Weekend Away 2015

Fran Branfield, BATS Commodore, Report
Due to the inclement weather we were initially very disappointed that we were unable to set sail for Fowey. Our skippers were all in agreement that the South Westerly winds would have provided a lively sail up to Fowey but the return leg would have been ‘more of an endurance feat than a fun sail’. Fowey to Falmouth would have meant either sailing with the wind on the nose or large tacks making the return journey long and uncomfortable.
Luckily we had always had a ‘plan B’ in reserve! Now it was time to turn it into ‘The Plan’!


Visually impaired sailors, skippers and crew all met up just after 9am at Mylor Café. Having gone through the necessary briefings people soon were aboard the yachts and everyone had left the visitors pontoon by 10am, heading for lunch at Coverack.
Six yachts took part: 3 well-known to BATS’ members; Mandarin, skippered by Tom Reilly; Oracle with John Weller, and Chris and Polly Barton skippering Chianti. In addition we were pleased to welcome Ron Leonard with Mishka and Steve Branfield with his yacht Sea Witch, both yachts and skippers new to BATS. Antidote had sailed down from Plymouth to participate on behalf of the Rotarians who unfortunately had to withdraw 2 of their yachts due to their skipper’s ill health. 10 visually impaired sailors and 10 helpers/competent crew plus one guide dog completed the crew list.
As the yachts sailed off past Pendennis Castle there was still much to organize on shore! Mike Crewes (Vice Commodore), Robert Humphries (Treasurer IYFR) and myself forego our sail in order to liaise with caterers, marinas and pasty makers! We are enormously indebted to Rowes the Bakers and Falmouth Water Sports Centre for providing sustenance on Sunday: to Falmouth Haven for providing a safe Marina and to the Staff and chefs at The Chain Locker who at very short notice produced a very reasonable and tasty supper for 30 people on a Saturday night.
All the yachts returned by 6pm to Falmouth Haven and by 7.30 we were all ensconced in the Chain Locker!
Sunday: After we had breakfasted at The Waterspouts Centre and packed lunches had been distributed, skippers and boats were free to decide where they wanted to go. The weather was typical for a Cornish summer’s day: grey, drizzly and cold. Most of the yachts stayed within Carrick Roads with some going as far as they could up the river Fal.


All Aboard
All Aboard
All Aboard

John's Thoughts

With crew and kit all aboard, an ancient mariner’s lengthy yarn was first curtailed. Time and tide wait for no man. So we were the last of the fleet to slip Mylor Yacht Harbour, especially having another vessel to visit en route.
After motoring away from moorings, the Visually Impaired crew stowed berthing gear and made sail, eventually departing BATS’ home port under full Genoa and full mainsail.
Past Black Rock, out on the open sea, Oracle made good progress, empowered efficiently by the force 4 westerly wind and assisted by the still favourable tide.
Reaching the treacherous rocks named “Manacles”, one consequence of the lengthy yarn became apparent. ‘Tide’ waited no longer. It turned against us. After clearing the Manacles, our new course was dead into the now south-westerly wind and opposed by tide. Applying racing tactics, we beat several times close inshore to escape the worst of the tide, and closed the Manacles Rocks. However, we were still making slow progress on each tack, battling against these two foes of wind and tide, despite the crew tacking sheets proficiently.
After debating our options, we succumbed to motoring, rock-hopping through the shoreline shallows to our lunchtime anchorage at the quaint port of Coverack.
Rafting together with the rest of the fleet was not feasible. Force 5 pulled our anchor repeatedly through the golden Coverack quick-sand until eventually finding adequate holding in kelp.
After a leisurely lunch in brilliant Coverack sunshine, the VI crew weighed anchor and made sail, the last of the fleet to depart, again! The racing bug bit the crew. Oracle creamed past boat after boat as we reached briskly to our over-night port, Falmouth. Alongside berths were occupied. Oracle rafted two boats out, alongside another Maurice Griffiths’ ocean cutter, a Golden Hind named “Pilgrim.” We claimed to be first of the fleet to moor.
After tidying warps and sheets on decks and cockpit, and logging the sun over the yard-arm, the thirsty crew were deservedly revitalised after their successful sea passage, with grape, grain and hop flavoured beverages, whilst guitarists serenaded crew and neighbours alike. The crew’s names initiated a few songs. “Hey Jude” met an abrupt unscheduled cadence—the Vice-Commodore signalled everyone ashore to dinner immediately.
Sighted crew correctly guided VI’s around the foredecks of the two adjacent yachts until stepping onto the Yacht Haven’s pontoons, and we were soon seated to dine in “The Chain Locker.”
After dinner, we returned quietly and considerately through darkness, passing one motor yacht whose crew considered noisy dancing essential. Fiery spirits from small optics helped close heavy eyelids immediately on hitting bunks. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day, and we saw that it was very good.
Memories of bright July sunshine accompanied us through warm morning drizzle to a leisurely continental breakfast ashore in “The Water-Sports Centre.”
On slipping mooring lines, our Pilgrim neighbours complimented the previous night’s guitarists, and we bade our farewells and ‘bon voyages’. Despite cutters having three sails available, the crew made do with Genoa alone—perhaps it was their day of rest. Sailing leisurely and gently through Carrick Roads, Oracle finally moored alongside Mylor Yacht Harbour’s eastern breakwater, returning the crew safely to BATS’ home port exactly on schedule.
We packed bags and, after ‘A bientôts,’ went our separate ways, like ships that pass in the night.

We are off
We are off
We are off

Participants Thoughts

It was a fantastic sail and spending the evening together before sleeping on board make it all very exciting and different. I didn’t know what to expect but loved every minute of it.

It was a simply marvelous weekend!

Despite Fowey having to be cancelled our sail to Coverack was fantastic. It was a good sheltered spot and another great sail back to Falmouth. Most enjoyable!

The entire weekend was really lovely.

Some people who went on the weekend sail.