Gimme shelter.

Autumn cruise, post 6

Gimme shelter……and give me a break !

Well here we go again !, back to ‘normal’ cruising posts.

WABI”’ real time : It’s early in October , day 24 of my autumn cruise and i’m still wind-bound in Falmouth having missed my one narrow break in the weather to run for home…in fact worse because it’s due to blow hard again tomorrow : not a mere 40 this time but a full-on howling 50 ! This morning i’m at anchor in a small drying bay opposite St Mawes, near to Cellar beach and later on i’m going to get as far inside the south-western corner as i can to sit out the storm.

Yesterday was the first real break in the weather, in fact it went completely calm and still as it often does in the autumn, but i was just about out of water and fresh food : water i can deal with because i’d found a pontoon in the river just near the King Harry ferry where there is a fresh water tap….but for food i had to go to Falmouth and that meant going into the marina.        Unfortunately for me they had a burst pipe and that didn’t get sorted until early afternoon by which time i’d missed my tidal  slot to go east. It would have meant motoring for 5 or 6 hours to get around to Fowey and that’s half way home as , right now, i’m thinking of calling it a day on my autumn cruise.

To be honest i’m hardly sailing at all, just sprinting between creek and shelter and i  could be getting on with useful work at home : iv’e got lots to do in the garden, a whole job list for the boat and some 12 blog posts to upload and schedule.   I tried to start the job of editing and uploading posts in town yesterday but the combination of a poor wifi connection and a problem with my laptop meant that i couldn’t access the photographs i needed for the posts and somehow mangled the first post of this series.

A pair of Luke Powell’s pilot cutters alongside in Falmouth


This morning there’s a brisk southerly that’s going to come around more to the south east, WABI’’’ is already bouncing around and doing ‘rock-n-roll’ even in the relatively good shelter of Cellar bay/beach.   Downwind of me is the first main mooring field of St Mawes harbour and already some of those boats are really sheering around on their moorings.  Tomorrow all of those boats will be fully exposed to the 50 mph westerly and St Mawes is completely open to the west so that’s going to be ‘fun’….where i am is the first piece of shelter and i should be protected by the high ground to my west and the spit that runs out to my north west off Amsterdam point. Even so i’m going to tuck in as far as i can because the storm is set to hit just around high water so i will get some wave action here . For most of the forecast storm i intend to be in very shallow water or sitting on the nice soft mud of the bay.

Today it’s a matter of making choices ; where to sit this one out and how to sit it out. I did think about the obvious choice and that would have been the Yacht haven because it’s right up in the western side of the main harbour and well sheltered from the west. The problem there is they’ve gone into ‘winter’ mode and taken up all the sheltered inside berths for winter residents….my first choice spot right in next to the pliot boat has already gone and the only visitors berths are now right on the outside so that’s out. Another option is the Yacht haven’s own anchorage which again is very well sheltered by the town and the high quay’s especially at low water. Yesterday there was space for me and i was tempted to stay right there, my main reason not was because there were other boats already there and i suspect that more might go in there and i can do without an anchoring snafu and shouting match in the middle of a severe gale. My second choice was to run back up the river to Ruan creek and go right up to the shallow channel where i sat out the last lot….problem there : not really enough swinging room at high water to deploy lots of warp. My get out of jail card if it gets totally untenable here would be to run up the Percuil river almost until i ran out of water and anchor in one of the drying creeks……however….


Here it is then and unless anything changes today i’m going to commit to this bay but i’m going to get as far inside the bay and to windward as i can where i can also float off again and not get neaped. Right now it’s just gone high water and what i might do is up anchor about 2 hours before low tide and simply motor onto the mud inside the bay, set the anchor and let WABI’’’ dry out on the mud.

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