Force 10 gales and news of the fleet: 15 May 2013

As gales rage along the Cornish coast, the OGA fleet takes shelter in Plymouth, Fowey and Falmouth. We bring reports of the fleet, gathering, re-grouping and planning the next stage of the journey, with one boat already round Land’s End and three more hoping to make it overnight. The Parade of Sail in Plymouth hit the BBC news, and a short clip is included in this article.

Falmouth lifeboats assist 'Def Freja' Photo: Edgar Wagemakers
Falmouth lifeboats assist ‘Def Freja’ Photo: Edgar Wagemakers

The storms in Falmouth harbour reportedly hit force 10, skippers struggled to keep their boats safely tied against the pontoons and extra fenders were piled along the rails. The lifeboats were called to help ‘Def Freja’, a local boat in difficulty when her anchor dragged.

The Dutch boats ‘Windbreker’, ‘Windflower’, ‘Raven’, ‘Morgaine’, ‘Vlieter’ and ‘Leonora 3’ have all reached Falmouth from Fowey and hope to move on tomorrow, perhaps visiting the Scillies, but it all depends on the weather forecasts of course.

‘Cine Mara’, the Dutch steel built replica Galway hooker, is heading for Cork as she leaves Falmouth, so is not so worried about the northeasterlies forecast in a couple of days time.

‘Syene’ is well on her way to Newlyn, reported to be rounding the Lizard early afternoon while ‘Witch’, ‘Bonify’ and ‘High Barbaree’ have all regretfully given up on going to the Scillies and are trying to get round Lands End and cross the Bristol Channel to Milford Haven before the forecast northeasterlies set in.

‘Witch’ left Falmouth mid afternoon and intends to stop in the Helford River for a meal, and then set off in earnest from there on a fair tide around midnight. ‘Bonify’ and ‘High Barbaree’ intend to leave Falmouth later in the afternoon as the wind, at last, eases up. They’ll make a decision as they pass Newlyn whether to take refuge there or plod round Lands End under power, cross the Bristol Channel and head for Milford Haven.

‘Annabel J’ has also decided that there’s no time to visit the Scillies and, having already rounded Lands End is heading across her ‘home waters’, as a Bristol pilot cutter, towards Milford Haven from the north Cornwall coast.

‘Toucando’ has escaped from Plymouth today, sailing and motor-sailing round to Falmouth to enjoy fish and chips at the Harbour Lights washed down with good ale at the Chain Locker. She also hopes to head for Milford Haven tomorrow.

Read Bonita’s blog for some interesting historic snippets as the Skipper and Mate take a stroll around Plymouth, anticipating their departure tomorrow. ‘Moor River’ and ‘Peggy’ still await a weather ‘window’ in Plymouth.