Sorry – it’s been a while… where were we?
Unlike the US, in Europe and the Baltic, the VHF radio is hardly used – so when on passage from Amsterdam I had spotted Bojangles’ AIS signal off our port side, and heading in our general direction, I had hailed them for a chat – to find out where they were going. Unfortunately the response was unintelligible due to interference from the large wind farms we were close to…
We had a memorable evening in Dover when Rob from Bojangles came to visit in the cockpit with his wife Baudine. They had been planning to sail on to the Isle of Wight, but had been turned back by the strong winds. Rob told us that he had thought we must be drug dealers or something and had warned Baudine to keep an eye on us during her watch! Then Coen and Harow came aboard from Wildeman – a boat we had met in Amsterdam while waiting for a lock – they were over ostensibly to talk tactics for heading west towards Falmouth – and the evening turned into a spontaneous drinking event – much fun for all!
The following day, all three boats waited till 6:00pm for a favorable tide to help us en route east. We came out of the harbor and the waves were still pretty steep from the previous day’s storm and we all set off close hauled, into the waves and had quite a time of it. Fortunately, the wind soon veered as forecast and we were able to make good progress east. The currents run pretty fast in the English Channel (2+ knots) and so we were going to enjoy them and hate them… On the morning of the second day, Laurie took her shift – at a time when we had an unfavorable current and the wind was from the west, so we were not able to make any headway towards our destination. I was awoken mid morning with the start of the engine – Laurie had had enough! In the 4+ hours she’d been at the helm she’d only made 9 miles good – so goddamit we were going to use the engine to make some progress!
Thanks to the non arrival of some strong westerlies (and use of aforementioned engine!), we arrived in Falmouth almost a day earlier than expected and after a brief attempt at anchoring in a stupidly constrained anchorage, we took a mooring for the night – alongside Rachel and Tony’s Saltwistle III, whom we’d last seen in the Azores!
We were in Falmouth for several good reasons – it’s the usual jumping off point for boats travelling across the Bay of Biscay – or to the Azores (our planned next passage). It was also where the OCC was having a celebratory dinner – and Steve and Sue were joining us for a week aboard.
Plans change and it was on our second day in Falmouth that I came to my senses and realized that it made much more sense to have Toodle-oo! shipped back to the US rather than take several months to sail her back in stages. She is our home – and having her available to us while we go back to work in the US this winter makes more sense… So we started investigating shipping companies…
The OCC event was at the Royal Cornish Yacht Club (don’t you know) – and was all rather laa-di-da – but it was great to catch up with Commodore John and his wife Jenny whom we’d missed in the Baltic.
Steve and Sue arrived with the rain – but it didn’t dampen our ability to enjoy the week and we took a double tandem ride around the coast and also utilized their transportation to visit Port Isaac – location of Port Wenn for any watchers of the British serial ‘Doc Martin.’
We sailed with Steve and Sue to Fowey (pronounced Foy!) in relatively light winds which forced us to motor about half the way but we enjoyed the very pretty little town for the remainder of Steve and Sue’s visit and also took a ride to the Eden Project – some bio-domes with rain forest and Mediterranean environments.
The Cornish towns are very picturesque – tucked along the shoreline with tiny winding streets and odd angled cottages stacked one on top of another – we had great fun exploring each of them.
By the end of the week, we had established a plan to ship Toodle-oo! home – so will now head back east(!) to Southampton when she’ll depart from.