We left Plymouth Yacht Haven around noon, slowly tacked into the nearby Cawsand bay and dropped the anchor amidst a number of other boats. More arrived, including a classic yacht that stopped right where our anchor chain was pointing at and dropped their hook nearly on top of ours. It had a white ensign, outing the rude intruders as members of the Royal Navy. To our relief they buggered off before nightfall. Probably still in training...
Bright and early the next morning, we hauled anchor and quietly snuck out of the anchorage, trying not to wake everyone else up. Unfortunately the wind was much lighter than forecast at 5-7 knots and so what should've been a lovely downwind sail unfortunately ended up being mostly motoring. I did get a chance to play with the telescoping pole for a bit, but there just wasn't enough wind. Elvyra spotted some dolphins jumping in the distance, but they didn't come over to play this time.
Upon turning the corner around St. Anthony Head into Falmouth bay (also known as Carrick Roads), we found an incredibly busy scene. A huge amount of boats were out, mostly under sail, going up and down the bay in the light air and sunshine, a military helicopter was hovering low over the water, kicking up a massive cloud of spray, boats anchored, moored and moving everywhere. This is a very maritime town - everyone seems to have some kind of boat or three.
Before even arriving, we had received an urgent call from my friend Stewart, the commodore of Brighton Belle sailing club, who had realized we were just coming into the same town as Brighton Belle, which needed urgent help with a battery charging problem. So shortly after arrival we made our way by land to the nearby Mylor marina, met the friendly folk of Brighton Belle and disarmed a wayward alternator that had decided to charge their 12V battery bank at 16V. Luckily they had noticed the overvoltage before their batteries were cooked. We were rewarded with a lovely dinner in the nearby Castaways restaurant.
Songbird was moored at Falmouth marina, as we were getting free berthing there, which we put to good use with a longer stop to resupply, acquire more spare parts, install them and generally prepare the boat for the next leg, a long offshore hop of four or five days across the infamous Bay of Biscay.
First I stripped down, checked, cleaned and greased the all important autopilot drive. The emergency bilge pump was having a motor problem too, and upon investigating I also found a big crack in the hosetail, so the thing had to be replaced. Also installed the new gooseneck toggle we'd acquired in Plymouth, which involved taking the boom off the mast. In the process I found the sliding eye that attaches the rod kicker to the boom rattling around, so that needed repairs too, and so on. I also finally convinced myself to fix the slight drips of icky fluid from the toilet plumbing which had been on the todo list for some time. This involved a lot of cussing, as marine plumbing usually lives in confined spaces full of sharp bits and uses horrible hoses, not to mention is pretty smelly business. As bonus, when I put the hot air gun down I promptly touched the glowing hot nozzle with my arm and gave it a pretty good frying. Nurse Elvyra was not put off by the bacon smell and colourful language and the burn gel from the medkit worked wonders.
It wasn't all boat maintenance though. We've also found the time to explore the towns of Falmouth, Penryn and the nearby Pendennis Castle, eat some lovely thai food (repeatedly) and fiddle with some electronics projects. We've been here for almost ten days now and it's high time to move on. We need a weather window for Biscay and are checking weather charts twice daily.