The grand finale!

Calm seas and settled weather meant I could anchor in Carbis bay off the harbour at St Ives. Although Thalmia could take the ground, and in settled conditions like this settling on the hard sand in the harbour would have been ok, I wanted to start early the following day, at low water, to round Lands End and be able to carry a fair tide around the Lizard and hopefully as far as Falmouth so I needed to stay afloat.

A calm evening at St Ives

The plan worked. To avoid the worst of the anticipated foul tide at the start of my passage I motor-sailed inshore. Then, approaching Lands End, I was surprised to find stronger winds than predicted. In F4/5 I put a reef in the main. Sailing, but with the motor idling as a safety precaution, I passed inside the Longships rocks and lighthouse off Lands End and inside the curiously named Kettle’s Bottom. I had rounded this Southwest extremity of mainland England and returned to familiar cruising grounds!

I passed the just inside the Runnel Stone South Cardinal Mark, which is where I normally begin my crossing to the Scillies, and then the Lizard. This area was littered with buoys marking lobster pots which are almost or actually hidden from view as they are dragged under by the fast flowing currents. It’s a real hazard especially for a singlehanded sailor trying to manage the boat and keep a watch for the buoys. I know I only narrowly missed a couple that suddenly appeared! It’s like “where’s Wally” on the water!

From the Lizard to Falmouth I carried a fair tide and after over 11 hours passage I anchored in Channal Creek in the Fal estuary, below Trelissick House. One of my favourite anchorages.

After a days rest including a visit to the gardens of Trelissick House and a swim from the boat I moved to St Mawes near the mouth of the Fal estuary where I anchored for the night. It was another hot night and the next day was still and hot so I left earlier than planned to generate some breeze under motor out at sea. I set a course for Salcombe and relaxed as the iron mainsail plodded on and Jake, my autohelm, took me close by the Eddystone lighthouse and into Salcombe. Another favourite anchorage at the Salt Stone well beyond the madding crowd of yachts, motor cruisers, speeding ribs and noisy holidaymakers in the town.

Sunset at the Salt Stone, Dartmouth

In Dartmouth I met some fellow sailors from Starcross Yacht Club – Willow (briefly passed them while sailing up river!) who have just returned from the Channel Islands, and Sirene of Exe at Stoke Gabriel, a delightful spot which I visited and loved – especially impressed with the amazing 1400 year old yew tree in the church yard. Windfall was here too but we missed each other!

I will be coming back into the Exe on Sunday (25th July) after the strong winds and thunderstorms have passed (hopefully!) and Ruth has come down to Dartmouth to allow me to offload much of the heavy load of sailing gear and charts and books and the stuff I thought I might need over this 3 month plus expedition! I plan to arrive back at Starcross Yacht Club on Sunday between 17:00 and 18:00 on the incoming tide. I am looking forward so much to seeing some of my family and friends who will be there to greet me. Feel free to join them if you want!

So … one more push as well for Rainbow Living? Several of you have recently donated now my challenge is very nearly over. Including gift aid you have donated over £2,500. It would be so good to push this just a bit higher. Your support in following and commenting on my blog and in donating to the charity was a real encouragement through this adventure! You can donate via this link:

I will probably post one more blog about my trip – the denouement (apologies for the French – it’s ‘the unravelling’!) with some reflections on the overall experience. Now however is not the time because it isn’t quite completed …… !

Published by Derek

Having started sailing later in life I have migrated from a 14ft dinghy via a Sadler 26 to a 32ft Westerly Fulmar. I sail mostly single handed in the South West from the Solent to the Scillies or across to the Channel Islands and ajacent French coast. In 2020 I planned to sail mostly single handed around Britain. Due to Covid-19 this was unfortunately not possible. I finally completed that challenge starting in April 2021: finishing in early July. You can check out my journey and experiences, good and not so good in the blog posts below or my YouTube channel - search for “voyages of Thalmia” -

6 thoughts on “The grand finale!

  1. Another great read Derek with splendid photos as we’ve come to expect. Have a safe and enjoyable homecoming. Jim


  2. Brilliant. Very well done Derek. I have enjoyed immensely your very detailed and interesting blog, and like Ken Bessant I haven’t understood a word of it. Looking forward to seeing you back at Teign Valley, assuming you won’t be finding golf too boring after your venture.
    Safe home.


  3. Congratulations Derek – although I’ve not commented before, I’ve been avidly following your very fascinating illustrated reports! An experience of a lifetime. You’ll be in demand for a winter talk! Looking forward to seeing you and I promise to make a donation.


  4. Well done Derek, as a land lubber most of the time I haven’t understood a word of what you’ve been telling us. But I have found it fascinating and didn’t really get how much off a challenge you set yourself. I’ve never thought how long it would take, I reckoned it was up one side down the other. Sounds like it’s coming to an end so just bring it home safely and I’ll see you back at Teign Valley. Best Regards Ken ⛵️ Sent from my iPhone



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