Thursday 28 June 2018

Calstar: a night at anchor

The weather is currently divine; 33C+ and I can see the treetops moving in the breeze. I'm planning to race at the lake this evening. It's been warming up since the weekend, albeit the wind has been a bit fickle until now.

This last weekend was too promise-bound for me to get to Plymouth; Friday evening I'd promised to take some friends' kids out sailing on the lake at Frampton, which was fortunate (and intentional) timing as I'd already committed to instructing at the lake all day Saturday, had a gig Saturday night and another gig Sunday evening, so Plymouth was always going to be out of reach.

I very nearly didn't race at Frampton Sunday afternoon, conscious that I needed to be in Bristol in time for the evening's performance. Plus the weather was horrifically calm, and the lake is getting choked with some rather over enthusiastic weed, so at times it's more like hacking your way through a jungle than sailing.

But I couldn't help myself, sun was shining, and there was the faintest whisper of wind, so I rocked up at the lake lunchtime Sunday anyway, rigged the Laser and took her out for a race. Just the one, I said. And then sailed the other one because I was already there.

I'm glad I did. More than made up for the foolery of my previous races. Didn't hit anyone or anything. Even won the second race. Would've won the first as well, except I missed the last mark off when I originally noted the course down, so had to sail an extra half a lap on top of everybody else to re-trace my track and correct my mistake before I could carry on.

Only lost three places, deserved to lose more. So sorry, what was I saying about foolery?

Anyway, still got to the gig on time. And Sunday's gig, like Saturday's gig the night before, was one of the good ones. Possibly helped by the fact that England won.

Calstar hasn't been left entirely bereft however. Although I also had a gig the Sunday before, I booked the Friday off work, and Dad and I sloped off down to the boat on the Thursday evening after work.

Friday morning, with a lively southwesterly air and and a pretty, enthusiastically bouncy sea, we beat out of the Eastern Entrance and reached across the Breakwater to the Mewstones to take a look into Wembury Bay and contemplate a visit to the Yealm.

Didn't like the look of the bay however, with the southwesterly breeze pushing the sea hard into the lee shore, and fancied the idea of coming back out again against the forecast of the following morning even less. So we turned tail and set course on a close fetch back across the outside of the Breakwater and into the shelter of Cawsand Bay.

We dropped anchor under the lee of the land, amongst the company of a few other yachts, inflated the tender and went ashore to find a pint and supper.

We spent the night at anchor, which is a first for us and not something I previously thought I would've persuaded Dad to do. I'm glad we did, as having done so has opened up all sorts of options for further trips. And it passed peacefully enough, though he had me up the following morning at 0600. I think for no other reason than he was bored and, without the convenience of a handy pontoon, stuck on the boat.

The anchor came up without any trouble, the tripping line I'd secured to it proving an unnecessary precaution. The morning brought heavy winds and squally rain. We were still very well sheltered by the bay, but could see the angry waters out beyond the headland, at least when the rain cleared enough for the visibility to lift.

It was all downwind back to the marina on the other side of the Sound however, so under headsail alone it made for a very short, very comfortable ride back.

The anchorage in Cawsand Bay is a little more than three miles from our berth at Queen Anne's Battery, so as weekend cruises go, this was a little one; just shy of ten miles out, including the jaunt to Wembury Bay, and only three miles back.

It's good to have such treasures so local though, and was the perfect first anchorage as we had the option to bolt for home at any time. It was also great to have a bit of wind and sea to play with again on the Friday, and the chance to get the sails wet with a bit of spray over the bows.

Thursday 21 June 2018

Laser: 2000 degrees

No, that's not the temperature of the projected heat wave about to hit us this weekend. It's the sum total of penalty turns I had to take with the Laser in last night's race. I'm counting an extra 90 degrees collected from righting a capsize so that wasn't really a penalty, but I reckon I earned the extra points.

Ironically, the capsize occurred as I was completing the tack of a 360 incurred for hitting the windward mark with my boom.

So, two 720's, a 360 and a capsize recovery.

In short, last night I sailed like a lemon.

Actually, I've just checked, and 720+720+360+90 = 1890, so for some reason I can't even add up properly any more. So clearly I also count like a lemon.

I wasn't the last Laser in the fleet, but I was quite soundly beaten by both Mouthy Mark, Pete and Rhonwen. I'm quite shocked at my performance, though to be fair, it's about time they put me in my place. And I figure I've crowed loud enough whenever I've beaten them, so in the interests of fairness this needed to be made mention of.

