17thSeptember. After 3 days’ sailing we were glad to have a day off in Padstow (dubbed Padstein by some). We said goodbye to Ben after breakfast together at Stein’s café and spent the rest of the day catching up with jobs and then enjoying the sights: shops, restaurants and holiday-makers round the harbour and a cycle ride along the Camel trail in the afternoon. The trail follows the old railway line along the beautiful Camel estuary which at low water is mile upon mile of golden sand with a trickle of tide, imperceptibly increasing and covering the sand as the tide comes in and it becomes an watery playground. Jonathan and Tim made it as far as the Camel Valley vineyard, returning with their trophy: a bottle of 2018 Bacchus Dry to drink with our prawn and crab risotto – seafood bought (of course) at Stein’s fishmonger.
Next morning we departed at 7.30am through the open lock and motored across Doom bar, hoisting our sails as we rounded Stepper point. The first significant headland of the day was Trevose point and we made sure we had favourable tide here and for the next six hours. Rolling out ahead of us in the sunshine was the Cornish coastline: first Newquay, then the white tower of Godrevey lighthouse just north of St Ives. The wind was directly behind us, creating an uncomfortable and potentially damaging motion so after some time goose-winging we chose to ‘tack downwind’, reaching out away from the land past Trevose Head, then back in towards St Ives. This meant we had a great view of its white cottages on steep slopes above sandy beaches.
West of St Ives, the coast provides plenty of visual milestones in the build-up to ‘going round the corner’. First the headland at Pendeen towers high, with the Wra or Three Stone Oar rocks off the shore, to keep sailors on their toes. Then Botallack Head appears, followed by Cape Cornwall, then the magnificent Brisons, 27m of spiky rock. Perched on the edge of the coast are numerous chimneys of old tin mines (including a large area of buildings at Geevor, which remained in operation until 1990). The Longships light appears ahead, a small tower surrounded by low rocks, with the two headlands of Lands End behind. Tucked in just before Lands End is Sennen Cove and close inshore is the distinctive Armed Knight rock. By now we had changed direction and were racing along on a beam reach. We took the outer passage, hoping for calm water and weaker tides against us (we were ahead of schedule and the tide had not yet turned). Even Bob, our stowaway, came on deck to mark the occasion.
We headed for the Runnel Stone buoy, off Gwennap Head, keeping clear of possible rough water close inshore, and then rounded up onto a close reach heading up the coast towards Newlyn. We have sailed here before and it was good to recognise familiar places: Tater Du lighthouse, then Mousehole and in the distance the dramatic outline of St Michaels Mount. We had thought we might not make Newlyn before sunset, but in the event we motored into the calm of the harbour at 18.45. Newlyn is a busy fishing port and we were surrounded by fishing vessels of varied shapes and sizes: yachts are also welcome and we were met by a friendly member of the harbour staff, Dave, who gave us a berth next to a visiting lifeboat (over from St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly for training and maintenance).
- Distance:74nm. Sailed 10h15m, motored 1h
- Wind: NE3-4 occ 5
ABOUT THIS BLOG
On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.
There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.
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