Padstow to Helford River. 14th July

So the wind is going round to a northeasterly direction force 3 to 4 with a helpful tidal situation, which is perfect to get us down to Lands End some 50 miles distant, on the back of a slight sea. When we make the final left turn of our circumnavigation the northeasterly will be blowing offshore and should produce a flat sea for the passage to the Lizard, Great Britain’s most southerly point, where we turn northeasterly for the last few miles to Helford River, so the wind and therefore wave action will be on the nose but hopefully still producing no more than a slight sea state. The weather and sea forecast Gods were still with us and were probably sympathetic in assisting our desire not to spend another night in Padstow. However, we could only leave two and a half hours before high tide, when the cill gate would open, which wasn’t going to be before 3.00 pm. at the earliest. We were getting quite good at being goldfish and there were some jobs to be done before our departure, not least replenishing our water tank for a night and day on the buoy at Helford. 

The water tap was at least 120 feet away on the corner of the inner harbour, my 30-foot hose was obviously not going to manage so the Berthing master loaned us one on a long reel. There were probably 50 adults either drinking, eating ice creams or pasties and numerous children sitting with their legs dangling over the harbour wall crabbing with lines or nets. Having connected the hose to the tap I ran it down the back of them, making them aware and apologising for all the way. It didn’t quite reach the boat so I decided to trail it in front of them instead, asking them to hold their section of it, begging forgiveness for disturbing their holiday activity. The hose still came up short. I had bought all sorts of hose connecting devices and decided to add my 30 foot one to this 120 foot one. This was involving Nigel on the boat holding the nozzle of the hose into the filler of the water tank, with an elderly male tourist on the tap 120 feet away and a man with a fishing rod and all sorts of angling paraphernalia, who Nigel had witnessed taking his position on the quay at 4 am from his bed in the saloon, supporting where the hoses connected together. The tap was turned on and once the water reached Nigel the hose promptly snaked out of the filler and soaked him, it then came apart where it was connected and soaked the fisherman kindly holding it, and then somehow it came off where it was supposed to be connected to the tap soaking some girls sitting nearby eating ice creams. We probably had 100 people now spectating this event. One last try. I bellowed at Nigel instructions on how to hold the hose nozzle in the filler (he hadn’t filled the tank once on the trip) without getting soaked, I held the connections together, the old boy was told to turn the more securely reconnected tap on, the 50 tourists and their children sat on the quay holding there bit of hose, simultaneously twitched, 10 minutes later the tank was full. 

Whilst waiting, a man in his early twenties asked about Start Me Up. I told him of our circumnavigation and the charitable ambitions we had for the trip. He told me that his Dad had recently died of Prostate cancer and how could he donate. His donation on the ‘Just Giving’ page carries the supporting message that he hopes Nigel gets better at keeping the hose in the boat. 

Thank you, the assorted tourists of Padstow, and I hope we were the most entertaining goldfish that day!

The cill gates

The cill gates were opened, we slipped our lines and exited the inner harbour of Padstow, made our way down the beautiful Camel estuary, passed the buoy marking the extremities of Doom Bar, and once out to open sea set course for Lands End. The sea state was comfortably following and we settled down to listen to the cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand, which we had been listening to on and off since 11 am on the wonderful Test Match Special (TMS).

Having passed some magnificent coastal scenery and maintaining 20 knots or so, two and a half hours later we were rounding Longships lighthouse 1.25 miles off of Lands End and started to make our way back up the south coast of England. We had a further 36 miles to Helford River, the Lizard peninsula was looking moody in the distance, but we were enjoying the cricket on TMS and the weather was warm and sunny. Come on England.

Longships Lighthouse in the distance
The Lizard Lighthouse
Entering the Helford River

About halfway between Lizard Point and Helford River entrance the reception on my iPhone became intermittent (we had been listening via the BBC Sounds app on the iPhone through the boat’s speakers on Bluetooth), just as England were batting their one over in the tiebreaker for the world cup. A few minutes later as 4G reception returned TMS was back but we couldn’t understand the fuss regarding an incident with Ben Stokes, then it became clear that whatever, we had won the World Cup. Shortly after we entered Helford River made our way up to the visitor area, picked up a buoy and broke out some cold beers to celebrate being back on the south coast, in familiar surroundings, and England winning the World Cup.

Helford River

Helford River looked spectacular but is open to the east where the wind and the resultant uncomfortable sea state was coming from, it was not likely to be a peaceful overnight situation. We ate aboard as the river taxi had stopped operating, and it was going to be a bit too choppy for the tender, which in any event need inflating etc. I submitted to the onset of huge inertia and just enjoyed the sausages we had bought in Dublin just a few days before, an excellent bottle of wine and of course the company.                 

Helford River from Helford
Celebrating the cricket at The Shipwrights Arms