9th place overall, out of a fleet of 19 boats. Frustration aside, it was a very pleasant evening to be out on the water. The lake is beginning to badly clog up with weed. That's not an excuse however, as it clogs up for everyone equally.

The photo at the head of this post is from a gig last Sunday, of a very talented man playing an especially nice guitar. Figured it apt, lacking as I currently do any photos of talented Laser sailors, however nice the Laser might be that they sail. Evidently, I wouldn't know what such talent looked like.

Busy days ahead. Taking some friends sailing on the lake tomorrow evening, teaching juniors to sail at the lake Saturday, gig Saturday night, back racing at the lake Sunday afternoon, then another gig Sunday night. Somewhere in all that I've got to find some time to cut the grass and do a water change for the fish tanks.

It all keeps me out of trouble, at least.

Thursday 14 June 2018

Laser: RNLI Pursuit

Wednesday evening, the wind had returned to its prevailing south-westerly direction, and was relatively blustery compared to how it's been of late. Forerunner of a bit of weather we have coming in across today.

It was the first of three Wednesday evening events, a Club Championship Race for the RNLI Trophy. A pursuit race, inconveniently starting 15 minutes earlier than the usual Wednesday evening affair.

I got off to a bad start just setting up. The top section of my mast has a collar that plugs neatly into the top of the lower section. It's held to the mast section with two rivets. One rivet had gone, and the other was sitting proud and distorted, preventing the mast sections from fitting together. I hammered some humility into the proud rivet, and with it now flush with the collar again, slotted the top section in, hoping the single remaining, failing rivet would hold out one final race.

The start was a bit of a hash. I set my watch wrong, so my countdown ran out thirty seconds too soon. I guessed my mistake from the behaviour of the other Lasers, and got to the line early, intending to drift down to the favoured pin end. Then Mark's Laser came up aggressively beneath me, and bearing away to defend my position and stop him luffing me up over the line, the whole thing turned into something of a mad charge down the length of it towards the pin.

The gun went just in time, and we hardened up and crossed. He tacked off to port quickly, ducking beneath me. I held on out to the left hand side. Pete's Laser had started conservatively, but made good speed up the centre of the course.

Approaching the windward mark now, I'm on starboard, Mark on port bears away slightly to duck me. As soon as he's past I tack close to stay on top of him. Lots of noise (nothing unusual from Mark's boat) complaining that I shouldn't have tacked, as he'd bore away to avoid me. Total bollocks. I didn't tack until I was past him, and whilst I'm obliged to not tack in his water, I'm otherwise free to sail my own course. That close to the mark, to protect your position you have to tack close enough to the opposing boat to make sure they don't have space to tack back onto you, otherwise you'll be on port and they'll be on starboard.

I don't mind people beating me in the cut and thrust of the action, but I'm not going to just give a place away for free.

Then it all went wrong. Amidst the pressure of the rush and noise of the final approach to the mark rounding, I didn't ease my kicker off. As I tried to bear away a gust hit, and my boat heeled hard and rounded up into the wind uncontrollably, boom trapped against the water. I threw my weight out over the side to try and rescue it, could just feel it beginning to come back .....

Mark saw the gap between my boat and the mark and went for it. And the same gust that had just hit me caught up with him. |His mainsheet tangled with his tiller extension, and he thumped hard into my port quarter.

Profuse apologies, promises to do penalty turns, he's off again, but it took me a good minute to check for no obvious damage and to then untangle the boat from where she was now parked on the windward mark and get her back under control again.

So it wasn't my best race.

A short while later, I then went on to miss the toe-straps whilst roll-tacking too aggressively in another gust, fell backwards out of the boat and had to swim twenty meters after her before righting her from where she'd settled into a subsequent capsize. The pressure of successive mistakes accumulated, so I didn't sail well at all, everything too hard and too adrenaline fuelled, my head in the boat and not out of it looking at where I needed to be.

Not that I didn't still enjoy it, and not that I didn't still catch back up with Mark and beat him again. Pete showed us how it's supposed to be done and left us both for dust though, first Laser on the water, and taking a well deserved third place overall against the pursuit fleet, Mark and I taking eighth and ninth place respectively.

Laser: in at the deep end

Phone call from my daughter Sunday evening: "What are you doing Monday or Tuesday? Do you wanna go sailing?"

Tuesday evenings are karate, so sacrosanct in all except extreme circumstances. Monday evenings are band practice however, and we all routinely skip out of that.

