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Newlyn 31st July

Yacht Quintet
Newlyn Harbour

31st July, 2005

<-Falmouth 29th July Scillies 1st August->

Another grey morning. I know that I was bored with all that sunshine but this is ridiculous. It's rained every day for ages now. And I bet there's still a drought!

We had a few beers last night out on the anchorage to the west of Carrick Roads but not too much so we were quite fresh this morning, for us. We discussed what to do and with a favourable tide in the early afternoon and last night's weather forecast that suggested that a little bit of wind might occasionally blow in more or less the right direction for at least some of the time over the next few days, we decided that we should make the leap for the land of the Blarney Stone. Then I checked the weather forecast again and it had all changed. More wind from the direction we wanted to go. Perhaps we should have sailed round England anti-clockwise after all.

So we hung about a bit, had breakfast, then lunch and thought we had better do something useful so we agreed on refuelling so that we were ready to go. So we upped anchor and motored round to the fuel dock.

We went alongside to pick up our thimbleful of fuel. Then I checked the midday forecast posted on the Visitors' Haven notice board and, lo and behold, the weather had changed again! Our voyage to Ireland was back on. We motored away from the dock full of anticipation.

We had a terrific ride out of Falmouth, rolling a bit with wind behind us, but as we turned westwards things became steadier and we started to clock up the miles. We steered well south of Lizard Point to avoid the overfalls but when we were well clear the wind had shifted west and we couldn't point back up on the course for the Runnell Stone south of Lands End. We were being pushed out into the shipping lanes and would eventually be suffering a foul tide, pushing us back up the channel when we should have it under us carrying us northwards into the Irish sea. Bummer! But there was nothing to be done. A tack would have us steering north onto the Lizard. So we clung on until we were clear enough of Lizard Point to tack up into Mounts Bay.

It must have been about then that we realised that the sky was darkening to the west! But that's where the sun sets! Dark, forbidding rain clouds were building in the west. We decided that this was not going to be a good night to go to Ireland. We reverted to our previous plan of Newlyn. But it rained anyway. And the boat was leaping around so dinner was deferred a while. And it was such a black night. Lots of lights from the townships of Mullion, Porthleven, Penzance and all the places in between but you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.

We were still not making Newlyn on this tack and would need at least two more tacks to get there giving us an estimated arrival time after 2.00am . Therefore dinner was reinstated and I knocked up a potato and spinach balti with naan bread. I took the helm while Clive went below to eat, and warm up a bit then he came up and I went below to trough. And though I say it myself, it wasn't bad. Mr Patak's curry sauces are pretty good.

I was starting to get worried as a cardinal mark, Mountamopus, was not where it should have been, according to my chart. Everything else seemed to match ok but I thought that we had better tack into deeper water just in case I had made a significant and possibly tragic error. Then, after fifteen minutes on the new tack it was visible through the gloom, but not quite where I expected and probably not where the chart says it is. And we have done the corrections!

At about this point the heavens opened but not for long and when I suggested it was time to motor, Clive insisted that we should continue to try to sail it. But fortunately for me, after another soaking, of him, the wind died and he agreed to motor the last five miles. Why does the wind always come back just as one is taking down sails in the pitch black, on a heaving deck slippery with recent rain. Happens every time!

We finally located the entrance to Newlyn Harbour at midnight and headed for our chosen anchorage in the shallows just to its north.

By 1.00am there were full beer glasses on the saloon table and two tired old matelots relieved at their decision to stop for the night. It was gone 2.00am before they'd had enough beer.

Toady we got up late, now there's a surprise, and decided to decamp to the harbour for a couple of hours to shop for fresh bread and milk and maybe have a beer.

Click for a larger imageNewlyn Harbour Master was an answering machine so we asked advice form the RNLI about mooring. We were directed to tie up alongside something resembling a clinker built H28, which we did, And Quintet looked so tiny and frail amongst those big, horrible fishing boats. Then we went to the pub, the Dolphin.

It was a bit late so we decided to skip lunch and have an early dinner. So three pints of Doom Bar were consumed. The we shopped for bread, milk and beer and some more of Mr Patak's curry sauces and then it was back to the boat for an hour's sleep before dinner.

We dined at the Newlyn pizza joint and it was very good, although the waitresses retort of 'Nay worries!' to all requests for food and drink got a bit irritating. Then we walked into Penzance. We had been told at lunchtime that there was live music at the Dock Inn and it had such a great build up we were really looking forward to it. But personally it was not to my taste. Clive wasn't too keen either.

Click for a larger imageWe did meet a poor lad who spoke to Clive asking whether he was a fisherman. The lad wanted a fishing job. It was all a bit bizarre really. He then had a long conversation about sea sickness. The poor lad doesn't know what he is getting into. But the really sad thing is that he then asked Clive what he did for a living. I tried to stop him, but too late. Had Clive not run out of money, we could have been there for days! Still, if he doesn't like fishing, he probably now knows enough to test cables for a living!

We walked back to Newlyn and, looking out to sea I still couldn't find the Mountamopus buoy even without the street lamps obscuring it.

We walked along the beach path. The beach is black! No wonder we saw people bathing on the beach in the harbour. Even with a film of diesel it was more inviting than this.

A girl passed us on the path. She was wearing duffle coat, scarf, woollen hat and gloves. It's bloody July for heaven's sake.

We had one last beer in the Tockayne pub. We should have gone there in the first place. It was delightful.

Les Sutcliffe

<-Falmouth 29th July Scillies 1st August->