August 2012 part 2

Having shot west at the start of the holiday allowed me to cruise back to Torpont with a lot more stops, visiting quite a few places I’d only ever sailed past before.

A calm morning to start with – at least there were no issues with the chain ferry motoring down!

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By the time I got down to Carrick Roads there was a lovely breeze.

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So out past Black Rock at the entrance to Falmouth Harbour (the entrance would be too straightforward without one great big hazard right in the middle)…

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and round the Roseland, past Nare Head and the Dodman to tie up between two mooring buoys in the outer harbour at Mevagissey. Not something I’d done in a while but with the dinghy in the water very simple- basically just pick one buoy up normally (I say simple – not necessarily easy!) and then row a line to the other one.

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Mevagissey, or ‘Mevva’, is a beautiful little town, with the harbour possibly still home to as many fishing boats as pleasure boats, though tourism is a much bigger industry now.

Incidentally, it’s claimed (though wikipedia regards it to be somewhat dubious) to have been the first town in the UK with electric street lights, run by a power station built in 1895 and powered by pilchard oil. That’s some sign of how big the fishing fleet would have been then, but probably didn’t do much for any early tourists!

Here you can see the inner harbour, with the old lifeboat house in the bottom left.

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Here’s the evening entertainment signing on the quayside..

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..and here’s another picture of the inner harbour.

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The next day the wind was rather strong so with Maid tucked safely in the harbour I went for a walk north along the coast..

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..to Pentewan, once the site of a much bigger harbour since lost to siltation. The very shallow shelving sandy beach looks perfect for the caravan park though.

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Surprisingly, the inner basins are still largely intact..

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though the ‘channel’ to the sea is minimal.

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Mevagissey has a much more practical entrance which I departed from the next day – the wind hadn’t abated but the sunshine on the other side of the cold front made quite a difference.

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It was a fast and exciting sail tacking up to Charlestown at the northern side of St Austell Bay, taking full advantage of the shelter of the land and consequent smooth sea to charge to windward in winds I’d never normally want to tack into.

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Charlestown is one of the harbours that took over when Pentewan went into decline, and is still used by tall ships today. The fee to use the lock is rather beyond smaller boats, and I didn’t plan on staying long anyway so anchored off and rowed into the harbour in the dinghy for a look around.

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The bottom shelves quite slowly here as well making it quite a long row in against the wind – you can just see Maid anchored offshore in the background between the pier heads.

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Here’s another look at the ships inside-  if you’ve seen any period drama with a nautical flavour you may recognise them or the harbour.

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Next we shot off downwind, past Gribbin Head and the entrance to Fowey.. Rather less hard work, and almost as exhilarating..

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…though I was rather wishing I wasn’t towing the dinghy, which was fine going upwind but now kept trying to overtake and ramming the back of the boat, till I finally found a system to prevent it.

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I was aiming for Polperro, which is an altogether different harbour to Pentewan (as was) or Charlestown, very much a crack in the rocks kind of entrance. Can you see it?

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(it’s just to the right of the dark brown rock extending from the left, below the lowest white house)

Given the wind strength I’ll let myself off getting my thumb in this one (note the angle of heel despite the sheltered water and having taken the sails down).

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Despite my recent practice picking up the mooring buoy in the much stronger headwind took a while longer than in Mevagissey. It wasn’t helped by the fact that there was no room to maneuver so the couple of times that I missed it and the front of the boat got blown away from it by the wind I ended up having to leave the cove and go back in again. I think the fisherman I kept going past found it amusing enough to not mind.

Eventually I got set and was now glad I had the dinghy in the water to row a stern line out again – there really isn’t any room to swing here without blocking the channel or potentially hitting a rock. I was glad I had a very long line – it was quite a distance (see the angle of the rope in the bottom right!).

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Here’s the inner harbour..

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..and Maid out in the outer harbour, with a beautiful moon, especially enjoyed with some very tasty fish and chips at the end of a long and satisfying day.

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(it was slightly disconcerting to still hear the swell on the rocks when getting into bed though..)

The next morning I went for a walk along the coast path, finding what was presumably an old huer’s hut

 

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and a bit more of a wander round Polperro – you might guess that this is ‘Shell Cottage’.

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Once the tide had turned I carried on eastward, before rounding St Mary’s Island and anchoring off Looe.

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There’s plenty of space inside, but it’s shallow and drying out against a wall really restricts when you can leave – especially if you’re heading eastwards and want to have plenty of time sailing with the tide rising. It’s clearly a popular place for crab-fishing though..

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The next afternoon’s sailing was very relaxed..

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..with plenty of time to admire the coast and the little villages, while giving the firing range a bit further along a wide berth.

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It was a beautiful evening to arrive back in Plymouth Sound and anchor in Barn Pool for the night,

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with a rather striking moonrise oncc again.

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From there was just a short hop back to Torpoint, although admittedly one that required careful timing due to the strong tides through the Narrows. And that was that 🙂

 

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