18thSeptember.  The timing of the tide meant we didn’t need to leave Newlyn until lunchtime, so we had a leisurely morning and set off at 12.30 in sunshine and a brisk breeze.  The wind was in the east, so we were prepared for an upwind sailing day. The first leg across Mounts Bay towards the Lizard was against the tide, with the aim of being off the Lizard at the end of the ebb.

St Michaels Mount, Mounts Bay

Rounding the Lizard has to be done with care: there are overfalls (rough water) to be avoided, caused by strong tides and the rocky shoreline. We planned to stay between 1 and 3 miles off the headland, potentially further offshore if needed, and continue for some distance beyond the Lizard before we turned north. we reached the Lizard, the swell increased and the wind strength was up to F5. Nova behaved immaculately, riding the waves and – assisted by Jonathan and Tim, with occasionally help from ‘Elvis’ (our autopilot) – we held a straight course and kept a fairly dry boat.

We turned the corner well offshore (see video) and headed for our cautious waypoint well away from Black Head – there’s another area of potentially rough water that forms there in a strong easterly wind. Eventually, after passing several huge tankers anchored in 80m of water, we were past Black Head and turned north towards Falmouth, easing our sails. No longer heeled over at such a steep angle, we could relax with a cup of tea. Now were in a race against the setting sun: the sun won, but we still had daylight as we passed Pendennis Head. Our friends Ben and Sally  had walked out to the headland to watch us passing and we could see them through binoculars. In failing wind, we finally put the engine on to motor the last few minutes into Falmouth Haven in the centre of the town: the last of our ‘12 ports’ on this trip.

  • Distance: 44nm. Sailed 7h15m
  • Wind: NE/E3-5


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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