Archive for Helford River

September 2013 part 1

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Photographs, Sailing, Unfortunate events, Walking with tags , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by maidofmettle

Well, I didn’t quite make catching up before going away.. will do soon though!

Having spent most of 2013 working well away from home and Maid in Grimsby I was glad to have a perfect day for setting out from Torpoint in September, with clear blue sky and a beautiful north-west breeze to sail past Cremyll..

2013-09-10 #01 Torpoint to the Helford

..and pursue a submarine out of Plymouth Sound.

2013-09-10 #03 Torpoint to the Helford

I took good advantage of the wind, and nice flat seas..

2013-09-10 #05 Torpoint to the Helford

and sailed on much the same course the whole way to the Helford River. There’s nothing like a long passage at the start of a holiday to let you take it easy the entire rest of the time! The wind had got up a bit more by the end, making for an exciting sail in..

2013-09-10 #06 Torpoint to the Helford

..but my preferred anchorage in a north-westerly was nice and sheltered as expected.

2013-09-10 #08 Torpoint to the Helford

I did however get a bit of a shock when I launched the dinghy to row ashore and eat in the Ferryboat Inn (well, it was the first day of the holiday..) and discovered a rather large sheet of paint had become detached from the port bow, around the waterline. I definitely needed a pint after that.

2013-09-10 #10 Torpoint to the Helford

The next day I decided the best plan of action was to sail to Falmouth when the wind changed in a day or two, as it was probably the best place to dry the boat out and repair the paintwork in the area. In the meantime there was no danger so I left Maid at anchor in the Helford (this was her good side)..

2013-09-11 #01 Helford River

and walked east along the river..

2013-09-11 #03 Helford River

..before turning north up towards Falmouth and the beach at Maenporth – no beach football going on this late in the year (unlike the last time I was there) which was probably a good thing for my legs!

2013-09-11 #06 Durgan to Maenporth

Then back to the boat to watch the evening’s racing on the river.

2013-09-11 #09 Helford River

The next morning the sky looked rather ominous..

2013-09-12 #01 Helford River to Falmouth

..but the wind was fair for Falmouth so I sailed round and stopped in the main anchorage, and was glad to see a couple of other boats I knew, even if I was a bit embarrassed by the state of Maid’s paintwork. There was another boat dried out on the wall at first, which actually proved extremely useful as it gave me a chance to get some advice check out where best to position the boat etc – I was quite tense about drying out since I hadn’t done it for years, and never on my own (and on that occasion her bow plunged into a bit of a hole giving her a very awkward angle at low water).

2013-09-12 #04 Falmouth

We had a great gathering of people from the anchorage and friends ashore or on the other side of the harbour in the Chain Locker, with a superb Irish session to enjoy as well.

When the wall came free I went alongside at high water and tied up, weighting the lines heavily so that they’d keep the boat in position at high water while allowing enough slack to avoid trying to hand the boat off the wall at low water. I also put lots of fenders out against the wall, with a plank to spread the load across them, and lined several water cans up along the side against the wall to make sure Maid leaned that way rather than falling over. At least it kept me busy till the tide was starting to go down. Here you can see it worked rather well..

2013-09-14 #02 Falmouth

..and it was then up early the next morning to get on with the work while the tide was low. The dawn was at least quite impressive..

2013-09-15 #04 Falmouth

..and even more spectacular the next day.

2013-09-15 #09 Falmouth

After spending a couple of days chipping away loose paint, scraping off loose rust, rinsing, degreasing and rinsing again, applying rust converter and repainting I was happy the patching would do for at least the rest of the holiday. The wind was forecast to get very strong so I headed up Carrick Roads to find a sheltered anchorage in the Fal. I actually ended up doubling back, as the place I expected to be good was quite gusty and with only a fairly narrow shelf between the bank and deep water channel, and quite crowded -so I went back downstream to the place that seemed far too open but had actually looked a decent bet as I went past.

It served very well, and was rather idyllic in the evening when the wind died off.

