2000-08 (AUGUST, 2000)

Tall Ship Sailing - Cornwall, England

Day One (Thursday): Departed London on the 07:45 train from Paddington to Penzance. Arrived at 13:15 and made my way down to the harbour to see if I could spot the Phoenix, a black, 100 foot long, twin-masted tall ship. I found her without too much difficulty and was in time for a hearty lunch of real fish pie (the first of many hearty meals on board). Met my fellow guest and crew for the two days ahead. Set sail at 15:00 and headed on a course for France. Learnt how to sail the boat, including tacking and gybing (both 'all hands on deck' manoeuvres) and reefing in the sails (which involved shimmying out onto the yard arms some 40 feet above the deck whilst travelling at around 6 knots in a four foot swell). In the wee small hours (after I had gone to bed) we turned around and headed back to England (having only made it halfway to France).

Day Two (Friday): We awoke early to find that we had anchored in a small, relatively deserted bay on the South Coast of England. I got some fabulous photographs of the dawn. The day was scorching hot but low on wind, so we spent the day motoring under sail and a deep blue sky. I spent the day reading my book and chatting. We anchored in Falmouth harbour mid-afternoon having dodged the final days racing of the Falmouth Regatta to get in. I skipped the shore trips I favour of reading more of my book, and those that went ashore returned with tails of the horrendous crowds that had assembled for the end of the Regatta. Retired earlyish after a day of relaxing in the only English sunshine I have seen this summer.

Day Three (Saturday): We escaped Falmouth Harbour before most of the other vessels were awake. Kippers for breakfast (which I don't remember ever having eaten before). We set course towards the West and Penzance. We got some more sailing in today as the wind had returned. Docked in Penzance at 16:00 and bid farewell to everyone who had looked after us so well. I caught the 16:40 train back to St Austell and met up with Andrea, who had been there since the day before. We dined at a pub in Charlestown and walked the two and a half miles back to our B&B under the stars.

Day Four (Sunday): Supposedly our day of exploring together (Project Eden, Heligan Gardens, etc.) but the weather had turned to heavy rain, so we caught an early train home.