Firstly, we’re still here.
But we’re kind of okay with that. I mean, it’s still cold. And windy. And… England. But Falmouth is undoubtedly a fabulous place to wait out dodgy weather. There’s plenty of walks or bike rides to be enjoyed, and the town itself is very charming- full of cute little shops selling nautical themed pillows and picture frames, and trendy cafes selling artisan burgers, overpriced smoothies full of things like kale and cacao, and tea shops displaying rustic Victoria Sponge or Coffee and Walnut cakes (note the capitals- I take my cake seriously).
On Saturday the AZAB boats departed (I think I said in my previous blog they were leaving on Monday- I was misinformed. Blame Nick). Our friends were amongst them, so we wandered over to Pendennis Marina to say goodbye. There was an awesome atmosphere of excitement and nervous anticipation; lots of people in their wet weather gear, camera crews, and officials in their polo t-shirts rushing around with clipboards. We didn’t linger, and instead walked up to Pendennis Point to find a spot to view the start of the race. We weren’t alone- the point was soon lined with people who had turned out for the occasion. Nick and I got pretty excited knowing that in 6 months time, we’ll be setting off on the ARC, in pretty similar conditions. Hopefully it will be a bit warmer though…
Our crew arrived Sunday night- Neil and Viv are friends of ours from Conyer who kindly offered to help us out on our Biscay crossing. Neil has crossed Biscay something like six times before, so his experience will be invaluable. Plus he cooks a mean beef wellington. We’ve already put in our order. We’re having it for a birthday dinner on Thursday. At 29, I can no longer claim I’m in my mid-twenties, can I?
So the last few days have really been about getting Neil and Viv settled in, reminding them how we like our tea and waiting for them to offer to cook or do the dishes, and then being like, “Oh, you don’t have to do that! But if you insist…” There’s also been quite a bit of time spent down the pub, but to offset this, Neil’s a keen walker, and so we’ve all been galvanised into getting off our arses and doing some light exercise.
We- okay, Nick- continues to make friends with all our neighbours, as well as anyone else he can get his hands on. I sit on deck, sipping green tea and reading my book, and await his return to hear all the latest gossip. Today he went to pay for another couple of nights, and he came back saying, “You know the girl in the office? It’s her birthday on Thursday too!” I mean, how does that come up in conversation? So I grumpily replied, “Oh yeah, the young one? How old is she turning, then?” Nick loftily declared that he had no idea. I muttered into my tea, “Bet I’m older than she is.” On cue, the reply came, without even the slightest hint of hesitation: “But faaaar more beautiful, my love!” Well trained, this one.
There’s another Southerly 38 here, to our delight. Nick was quick to introduce himself, and compare notes. I understand that the conversation went something like this:
Other Skipper: “Has your starter motor broken yet?”
Other Skipper: “What about your sails- any problems with them?”
“Keel pins leaking at all? “
“Oh, we’ve had huge problems. Lots of things going wrong.” (They continue on this vein for some time. Then conversation turns to sailing plans.)
Nick: “What’s your plans then?”
“Crossing Biscay this week. We’re heading to Spain.”
“Oh great! Us too! Except… hang on. You realise it’s going to be, like, Force 7, Force 8 in the Bay all this week?”
[Force 7/8= Bloody Windy for those non-sailory types reading this.]
“Yeah, we’re not too worried. Besides, our crew has a flight to catch. We’re leaving regardless.”
Nick, to himself: “I’m starting to realise why you’ve had so many breakages on your boat, mate…”
Joking aside, braver- and more experienced- souls than us might be perfectly happy leaving on a Biscay crossing knowing that there’s 3 days of very windy conditions to follow. But Nick and I just want a quiet life, not to mention a bit of sleep on passage, if that’s not too much to ask for. Something that becomes increasingly difficult when the conditions deteriorate.
There’s a certain level of obsession with the forecast at the moment. As I’ve just mentioned, this week has a big fat red cross through it on account of the high winds in Biscay. That’s looking to pass through on Thursday, to be replaced with southerlys and rain. Not much better, but we’re hoping to leave on Saturday. All we can do is keep an eye on the ever-changing forecast and continue to explore Falmouth and its surrounds. Not too great a hardship.
(Addendum: we have just heard that our friend in the azab is getting hammered out there. We are so glad to be tucked up here out of the weather, but wish him and his crew all the best)