I wanted to go to France for the first time since the pandemic, but after several days of email exchanges to pin down the new post-Brexit arrangements for clearing customs and immigration in Brittany, I gave up. But that brought a chance to sail to one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Helford River.
On the passage down, we dodged low cloud and fog. But then the sun came out; and later, an extraordinary orange moon rose in a cloudless night sky.
Moored in Fowey on the way back to Plymouth, we climbed Polruan Hill and watched the tide flood up the river, each boat swinging as the line of darker blue reached her.
By our home marina in Cattewater, the skilled team on the Island Trust’s schooner Johanna Lucretia manoeuvred her against the wharf in Turnchapel to work on her hull at low tide as we were walking to the pub for a celebratory meal.
We timed our passage back from Scilly to make Falmouth ahead of a summer gale blowing in from the Atlantic. Strong winds ahead of the gale gave us the chance to try Guiding Star’s new mainsail with two reefs in. The boat went like a train with reefed main, the staysail and the storm jib.
We reached up and down the coast south of Falmouth and then scurried to Fowey before the gale made land. The harbourmaster put us on a pontoon well up the river but the wind was southerly so blowing right through the harbour entrance. The pontoon was heaving up and down as you can see in the video.
The boat went splendidly without the storm jib; the new staysail made by Steve Hall pulled strongly on its own. The main is so powerful, though, that we’re going to need that third reef more often than I expected. I need to buy a roll of Hempex and tie on the points.