Moondance, Isles of Scilly

When: 15 to 22 July 2006

What: Moondance, 32' gaff cutter

Where: Plymouth to the Isles of Scilly and back
(Cargreen - Fowey - Falmouth - Tresco - Falmouth - Newton Ferrers - Cargreen)

Who: Adrian, Lucy, Julian, Donald, Emma, David

This is Moondance's first week-long cruise since the Wynns bought her. She is moored in the River Tamar at Cargreen, just a few miles up from Plymouth, and has already been out on several weekend trips from there. As everybody travelled to Devon by train, we managed the whole trip with just one car, filled to the brim with food, rucksacks and boat stuff. The D's went to Bere Ferrers and walked across the field to the water's edge from where I rowed them over in the flubber - an idyllic way for them to arrive.

Having ferried the stores aboard, we motored off from the mooring buoy just after noon, and soon set the sails.

Sat. eve, mooring buoy at Fowey.

Sun. morning, sail to Falmouth for the night?

Monday morning, early, sail West for the Isles of Scilly.


Monday night, sailing slowly around to the north of the Scillies, having seen flippy thing, porpoises and a whale and lots of phosphorescence on the way.

Tuesday morning, 6am, anchor in New Grimsby Sound between Tresco and Bryher.

Tuesday, roasting hot but with a wind too. I stayed aboard with Adrian for much of the day while the others explored Tresco. After dinner some of us went for a walk on Bryher.

Wed. morning, sail for England.

Thu. morning, arrive in Falmouth at the visitors' marina and raft up beside another yacht. Showers, wnder around town; four of us meet up for lunch in a pub and then in "de Wynn's" tea-shop with special tea and coffee and cakes, and plan a special dinner. I walk out to the castle with Donald and then meet D and E in Marks and Spencer. We serve a five-course dinner on board and have a pleasant evening with talk and poetry readings and songs.

Friday morning, say goodbye to David who takes a train from Falmouth. Sail to Newton Ferrers, arriving in the evening with Blue Turtle following us in. Donald inflates the flubber and rows me over to meet them - Tony, Rachel, Dan and Mandy - for a drink and a chat while A & L prepare our veggie curry. Emma has to blow the "party pooper" fog-horn to summon us back. After dinner, we row ashore for a walk and find the only way up is by a steep trail through the woods. Donald is so keen to go for a reasonably energetic walk that I follow him up towards the headland through pitch dark woods and tricky paths. Fortunately Adrian hears us returning and rows over to fetch us.

Saturday morning, we motor-sail back to Cargreen and disembark around noon, dropping Donald off on the river bank, and then drive to the nearby pasty shop for lunch, stopping only to help a young farmer shift a great big bale of hay that his wagon had dropped in the road, and then to Exeter St David's station where Emma and I said goodbye and took trains home.

I slept in the upper starboard saloon bunk that Peter constructed recently. I found it perfectly comfortable to sleep in except that it was awkward to turn over in some directions; I might have found it very annoying if I had been forced to use it or had been feeling unwell. Emma started off in the child's berth that has been extended with a "trotter box" to accommodate one's legs, but found it uncomfortable and swapped with Donald.

No one was sea-sick or took any sea-sickness tablets as far as I am aware. That makes a nice change from the last time some of us did a similar journey, and from several of the last few trips I've done. The sea state was slight throughout and the winds mostly light but usable, with several hours of calm at various times.

JAF monogram Copyright: text © Julian Foad, 2006; photographs © Julian Foad, 2006.