So much has happened since last time I posted, and rather too long! Spring went very fast, helped along by good weather for maintenance and the arrival from the West Indies of our shipmates aboard sail cargo vessel Tres Hombres. Our first sail was to join them at anchor in Polkerris inside gribben head, the sail down to Falmouth with them where they received
a fanfare welcome and had organised events running all week. Down in the hold, Rum from Dominican Republic, molasses, Grenada chocolate and coffee beans all waiting to be discharged in a European port. Falmouth to Amsterdam and beyond. Lucy Gillam from New Dawn Traders has imported the rum into the UK and will continue to ship goods by sail when and where she can. The ship looked great and our crew had a tour given by the crew and captain Lammert. One of our old crew was also on board, Sam from two years ago, now been sailing all winter aboard Tres Hombres. Its wonderful when you get to meet up with old friends and crew wherever you may be but can lead to late nights and headaches.
Now it was our turn to really get sailing, and with a pure stroke of luck Easter winds blew us down to Scilly and back. Our welcome there was as good as ever with an alongside berth after Scillonian had left and a visit from Fraser & Becky Hicks who run Sea King from St Mary’s. Although hard hit by the winter gales, there was surprisingly little damage to the islands.
Heading Eastwards, we had some great sailing visiting the old cornish harbours of Polperro, Cawsand and Charlestown. Basking sharks have returned early this spring. Numbers were seriously down last year, but on a short stretch of coast from Fowey we say some really large ones. Our guests this week were really game for trying their skills at setting sail and navigating. One lad, Dave who had never sailed before was up and down, sailing off the anchor and just really having the best time. He could not believe how much fun you can have aboard a tall ship and has now applied for deckhand. A special guest also featured this week, Classic Yacht TV were aboard to film an episode about Bessie Ellen and the work we do now to keep our heritage alive.
Now, after a short passage, I am sitting in Holyhead marina contemplating the voyage past. After the lovely summery weather all spring, the West wind gods blew up a short gale and Bessie Ellen had to wait for it to pass. Two nights passed before we could attempt Lizard point but the wind was becoming fair later. Bit rough mind, but we finally anchored at midnight for a rest before an early start round Longships and Lands End and away on up towards St George’s Channel.
The wind abated and we stormed along under full canvas until the wind died off Milford Haven, so with 50 dolphins in the full moonlight we took it slow up towards Port Dinallaen. Warm sunshine abounded and there was absolutely not a breath of wind to sail so we lay around seeing canvas and varnishing for the afternoon. To end the day, the small pub Ty Coch, opened just for us in the last of the evening sun. Bliss!