Azores to England

Terceira to Cornwall

6th to 17th June

After a bus trip to Praia on the island of Terceira (when it poured with rain all day but still looked pretty – though not nearly as fine as Angra), I left next day, bound for Britain. Nine and a half days later, just after midnight, I rounded the Lizard and reached Falmouth.

Final dawn before Cornwall – 100 miles to go

Falmouth was packed with boats. It’s Classics Weekend – meaning dozens and dozens of beautiful old sailing boats all over the place, but impossible in darkness to find a spot to stop – and so I meandered in moonlight a few miles upstream to a calm anchorage in Channal’s Creek, overlooked by National Trust’s Trelissick House, and then in the peaceful early hours enjoyed a giant glass of Antiguan rum.

henrietta5 (2)
Well reefed and on the way from Azores (photo from overtaking catamaran)

It had been a varied ocean voyage from the Azores with busy days and nights, almost continuously (or so it seemed) reefing/unreefing/altering course. Mainsail clew tore off its webbing straps when half way, so, until managing a crude repair, I sailed with only the genoa for almost 500 miles.

Rounding the Lizard at dusk

For me, ocean voyages are far too long. In fact, anything more than a day trip of about 40 miles is too long. I’d rather have a good night’s sleep, have an early morning and leisurely pot of tea, see if the weather looks cheery and, if so, set sail along a pretty coastline with sunshine and birdlife for a few daylight hours, reach a calm and secure anchorage, have another pot of tea, later watch sunset with fresh food and a glass of plonk, then go to bed. In short, I don’t like the dark; human beings are meant to be asleep at night when it’s dark, not hauling in sails and watching out for ships. But the world wasn’t made that way, so before long I’ll have to do more of these long ocean trips.


After a weekend in Truro and Falmouth, it’s as if I’ve never been away. People I meet in Cornwall are as delightful as those I’ve met anywhere. Fine food is good, varied, cheap and plentiful. Scenery and wildlife is wonderful. And, since arrival here has coincided with both Classics Weekend and a shanty-singing festival, the streets and pubs of Falmouth are fun and busy, and chocabloc with hairy sea salty folk and lusty bearded singers, and beautiful women’s choirs too and quality buskers. Anna came and joined me in Truro so it’s been a treat to have company and shared experience once more. (In case you’re interested, first experience was Wetherspoons, Truro, for fish and chips and pint of Doombar – it really is as if I’ve not been away!)

I’ve had plenty of time to reflect upon these months afloat, living peacably and mainly alone on “Henrietta”. I’ll not burden you now with what I’ve learnt of the sea or me, or other places and people; what I’ve enjoyed or missed; where my life is enriched or shrunken. Without the detail and the secrets, I must conclude that for folk like me, for now, the sailing life is best. (Just need to sort the EU question, then fix my boat and body, see family and friends, and see what happens next.)

Henrietta in home waters

4 thoughts on “Azores to England

  1. Welcome home, Mike. Good to hear you had a safe final passage (for this trip). I hope that we shall see you at some point. As before you would be very welcome in Cambridge. Stuart and I will be joining Tom for a week from 16 July in Matawa sailing from Penzance or so to Dartmouth. My knowledge of the geography of the SW is not great but I guess this means at some point we shall be close to you? That might offer a chance to meet up or even sail? Please also pass best wishes to Anna. Allan frequently talks of our magical trip to the outer Hebrides.

    Regards Richard



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