Posted by: lucylastic | June 29, 2012

Days 3-10, all together as it’s too long ago!


So it’s now the end of June – we’ve been back from our sailing adventure for a month and I haven’t got past Day 2!  So, here’s the potted version:

Day 3 Dartmouth to Salcombe – lovely!  Pretty little harbour, sailed past Plymouth, weather improving daily.  Lovely little pub, spent afternoon sipping sparkly and generally relaxing.  Bought myself a nautical sweatshirt – everyone else had one on!

Day 4 Salcome to Yealm – even better, sun shining, boat bobbing, LH well and happy.  Yealm so beautiful I will go back there one day (and they have nice, clean, warm showers at the Yacht Club)!

Day 5 Yealm to Fowey – Sea is blue, sailing is so QUIET when the wind is right – no engine, just the sails flapping occasionally, (flapping is NOT a good thing in sails) and the wood creaking gently.  These little seaside towns are starting to look very much alike!

Day 6 Fowey to St Mawes – More blue sky and sunshine, shiny red faces, lovely little pub serving excellent food, beer and local cider.

Day 7 St Mawes to Falmouth Boathouse – Pick up 4 more crew – things are getting serious.  So far, we’ve just been pootling along, enjoying ourselves.  Tomorrow, we’re entering a race.  I want to win, but we still don’t really know our topsail halyard from the Bosun’s Locker.  We go out to practice for the race but there is hardly a breath of wind – the weather is stunning, just not for sailing.  Work on the tan though…………. Spent a glorious evening with 12 other Pilot Cutters – all of whom have gathered for tomorrow’s racing and the Annual Pilot Cutter Review – they are truly lovely boats with fabulous lines, (most of the pics above are from this evening).  The man who actually made our boat and 4 or 5 of the others that are here, (Luke Powell) is catching up on the news and taking gentle stick about colour choices, design finishes and so on.  It’s all very friendly, but tomorrow we’ll see a different side to people – everyone knows everyone else, there is passion for sailing in abundance.  We have been invited to tie up close to the most wonderful Boathouse – owned by one of the Pilot Cutter owners and there’s cheese and bread and apples in the garden and lots of beer from Tribute Ales who are sponsoring tomorrow’s race.  We feel we are part of something very special.

Day 8 Falmouth Harbour to St Mawes – the sun is shining, but something has changed – the wind has moved and there’s even talk of cancelling the race because of it.  It’s hard to believe, it feels so calm, sitting around in the harbour.  The race goes ahead and we somehow manage to be first away, (very skillful Skippering from Nick and Mating from Steve) we hold first position almost to the end.  We have to jib, (that’s change direction to you and me) and we don’t do it well – our inexperience hinders the team and at one point, the whole crew is just clinging on as the starboard egde of the boat is 2 feet under the water – it’s fun, it’s not really scary, (well, OK, just a tad), it’s meant to be like that, we just weren’t meant to slow down so much.  2 other boats go past us 😦  But we rally and actually finish 2nd because of the handicapping system.  One of the boats is not so lucky – in a similarly botched jib, their topsail snaps off at the end – around £3000 of damage we learn later…………..just one of those things that can happen in high wind, but it makes us stop and think.  It’s a night for celebration – our first ever boat race and we come 2nd – hurrah!!!  A party is arranged.  After the gentility of last night at the Boathouse, it’s all a bit more raucous.  It’s at the St Mawes Social Club – drinks are cheap and ‘bakewell tart shots’ are 3 for £5, (it would be rude not to, surely)?  Oh dear.  By the time we’re due to go back to the boat, it’s blowing up quite choppily and we are provided with life jackes for the dinghy ride back to the boat.  Just as well.  We reach the boat and LH scrambles up the bucking sides with no problem – it’s about 10 feet up to the top.  Somehow, I end up with one leg on one boat and one on another.  It’s a bit like a cartoon in slow motion.  I get wet.  Very wet.

Day 9 – Sat – St Mawes Racing – except it wasn’t.  It’s still too windy to race and they decide to postpone the morning races to see if it settles.  Then they change the sail routes – this would have been OK, except LH and I were planning on skipping off early the next day, (a Sunday) for a final night of R&R in comfort at The Gurnard’s Head Inn –  But for this, we need access to a railway line – the change in destination means we’ll be miles away from anywhere and no chance to get off the boat again until late on Sunday – too late.  We decide that discretion is the better part of valour and opt to hop off before the racing starts.  Luckily, there’s a spare room at the lovely Victory Inn in St Mawes and we make the most of it.  We ate at the waterside Idle Rocks hotel, (how can rocks be idle?  I puzzled over that for hours) and could see from our vantage point in the window that not only was the wind blowing more strongly, but many of the Pilot Cutters had decided not to go out racing at all……….And it was Eurovison night – so early (ish) to bed to cacth up on how Engelbert was doing – we shouldn’t have bothered.

Day 10 – St Mawes to Gurnards Head via Falmouth – the morning dawned sunny and less windy again and we went down to the harbour to catch the ferry across to Falmouth and from there by train towards Gurnards Head.  All the Pilot Cutters were getting ready to race again – in full sail and looking splendid.  A couple of hours and we were in a different world.  The Gurnards Head Inn is one of those places where everyone is laid back and you can do whatever you like – lounge on the sofas with Sundat papers – check; sit in the garden with views of the ruggesd south west coast – check; curl up by a roaring fire in the snug – check; we decided on all of the above – plus some wonderful food and drink……….

Day 11 – Homeward bound!  We had treated ourselves to First Class returns and it helped, but it’s a tedious journey from the end of the country back to the middle again.  A little over 5 hours, very slow at times and not comfortable enough to doze off for any length of time.  I never thought I’d be pleased to pull in to Swindon Station.  But I was.

If you want to experience the joys of sailing, I can’t speak highly enough of the Amelie Rose and her crew – lovely people, lovelier boat – try it out!




  1. I am very envious (in a pleasant way) of your trip. I have never sailed before but you make it sound very tempting!

    • It really was lovely Derek – and you can do a few days as a ‘taster’ if you’re unsure if it would suit you. I wish you a lovely weekend. Lucy


  2. Ah yes some familiar places – Salcombe, the Yealm, Plymouth for this Devon girl. It does sound great. Food for thought if I can drag J off a sunbed next year!

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