has noticed.  Like a seedling reaching for the sun, it’s been rising from the gloomy, stormy depths of around 980 to a happier 1016, bringing promise of a little peace, albeit coming from the wrong direction.  Weather is one of those subjects I can read about repeatedly and learn nothing – but me and the barometer; well we have something going and I am beginning to understand what to expect when he drops and sulks in the depths, or rises to giddy heights.

 

These days we are spoiled, what with easy access to the internet even on board and a Navtex receiver that churns out forecasts from France to Scotland, ensuring that the latest Met Office forecasts are usually at one’s disposal.  But I don’t complain.  This data tells me to expect W/WSW F4 on the diamond morning that is 7th May and ‘Barry’ the barometer has crawled North to 1018 so off we go.

 

It was one of those days; another part of the mainsail stack pack failed and the main sail halyard decided to become intimate with the radar reflector, 35 feet up.  Time to switch to Saga Mode … take it slow, two, three, engage brain, two three, tackle one problem at a time, two, three ….

 

An hour later, Smiley was at the helm as we slipped past Black Rock and tacked through the Wriggler for the Manacles, before squeezing Black Head and slithering towards the nasty Lizard, whose wicked seas have born witness to the death throes of many a fine ship.

 

Black Head

Just after informing Falmouth Coastguard of our movements I heard what I thought might have been a familiar voice …”Hello Brixham Coastguard, this is …[indistinct]” … “Unknown call-sign, this is Falmouth Coastguard … Brixham Coastguard does not exist … over”  Did I detect a “hurrumph!!” or was it my imagination?

 

Dolphins!!

At this point I became certain of two facts relating to dolphins, one well known, the other less so.  1.  Dolphins are playful and curious; 2. dolphins LOVE Goldfrapp.  Two minutes after I had a put the CD on at ‘party’ volume, 3 dolphins came up to the stern, shoulder to shoulder with their beaks literally 18 inches from the speakers.  They stayed just long enough for me to scramble to my feet, grab the camera, fall over and drop the camera ….. Six of their mates soon joined them and for 30 minutes I had their full attention, as I took a million empty photos and yards of blurry video, until they left me for lunch at a nearby trawler.  This small episode was awesome – a pleasure and a privilege.

Sadly the wind soon  guttered and all but died so I put Harry in charge and he gave us a gentle push close in round the nasty Lizard and onwards across a gentle, rolling beam sea, more Labrador than the snappy, jumping terriers of our last leg.  Driving deep into Mounts Bay it was time for tea with Beethoven (Page 335).

Half a mile out from Penzance I checked in with Falmouth Coastguard, who kindly wished me a pleasant evening and prepared for harbour with much cussing as I wrestled with the uncooperative mainsail.  I reminded myself that you should NEVER do such tasks with the engine in gear and autopilot on – you won’t get back to the boat if you fall in (easily done).

Docking with a 500 ton ship yards behind you is a character building experience and we berthed just in front of and below a towering ice breaker and a bare breasted figure-head that adorned a fading beauty of an old gaff schooner.  I fly an Alderney pennant as well as my Guernsey ensign.  Imagine my surprise when I was hailed by 2 ‘locals’, Mr. McDonald from Alderney and Mr Castle from Guernsey!  10 minutes later a large Guernsey registered yacht docked in what is a pretty crowded little ‘wet dock’.

 

I feel I might have to be here a day or two, so I may write again from here, but for now I’ll leave you with Kenneth Graham’s words, spoken by little Ratty;

 

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

 

 

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By ajay290

2 comments on “And so to Penzance

  1. Dear John, greatly enjoyed your latest post. Am envious of your porpoise/dolphin sighting and that promise of a pint of Cornish Knocker sometime in the future. Fully understand why you might wish to tarry awhile in Falmouth and do hope you will quickly bring that troublesome mainsail under control. Also hope that my comments are now reaching you. Finally, a very big “Thank you” for the postcards.

    Warmest Regards,

    Eric

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