TMSC Summer Cruise 2014 …avec les Francais!
Will they make it across the Channel or won't they? This year's summer cruise was on home grounds at the request of our friends from the Yacht Club de l'Odet who were coming across to join us as we bimbled our way down the Cornish coast towards Scilly. The French plan was to assemble in the Yealm to rest overnight and prepare themselves for the Club reception the following day, but the weather was horrendous…the Channel was rough, the winds were violent with torrential rain but as we searched marinetraffic.com for AIS from the French boats we could see "Donald Duck" with skipper Alain Massot underway from Benodet through the Raz and on to Camaret then disappearing…out of range part way across the Channel…but…there he is again, being picked up by AIS on the British side and heading into the Yealm. So they made it! Donald Duck accompanied by Talenduic, Gwalarn, Ty Punch, Gotland and Cloudy Bay.
Once we had settled the French boats onto Club & TYH moorings the next day the reception for them in the Club was a predictably riotous affair with much merriment. Congratulations go to Bill Shimmel for attempting to marry together Halfway Harmony and Dave Mashford with songs that might (or might not…) be on the songsheets we gave them!
Then on to Fowey tacking against a headwind. It's a good job Tony had booked us a pontoon as there were twenty boats in our combined fleet, the Royal Fowey Yacht Club provided a splendid BBQ. We never tire of Fowey and the French loved it. Next day we set sail for the Fal coming alongside at the long pontoon before Malpas in an increasing NorthWesterly wind, a tricky manoeuvre for some boats. Despite the gale blowing down the river the French were determined that we should go ahead with the planned pontoon BBQ and were quite taken with our Trago disposable BBQs….a good commercial venture there for an imaginative entrepreneur as the French claimed they had nothing like it in France. "Talanduic" had been particularly successful on the way and had eighteen mackerel for the BBQ which we insisted must be served on Union Jack plates which we just happened to have standing by.
The wind was still strong from the NorthWest the next day which was going to cause us problems getting alongside at Falmouth Yacht Haven. Luckily, Chris Thomas on "Cosmos" was already there having called in to collect stores the previous day only to find he was pinned against the pontoon and unable to leave. So one by one we made our approaches and with an ever-increasing shore crew managed to get all boats alongside without damage. Falmouth is great fun, the French have nothing like the "Chain Locker" and loved it, although there was a painting of the battle of Trafalgar on the wall and some lively Doom Bar- fuelled debate took place on the finer points of the battle ("Talanduic" was crewed by three retired French Naval Officers!)
We said farewell to most of our French friends at the Helford River Sailing Club as they headed back for Brittany although some stayed with us on to Penzance and Scilly. We ended up in the Bishop and Wolf in Hugh Town watching the World Cup final with Christian Bolzer and Vincent Drezen from "Gwalarn". Great fun had by all!
Nigel Bunker "Rode Stella"
Last updated 19:28 on 7 February 2019