You can take the cruiser out of cruising.

Ruffian secure in Helford.

8th June 2020

Falmouth Marina, UK – Newlyn, UK via Helford, UK & Meanporth, UK

You can take the Essex girl out of Essex, but you can’t take Essex out of the girl. You can take the man from the ocean, but you can’t take the ocean out of the man. As we have cruised around, what are now familiar grounds, we have found that you can take the cruiser out of the lifestyle, but you can’t take the lifestyle out of the cruiser.

After our visit to A J Marine, motoring away from Falmouth harbour our relief was palpable. We felt calm and happy that all was right with Ruffian, our engine sounded happier, our engine looked happier and the Ruffians we’re without doubt happier. In celebration of this, off went the engine, up went the sails and Ruffian headed out to sea (for the massive 6 miles to Helford)!

Entering Helford, it was time for us to spark up the engine and our hearts sank. Fiona pushed the start button and instead of whirring into life we were greeted deafening silence. The display was blank, the engine was dead and we had thoughts of having to sail to anchor and sail to safety. Quick as a flash Iain cast his eye over the control panel and once again relief flowed. Fiona, in her excitement had simply not pushed the ‘on’ button before the start button. Phew!

You can take the stress out of sailing, but landfall will always be stressful.

One of the things that makes the sailing life difficult is post. Imagine no internet shopping, imagine only receiving correspondence by email. In Helford Ant and Angela had been slowly accruing things that Fiona had been busy buying and ticking critical objects off our critical ‘to buy list’, which included Iain’s birthday presents (if he’s good). As we sat down in their garden to a heartfelt dinner out came box upon box delightfully delivered by the smallest of posties, Isla.

Needing to walk off a great dinner the following day we took to the hills to get some well needed exercise. With our feet sinking into the soft cushioning sand we landed and Brock was pulled from the water, high enough so he wouldn’t drift away. Cresting the first of the hills our plans suddenly changed. A Mercedes passed us, tyres screeched, reverse engaged and down went the window. What had we done? Who had we offended? And then out of the window popped the happy smiling face of Angela, complete with the excited smiles of Isla and Jasper.

Taking the opportunity Angela took us to the ‘cottage’ they were building and Ant gave us the grand tour. Room after room was envisaged and the details of the build were bought to life from the balustrades holding up the roof timbers to the garage length that was designed around the family boat. They have spectacular vision and in time they’ll have a spectacular home.

You can take Ant out of the building side, but you’ll never take the building away from Ant.

As we were realising the vision, we realised on the walk home that a quick lift by car equates to a long walk by foot and time and tide wait for no man. What would happen to Brock? Would he float away? Would we have to swim to Ruffian.

Instantly the walk turned into a yomp. No views were absorbed, no interest was taken in the points of interest and tensions rose. Finally, cresting the last hill, we could see the beach where we’d left Brock and Brock was nowhere to be seen. Our hearts dropped and then as we stepped foot, downtrodden and bereft on the beach there he was, gently bobbing in the little wavelets. The anchor that Iain had set ‘just in case’ had saved the day.

You can take the Ruffians away from Brock, but Brock will not leave without the Ruffians.

Moving on from Helford the drama on Ruffian continued. We’d identified a sweet sandy anchorage to shelter from weather, which was surrounded by rocks and wrecks, but we could let out as much chain as we needed as the breeze piped up. We followed our usual anchoring procedure and the chain ran out over the windlass and it ran out and ran out and ran out. The windlass was in full drop mode and as much as Iain could try the windlass just kept spinning. Saving the day the power was turned off and we were secure with as much chain out as we needed. Now time for the fix.

Taking to the anchor switches with a screwdriver the fault was plainly apparent. A tiny spring had failed leading to the switch not being able to be held open. Magically, the ever thoughtful, Ken and Judith not only had a spare switch but a spare spring. With the new spring in place they’d saved the day once again.

You can take the spare out of the locker, and those spares enabled us to be locked to the ground.

Once again pushing west we were bound for Penzance. The seas at the legendary ‘Lizard’ buffeted Ruffian and as we slowly beat our way across the bay (yes, we went upwind!) St Michael’s Mount emerged from the mist and the bright lights of town emerged from the gloom. Then there at the dock was Sarah Bell who was a seasoned cruiser having been to places from Syria to Egypt and America and the eastern Caribbean. She was a true cruiser.

Sarah opened her house and heart to us offering us all those things you miss from a land-based life. There was a car to run us around in, a washing machine for our laundry and most amazingly a shower, with unending hot water, space to luxuriate in and a drain to take away the water. All things that are lacking on a boat.

As we settled into a socially distanced cake and coffee welcome, we took turns in the shower. The grime fell off us, pores were cleansed of dirt and skin buffed until it shone. Boat showers are ok, but this was the first land-based shower we’d had since March and afterwards Iain was fully fluffy and Fiona grinned from ear to ear.

You can take Sarah out of the cruising boat, but you can’t take the cruiser out of Sarah.

Sarah’s kindness extended past the warm folds of her home. She’d also planned a ‘walk’. The last time we’d gone for a ‘walk’ with Sarah we’d hiked a live volcano and looked into its boiling heart, picked grapefruit from trees and eaten them in lush bush and rested our feet in rivers where fish had eaten the skin from our toes. This ‘walk’ would have some living up to do.

Taking to the coast path we walked into a deserted Mousehole, usually crammed with tourists and sat down to perfect pasties on the shores of its deserted sandy crescent beach. Pushing on, the footpath gave uninterrupted views down into crystal clear waters and across the bay where Monties Mount was framed by green hills and shimmering water. The walk was living up to expectations. Sarah then excelled herself. Not only had we found the ideal ‘grapefruit point’, on a deserted beach with turquoise waters, she’d bought her own, luscious juicy grapefruit for us all to share and enjoy.

Grapefruit point without the grapefruit is still grapefruit point, but with friendship and thoughtfulness some grapefruit points are more special than others. Lying in Penzance we are now at the point furthest west in England and we have a decision to make. If we take the happy ship Ruffian out of England, will those countries be happy with Ruffian’s arrival?

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Author: Iain & Fiona Lewis

3 thoughts on “You can take the cruiser out of cruising.

  1. I thought you must be movingand busy socialising and I was right. So good that you are on the move at last! Xx

  2. Glad to hear Ruffian might be on the move, and that engine issues are resolved. Our first foray of the dock lasted 8 minutes as Bill asked me if the boat was ‘peeing’, which it as not…. we spotted Jessie the mechanic on the dock finishing with another boat and he confirmed that the raw water pump was not working. Good news is Joyant is looking spiffy from all the polishing, varnishing, canvas work etc. Now with a new pump, we have to plan our next foray. Love reading your adventures and happy sailing.

  3. Missing our chats, we realised you must have moved on. Timari is now safely in The Fal after a bumpy but pleasant trip down. We managed to get everything done in Beaulieu and with a clean bottom left Friday evening to Anchor in Alum Bay and then early start with tide towards Salcombe entrance for a windy night on the excellent holding Admiralty Anchorage, on to Falmouth for Sunday.
    Good Luck with your onwards trip

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