Westward Ho!

Tuesday 14th/Wednesday 15th May.

How things can change in 24 hours! The forecast for the night of Wednesday 15th was for a deep low to pass over us with winds predicted to be up to storm force 10. We were glad that the Salcombe Harbour master allowed to stay firmly tied up to the Normandy Pontoon by the town to give us a firm hold on terra firma and some shelter.

Whitestrand - the landing in the centre of Salcombe

Whitestrand – the landing in the centre of Salcombe

Before the storm on 15/5/13

The Normandy Pontoon at Salcombe

It certainly blew but by about 1 AM things got quieter and we slept soundly.

Wednesday morning and the sun showed signs of coming out, the winds gradually reduced. We decide to sail to the Helford River on the Lizard peninsular some 50 miles away. Whilst waiting for the tide to turn west at midday and the seas to calm down after the previous storm, we prepared sandwiches and a sausage supper for the evening as we we likely to be sailing until about 9 pm.

We set reduced sails and set out. As the wind was from the north west we sailed a little south of west, passing about 5 miles south of the infamous Eddystone Rock and lighthouse (the fourth to be built on this rock – the first one blew down taking the lighthouse keeper with it). The sailing gradually got easier and the sun started to shine – a real welcome change.

Preparations before setting sail

Preparations before setting sail

By about 8 pm we were close to the Lizard but a bit too far south as the wind had pushed us that way, so we lit the oven and motored into the Helford and dropped anchor off Durgan in the last of the twilight. The sausage supper was hot and soon eaten with a celebratory glass of wine.

Thursday 16th May

 Thursday dawned sunny with a gentle breeze.

Morning on the River Helford looking seawards from our anchorage

Morning on the River Helford looking seawards from our anchorage

The Helford is a delightful spot – very tranquil. Daphne DuMaurier set some of her romantic novels here, the most famous probably being Frenchman’s Creek, which is a small creek off the Helford above the village of Helford.

The Helford village & River looking inland

The Helford village & River looking inland

Oyster farming on the Helford

Oyster farming on the Helford

These days the Duchy of Cornwall derives much profit from over a million oysters from this river.

We decide to sail round the Lizard to Newlyn.

It should have been a good sail with light winds but contrary to the forecast the winds fell away so we motored round the Lizard.

Lizard Point, the southernmost point on our circumnavigation

Lizard Point, the southernmost point on our circumnavigation

Half way across Mounts Bay we were delighted to be “buzzed” by a pod (School?) of porpoises who stayed with us for some time, playing dare under our boat and riding the bow wave, whistling to each other.

Porpoises in Mounts Bay

Porpoises in Mounts Bay

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Moored amongst the fishing fleet in Newlyn

Moored amongst the fishing fleet in Newlyn

After this excitement we reach Newlyn Harbour, which is a busy fishing harbour that apparently lands the biggest catch in the UK. The new pontoons were installed for the smaller fishing craft with EU Fishing Funds so sailing boats such as our take second place. That said, we get a very friendly welcome, which seems to be the norm in this area.

Tomorrow (Saturday) we plan to sail round Lands End to Padstow, which will be new territory for all of us and a long day sail starting at 6 AM.

Ship’s Log

Miles from Salcombe to Helford: 59 miles

Miles from Helford to Newlyn: 39 miles

Miles to date: 128 miles

Fair winds to you all

Yvonne, John & Paul

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