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Booze Cruise 2016 - Falmouth - aboard "Po Go" (Bavaria 38) and "Donna Louise" (Bavaria 37)

Updated: 05-10-2016

Report from Steve Worner (Photos Steve Worner and Colin Winter):

There was a great deal of interest at a very early stage so we booked two boats from Cornish Cruising before Christmas 2015 with very good rates for paying the full charter in advance. The boats chartered were "Po Go" ( 38ft Bavaria ) and "You Go" (36ft Bavaria ) to be skippered by myself and Nigel respectively with 5 crew on each.

During the week before the charter I visited the Boat Show in Southampton only to find that they have purchased 3 new Bavarias and "You Go", "Me Go" and "I Go" have all been sold. When I enquired I found that we would now have "Po Go" and a brand new 37ft Bavaria called "Donna Louise". Nick at Cornish Cruising encouraged me to swap boats and give Nigel "Po Go" but being a true gentleman (and a coward - not wanting to be the first to scratch it), I left her with Nigel

Crew of Po Go
Crew of Po Go

Around 4.00pm we all gathered and descended on the boats - suffice it to say that the new boat was relatively luxurious (electric heads, microwave, bowthruster, hydraulic struts on cockpit lockers etc etc ) where have the years gone, I can remember shivering on Southern Sailing boats 30 years ago 'When I were a lad etc' comes to mind!! ). The one negative is very high top sides and quite a climb to get aboard from a pontoon - but a bathing platform at the blunt end which makes jumping in the dinghy relatively easy.

With very little wind we headed out and motored around to Restronguet Creek & the Pandora for an evening meal, being slightly delayed whilst we waited for sufficient water at the Pontoon to go alongside.

A pleasant evening followed by a night on the moorings (carefully selected to ensure the tide did not recede and leave us aground and healed over - as has happened to one or twice in the past) was followed by a leisurely departure. The weather forecast for Saturday was grim with F6 gusting F7 predicted so the regular visit to Fowey was scrubbed with Nigel (and crew: Caroline, Roger, Colin and Ruth) heading round Dodman for lunch hanging off their hook and my crew (Phil, Norma, Lis and David) heading the same way but turning before Dodman and eating pasties on the go before both boats headed for the Helford and an evening meal at the Sailing Club.

Trelissick House
Trelissick House

Whilst in the Helford I took the opportunity to play with a new toy. Over the years we have suffered various problems with outboards on charter boats and I had seen an advert for a hand cranked outboard (quite a large prop - 3 revolutions to every turn of the handle). It generated a reasonable amount of power (better in reverse and no, before you ask, I did not put the prop on back to front!). Initially I tried it attached by the painter controlled by Lis and then Norma volunteered to crew the dinghy for open sea trials. Let's just say it was reasonably successful but needs a few mods as it is very difficult to steer but the R and D department are on the case so watch this space for updates. There should be some pictures and possibly video of this 'green' machine.

Washing down deck after mooring
Washing down deck after mooring

As ever, a nice shower and meal at the sailing club (powered to and from by petrol engine outboards) and a pleasant night aboard. With southerly winds building overnight we were well sheltered in the Helford and we headed back across Falmouth Bay with half a head sail and winds of probably F4-5. "Donna Louise" took the opportunity to follow the rising tide up river almost to the Seal Sanctuary at Gweek before following us across the Bay and into Carrick Roads and the Fal. Nigel registered 40mph across the deck at one point.

We followed the Fal and Truro rivers up past King Harry Ferry as far as Malpas with no big ships layed up in the river - this is probably only the second time I have seen the moorings empty - maybe they've all been scrapped, are busy or perhaps suffering from Brexit.

Yachts <i>'Po Go'</i> and <i>'Donna Louise'</i>  sit in the middle channel buoys under leaden skies.  View from the Heron pub.
Yachts 'Po Go' and 'Donna Louise' sit in the middle channel buoys under leaden skies. View from the Heron pub.

A neat bit of manoeuvring by Norma and we attached to the Pontoon at Malpas - it says 8m maximum length but we have been allowed to stay in the past. With the second pasties of the weekend cooking the Harbour Master landed on the pontoon (nowhere near as stylishly as Norma) and informed us that due to the strong winds funnelling down the Truro river and our size we would not be able to remain on the pontoon so would need to depart ( at our leisure) and pick up one of the mooring buoys or a bigger pontoon further down the river. Whilst we ate pasties team Nigel arrived but had been warned off using the pontoon so proceeded to pick up a buoy - no mean feat (or should that be feet) with Nigel hanging on by his toenails to reach down to the ring on top of the buoy.

<i>'Donna Louise'</i> on mooring, Truro River
'Donna Louise' on mooring, Truro River

We were a little peeved that a yacht with 4 young ladies aboard was allowed to stay on the pontoon - what did they have that our ladies did not? But in fairness they were a much smaller boat than us and only just over the length limit.

...the importance of passage planning.
RFA Argus sails out of Falmouth past the KPCA fleet, right on time. Thanks to Skipper Nigel & Ruth on the helm.
...the importance of passage planning. RFA Argus sails out of Falmouth past the KPCA fleet, right on time. Thanks to Skipper Nigel & Ruth on the helm.

We had booked a table at the Heron but by now the wind was strong and the rain lashing down so we decided on a max of 4 per dinghy with one making two trips to pick up the stragglers. Again a good meal in pleasant company and the first journeys back were uneventful however on my second trip back the outboard cut out - some idiot, who shall remain anonymous but name begins 'St' had not topped up the fuel. Thanks to Phil and Norma who used their kayaking skills (are there no end to their hobbies) we paddled safely back to "Po Go" escorted by International Rescue (not sure which Thunderbird number) in the form of Nigel and Roger who had kept a look out to ensure we returned safely.

<i>'Donna Louise'</i> returning to her berth
'Donna Louise' returning to her berth

Sunday dawned with a beautiful morning and a leisurely breakfast and return to the marina with expert helming from Lis to get us first onto the windy fuel pontoon and then into our berth. "Donna Louise" diverted to St Mawes for brunch and then followed us up to the marina with an admiring audience to help(?) guide Nigel safely back onto the pontoon.

A quick coffee and then hit the road for a very easy journey home.

Another very enjoyable weekend in great company.