2013-09-17 #03 Channals Creek

In fact it was a place I’d wanted to anchor at some point for years, with the National Trust property of Trelissick on one shore..

2013-09-18 #02 Channals Creek

..and the shingle beach at Turnaware Bar on the other side.

2013-09-18 #05 Turnaware

Having landed there I walked up the ridge..

2013-09-18 #06 Turnaware to Messack Pt

and then southwards parallel to Carrick Roads, a route I’d previously enjoyed much of from the opposite direction. There are great view across open fields and Carrick Roads..

2013-09-18 #10 Turnaware to Messack Pt

..pine trees above the edge of the water..

2013-09-18 #14 Turnaware to Messack Pt

..and from higher ground some beautiful views of farmland with Falmouth in the background.

2013-09-18 #17 Turnaware to Messack Pt

The next day was greyer but still enjoyable, this time rambling around the permissive footpaths in the woods on the other bank, past the chain ferry and overlooking an anchorage and quay upstream.

2013-09-19 #03 Trelissick woods

The next day it was back to sunshine again but an easterly wind, and I took the opportunity to sail down the estuary and anchor in another place I’d wanted to stop for years when a suitable moment presented itself. This was just opposite the fine secluded beaches of the Molunans, just north of St Antony’s Head (more widely known perhaps as Fraggle Rock) lighthouse on the eastern side of the entrance to Falmouth Harbour. I’d walked to and swum from the beaches several times before from St Mawes, but never stopped off the beach.

2013-09-20 #01 Great Molunan

Looking back from the land (of course I went for a walk up to the lighthouse and around the cliffs) you can just about see Maid to the left of centre, looking like she’s surprisingly far offshore, with Great Molunan beach on the right.

 

2013-09-20 #03 Great Molunan

In the evening I sailed into Falmouth to meet up with people and enjoy some more live music – a nice easy run over..

2013-09-20 #11 Great Molunan to Falmouth

..with some colourful racing boats to admire..

2013-09-20 #13 Great Molunan to Falmouth

This time I anchored (where it’s free) off Trefusis Point and rowed across to the town.

When I’d gone ashore the next morning (probably to get sometime from that Cornish institution Trago Mills) I was a bit surprised to see a boat nosing around oddly close to the anchored Maid on the other side of the harbour. Though when I thought about it she looked a bit familiar – and much more so when she dropped anchor off Falmouth. It didn’t take too long for Mike and I to make plans for a drink in the Chain Locker and then for Carolyn to join us.

2013-09-21 #01 Falmouth

On the other side of the harbour we were also making plans to join in a local event to mark the autumn equinox being held at Trelissick, so a little fleet set off up Carrick Roads, gathering one or two others along the way. I hadn’t really sailed in company in some time and it was great fun, with the weather just about holding to give us beautiful sunshine..

2013-09-22 #02 Trefusis to Trelissick

..though the fog was getting nearer and nearer..

2013-09-22 #06 Trefusis to Trelissick

..until it closed in almost immediately after we’d all dropped anchor. It made for a rather atmospheric row ashore..

2013-09-22 #10 Trelissick

..to join the crowd on the (by now very narrow!) beach..

2013-09-22 #13 Trelissick

..and the gloom made quite a seasonal backdrop to Dave’s excellent burning man, preceded by a couple of readings and accompanied by some traditional music.

2013-09-22 #12 Trelissick

Unfortunately the band had to get to a pub session so couldn’t stay, but the party continued for a while with several people having brought instruments ashore.

2013-09-22 #14 Trelissick

The next day I went for another walk in the woods above Turnaware Bar..

2013-09-23 #02 Turnaware

..before sailing down to St Just, again finding some friends (“we’ll put the kettle on” is always a welcome hail when sailing into an anchorage).

2013-09-24 #02 St Just

The next day was very peaceful and I re-sealed a few of Maid’s windows before rowing in to admire the church in the evening – it’s always a beautiful spot but especially so after dark on this occasion with the tide high and the lights on.

2013-09-24 #09 St Just

2013-09-24 #10 St Just

That said, it did make getting back slightly more interesting when the evening service finished and they switched them all off!