Tasha's a busy girl, works hard, moved out of home a couple of years ago and now lives on the other side of town, so I don't get to see enough of her these days. When I first came back to sailing, some fifteen years ago or so, and brought the boys with me, Tash was at an age where she was more interested in boys, parties and going out with her friends of an evening, rather than hanging out with her dad and two little brothers.

She's been out on the lake with me a couple of times before when I had the Enterprise, sat in the front and pulled on the jib sheets when told, and shown no inclination towards taking the helm. She's come out with Dad and I on Calstar a couple of times, mostly to sunbathe on the fore-deck as we drifted along. In this respect,she takes the same approach to sailing as her mum.

I picked her up Monday evening after work and we headed down to the lake. I'd explained we didn't have the Enterprise any more and that the new dinghy was a single-hander, and so a little bit smaller.

"How are we both going to fit in that?" was her first question when she finally saw it.

She sat on one side, I sat on the other. The conditions were benign, and once she'd settled into the slightly more tippy movement and relative lightness of the boat and we'd tacked from reach to reach across the lake a few times, passing the helm from one side to the other, I handed her the tiller and the mainsheet.

"Hold that, and that," I said, shimmying around the mast to sit on the fore-deck, leaving her alone in the cockpit. "Right, now if we capsize, it's entirely your fault!"

So that was Tasha's first time at the helm. She did fine, we stayed dry. The little Laser did a wonderful job of looking after her, and I think, once she got over the initial terror of being thrown into the deep end and left solely in control, she had a wonderful time.

Monday 11 June 2018

Laser: let the grass grow

photo: ken elsey
When I first looked at the forecast for Sunday, I nearly stayed home to cut the grass. The 4 to 6 knots promised could make for some extended sunbathing out on the water, but a Laser out on the lake in that wouldn't be much use for anything other than a sunbathing platform.

I headed down the lake anyway. The grass will still be there tomorrow, still needing to be cut.

I'm glad I did.

photo: ken elsey
There was more wind than forecast, northeasterly, so shifty as a northeasterly always is, but the shifts were much more predictable than usual, and the pressure more reliable. It made for some enthusiastic hiking up the beats, and with a well laid course, lucky timing with the gusts down the reach saw the Laser planing across the width of the lake.

And it was a very well laid course. Two good beats, a run and a fine reach, the best Frampton really has to offer. Both races were a general handicap, so a single start, all boats racing together. Amongst the fleet of around a dozen, there were four Lasers in the first race, three in the second. The Laser is one of the faster boats at Frampton, and leaving the rest of the fleet behind, both races reduced to very close boat on boat racing between myself and Rhonwen's Laser; on both occasions I held the lead for the greater part of the race, only to lose it mid way, and then win it back again by the skin of my teeth.

photo: ken elsey
For the second race, the start line was exceptionally port biased, but nobody else seemed to notice so I actually managed to pull off a port flyer with indecently and, admittedly, uncharacteristically good timing which, on the first beat, saw me reach the windward mark half a leg ahead of everybody else. It almost felt like cheating.

The shifts meant there was as much to be lost as there was to be won however, and I, back in character once again, squandered the good fortune of my excellent start across the next lap, and soon had Rhonwen's Laser back snapping at my heels.

photo: ken elsey
I don't know the final results. I finished first on the water in both cases, but being a general handicap, if any of the slower boats sailed well, they could easily beat me after the times get adjusted. The results are normally posted on the web, but there seems to have been a glitch  this time around, so I'll just have to wait until Wednesday to find out where I came in the end.

Doesn't really matter. It was brilliant fun. So glad I let the grass carry on growing.

Calstar: Saturday 2nd Fowey to Plymouth

Saturday 2nd June: Fowey to Plymouth
(22.3 miles, 6 hours 10 minutes under way)

High water Plymouth on Saturday morning was 0842. The forecast was for a steady F3 from south of southwest, no rain and, hopefully, no more fog.

Having experienced trying to make way in light winds once the tide turned foul on Thursday, I had no wish to repeat it, so had Dad up bright eyed and bushy-tailed at 0430 to made ready to cast off as close to 0500 as we could get it. We’d make what breakfast we could from tea and the granola bars in the ship’s stores once we were underway.

