Team A-Jay weekend in Penzance

Can you see the dolphin? 

You won’t find anything posh left in the showers in Penzance ‘wet dock’, but you do get 8 minutes hot water for your £1, though actually this isn’t quite right.  You put the coin in, the countdown starts and you then have to run back into the shower room and disrobe – if like me you are bound just like Falmouth.  There the similarities end though, for Penzance ‘Wet Dock’ is delightfully laid back and makes but a passing glance at ‘elf & safety’, which means you can turn the hot water up as much as you like!

The Harbour Office wouldn’t take my payment (£1.50 per metre per night) until the day of departure because “it would muck up the book keeping, you see”??? …. strictly cash or cheque as debit/credit card machines haven’t got this far yet.  Dockside electricity and water are available, but no cable or hose can reach Team A-Jay – or most of the other boats.

New autopilot fitting and the stereo speaker

Cornish over engineering and the speaker that entertained the dolphins

My autopilot tiller-pin repair failed on the journey here, so I chatted to the engineering boss at Penwith Marine Services and an hour later, I was the proud owner of a traditional piece of Cornish over engineering.  The welder who did the job loved my ancient Shark sailing shoes, which he swears by and gave me a website where they can be bought for £11!


There isn’t much space for Gry Maritha!

They still have pirates in Penzance

Pirates of Penzance

Looking around the dock I feel at home for the scene can only be described as eccentric;  an ice breaker (yes really) in one corner, the Scilly Isles Gry Maritha dominating one wall and an eclectic mix of ‘live-aboards’ including a ‘pirate ship’ complete with cannon, as well as lovely old gaffers and tatty plastic jobs scattered around the dock.   Amazingly the skipper of the lovely wooden gaffer next door is about to embark on a very similar trip to ‘Team A-Jay’ departing in June, including a Dublin pit stop.


Work continues on the leaning post box

It’s never dull either – always something going on.  Last night, after my Spam and ketchup sarnies and soup, I watched in amazement as an enormous trawler, lying dockside of a gaffer with a 15 foot bow sprit and the 55 foot Guernsey registered yacht, was manoeuvred out and the yachts returned alongside in 10 minutes, with no drama, not a single shout, all in true laid back Cornish style.

This weekend the World gig racing championships take place in the Scilly Isles.  Years ago we were there at the same time and watched incredulously as the ladies’ teams practised – they ‘gigged’, or perhaps rowed, faster than our old Westerly could go.  Judging by the enormous pile of kegs being loaded into Gry Marhita today, ‘gigging’ is very thirsty work.

Shades of Treasure Island

Sailors of yore used to say “sail South until the butter melts” … for me it is “sail West until the butter runs out” … which it did in Penzance; good cooking requires butter of course, but it’s time to replenish perhaps after a pint at the Admiral Benbow, which brings back memories of Robert Louis Stephenson’s fabulous story, Treasure Island.  I also say that when the wind whistles in the rigging, as it is now, it’s time to put the kettle on …….


Looking out through the grey wetness towards St. Michael’s Mount

This morning saw the arrival of the rare lesser clouded sunshine, so it was time to do the ‘doby’ and string it up to dry, followed by a brisk walk in town.  Rounding Land’s End, or Penn an Wlas, literally the ‘end of the land’, is not to be taken lightly for it is the graveyard of thousands of vessels over the years.  So it is worth doing the passage plan very thoroughly, a task I did in the afternoon sunshine.

Doby day

Doby day

Tomorrow we’ll move to take on water and be ready to leave when the lock gate opens on Monday morning.  Timings won’t be perfect for the tides round Land’s End, so we may have to kill time and we’ll probably have to drop the hook off Padstow, before entering on Tuesday …. that’s the plan, but who knows?

Right now ‘Captain Fry-up’ on the live-aboard next but one to me is at it again and I’m drooling, so it’s soon time to stroll off for a pie and a pint.  Thinking of food reminded me that I decided to ‘go Spanish’ on arrival here and was salivating over the idea of my ‘variation on a tortilla’ as we closed Penzance from Falmouth …..

Onion – sliced and caramelised

Garlic and fresh ginger – chopped and added towards the end


Diced sauté potatoes

Sliced chorizo – added so that the juices are absorbed by the potato

Beaten egg – poured over at the end

Grated Parmesan cheese – sprinkled over the egg


See you in Padstow … or wherever, toot toot!!

By ajay290

One comment on “

  1. Hi John


    just read your despatches from the front. You'll be well under way as I'm writing this, according to my Windfinder app you have 14 kn of wind behind you with more sunshine later on – which sounds pretty good for the 1st half any way. Mind you, the app could only find Penzance Heliport (the harbour doesn't exist) so not sure how accurate that would be…. I now know where Padstow (River Camel) is – that looks like a very long tour.


    Take care – and would be great to hear something about the sailing too!



    Gesendet: Samstag, 09. Mai 2015 um 21:27 Uhr Von: ajay290 <> An: Betreff: [New post] 271

    ajay290 posted: "Team A-Jay weekend in Penzance You won’t find anything posh left in the showers in Penzance ‘wet dock’, but you do get 8 minutes hot water for your £1, though actually this isn’t quite right.  You put the coin in, the countdown starts and you the"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s