The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Falmouth For Orders

In the days of square-rig ships, most charters to Europe called for the vessel to head to Falmouth to await instructions regarding their destination port, hence ‘Falmouth for orders’.

Given that many of their cargoes were bulk commodities and might be traded several times during a journey, they might await their orders swinging at anchor off the town, performing basic maintenance and going on shore leave to the town’s many taverns.

A similar pattern remains in place today, only we are all awaiting better weather.

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Rick Hearn

Love Falmouth, have attended the Sea Shanty Festival two years running – highly recommended!

Ben Logsdon

High housing prices and derelict boats up the river? Apparently that problem is not unique to Florida.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
Nice report: brings back good memories.
As to marinas and maneuvering, while I was in the UK a few marinas re-configured their pontoons (docks) leaving less space for maneuvering (and more space for boats that pay). It was clear that they were expecting boats to have bow thrusters and designing accordingly. It got so, when calling in, I would say we had no bow thruster and request a slip (or hammerhead) that was easy to get in and out of.
I suspect the expectation of bow thrusters has only gotten worse.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy 

Matthieu Chauvel

Galvanised — I see what you did there 🙂 Love it, ‘just did the same in Holland, in response to “yesh, we have a shpot for you: row 5, E dock, turn to shtarboard, all the way at the end.” Really? OK,I’m a15m,16 tons aluminium boat, single-handed, no bow thruster, I have insurance don’t worry I will do my best (which I wouldn’t have of course, not a chance I would’ve gone in there, despite all the wonderful AAC reverse manoeuvering tutorials) — “Ah, wait…you can raft along the big shrimping boat just at the entrance.” — Why thank you very much, see you soon, on my way.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
As to derelict boats in Florida, along highways, cars are legally able to be towed away and, I suspect, junked. Harbormasters should be able to do the same. And every boat should be legally registered in some way so the owners can be found and pay for removal. Harbormasters, when last in FL, were scared of pursuing these boats or instituting penalties etc. These largely abandoned or lived in but non-functional, boats give the cruising community a bad name.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy 

Rob Gill

Hi Colin,

Same pole concern on our 14.5 metre sloop. Even set up with a mast track & car for raising and lowering the inboard end, that thing was heavy, especially at the pointy end of things.

I removed both the pole ends, and took the tube to a scrap merchant where I received 60 NZD eight years ago…that’s a lot of aluminium..!

Then I couriered one end fitting to a local manufacturer (Kilwell NZ), who produce all kinds of industrial fibre tubes for a myriad of applications, including fishing rods. They spun a carbon tube to fit the exact inner diameter to the wall size specified by my sailmaker, spray painted it to the same colour as the aluminium mast and shipped it back to me, all for a reasonable cost – certainly way less than buying a new carbon pole from a rigger.

I was concerned about corrosion between the carbon pole and the aluminium end, but Kilwell simply did the first few winds using fibreglass cloth to act as an insulator, and we have had no issues.

It is a pleasure to use and a child could lift it.

Bonnie Lass rigcheck 280921  (71) Large.jpeg
Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
There are 2 things that we have done on Alchemy that improved foredeck safety a great deal. 20 years ago. We had an extendable whisker pole that was a beast. It was hard to handle coastal cruising, but offshore with a swell it was just plain scary. Back then I had to have a bespoke carbon fiber pole made: it was 20 feet long and weighed 14 pounds. It was sized as a whisker pole (a spinnaker pole would be larger and heavier) and we use it all the time in any wind over 10-12 knots going downwind. (Our DW whisker pole use is very similar to the description you did on these pages a few years ago). I think nowadays that cf tubes can be easily bought and slap some end fittings on for a quite reasonable price.
The other change was to take the asym that our used boat came with at 1600+ sf and ½ oz (on a 40-foot boat) and had a 1200 sf and ¾ oz asym made which we call our offshore asym. We use it quite frequently and, in an ATN sock, keeps us going just fine in light air and has forgiven a multitude of errors over the years.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy  

Stephen Lewiton

Hi Colin, about 6 years ago you helped support us buying our first yacht an Island Packet 370. Fiona and I still love the yacht and this year started a slow circumnavigation of the UK. We began in river Hamble and in a few stints have now reached Edinburgh. Next Spring we will head through the Caledonian canal to the Scottish Islands. Hoping we may run across each other in Scottish islands. Congratulations on the new boat. Stephen

Stephen Lewiton


Thanks and hope we can make that work. Your advice and support were invaluable and we are so delighted to have gone down the route we arrived at.

kind regards,