Saturday was another hot and sunny day, but with a strong SE wind, which looked a bit much for the long crossing to Lands End and then to Falmouth. However, the forecasts were still showing a gradual decline in wind speed from late afternoon, so we decided to leave Neyland at 1400, and see what the sea conditions were like leaving the Sound around 1530. These timings would enable us to meet our tidal gates for rounding Lands End and the Lizard, keeping an east flowing tide all the way then to Falmouth, provided we kept speed up when the wind died by using the engine.
With the theory done, we put John ashore to start a long train ride home, and set off. We were certainly blown quickly down the Milford Waterway and were soon out at sea with 2 reefs in and a strong F5 gusting rather higher. An advantage of easterlies here is that the sea does not build up as much as it might with a westerly coming in from Ireland, so we made great progress under sail, bowling along in the sunshine. This was going to be an approx 90 mile sea crossing to Cornwall, and a total trip of around 150 miles to Falmouth, so we agreed a 3 hour on / 6 hour off watch rota and settled down to a long trip. Sure enough, and as advertised, the wind steadily fell as night approached and we shook out the reefs and eventually switched the engine on to maintain 6 kts to meet our tidal gates.
The sail through the night was uneventful, apart from dancing around a trawler 'purse seine fishing'...ie dragging a net round in circles to encircle a shoal of fish. Fairly unpredictable, and such boats flash a bright yellow strobe light to get your attention and keep you away. It works...we gave it a very wide berth. Apart from this all was calm and peaceful, watching the stars and slowly moving south. Plenty of warm drinks as it got cold, and Berwin somewhat surprised to have his joke request for a tartan rug to keep his legs warm met from the ship's stores.......this really did confirm his long held view that Moondog is a floating cottage for those of advanced years......
As we passed Cape Cornwall in the early morning mist we headed closer inshore to catch a south flowing stream to help us beat the otherwise north flowing tide, and went close in by the Brisson rocks and then inshore of the big Longships Lighthouse ( the one you see at the start of the BBC news). Going inside Longships is not a problem so far a concerns the rocks the lighhthouse is on....they are fairly obvious. It is the wonderfully named Kettles Bottom rock, which is only just above the surface that has probably claimed a few ships over the years. Once past this we were round Lands End, and then around 20 miles to the Lizard, which can be rough, but in these calm airs it was no problem at all. Then a straightforward sail into Falmouth, dodging all the yachts engaged in various races, including some wonderful old traditional yachts. At one time we thought that there might be a competition underway to see who could cram the largest number of sails, and all the associated bits of string on the smallest hull. Since there was now hardly any wind it all seemed a bit too hard , so we dropped our sails and just motored through the lot of them.
We were moored up in Falmouth Marina at 1520, after a 25 hr trip covering 152 miles, and were soon installed in the Chain Locker pub celebrating our success.
Incidentally, the last pic is of a young lad from our neighbouring berth in Falmouth who had caught this big mackerel during the afternoon and was keen to show it to the world before putting it on the BBQ !
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