August 2012 part 1

Posted in Cornwall, Sailing, Unfortunate events, Walking with tags , , , , on August 10, 2014 by maidofmettle

Right, there is going to have to be some hasty blogging this week to catch up to real- time when I go on holiday on Thursday. Do you think we can get through two years of sailing in four days?

Thinking about it, I had a rather tight target to meet when I started sailing in August 2012…

I went straight down from work on the Friday, getting to Maid at about 9pm, and first I needed to do a quick damage check – it appeared since I’d last been down another boat had rammed Maid in the middle of one side, bending two of the stanchions supporting the guard-wires and gouging the paint on the side of the cabin top.Β  That was clearly the limit of it though – looking up plate thicknesses Maid is not built anything like a tank but approaching some landing craft! Slightly concerned about what damage might have been done to the culprit..

With that sorted, I promptly headed off as I needed to sail westward and the wind was currently from the south, but due to swing round more inconveniently.

I was keen to get to Portscatho before the wind change made it awkward was to meet up with Si and Cat, a couple we met on their boat Planet in the French canals nearly 3 years previously. If they weren’t such lovely people I’d say obviously shared experiences like getting stuck in a broken-down lock together obviously make you stay in touch πŸ™‚

Taking a trip back even more years, here we are going through a lock:

2009-11-13 #04

and here are Maid and Planet together one rather misty morning (I have distinct memories of wandering through a French village with 50 yard visibility looking for a bakery and mostly finding grumpy barking dogs).

2009-11-18 #00

Anyhow, returning from even further in the past to 2012, since getting back to Cornwall at roughly the same time as me in 2011 they’d spent much of their time working away building their engineless wooden fishing boat Kensa to Si’s design (more here, and come to that Cat’s equally wonderfully written blog of their adventures onΒ Planet is well worth a look as well – here). She’s thought to be the first fishing boat built and launched in Portscatho for fifty years, and I was keen to get there and share in the excitement.

However, first I had to motor for quite a while to get out of Plymouth Sound late at night and in the dark- there seemed to be little wind and a big swell rolling in, and it was all rather tense – how big would the next swell be, would there be enough wind to sail outside, how hard would it be to get back in to shelter if there wasn’t?

In short, was this really a good idea?

Luckily the forecast held true and I was able to sail off towards Rame Head and then onwards.

I can’t say I had really missed sailing at night. It can be beautiful and peaceful, but mostly you just want to be asleep, not looking around every 15 minutes or half an hour. You can’t relax to the same degree sailing coastally as you can offshore, as you’re nearly always near a hazard of some sort, and the tides are often much stronger. Having to start tacking as the wind changed to blow against us in the night wasn’t ideal in some ways, though it was prove that starting early had definitely been advantage.

Morning found us between the Dodman and Nare Head – we seemed to cover a lot of ground in my final cat-nap and it was slightly alarming when I could first see! Not that I could see much, but enough to definitely not want to hit it.

2012-08-18 #02 - Copy

The weather gradually cleared from the east – this is the Dodman astern..

2012-08-18 #03 - Copy

..and this is the view once I’d anchored, unfolded the dinghy and gone ashore in Portscatho. Maid is in the background on the left, with Nare Head above the end of the breakwater, and Gull Rock merging into the Dodman on the horizon.

The big splash is a kid jumping in the harbour- guessing there’s nothing new in that except the wetsuits!

2012-08-18 #04 - Copy

This is my first peek of Kensa in the shed.

2012-08-18 #05 - Copy

If you’re looking at the that picture wondering how she ever got out of the shed, quite a lot of us helped, and it was quite a task! (though it didn’t quite match the boatyard owner needing to remove part of his shed to get my parent’s boat out once).

I also went for a bit of a walk along the coast on the Saturday- here’s the view towards Nare Head and the Dodman from above Porthcurnick beach..

2012-08-19 #01 - Copy

and here’s the view back to Maid and Portscatho from the beach.

