And so, after many months, we were ready to go somewhere. It was the Mylor Yacht Club early May cruise over 3rd/4th/5th of May, so it looked worth a try. I travelled down early so had the whole of Friday for prep and some more ‘pontoon bashing’ and mooring pick up practice. I’d bought a load of food and drink, and some samosas and pakoras for the pontoon party at Ruan. We were ready for action.
The forecast had changed somewhat, as we were expecting a calm high pressure system which would have allowed us to meet in St Austell Bay or Mevagissey, but we now had south easterlies, and building in strength as the weekend went through. Ruan pontoons, up the Fal River beyond the King Harry ferry seemed an eminently sensible place to go. There were a number of other club members there with their respective boats, and two of them were good enough to take our lines. Once safely alongside and tidied the cider and buffet commenced. It’s a lovely spot as you can see above.
On Sunday we were to move to Helford, and since the sun was shining brightly through the curtains I was up early and motoring back to Mylor for a brief stop. Just above the King Harry ferry I found this lovely ketch. She carried a plaque to denote that she was one of the genuine Dunkirk ‘Little Ships’ which rescued our forces back in 1940. She was in superb condition, and must have cost someone a fortune to maintain. After a brief stop in Mylor we set sail for Helford, and it really was the first passage to somewhere other than the usual loop from/to Mylor. It was quite moving.
Helford is an hour or so south of Falmouth, so with a Force 4 we made passage with four sails; a direct course from Black Rock to the August Rock buoy. We sailed quite a way up the river, stopping just short of the moorings to lower sail and motor the last bit. The sun was out as we picked up the mooring and tidied away sailing paraphernalia. Then it was a late lunch of cheese, biscuits, grapes and Aldi cider, before a kip in the sun. The MYC cruisers were booked into the Shipwrights Inn, Helford, for a meal, and we were about 24 strong, which kept those with tenders busy moving everyone from boat to shore, then back again in the dark afterwards.
After a lumpy night, caused by a bit of east in the wind, we were first to leave for Falmouth. The forecast was for an F5 to F6 from the south east, so I wanted to leave before the 6 came. That was the plan anyway. We cleared the August Rock and it was already howling, and the swell was rocking. I had a single reef in the main, the mizzen and jib, but on reflection would have been better off with the staysail instead of the jib. We were over canvassed for sure, and it wasn’t a pleasant crossing at all – with wind and waves side on the beam all the way. It became a dash for cover in St Mawes, and I did make it without sight of last night’s supper!
Once at St Mawes we had cover from the breeze and swell, so anchored in the lee of the headland. It was tea and biscuit time. Then it was time for a goujon wrap. All of this resting and eating whilst watching a seemingly continuous steam of yachts arriving back from Helford. Two MYC boats came into St Mawes, and one was E’le May carrying Ian and Lyn the cruise organisers. They packed away sails and headed back to Mylor, followed by myself and Lucy half an hour later. It had been a great learning weekend, and we’re looking forward to the next trip down in a couple of weeks.