To Padstow in the sunshine

Saturday 18th May

We are up at 5.30 and after a quick breakfast set out from Newlyn in a fine, misty morning to round Lands End and sail to Padstow. The sun soon burns off the mist and a moderate northwesterly breeze sets in so we set full sail in good spirits as we sail past Mousehole and the lighthouse at Tater Du. We soon reach Lands End, where we have to tack up past the Longships Lighthouse set on its formidable array of rocks.

We are too far off Lands End to take a decent photo

Rounding the Longships Lighthouse off Lands End on 18th May 2013

The wind direction means that we need to sail outside the Longships so we cannot get close enough to Lands End to take a decent photo but we can see the First & Last House and the tourist attractions at Lands End. We are too early for the sightseers.

The tide helps us sail past Cape Cornwall and Pendeen Point on the north coast but by midday it turns against us, slowing progress. However, the wind has changed direction to north-west which is ideal for us and is blowing at the right strength (F3 to 4) for us to carry full sail and make good progress. This is how sailing is meant to be: sun, a good breeze, a flat sea and an interesting coast to sail past!

En route Paul gets his bird book out so we can identify all the feathered wild life we see. As we discover, this includes manx shearwater, cormorant, lesser and greater black backed gulls, gannets, kittiwakes, fulmars, storm petrels, swallows (emigrating north), swifts, guillemots, herring gulls and common gulls. We had no idea how many species we must have been looking at over the years!

We sail past St. Ives, Godrevy, St Agnes, Perranporth (which we confuse with Newquay until a sanity check against the chart!) and Newquay. The very white lighthouse on Trevose Head initially looks like a distant yacht but gradually morphs into its true self, set up high on Trevose head. In common with a lot of other lights around our coast, it has been denuded of its fog horn and its big light replaced by a smaller one that is no doubt cheaper to run but less easy to spot. As with so many things, Trinity House who look after the lights has limited funds so have to economise where they deem it is safe to do. recreational sailors such as us currently do not contribute towards the cost of the lights and navigational marks, just commercial shipping.

Trevose Head

Trevose Head

By 6 o’clock we are sailing past the day mark outside Padstow where we stow the sails and gingerly motor in over the Doom Bar (a well-known name to beer drinkers!). As it is low tide we cannot get into Padstow harbour as the entrance is only accessible two hours either side of high tide (which is at midnight) so we borrow a mooring buoy in the pool outside for the night. Our chicken pie is already warming in the oven as we moor and we celebrate an excellent days sail over a glass or two of wine and a good supper. Having had a long day we decide to turn and save Padstow for tomorrow.

Sunday 19th May.

We wake to glorious sunshine and a fine view up and down the beautiful

Moored in the beautiful Camel Estuary

Moored in the beautiful Camel Estuary

The River Camel looking towards Rock and Wadebridge

The River Camel looking towards Rock and Wadebridge

Camel Estruatry. After our customary Sunday breakfast of porridge, toast and proper coffee we set to on the various jobs – full engine and transmission checks, sort out the autohelm (which was reluctant to work after its winter layoff), get the heads (nautical loos) & shower pump working and much cleaning. We find that we have a different attitude to getting the boat into better order now that we will be resident on it for 4 months compared to a fortnight’s holiday when there is only limited time to cram in al the sailing and sightseeing that one wants to do. Over time we hope to be able to get the outside of the boat shining, which will involve steady arm work!

We call Padstow Harbour on the VHF and arrange for them to call us in when the harbour lock gates open, which they duly do just after 11. As we enter we see our friends Brian & Joyce Stokes waving from the headland who run round and take our warps as we moor against the harbour wall.

Padstow looks the epitome

Coffee at Padstow with old friends Brian and Joyce Stokes

Coffee at Padstow with old friends Brian and Joyce Stokes

of a pretty Cornish harbour village in the bright sunshine. We catch up on news with Brian and Joyce who take a quick tour of Sundart before heading back to their caravan at Mevagissy.

Purchase the Sunday papers and then relax in the sunshine on deck with a beer and sandwich – it’s a hard life!

Rafted up in the inner harbour

Sunday afternoon in Padstow

Later, after the crowds have gone, we wander round Padstow which looks in good shape. We count 6 Rick Stein establishments ranging from his posh restaurant (£100+ for a meal for two) to a chippy, B & B etc. We run into an Australian who has made the journey all the way to Padstow to sample Rick’s fare – he had not been disappointed. Good luck to you Rick, but we go for a more modest pizza.

Providing the weather still looks good we plan to sail to Lundy, where we will need to anchor off the island. We have heard stories of Lundy over the years from bell ringing friends in Melbourne who go there every year so we are curious to see what the island has to offer. We will need to get from there to Milford Haven by Wednesday afternoon as Paul needs to leave us then to see his Dad in Llanelli and thence back home.

Fair winds to you all,

Yvonne, John & Paul


4 thoughts on “To Padstow in the sunshine

  1. Great reading!! Definitely making me jealous from my alcove in the library. Don’t forget to take some good puffin photos on Lundi! 🙂 xx Nicky

  2. Hi John,

    Good luck to you both on your exciting challenge. Hope to follow in your wake one day !

    Steve Price

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