Friday, 4 September 2009

Rough Ride round Land's End

Our crew of Leg 15 arrived on Friday afternoon. This week we’ve got Daisy, Chelsea, Adam, Ben and Josh on board. We were also joined by Anya Parkhouse-Turner, and were very pleased to have Frank Fletcher on board for a few days, although he did manage to choose the worst part of the leg to join us on!
The weather has not been so kind to us these last couple of weeks, and yet again we had to find the window and make a dash round Land’s End. Unfortunately this window was after it had been blowing for a couple days, so when we got out the sea state was quite horrible, with lumpy seas coming from every direction. Our window was on Friday night into Saturday, where the wind was going to the NW for a while, giving us the chance to get out the channel, so pretty much as soon as Josh arrived we slipped our lines and headed for the Cardiff Lock at 11pm. We all stayed up till midnight to wish Adam a happy 18th birthday, then slowly each of the crew disappeared into their bunks for the night, while Frank, Anya, Karen and I settled into a watch system. Sadly the seas didn’t calm down, and most of our crew ended up seasick for the entire passage. Daisy made it up on deck and within 5mins of her being there the dolphins arrived, so she is now dolphin girl! At some points both Ben and Josh also make it up, with all three joining us on Saturday night up on deck as we rounded Land’s End. Thankfully the sea had calmed down a bit by this point and we actually had a very pleasant sail over to the Lizzard, and then on into Falmouth in the early hours of the morning. Joey Bootle, her parents and Simon were all on the dock at 4am to welcome us in, it was fantastic to see them all at such an early hour!
After rearranging ourselves back into our normal cabins it wasn’t long before we were all fast asleep again. One of the best quotes from Chelsea: next time I want to go from Cardiff to Falmouth I’m going to take the train!
Frank was a legend and the next morning he treated us all and cooked a massive breakfast. The stormy weather that we were running away from came in, so it was a stormy day tucked up on Scarlet, with everyone slowly recovering from our 29hr sail. Simon Rowell also came down to visit us with his dogs, great to catch up with him, then in the afternoon we were invited to tea at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club. They put on a fantastic spread with good old scones and clotted cream. It was a really pleasant afternoon and thank you to all at RCYC for welcoming us.
Monday was a day of shoreside adventure, with the morning spent in the National Maritime Museum and then off to Pendennis Castle in the afternoon. We happened to be there over a little festival, where they had put on a jousting display – we got to see the knights and horses being armoured up, then a full display of historical sporting. The joust was fantastic, with us all cheering our knight on, but sadly after 5 matches he was just beaten at the end.
We went down to the Maritime Museum in the evening to watch one of Ellen’s talks, which as always was very inspirational and I think our crew really appreciated seeing her. She came and joined us for fish and chips on board afterwards, giving her the chance to catch up with the crew.
We slipped out of Falmouth early Tuesday morning to try get ahead of the next weather system. Within a couple hours the wind was up again, but thankfully from behind this time and with intermittent sunshine, good breeze and a following sea we had a brilliant sail along the south coast to Dartmouth. I was incredibly impressed by our crew, as even though they had had a pretty miserable 29hr sail out of the Bristol Channel, they were all keen to get out and sail again for another 10 hr passage – so brave. Their crew work was also incredible as we did have to reef in and out quite a bit – well done team!
After another short hop round the corner to Torquay we were welcomed in by Bill Butcher from the Royal Torbay Yacht Club. He also managed to organize a trip to Brixham Coast Guard and RNLI. Thank you Bill for all your help, we really do appreciate it.
After another amazing week, sadly it’s time to say goodbye yet again to another incredible crew. Week after week we seem to be blessed with great crew… and here we are on the South Coast, only one leg away from home.

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