2012-08-19 #04 - Copy

The Sunday dawned rather murkily, but by high tide in the early afternoon it was splendid – right on time!

2012-08-19 #09 - Copy

As you can see there was quite a crowd. It feels wonderfully decadent to stand around chatting ankle-deep in the sea drinking champagne.

2012-08-19 #18

Before we’d drunk too much it was time to take the Kensa out to her mooring buoy – as well as taking photos my dinghy was quite handy for helping ferry her crew back in.

2012-08-19 #22 - Copy

Here are Maid and Kensa together.

2012-08-20 #03 - Copy

Then back to the beach for the continuation of the party, before heading to the Plume of Feathers, etc.

Come the next morning the swell in the fairly exposed anchorage off Portscatho was getting irritating, so I tacked out and headed for the Helford River.

2012-08-20 #09 - Copy

Cue some more walking – this is one of the beaches on the way into Helford Passage..

2012-08-21 #24 - Copy

this is the village itself..

2012-08-21 #10

and this is a rather unexpected find of a splendid garden/art exhibition.

2012-08-21 #14

The next day was a slightly brisker sail further down the east coast of the Lizard Peninsula to Coverack, a place I hadn’t been to before.

2012-08-22 #09 - Copy

I immediately liked it – here Maid is anchored in the background off the little harbour. It’s about the last place in the village to have evening sun as it drops below the Lizard so half the village seems to gather there in the evening, and the fish-and-chip shop in the converted lifeboat station is excellent.

2012-08-22 #10 Coverack - Copy

The next day was forecast to be calm and then quite strong onshore, so I decided I’d better do some motoring in the calm bit while the tide was favourable. I was hoping to pick up a bit of wind once I got a little way offshore but though it teased I had to do a fair bit of motoring to get back round to the Helford.

2012-08-23 #02

There follows a rather unfortunate episode where my wallet ended up spending a tide or two in the mud alongside this slipway before I managed to find it again, though I did feel quite lucky I’d done so!

2012-08-24 #02 - Copy

Luckily I had enough time to hunt for it, and being anchored in the Helford is a lovely place to be in most conditions.

2012-08-26 #01

After spending a couple of days there I then headed out..

2012-08-26 #15

..past a colossal cruise ship anchored of the entrance to Falmouth..

2012-08-26 #16

..and up Carrick Roads with various other Ocean Cruising Club boats (including the rather lovely Zahlia below) for a party on some pontoons on the river.

2012-08-26 #20 - Copy

Not before we’d had a bit of an adventure with the King Harry Chain Ferry, which looked to be waiting for more cars but then decided to start moving at a rather awkward moment, leading to some very swift manoevuring under sail and some cursing of the motor boat right in front of me which just jammed its engines straight into reverse πŸ˜€

2012-08-26 #22

Still, we all made it, I had a very good time with lots of very nice and interesting people, as I have found so many club members to be, and entirely failed to take any pictures including any of them, so here’s a token one of Maid and some of the other boats.

2012-08-26 #23 - Copy

And that’s where we shall pause for a brief (this time, honest!) intermission πŸ™‚

[Easter 2012] Part 1 – bunny dating

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , on March 3, 2014 by maidofmettle

I think this is a new low in titles bearing little resemblance to the post. I won’t ask what you’re thinking of, but it actually refers to the fact that my camera appears to have had incorrect date settings for most or all of this holiday, and having mislaid the corresponding logbook pages I only eventually straightened the mess out by working all the confusing bits back and forwards from a picture of the Easter Bunny doing its rounds on the Helford River by RIB.

Having done that I suppose we might as well take advantage and begin at the beginning, with the winter having flown by, and Easter starting with a trip up the Tamar to the St Germans River

2012-04-02 #01

The weather had been beautiful a few days before when I’d gone down to take Maid round to her mooring after being launched, but was now rather grey

2012-04-02 #15

though some of the graffiti was rather heart-warming. You can’t really complain about that, can you? (though I must confess to wondering what the crossed-out bit said..)

2012-04-02 #07

I wouldn’t say either was the peak, but the next day was definitely an improvement, once the sunshine broke through the clouds over Devonport dockyard.

