RNLI Website

RYA Website

Admiralty Easytide

Met Office

BBC H2O podcast

Mayday 2019 (aka Booze Cruise 2018 revisited)

Updated: 12-05-2019

Report from Steve Worner aboard "Donna Louise" (Bavaria 37)

(Photos - Steve Worner)

"Donna Louise" Crew: Norma, Phil, Lis and David; Skipper: Steve

"Lily Anne" Crew: Ruth , Simon, Caroline and Nigel; Skipper: Roger

Lily Ann in St Mawes
Lily Ann in St Mawes

For those of you who are unaware the 2018 September Booze Cruise was postponed due to the vagaries of the British weather and storm force winds. We were unable to find a suitable early date which was doable for the whole 8 members booked for the original date but fortunately Nick ( Cornish Cruising) was amenable to us reconvening on the Mayday 2019 weekend – the big advantage was that this attracted a further two crew members and a correspondingly higher kitty for the weekend.

With Roger Francis having recently completed his Day Skipper course, he headed the crew of Ruth, Simon, Caroline and Nigel on the 34’ Bavaria named "Lily Anne" with the remaining crew of Norma, Phil, Lis and David lumbered with me on the 37’ Bavaria named "Donna Louise".

Having been winded off in September and record high temperatures two weeks before at Easter, we had cold but dry weather forecast and this turned out to be the case.

We gathered at Falmouth Marina and cast off just after 16.00, heading up river to the Heron at Malpas for our evening meal @ 18.30. This was always going to be tight on time, even more so when the outboard on "Lily Anne" failed to show any sign of life so, having dropped my crew ashore, I made two further trips to get the others onto dry land. When we arrived at Malpas and picked up mooring buoys, it was marginal if we could stay overnight and if there would be sufficient water at low tide to keep us afloat - the money collector confirmed this so we had made a decision to move down river by about half a mile once we had eaten, to a mid-river pontoon. Once we had eaten I took my crew back to the boat and they set off down river without me whilst I ferried Roger’s crew to their boat before following in the dinghy. All went well until the mean members of my crew switched off the nav lights which were guiding me – fortunately they didn’t have control over the flashing reds on the ends of the pontoon. The other slight worry was that I was being followed by a few tonnes of 34’ Bavaria although they assure me they were keeping a close lookout for me!! With Roger having contacted Cornish Cruising the night before, they set off back to the Marina early on Saturday to collect a replacement outboard. We had a more leisurely start whilst Phil & Norma tracked "Lily Anne"’s progress on a tracking App (Nebo?) that they and Simon had downloaded.

Norma and Lis on Donna Louise
Norma and Lis on "Donna Louise"

The timing proved great and "Lily Anne" appeared in Carrick Roads just after ourselves and we headed out around St Anthony’s light. We headed out whilst Roger tacked in shore but the result was much the same with little progress made in light airs, against the tide and we both switched on motors for the latter part of the trip. There seemed to be a lot of Rallys converging on Fowey but we managed to sneak in on the main pontoon with our buddies outside us. After showers ashore and a stretch of the legs we knew we would have to leave the pontoon which does not permit overnight stays but fortunately Roger’s gang did manage to find a space on the Lifeboat pontoon and we tied up alongside them - with overnights permitted here. A short stroll and ferry journey saw us at Polruan for a prebooked meal at the Lugger ( for those who are unaware there are pubs on both side of the river named the Lugger and both providing excellent food). Return journey on the ferry and stroll back to the boats saw a bit of socialising on "Donna Louise".

Caroline in Fowey
Caroline in Fowey

Sunday morning saw us vacate the Lifeboat pontoon by the 08.00 deadline and head back to the main pontoon to use facilities and have breakfast before heading off for the Helford. The tide was to be with us all day but there was no wind forecast. Rather than take the most direct route, we diverted inside Gull Rock at which point the wind picked up and we were able to roll out the headsails for an enjoyable trip into the River and share a mooring buoy.

With two operational outboards a much easier journey ashore to the Sailing Club for showers, followed by a meal with one of the best views around, across to Helford Passage.

View from Helford Sailing Club.
View from Helford Sailing Club.

When we returned to the boats, we gathered in "Donna Louise" for a few more drinks and quiz night of general knowledge from questions obtained by Phil on his phone. Can’t remember which boat won (selective memory some might say).

Monday morning saw light breakfasts followed by a motor across Falmouth Bay to St Mawes for brunch and the return up the Penryn river to refuel and put the boats back in their berths. Another good weekend and although it was quite cold at least it stayed dry with occasional sunshine.