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OGA60 Falmouth bound

‘At last, wind behind us!’ is the caption for today’s cover photo. Taken by Nick Ward as he departed Plymouth sailing ‘Swift II’, a 30′ classic Bermudan sloop rigged Twister built 1980 with a strip planked hull, teak on oak.

Having been battered and bruised as they sailed towards Plymouth, most of the OGA60 RBC fleet departed Plymouth today after the wonderful welcome from South West Gaffers in a safe haven. Sadly, the postponed Parade of Sail had to be cancelled on the orders of the King’s Harbourmaster (see log extract below). We hear from ‘Onward of Ito’, awaiting arrival of crew in Gosport and ‘Cygnet of London’, waiting for the storms to abate in Dartmouth that both boats intend setting sail tomorrow, Saturday, to catch up with the fleet. ‘Charlotte Elizabeth’ is in Newton Ferrers, ‘Letty’ and ‘Louisa May’ in Dartmouth while ‘Moon River’, ‘Minstrel’ and ‘Peggy’ are staying in Plymouth. Sadly, we hear from ‘Mutual Friend’ that he is forced to retire from the Cruise due to crew injury.

With a heavy heart we have formally retired from RBC60. In the early hours of Saturday 6th May one of the crew suffered a dislocated shoulder in their sleep, whilst on a mooring buoy in Poole Harbour. After countless dislocations, we have deemed his shoulder too unstable to continue. After what will hopefully be a successful surgery to stabilise it, we will again seek to sail round Britain. We would like to thank everyone who has followed us, donated, helped us to prepare and shared this shortened journey with us. We are well and truly gutted to have to end this trip, but after a nice taste of what’s to come, we look forward to commencing our circumnavigation in 2024 and continuing to raise money for 2 great charities.

Paul Blyth, skipper ‘Mutual Friend’

We enjoyed the company of Mutual Friend for the first leg of #RBC60, a fine vessel and great crew. We also have heavy hearts at losing good friends from the trip; a tough decision to retire and come back next year. Britain and ‘Mutual Friend’ will still be here! All the best and enjoy the summer back on the East Coast.

Richard Bailey, skipper, ‘Lahloo’

‘Barbarossa’ arrived in Fowey this afternoon, sailing overnight from Cowes. She’s joined by ’Susan J’, ‘Step Back in Time’, ‘Agapanthus’ and ‘Hilda’, enjoying the sail from Plymouth. ’Bonita’, ‘Indian Runner’, ‘Lahloo’, ‘Recipe’ and ‘Swift II’ all sailed on westward and are safely moored up in Falmouth.

There was to be a Gaffers Parade of Sail in front of Plymouth Hoe with press coverage on Friday morning, with ‘Bonita’ in lead position. However, we were told by the King’s Harbourmaster, in charge of a naval port, that there would be a nuclear submarine passing through. Any naval ship is accompanied by patrol craft, an exclusion zone etc. and even the most venerable gaff rigged sailing fleet could be seen as a potential risk to a  submarine entrusted with carrying the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Moving the parade of sail either back or forward did not resolve the security concerns. Regretfully, the Parade had to be cancelled. It was too nice a day to stay in port longer than necessary, so we left Sutton Harbour, Plymouth at 1130. Originally planning to go to Fowey we had light head  winds but as we were approaching port a moderate N breeze sprung up. After all our days of contrary winds this was too good to miss. We decided to carry on to Falmouth and had a fine sail along the Cornish coast with the boat at times exceeding 7 knots (with a fair tide but only about 0.5 knots).

Mike Beckett, skipper, ‘Bonita’