Grey skies, no fog but instead reasonable visibility as we cast off at 0510 and made our way down the river under engine and main, through the harbour and out into the open sea, regretfully leaving the fleshpots of Fowey behind us. Within half an hour we were clear of the harbour entrance and we set full sail and silenced the engine. The promised wind filled the sails, but was cantankerous in direction, more south of southeast that south of southwest; we initially found ourselves close hauled on port tack and heading off shore before tacking on to starboard and setting a close hauled course for distant Rame Head.

Navigation from Fowey back to Plymouth is terribly simple. Don’t hit Udder Rock on your way to pretty Polperro, avoid Looe Island as you pass the handsome town of Looe, then cross the expanse of Whitsand Bay to round Rame Head and finally turn left and enter the shelter of the Sound, taking care not to get run over by anything bigger that might want to enter at the same time as you.

Little more than an hour after casting off we passed Udder Rock to port, our course now loosened off to a close reach. The sea was slight, the brightening sky melodramatic, the shore to our north shrouded in shadow. By 0720 we were abeam of Looe, the favourable tide just beginning to get a grip of us. The little yacht was heeled happily to about 10 degrees, Dad and I both enjoying the best sail of the week so as Nikki finally awoke and emerged from below to join us.

0830, and the wind increased as the day brightened, the sun beginning to break valiantly out from behind the clouds. Touching more than 4 knots through the water at times, the gusts were tipping us over to 20 degrees now, and the boat’s track through the water was slouching off to leeward, and at risk of not clearing the headland of Rame Head. I pulled a roll into the headsail for the sake of the women and children on board. 

I jest; Nik is far more chilled than I ever am aboard, and Dad only ever gets anxious when the boat tips so far over that things start flying about below. In any case, the roll in the headsail cost us half a knot in boat speed, but stiffened the little yacht up nicely. Biting properly into the water, we lost the leeway and our course lifted, once more taking us easily clear of the approaching headland.

At 0928, making just under 5 knots over the ground with the assistance of a fair tide, we rounded Rame Head. The sky was blue over the water, but low cloud was still dramatically shrouding the shore as we turned Penlee Point and ran into the Sound through the Western Entrance forty-five minutes later. 

The Sound was a busy place Saturday morning, with powerboats nipping too and fro, a fleet of juniors training with their Toppers in Jennycliff Bay, and numerous yachts milling about, including an not insubstantial fleet of racing yachts preparing for the start of a race from Plymouth to Fowey. I switched the VHF to 39a so I could keep track of what they were up to. Their start line stretched out from the end of the Mount Batten Breakwater, straight across our direct path back to the marina.

At 1045 we started the engine and dropped our sails. Rather than negotiating our way through the milling yachts on their startline, we went out and around the pin end of their line to keep well clear, as much for Dad’s sake as their own.

By 1120 we were home, back alongside Calstar’s berth in Queen Anne’s Battery.

Just over six hours underway, but a good hour of that spent mulling about in the Sound avoiding other boats and yacht race start lines. Just over an hour of that was under power, but for the first time this week, only whilst departing or arriving; the rest of the passage was under sail. A little over 22 nautical miles covered.

The final sail of our week away, the weather had certainly saved the best for last.

Calstar: Monday 31st Falmouth to Fowey

Thursday 31st May: Falmouth to Fowey
(28.8 miles, 9 hours 38 minutes under way)

The plan was to retrace our steps back to Plymouth, stopping over one last day in Fowey for a final catch up with a few of our British Moth friends who had lingered for the rest of the week after the previous weekend’s racing in the harbour. Then sail direct back from Fowey to Plymouth on Saturday. I had toyed with the idea of stopping over in the Yealm on Saturday night, but the weather for Sunday was, at that point, looking marginal, and needing to be back at work for Monday, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

We’d enjoyed a relatively lazy start for the sail down, but now had to work back east, so ideally needed to be underway three hours before high water to avoid the tide turning foul on us.

High water Plymouth was 0737, the forecast F3 from the south-east. There was a case for starting a 0400, but I balanced that against the sun not being up, the joy of dodging lobster pots in the dark and opted for a 0530  start instead. My reasoning was that if we could make Dodman Point before the tide turned foul, its effect on us should be minimal across St Austell’s Bay.

Early hours Thursday morning my alarm went off briefly and I was up, rousing Dad from his bunk for a change. It's normally the other way around, but leaving late on the tide, the need to get of promptly got me swiftly out of my bunk.

We left Nik asleep below and set about readying the boat for departure. Outside, the morning light was thick with fog. I toyed briefly with the idea of delaying our departure, but even having lost my Garmin watch on our first day in Falmouth, we still had at least three different GPS chart plotters aboard, the VHF and an app on both mine and Dad's phones that received AIS data.

