Having left the Isles of Scilly we were still slightly undecided as to our ultimate destination for that day. So much for passage planning!!!. Penzance or Falmouth? Early on, the weather decided for us and we were enjoying what was an excellent sail. Decision made it' was Falmouth. Money Penny was skipping along and had found her grove, she was content to sail on. We passed Wolf Rock light house enroute, and continued towards ‘The lizard’. This headland has a reputation for reducing seasoned sailors to tears, with its wind and currents, but on this day we were blessed with calm seas and a good wind.
Once around the headland we made good speed up the Cornish coast and eventually into Falmouth bay. Unfortunately, we were head into wind so it was a zigzag route for the final part of the journey into the river Fal. We had reserved a berth for the night in Pendennis Marina which was located near the town centre. A very expensive nights berthing with toilet / shower facilities which were not up to the standard of the cost incurred. However, we were moored up alongside some exclusive company one of which was ‘Gloria’. A beautiful ‘superyacht’ owned by Pete Townsend lead guitarist with ‘ The Who’. His other two yacht are down in the Med and this classic yacht is for sale. Apparently the list of rock aristocracy who have slept on ‘Gloria’ include such famed persons such as Keith Moon, Oliver Reed et al.
I wasn’t impressed by Falmouth. Maybe I was tired but my overall impression of the town was one of a seaside resort having seen better days. Being a University town, and a Friday night, the centre was full of ‘youngsters’ who seemed to be in a competition as to who could swear the most as a sign of their virility. I’m not a prude but there used to be a time when males standing outside a pub and seeing a woman approach would desist from discussing last nights conquests in a graphic tone until out of earshot. Foulmouth is different. Rant over!!!!!!
Jude and I decided that we were not prepared to pay for what was an unimpressive marina and facilities so decided to move up the River Fal towards a village called Malpas. We meandered up the river under sail carving our way around a large yacht race in the river and eventually reached a tranquil river not dissimilar to the upper reaches of the Milford haven waterway back home. To our surprise, as we rounded a bend in the river, we were confronted by three very large vessels moored in the middle of the river . It would seem that the vessels, two bulk carriers and a trimaran research vessel had been ‘mothballed’ until some unknown future deployment somewhere on this planet. We continued up the river and eventually found the village we deemed our destination for the night. Due to the lack of water in Malpas, we were forced to anchor downstream from the village and spend a night on-board.
Early the next morning it was departure time and we set sail for the picturesque village of Fowey. Down the Fal and back out into the briny we headed some 22 miles up the coast.
Again a good sail we enough wind to push Money Penny along at a reasonable pace. On the approaches to Fowey there was a fleet of four to five yachts in front of us heading for the same safe haven. Race on and we caught the majority of the smaller boats up and headed into Fowey mid fleet. Reaching for the radio we made contact with harbour master who turned out to be a very friendly individual who it would appear had become very excited at the sight of sailing ships approaching his port on mass , had decided to man his official ‘harbour master’ launch and come out of the river to greet us and direct the fleet to our respective overnight berths. Jude and I decided we would prefer a pontoon berth and eventually came alongside our allocated berth across the river from the main town. Roll out the dinghy to get anywhere. We decide to stay two night in Fowey on what was a peacefully located berthing pontoon. Best time to take Judith shopping in Fowey – late on a Sunday afternoon!!!!!.
The following day we spend the morning doing small jobs on Money Penny before venturing across the river into a tourist packed Fowey. We walked through every narrow street, and ended up at a small beach near the river entrance. Being located in a valley we had no alternative other than to walk back through every narrow street back to the dinghy. Back on Money Penny the fishing lines saw action and it became a small competition between Judith and I to catch our first mackerel. I couldn’t believe it when Judith shouted to me that she needed a bucket. My instant though was that she was going to be sea sick again, but she soon clarified that she had a fish on the line. A nice sized mackerel was brought aboard and into the bucket. Game on and within the next five minutes I landed another two fish at the same time. Ok, bored now with no more fish and a crew member decided enough was enough and a swim was now in order. It was a beautiful summers evening (not had many of those yet) and with trepidation, I eventually lowered myself into the cold water. Once in, with flippers and mask on the water became bearable and I enjoyed a lovely swim. Whilst in the water I realised that the pontoon floats had a mass of mussels attached. Judith provided a knife and a bag and I embarked on farming mussels. In very quick time the bag was bulging to overflow and a big smile appeared on Judiths’s face at the thought of a free meal of mussels and Mackerel. A couple on a yacht behind us looked on with apparent interest and quickly seized upon the invitation of their own bag of mussels which we duly provided. Judith gave herself the job of mackerel gutter and mussel cleaner whist I enjoyed a warm shower.
The next day we sought adventure and decided to visit the village of Polruan by dinghy. Polruan is situated on the opposite side of the river to Fowey and appears to be the poor neighbour to the better known and affluent Fowey. You have to endure a very steep walk up the hill through the village if they want to enjoy the magnificent view across the sea and the villages of Polruan and Fowey but worth it in the end. Lunch beckoned and we set off in the dinghy upstream of Fowey having been recommended a café in Towmix. We got there to discover the café was shut! OK back to Fowey quay and we found a cafe called ‘Pinkies’. What an absolute delight, with wonderful food and great friendly staff.
The weather forecast for the following day wasn’t good with high winds and rain forecast. Decision made we stay in Fowey for another night, well not quite right as Mr Lindsay insisted we venture out just to see what the sea conditions were like for a quick 23 mile hop up the coast to Plymouth. OK we all make mistakes. Taking Money Penny out of the mouth of the river Fowey we were met by a 32 knot Easterly wind and a mounting sea. Which way did we want to go, you’ve guessed it, east to Plymouth. Not on your nelly! We turned around and headed straight back onto the pontoon we left some 40 minutes earlier. We then endured the longest single thunder storm I have experienced for many a year. The storm lasted some 6 hours of continuous thunder and lightening, which included a 30 minute squall where the wind speed rose alarmingly and the whole 12 ton of Money Penny vibrated in the unrelenting force of the wind. Extra lines were quickly deployed to ensure Money Penny didn’t become detached from the pontoon. What if the pontoon became detached from its anchor points with the force of the wind?.
Eventually all returned to peace and tranquillity and after a good nights sleep we headed out of the river Fowey and turned left towards Plymouth. End for now.