We left Newlyn under dazzling blue skies with no wind and favourable tide.
A mile out I had an acrimonious right of way argument with a cardinal mark. I felt the buoy was comfortably on my starboard bow. Forgetting the tide I had turned my attention to a small yacht close ahead and to port, struggling to tack. Suddenly the bloody cardinal buoy was less than 5 feet ahead and approaching at 5 knots. I barely had time to yell a warning to Max below before we connected head on, with a bang.
Blue Dove had suddenly acquired a hole in her bow, a foot above the waterline, with daylight visible through it. Wonderful Maxine fothered the lesion immediately and we decided to press on round the Lizard to Falmouth, where we will need to haul out for repairs.
Poor Max had her heart set on wintering in Cowes. Despite the many weather delays, until this collision we had a real, if tight prospect of getting to the Isle of Wight. No longer. My guilt was, and remains gargantuan.
I have spent a lifetime lecturing crew about noting buoy positions and avoiding them. I will certainly sue the buoy for having failed to give way, but my shame and embarrassment will not abate. Some people are just too stupid for words! Still, as Farley Mowat said, when you’ve made a monumental ass of yourself, never look back.
Our trip round the Lizard was gorgeous, marred only as Maxine said, by her need to crawl into the bow locker every 15 minutes to make sure we were not sinking.
Now tied up at Falmouth Marina we are waiting for the boat builder recommended by our friends June and Dave (s/y Serendipity) to arrive.
There are benefits to being in Falmouth – we are tied up next to the famous Falmouth Quay punt “Curlew”, in which Tim and Pauline Carr spent so much time exploring South Georgia. Their book (Antarctic Oasis) about their time there is, in my view, essential reading for anyone even vaguely interested in the southern high latitudes.