The forecast was for a F3 from the south-east and warm sunshine across the morning, so my feeling was the fog wouldn't take long to clear and we'd be too close in to be in the way of any shipping.

We cast off at 0530 and picked our way gingerly through the mooring field and out into open water. A small fishing boat passed us close astern off our starboard quarter, barely visible through the gloaming murk.

We motor-sailed for the next 45 minutes under the mainsail until we passed St Anthony’s Head and left the Falmouth and the Carrick Roads behind. Out into open water, visibility lifted a little, but not much, but the wind filled in. We unfurled the genoa and stilled the engine. The little yacht leaned to the wind and began to sail happily through the grey, murky light.

With the engine now quiet, and nothing to disturb the silence except the chuckle of Calstar's bow-wave, I felt much happier knowing that the sound of anything out there approaching us wouldn't now be covered by our own engine noise. We stood out to sea close-hauled on port for a short while before tacking over to starboard on what, if we were lucky, would be the layline for the still distant headland of Dodman Point.

Although there was more wind than I, perhaps naively, would've expected given the fog, it was still relatively light, and under full sail we weren't making more than about three knots through the water. A fair tide was still helping us along our way however.

It was a strangely timeless experience, with no reference to land. The morning dragged out, the fog not lifting, our eyes aching from the continual lookout needed for lobster pot markers. Unlike the waters around Plymouth where they very often seem to be marked with not much more than an empty bottle and a trail of floating nylon line, out here they almost always seem to be clearly flagged with a buoy, six foot of thin mast and a pennant, but despite that, in this murk they would suddenly loom out of the fog like ghostly apparitions, inevitably directly in Calstar's path, so required continual, eye-aching vigilance to avoid any unfortunate tangles.

Mid morning the wind eased a little but lifted, veering enough to make me thing for a brief while we'd clear the headland easily. It only lasted a short while however, and now it was obvious we wouldn't make it, we tacked onto port and stood out from land.

I could hear engine noise. Coming from somewhere off our starboard beam. Amazing how the attention focuses in such moments.

Dad spotted her first. An ethereal shape emerging from the gloom. A yacht no more than a hundred meters away, under engine and main, moving gently through the water, but heading directly for us. She was under power, we were sailing, so theoretically she was the give way vessel and I was obliged to hold my course.

But there is always that brief moment when you wonder how much attention the other boat is paying.

She drew closer, and I recognised her as a neighbour from the Yacht Haven pontoon. Originally out of Plymouth, like us he'd mentioned he'd be heading back to Plymouth today via Fowey. Not much wind to do anything with if I decided I had to get out of his way after all; I stood by the engine's ignition, just in case. Dad was getting twitchy.

Then it came. She made a definite, distinct alteration to port. A cheery wave as they passed clear astern. Her engine noise chugged gently into the murk, leaving us with silence once again. A short while later I tacked back onto starboard and stood in to the headland again, hoping for an opportunistic lift that would let me clear it.

The sound of a horn. The definite, ominous rumble of something big, seemingly somewhere ahead, in the overfalls between us and the headland, and not where I'd expected anything big to be. The engine noise getting louder, another blast of the horn.

Dad got his iPhone out, and checking the AIS confirmed that a vessel called "Cannis" was between us and the headland, moving our way. Regular blasts of the fog horn. I recognised Cannis as one of the tugs based in Fowey, usually berthed up by Penmarlam. Happy we knew where she was, we tacked off again to stay well clear of her path.

Nearing 1100, the fog began to lift, giving us little glimpses of the headland. The wind also failed, and the tide began to run foul. A friend of ours, a member of the Moth Fleet called Mark, affectionately known, and for reasons I've never completely understood, by the nick-name "New Boy", had said he'd sail his Topper 14 out to Cannis Rock to meet us when we came in. I'd received a text message from him a little earlier asking for an ETA. He'd been out by the rock since 0900 playing with his dinghy.

Conscious that our ETA was slipping ever further in to the distant future as the wind failed, I kicked the engine into life to compensate for the failing wind and get us around the headland and back into St Austell's Bay. Half an hour later and with 20 miles under the keel since leaving Falmouth, we passed Gwineas Rock, clearly visible in the near distance, visibility much improved.

Within twenty minutes, the wind filled in nicely again, so we cut the engine and sailed through the warm hazy light towards Gribben Head and its outlying Cannis Rock on the other side of the bay. New Boy reported he'd sailed someway further into the bay, and was near to a beach that, from his description, sounded like Parr Sands.

