Posted by: Paul Clark | June 18, 2011

Mevagissey: Sail, Storms & Shanties

Donna Capel and her crew had a great long weekend – slightly longer than expected – at the Mevagissey Working Sail Festival 2011.   A trip marked by some great sailing, an uncomfortable night and a musical debut…

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We had a good sail up from Falmouth on the Friday, making about 4 knots, and berthed at the end of the outer harbour.  Then free pasties and plenty of beer followed by John’s pork and cider left some of us feeling rather worse for wear!   An easy night, though…

Saturday was race day – after some confusion about the start time Donna Capel made it over the line and into the parade of sail.  It was a close finish, being beaten into last place by Ibis by only 30 seconds and the moveable committee boat!  Then we went into the inner harbour to be admired by the crowds – a great feeling.  With only a few inches of water to spare we went out again after lunch for another race and duly finished last again!

The crew party and prize-giving were on Saturday evening, distinguished by some excellent Mediterrean folk dance music from Bragatanga, and some not-quite-so-excellent dancing from Skipper John and yours truly…  The deserving winners of the Festival trophy were the French crew of the Rose of Argyll, who not only won all the races but did it all with no engine, using only skill and sweeps to get in and out of harbour.

Saturday night, however, was not quite such fun…  A Southeasterly 6 gusting 8 blew up at about 1am and we had a disturbed and rather damp night adjusting lines, lashing things down and sorting out things that go bump in the night.  Not as disturbed and damp as Wayne and his dog Jonah camping on his open boat Shira, though.  Next morning we welcomed both onto Donna Capel and fed, watered and dried them out.

We had meant to leave on Sunday but the wind direction, rain and swell made us think better of it.  So we stayed in Mevagissey for a lazy Sunday.  It’s said the best things in life are unexpected;  the first of which was a visit to model engineer Mr. Mitchell’s fantastic workshop and admiring his beautiful model train and steamroller, all built from scratch.  The second highlight was the musical debut of Donna Capel’s shanty singers – tentatively named Don Acapella – in the Ship Inn.  A great evening for us and we got requests for more, so it can’t have been too bad for the rest of the pub either!

Then up early on Monday for a motorsail back in much better conditions.  Another great Donna Capel trip!


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