Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

4 th to 7 th of August 2012 - Around the English Cape Horn

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Dale Bay, Off Lands End and Penzance.
Distance : 121 miles

Saturday 4 th

We left Milford Marina, taking the 1300 lock, which we had to share this time with two other yachts. We motored back down river, passing the oil refineries, and anchored again off Dale. We decided to spend a night at anchor to give us time to acclimatise, having become soft from being in a comfortable marina for five nights. It looked like there would be a weather window after having had a week of strong winds. We thought we would allow the sea state to settle and then cross the Bristol Channel to Mount's Bay.

As it was getting close to spring tides it was going to be a lot shallower at the next low water, so we had to anchor slightly further out and the swell was coming in so we had quite a bouncy night.

Sunday 5 th to Monday 6 th August

Over night we had torrential rain, which continued all morning. We heard on the radio that there were floods in Pembrokeshire and elsewhere in the country so were glad to be in a boat. There were other boats at anchor, one or two having come in during the night and we could just see them through the rain.

At around 1200 the rain started to ease and the sun came out. It was very hot once the cloud had gone. We left our anchor at 1500 accompanied by the sound of thunder claps behind us. Fortunately it still looked quite blue out to sea. There wasn't a lot of wind initially so we motor sailed for a couple of hours. We overtook a very pretty wooden boat which had been anchored next to us in Dale Bay and saw, with envy, that they had dolphins swimming alongside.

Eventually the wind came round to the north west and filled slightly so we were able to sail. It was a glorious evening and the dolphins came to play alongside, leaping out of the water, as the sun set. The moon came out and it was a bright night. We put a reef in the mainsail just in case but it looked set to be a nice night's sail to Lands End.

Our watches changed at midnight and I left Andy on deck. When I next got up the wind had increased with some rain and the sea state had increased. It looked like it was set to stay like that for the rest of the trip so we heavily reefed the genoa and dropped the mizzen. However, after a couple of rain showers, things seemed to settle. The sea stayed a bit bumpy but not too bad and as the sun rose it seemed more benign as we headed toward Pendeen lighthouse and around Longships into Mounts Bay. As we passed Longships a couple of basking sharks come really close to us and their fins looked enormous.


We passed parts of the coast we recognised from our walk around the South West Coast Path, including The Minnack Theatre and Lamorna Cove. We also looked back wistfully as we saw the Scillonian heading westward. (Maybe we'll fly next time!)


We headed into Mounts Bay, passing Mousehole and Newlyn, and picked up a buoy outside Penzance Harbour at 1100am to catch up on sleep and wait for the gate into the harbour to open at 1830. As 1830 approached a number of yachts arrived and waited impatiently outside the gate. We eventually followed the other boats into the harbour around 1900 and rafted up between a french and german boat.

Tuesday 7th August

Today it was drizzling all day so we had lunch in town, Andy finally got a hair cut and we stocked up on some more groceries. We watched with admiration as a couple of large fishing boats managed to get out of some very tight spaces without damaging the flimsy yachts parked next to them. There were a few interesting boats in the harbour, including a huge renovation project. They still had quite a long way to go, although the hull looked like it was getting there.

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