A single-handed Moth sailor, the Topper 14 was a new boat for him, and the first time he'd had an asymmetric to play with. You can cover an awful lot of ground going downwind with an asymmetric. It's a bit like sledging, at least as I remember it as a kid. Great fun going down, but as New Boy was to discover that morning, an awful lot of work getting beating back up to the top again.

There was now a steady procession of yachts sailing out of Fowey and in the direction of Falmouth, doubly fortunate in that, for them, the lifting visibility corresponded with a fair westering tide.

We reached Cannis Rock at 1242, and then loitered for about an hour watching New Boy and his crew Olga beat painfully back up out of the bay to join us. "Let's have a beer then!" he called, half jokingly, so I passed him over the last can of Korev out of the ship's supplies to share with his crew as we both sailed back into Fowey harbour.

It may well have been a long morning waiting for us, and a long hard beat to payback the miles downwind they blasted away on the asymmetric, but both New Boy and Olga had massive smiles on their faces.

At 1430 we moored up alongside the Berril's Yard pontoon.

Spot on for nine hours under way, just under two and a half hours with the engine, just shy of 29 nautical miles covered to bring us safe back to Fowey.

Friday 8 June 2018

Calstar: Monday 28th Fowey to Falmouth

Monday 28th May: Fowey to Falmouth 
(22.6 miles, 4 hours 38 minutes under way)

Having spent the weekend in Fowey with old friends from the British Moth fleet, we made plans for Monday to leave them and move further west down the coast to Falmouth.

High water Plymouth was 0543, so that made for a relaxed start to the day, casting off from Berrill’s Yard pontoon in Fowey at 0922 and heading out of the harbour under engine and main across a sun speckled, lazy sea that faded seamlessly at times into an azure sky.

Crossing St Austell’s Bay was a relaxed affair. Never enough whisper of a wind to even tease us with the idea of stilling the engine, we ticked along with the mainsail set for comfort and the 20hp diesel turning a not uncomfortable 2000 rpm, pushing around 4kn through the water (the boat’s log under-reads by about a knot) and assisted by a fair tide and slight sea. Every so often another yacht would pass, or be passed by us, none with any more ambition to sail, all motor-sailing under main alone.

We passed Gwineas Rock at 1050, and rounded Dodman Point half an hour later, with just over 10 miles now behind us.

We passed a sunfish basking lethargically on the still water’s surface. It hardly noted our passing as we slipped past with it about a boat length off our port beam. The tips of its fins lifted and dropped from the water, giving a miniature impression of a couple of sharks circling. Dad and I have seen similar a couple of times off Ilfracombe, but this was the first time Nik had seen anything like it and she was quite intrigued.

We passed another Westerly, this one bigger than us, too far out for me to make out the class initials on her sail, drifting in a valiant attempt to sail. They kept it up for a good twenty minutes as we came up astern, passed and then moved on ahead, but then they too capitulated to the weather of the day, furled their headsail and started to motor-sail with the rest of us.

At 1232 a couple of kids voices cracked over channel 16 on the VHF, shouting “Help, help! We’re going down!”. The Coastguard’s response was immediate; “Children’s voices on Channel 16, do you require assistance, over?”. The message was repeated at frequent intervals over the next ten minutes or so, the lady’s voice remaining professional throughout, but slowly developing an edge to it that could’ve cut glass. Finally, she finished with a “No response received, out” and silence resumed beneath the rumble of our engine.

Forty minutes later Nik suddenly chirped up “Dolphin!” with delight in her voice, pointing excitedly out over the bow.

A solitary creature, she crossed our bows from port to starboard, a sleek form sliding in a graceful arch out of the water and back as she crossed, minding her own business and probably more intent on finding lunch than paying any attention to us. Having crossed our bow, she turned and slipped past us within a boat length or two to disappear astern.

At 1329 we rounded St Anthony’s Head and entered the Carrick Roads. Dad took the helm, I lowered the main, and then guided him in through the mooring fields of Falmouth’s Inner Harbour to bring him, without mishap, alongside the outer pontoon of Falmouth Yacht Haven.

photo: westerly owner's association
We made the boat fast, went ashore to report to the marina office, and then on up to one of the three harbour side pubs to find a shaded seat overlooking the harbour, and lunch.

Just over four and a half hours under way and, remarkably similar to the leg from Plymouth to Fowey, just under 23 nautical miles covered.