We’d been at Plymouth long enough so following a quite
round of opinions we all decided to head further west along the coast towards
Falmouth - and the Pendannis Cup. This is an international cup for the old
wonderful “J” Class sailboats (Thanks to Stewart another Discovery owner who us
aware of it!).
We are becoming ‘one’ with the currents in the English
Channel by now. You sail “with them” or “woe betide you”. We left slightly later
than we might have originally wished so that we would sail with the currents.
This, and going through a few routines about the boat meant that it was more
probable that we might want to stop off along the way (the boat is called
We hadn’t planned on the archetypal mast furling
This is where the slab reefing guys can take a few
moments to say things like, “Told you so”, and “You’ll learn” and “always
happens”, “could never happen with slab” and ..
The top of the mainsail got
stuck three quarters of the way out. It wouldn’t go back IN, nor would it come
All done now?
Three hours out from Plymouth. The boat had been sailing
like a dream but to take off a little weather helm and keep the boat sailing
balanced with some gusts that were appearing we’d chosen to reef the mainsail
slightly again. It’s so easy with mast furling – much easier than slab! But as I
was furling the sail in I managed to catch a little of the leech of the sail in
the slot before it should have. We tried and tried our practiced procedure to
dislodge it without success. Nothing for it. We had to turn around and head back
to Plymouth. It was a large port. We knew the layout of the marina and they had
space for us still.
Using the guide we had been given by the Yacht Haven
Marina we’d stayed at, we called “Hemisphere Rigging Services” located on the
same marina and explained our plight. As it was Friday afternoon we asked if
they could hang on an hour and at least to take a look and clear the blockage so
the boat could sit safely over the weekend before a more thorough look on
Monday. Unfortunately it turned out they couldn’t wait for us as it was the
start of their weekend and all the staff wanted to go home, they couldn’t offer
any help, nor did they know of any other companies that do rigging in Plymouth.
No, there wasn’t any engineers available to offer advice on how to safely get
sorted. They did suggest there ‘might’ be a company in Falmouth but didn’t know
any names and she suggested that they also would probably want to go home by 5pm
Well, thank you for your help “Hemisphere Rigging Services”, I’ll be
sure to keep your name right by me if I need any other help.
A call to Claire and John at Discovery resulted in
“allspars” of Plymouth calling us! “allspars” are another Plymouth based rigging
company. They are amazing! They took the time to call ‘us’. They offered us
advice and were available to wait for our arrival and make us safe for the
weekend in the unlikely event that they could not fix it there and then for us.
We committed to keep them updated on our arrival, keep trying to dislodge the
sail and call them if we were successful.
Claire and John had inspired us to be firm with the mast! So, offering a
short pray and offering to be good for ever more if this ‘just one little
favour” could be granted to free my sail – I really pulled down on the
I think “YES!”
could heard in France. My sail popped out and was free!
The three other
crew gasped for air! ..and started to breath again.
The sun came out, birds
chirped and I’m sure I heard joyous music playing in the wind!
A few more IN/OUTs confirmed all was well!
Nothing for it but to turn around! Again!
We called Discovery and XXXXXX to let them know all was
well and offer another few beers in thanks! Phew!
Lessons learned –
Be gentle but firm with the sails!
all about ‘service’.
Geesh! This sailing lark is so stressful!
This must have cost us several hours overall and so we
looked for a nearby anchorage for the evening rather than arrive at an unknown
port to us in the dark – even if it was the iconic Falmouth. Gorran Haven, near
Mevagissey fit the bill. Nice high cliffs, firm sandy bottom, an easy route to
the open sea and room to lay a long chain. In the forecast the wind was expected
reach 20 kts overnight but the early morning was expected to be over 25kts and
cyclonic – oh, and heavy rain. These winds are not meant to be particularly
strenuous for our boat and anchor combination but as this would a new experience
for us and the “cyclonic part” we decided to forgo popping to the village pub
and we also set an anchor watch through to the morning. Ah well, the wind never
did change direction on us but it did indeed howl. As expected, the anchor
proved to be as solid as a very large rock (or, as stubborn as many people I
have come across!). This all gives confidence for the future, huh.
We left early in the morning and finished the sail to