Comfort zone? Who needs it! Last week I had the opportunity to sail (I use the term loosely, obviously) this wonderful vessel, the Eda Frandsen, on a tightly scheduled pub-crawl. Hmmm. That doesn’t look right written down. What I mean is, myself, my Best Beloved and a group of total randomers went on a maritime jolly-up out of Falmouth harbour, across to the Scilly Isles and back round to Fowey, stopping off in the most fabulous harbours and inlets along the beautiful Cornish coast to test the local hostelries found thereabouts, before returning windswept and salty back in Falmouth a week later. As a total landlubber who gets sick just looking at a paper boat in the bath I entered into the spirit of the adventure by not really thinking about it. Now, some may say this was delusion on my part, whereas others would say Good Planning, Jacci. Well Done.
How did this all come about? I hear you ask. Well, birthdays have a lot to answer for. Not mine, I hasten to add. This year I thought I would get my other half something more exciting than a battery powered mechanical pencil for his birthday and of the three things in the hat, this was the one I drew out. For reference, the other two were a chance to wrestle with giant squid at a local sea life centre for fifty quid or a thrilling hour parachuting naked. I am quite relieved it wasn’t the squid option.
We arrived at a very wet and very windy Falmouth Harbour on Saturday afternoon and were met by skipper James who ferried us over to the gaff cutter Eda Frandsen whereupon he introduced us to his able shipmates Charlotte and Chloe, who then gave us tea and cake (liking this sailing lark already). Then followed a short break to allow us to unpack. It didn’t take long as there are – spoiler alert – no wardrobes on boats! Who’d have thought! I just left my stuff in my bag and shoved it, along with my soaking wet coat, into a little locker-hole-type thing and left it to fester for the week. The ship-shape Charlotte (not that she is shaped like a ship you understand, she is just very organised and professional) then handed out serious wet-weather gear and instructed us all to go up on deck (not ‘upstairs’ – that’s cissy house dweller talk apparently). As we strapped our life jackets about ourselves and the skies opened with lashings of soft Cornish rain, we were ready to set sail. And here’s something I learned – the bitter end, as in, ‘to the bitter end’ – is a nautical term. It means the end of a length of rope. Betcha didn’t know that when you started reading!
We left Falmouth about 5pm and set a course to Coverack, a lovely fishing port on the east side of the Lizard, and is about nine-ish of your nautical miles south west of Falmouth. It was very exciting. The rain was lashing, the sky was more than 50 shades of grey and the horizon was washed away in the drama of it all. As we worked pulling and heaving on ropes we got to know the rest of our crew members. To me, they instantly become characters in an Agatha Christie whodunnit, despite this being Du Maurier country.
On reaching that evening’s destination safely, we sat and chatted and ate – ate the most incredible food cooked by on-board Magician Chloe. As well as being crew, she produced food for eleven people in a four-foot by three-foot galley and without any sort of worktop. Yes that’s right. Imagine trying to cook inside your wardrobe. With every thing in the air. Astonishing. Mind you, none of us ever actually saw her do it, so may be …
After dinner was eaten we all staggered off to bed. Well, when I say ‘bed’, I mean ‘bunk’, which I bet is not the sort of bunk you’re imagining. Damp, tired and excited, I fell asleep hearing the gentle swoosh and gurgle of water as it raced around the bow. Because we were, after all, all sleeping below the water line. I woke once in the night, briefly, dreaming about wrestling a giant squid.
Dawn broke, the most beautiful sunrise over Coverack; and yes, me hearties, after hot coffee and a breakfast free of weevils, we set sail West…aharrr…
more to follow…!