Sailing to The Isles of Scilly

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Wed 3 Jun 2009 17:45

So we left the Helford River on the ebb to catch the tide out of Falmouth Bay at 0500 and saw a procession of yachts all in line astern clearly with the same idea as us. We motored out but with very little wind we motored most of the way to the most southerly tip of England with isn’t much of a Point and never saw a Lizard. At this stage we had very light winds from the east and decided to finally get the Whompa (our Cruising Chute) out of the packet, which we have had since February, after rigging all the blocks and lines we hoisted and - Hey got it right first time !


Well that really killed the wind we had it at 1.4kts gusting to 1.8kts, so sadly down with the Chute and on with the motor again. >From Lizard Point, where there can be a race to keep 3 miles off, we had flat seas and only stayed 1 mile off which gave us an angle of about 265 putting us 1 mile South of Wolf Rock lighthouse and straight into St Marys Sound for the entry to the Islands.


We spotted some fins in the water and thought Dolphins, but as we approached we identified them as Basking Sharks – Wow they are BIG – looked like more than half our boat length – so maybe 7 metres, anyway got a reasonable shot of one trying to eat our boat. The sea was so flat oily calm you could see them for miles – that was really exciting – just wonderful animals and they get that big eating plankton.





Look at the size of this mouth coming towards us ( Rona told me an interesting fact that Basking sharks swallow the equivalent of 2 Olympic swimming pools per day, thanks Rona)


As we motored on we just clipped the bottom of the TSS around Lands End, but with good visibility and the AIS we made easy progress across and just a few more lobster pots for the last 10 miles into St Marys Sound. Here the entry is really easy – the Pilot Books always make these seem so frightening, which maybe in a 20ft boat with a 4hp outboard it is, as we had 2kts of tide against us, but the channel is well marked and very wide.



Wolf Rock Lighthouse


So it’s Spanish Ledge and Bartholomew Ledge to Port, then turn to Starboard at the Bartholomew Ledge Red, stay off for Woodcock Ledge on the Starboard side then leave the Red on Bacon Ledge in the Harbour Pool to Port and you are in – that’s it a total of 60M from anchorage to mooring buoy. Probably a good idea to time arrival for at least mid tide and rising, we arrived at the top of high water and had around 7 metres of water, so don't try it on the bottom of a spring tide. Once inside pick up one of the Yellow mooring buoys – all with a heavy chain strop – about 40 in Rows U,V,W,X for vessels up to 40ft and 10 in Rows Y,Z for vessels up to 60ft and it's well protected from all directions except the North West, but with these huge buoys and strops you can sleep soundly at night.



Peninnis Head



Bit of a French invasion here at the moment, with even a Swiss boat here – must be a hell of a sailor to get here from Switzerland by yacht, so I guess it's very busy in July & August and you may need to raft up on the buoys



Picture from our stern, could be paradise…doesn’t get much better than this!!