We last left Colin and Louise sheltering from a long run of adverse weather and chomping at the bit to resume their long journey home to Scotland on their new-to-them, She 36, Sherpa.
Work out of the way and with all relevant systems now functioning, we couldn’t wait to get going on the third leg to Scotland. The Helford River is lovely, we had seen lots of old friends, but all the while the weather had held us back and cabin fever was setting in.
But getting going was being thwarted by an endless procession of lows: Firstly, a front would go through, bringing strong westerlies, then it would ease a little and back to the south for twelve hours or so, then freshen and veer slowly into the north. This would head us badly when we least needed it in the approaches to the St George’s Channel.
The Wisdom of Patience
I have made this passage so many times in different ways that there are few surprises left but this is just the sort of pattern you don’t want.
You’ll be hard on the wind against strong tides between the Tuskar Rock and the Smalls. And we were at the top of springs…of course. With wind against tide in that bottleneck it can get very rough indeed, far more so than the wind strength would suggest.
This was, after all, the place where one of the world’s greatest sailors met his end in conditions no worse than those forecast, so we evaluated all the options seriously, for sure.
But what it really came down to was either go and face the music or sit and wait out another week or more for the next window, and we had both had enough of that.
Finally, The Off
At last, a short weather window appeared and it was time to go.
Late the following afternoon we dropped around the corner to check how much swell was left over. With a foul tide down to The Lizard, it pays to get as close to the Point as possible, to save time for sleep and to avoid pot buoy dodging in the dark.