Monday morning…up at just gone 5am as a misty dawn appeared over Land’s End. It had rained hard in the night…all of us scrambling around at 2.30am to shut the hatches… as it had been warm and humid the night before.
We departed Newlyn, a busy working fishing harbour, at 6.25am. Once through the stone entrance wham bang…Mike and Christine did not notice at first as they were collecting in the mooring ropes and fenders…but wham bang in your face…at anchor, not 2 miles away… the brand new RN aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth II ….with at least six smaller boats armed to the teeth, buzzing about in the water around her. What a truly amazing sight…she is enormous!
No wind to start with, but just off Land’s End we encountered a northerly of 10 knots and above…so from the Runnel Stone south cardinal buoy marking Lands End, we sailed all the way across this part of the Atlantic Ocean to the Spanish Ledges at the gap between Saint Mary’s and Saint Agnes in the Scilly Isles…a distance of 40.2 nautical miles … the longest uninterrupted sail of the voyage so far…in 6 hours exactly. We bombed along on a beam to broad reach at an average speed of 7.8 knots…wonderful and exhilarating…Poli Poli purred along, her bow wave her smile as she cleaved a path westwards away from the English coast. She roared past the Wolf Rock lighthouse and sped across the southerly entrances of the two traffic separation lanes ( a dual carriageway for big ships to stop them colliding with each other! ).
The sun shone all the way…and we reached the Spanish Ledges and Bartholomew buoys at about noon. Sails down, motor on, and Mike and Christine, with the “duck” in hand plus mooring lines…we moored onto a big green mooring buoy in Hugh Town bay, the capital of St. Mary’s . We had reached the Scilly Isles.
The no wind beast had been slain …no more recitals of the Ancient Mariner …of the dead albatross and wallowing in the doldrums. We had sailed…at last. Samual Taylor Coleridge’s story is a magnificent tale… but not for us.