From the Isles of Scilly it was another overnight passage to the river estuary of Falmouth Harbor, which proved to be a great place for us to visit friends, day sail, and as our intrepid instructor Ian likes to say, “pootle about”. This is a proper English phrase, you can look it up. Once again Diana took us in to anchor in the wee hours of morning. She was quite chuffed to have done this solo in the dark using the lights of navigational aids, and set the anchor all by her #womenwhosail self. Yeehaw!

Early morning misty anchorage

We spent our nights peacefully anchored in St. Just Pool along a rural stretch of shoreline. Over the next few days we throughly criss-crossed the Carric Roads, exploring and practicing with close quarters maneuvers. A few friends from Diana’s time in London made the trip out to see us, but mostly we kept things on the down-low due to COVID. (Everyone was tested before coming aboard.)

Heather and Corey visited us for a weekend. Heather would later join us on our Atlantic crossing, so this was a great opportunity to practice and get oriented to the vessel. Not to mention, super fun to catch up, as always! 🙂

Corey’s first time at the helm of a sailboat proved he is an absolute natural at this. These two!

Heather quickly put our winch skills to shame

Bow thrusters are so trendy these days, it seems even dinghies have them fitted, and suddenly, like smart phones, no one feels safe operating a boat without one. We decided against the thruster with Randonnée and it is not hard to be honest why – another huge expense. It sounds naive to even type this, but there is also an argument to be made for practicing seamanship that is reduced when one can toggle to spin their vessel around in circles. That thruster will undoubtedly decide to malfunction or fail right at a critical moment! Well anyway, we don’t have thrusters so to avoid causing damage when coming alongside, we decided to get really good* with spring lines and fenders instead. Also it should be mentioned that we are not fighting a traditional long keel. (*really good.. not quiiiiite there yet but working on it!)

With friends Heather and Corey aboard, Skipper Ian Thompson also joined us for an afternoon to run us through our paces with a series of docking and maneuvering drills as we pootled up the river Fal. We also reviewed crew overboard procedures while sailing downwind. 

Along the way, we passed Tolverne Cottage, built in the 17th century for fishermen, it is said to have been the residence of General Eisenhower during D Day preparations. The Fal was one of the assembly points for American troops. 

We also passed by a massive ferry, surreal in the relatively narrow river, an apparent feat of navigational competence brought such a big vessel into such small waters. We gathered that the pandemic and/or Brexit has cancelled a lot of cross channel ferry service, causing some of these ships to be put into long term parking.

Speaking of ferries, we got a good view of the “King Harry Ferry,” established in 1888. It operates by pulling a chain across the river. There are differing local tales on the history of the name.

Our next visitor was Helen, another friend from years back in London. This was her first “real” time on a sailboat, and she was a champ on board. It was great to see her again.

Ian and his son Toby joined for a fun afternoon, where precocious, adorable Toby showed us allllll the ropes

We enjoyed the River Fal and can see how it magnetically pulls sailors to its shores. Cornish pasties, beer, friends, and sailing – who can complain? More pictures from our time in this fun spot:

Finally, as an extra it’s-such-a-small-world bonus, friends Finbarr and Jo (who had seen our posts on Instragram) realized we were all in the same area! As we departed to cross the channel again back towards France, they escorted us out of the bay in their RIB and took some great photos of Randonnée, including this post’s cover shot. We didn’t really get to visit but it was sure fun to yell and wave across the water. Until next time, folks!

Finbarr, Jo, and their two daughters chasing us in their RIB as we left for France. Oh, and a sexy wooden boat too!