2012-04-05 #02

along with a beautiful breeze for sailing back down the Tamar, past Drake’s Island

2012-04-05 #10

and out to sea

2012-04-05 #14

and along the coast to Fowey (pronounced as Foy), one of the most well-known of the Cornish harbour-towns I’d passed by the previous autumn.

I moored on the short-stay pontoon the next morning to give me a chance to look around

2012-04-06 #13

including what is reputed to be the model for Toad Hall

2012-04-06 #08

The Sea Rat would undoubtedly have found it much changed, but still quite possibly been at home here, with every waterfront home seemingly having some direct route down to the water

2012-04-06 #01

though ‘little grey sea town’ seems less apt now

2012-04-05 #15

but the passage as a whole is certainly timeless:

‘And now,’ he was softly saying, ‘I take to the road again, holding on southwestwards for many a long and dusty day; till at last I reach the little grey sea town I know so well, that clings along one steep side of the harbour. There through dark doorways you look down flights of stone steps, overhung by great pink tufts of valerian and ending in a patch of sparkling blue water.

The little boats that lie tethered to the rings and stanchions of the old sea-wall are gaily painted as those I clambered in and out of in my own childhood; the salmon leap on the flood tide, schools of mackerel flash and play past quay-sides and foreshores, and by the windows the great vessels glide, night and day, up to their moorings or forth to the open sea. There, sooner or later, the ships of all seafaring nations arrive; and there, at its destined hour, the ship of my choice will let go its anchor.

I shall take my time, I shall tarry and bide, till at last the right one lies waiting for me, warped out into midstream, loaded low, her bowsprit pointing down harbour. I shall slip on board, by boat or along hawser; and then one morning I shall wake to the song and tramp of the sailors, the clink of the capstan, and the rattle of the anchor-chain coming merrily in.

We shall break out the jib and the foresail, the white houses on the harbour side will glide slowly past us as she gathers steering-way, and the voyage will have begun! As she forges towards the headland she will clothe herself with canvas; and then, once outside, the sounding slap of great green seas as she heels to the wind, pointing South!

‘The Wind in the Willows’, Kenneth Grahame

In fact I sailed west that afternoon, to a beautifully peaceful anchorage 30 miles or so away on the Helford River.

2012-04-07 #06

where I launched the dinghy and went for an evening stroll ashore.

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The next morning saw the aforementioned arrival of the Easter Bunny.

2012-04-08 #02

After that I popped round to Falmouth for a day or two

2012-04-10 #15

before returning to the Helford. There is something about the view of Nare Point below that I seemingly never tire of – it’s not particularly big or dramatic, just a small headland with rolling fields to landward, but somehow especially beautiful, whether coming or going from the river.

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In fact, even when it was just a silhouette the sunset behind was dramatic.

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There was a rainbow as I headed back eastward the next day

2012-04-11 #01

but the clouds quickly cleared leaving splendid weather passing St Anthony’s Head

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on a fine sail

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back to Fowey

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which was even prettier in the sunlight this time.

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But this time I heeded the Sea Rat’s call even sooner, and after a walk ashore to admire the views of the harbour, and the village of Polruan on the eastern shore..

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..I headed out to sea again, this time continuing eastward.

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To be continued πŸ™‚

Home (or thereabouts) on the Helford

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing with tags on August 23, 2011 by maidofmettle

I’m now anchored on the very lovely Helford River, after a brief stop at Mullion Cove on the other side of the Lizard peninsula.

Maid may well actually think of this as home, since her previous owner bought her just upriver at Gweek and then moored her just round the corner at the top of the Penryn River near Falmouth.

I don’t think she’ll actually be stopping just here, but it’s a very nice spot to spend a few days.

(nautically-minded readers will probably be appalled at the lack of an anchor ball in this picture – the omission has since been rectified..)

Plans from now on are a little uncertain. I know I have a fair few blog entries to catch up on, not to mention finding a job, somewhere to keep the boat and somewhere to live..