We spent the next week on the mooring mostly stowing items and trying to believe we could set to sea and not have our possessions thrown around inside like popcorn. The weather indeed did turn out to be less than summery so it was often difficult to get Bryher ashore to head off cabin fever. Eventually though we did leave and headed for Cawsand. A check of the weather showed South-westerly winds for the following week but the next day had light Easterlies in the morning followed by variable winds all day. So we made our choice to run for Falmouth as it would give us a better heading for Brest in France should the winds be Westerly. We also Need to pick up crew there (not to mention getting going at last).
Up early (which is easy with a baby but the baby wants all the attention leaving little time for boats) and up with the sails. No need for breakfast – we can get that once clear of Rame Head. Motor sailing out we clear Penlee and its quite swelly so South Star is plunging a bit into the seas. Were ok though but this is the roughest it’s been for us so far. It calms down finally but remains rolly all day with two swells, one from the South-east and one from the South-west. We motored all day and made the Lovely Helford River at sunset. This is our most favourite spot and we spent time here when we first met and over the years.
The next day has us in sunshine and were all smiles – happy to be moving again. I am doing my usual checking of everything and notice the water level in the sump in the engine room bilge to be high. The bilge pump has died. There is no phone or internet here so I make an unpopular decision to go straight to Falmouth to get another ordered. Rufus my Brother (and crew) lives there so delivery should be easy. The old pump has done 10 years hard labour so I guess its done it’s time but this is a pain. South Star does have the odd weep so these automatic pumps are essential to keep her dry.
We sail from anchor and under Jib & Mizzen we cruise across the bay making 3 knots with only these two sails. I phone ahead as soon as we have reception and get Roo to order me a pump with next day delivery. I also check the weather and it is looking like the next day has good NW winds for France but beyond that is looking like head winds and gales. The stress is rising a bit and I am aware that to miss a wind is a mistake so we make a plan to leave the following day. This will be few days earlier than we needed to and I have not checked yet to see if crew can move fast and be ready.
We make the Carrick Roads and get close to anchor under sail but have to motor the last 300 yards. We go ashore and see Roo, Maddy and little Eli, part of our crew. They are not sure if they can be ready but say they will try. We have the pump ordered for next day delivery and have food shopping, diesel and bits and bobs to get. The next day is busy. We start with getting diesel which means moving the boat to a fuel berth. We need more as it looks like we will be motoring a bit and I’m not sure how it works filling up in France. That done we run around in a blur getting as much done as we can. Matt is on his way down from North Devon on the train but Roo and gang are struggling to be ready. If we wait the extra day they need we will have lost our winds and I am keen to get going so we don’t have to motor to France. We get to the afternoon and the pump arrives, Mat arrives we have food and stuff done but we are all knackered. We will also be under crewed and I make the decision to wait until the next day.
The next day we may have lost our wind but we gain our crew and excitement grows as it all comes together and we gather on the dock. I have my worries taking friends and family and babies to sea but we are all up for it and I know everyone will do their best to make it a safe and fun journey. It’s taken 12 years of hard work on South Star to get to this point. This is to be our first trip abroad. I feel like we are ready though and it is clear to see South Star is excited to have been reborn and given another chance to do her thing. Good luck us!