16th-18th September – Helford and autumn is coming

Sunday: Late last night three fishing vessels berthed just next to us.  These fishermen are expert boat handlers; they motored straight in, moored up, and were up and gone in minutes.  And the only reason we knew they had arrived was the thrust of the engines.  No talking, no noisy moving of cargo, just gone.  Professional and considerate!

Storm Helene is coming towards us, and while the winds are high we have to be in shelter.  So as not to get ‘stuck’ in Newlyn too long (Birgitta has to be home by Friday), we decide to cut our south-west Cornwall visit short and head back up the coast.  We set off at half 7, and struggle with ocean swells and 2m waves.  Believe it or not, but the normal prevailing wind has changed, and we are again close hauled, going the other way! After turning round the Lizard it gets considerably better, and Birgitta stops sitting staring into the distance just wishing it all to be over!  One of the electric winches came apart, which is surprising.  Luckily Dominic caught all the pieces (and mended it later in the afternoon). We had some lovely moments though, with dolphins swimming alongside us!  And we saw them jumping clear of the water and surfing the waves.  Wonderful!

Going through tankerland again, I kept thinking of all the wreck spots that are marked on the chart here by the Lizard.  And that there are doubtless many more un-marked vessel remains down there.  It doesn’t bear thinking of.  And as usual we are surrounded by lobsterpot buoys.  We had planned on doing a night sail back, as I’ve never done it, but we simply cannot afford to risk it with our type of keel, with this amount of buoys around.

We decided to go into the river Helford again.  We motored up the river but couldn’t find a safe place to anchor, so went back to the mouth of the river where we were before.  This will be fine for tonight, and we’ll check the wind forecast for what we’ll do tomorrow.

A good sail: 6.4 knots average speed, 11.4 knots max speed.

Monday: Misty and rainy but it cleared off by mid-morning.  Our neighbour, (who yesterday very kindly offered us some fresh mackerel!) decided to move up the river where he said it will be much more comfortable overnight.  A bit later we went ashore to go to the village store for provisions, and then kept going to see Frenchmans Creek.  We saw him anchored just beyond and went over for a chat.  He clearly knows this river, and had found himself a spot where he was sheltered from both southerlies and westerlies.  Not enough depth for us though, so we decided to take a buoy in the pool, where we should at least get less of the ocean swell.

Frenchmans Creek was very pretty, and of course famous for being the setting for Daphne du Maurier’s book.  According the our Cunliffe bible, it would be heinous to use a motor in there, so Dominic tried rowing for a bit, but not an easy task with the wind against.

Coming in to Frenchmans Creek
Untamed beauty
An atmospheric place to live

We had some sunshine later in the afternoon, so we sat outside lapping it up as much as possible, knowing that the next few days herald the beginning of autumn storms.  Dominic mended the hydraulic strut on the bathing platform (why that broke is a bit of a mystery) and cleaned off rust spots.  He’s very good!

View from the buoy over Helford Passage

Tuesday am: Well the winds last night were too much for me.  I know ‘real’ sailors would say ‘hah, 45 miles / hour winds is nothing, you should have seen….’  etc etc, but there’s no denying it, I was very frightened.

As the next few days will be very windy, and storm Ali is approaching, there seems little point in sitting it out in Helford so we decided to set off to Mylor a day early.  We needed only the foresail, and still had a pretty fast run.  It was sunny some of the way, and very pleasant as storm Helene has brought warmth.  We both felt a bit sombre, knowing that this will be our last sail this season.  The wasp that hitched a ride from Helford flew off once we approached the headland near Mylor.  He clearly knew where he was going. Duration: 1.5 hrs, distance: 7.7 miles, average speed: 5.1 knots, max speed 8.6 knots.

So here we are, moored on to the visitors’ pontoon.  We now need to get Idun organised for the winter.  We cycled up the valley to see where they place the boats and there are already quite a few there, sitting in their cradles.  Waiting for next summer’s fun and frolicks in the sea!





4 thoughts on “16th-18th September – Helford and autumn is coming

  1. Know the feeling. We are battening down the hatches in Ardrossan for 65 mph winds tomorrow. Has also been quite windy tonight. Keeping our fingers crossed.


    1. Oooh that is too much! Are you in the inner harbour on the pontoons? It’s working itself up as we speak here and we’ve got all fenders out and plenty of rope. Will be thinking of you two!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s