|Tue 17-09-2024, 15:00St Mawes, Cornwall
|Mon 23-09-2024, 10:00St Mawes, Cornwall
The rugged, indented coastline of Cornwall is perfect for a deep keeled boat like Tallulah, but there are so many places that can only be explored by shallow draft boat. This is why we have a great rowing tender, but these trips are a bit special, as the aim is use Tallulah as the mother ship and classroom and to explore with small open sailing boats.
Tallulah’s skipper Debbie has already run wild camping voyages on a 17ft open boat called ‘Outdoor Girl’ in 2019 and 2020. At boat building college she and another of Tallulah’s regular mates built another open boat called ‘Wild Boy.’ These spritsail yawls are fun to sail and shallow draft enough to explore the landscape between the HW and LW mark, extending our reach way into the salt marsh and tiny creeks on the Helford, Restronguet or Fal River tributaries.
If you have always wanted to try dinghy or keel boat cruising then this wooden boat week combo will show you the pros and cons of sailing – with or without a cabin. It is also nice to have the below decks shelter of a mothership to return to.
Solo travellers welcome, but we also have a lovely double bed cabin for couples on board Tallulah. Outdoor Girl and Wild Boy are kitted out for camping. We have kit and wood for campfires ashore and can rustle up hot drinks on the galley box at anchor. They carry water, firewood and have beaching legs and a boom tent too, so couples or friends want to try camping on the little boat can do that too. She has 2 man mountaineering tents, a boom tent and camping mattresses. We follow the Scottish Wild Camping code to protect the environment.
Anyone who loves sailing and wooden boats and would like to try out as many different types of rig and size of boat as possible. Those who love adventure charter voyages on boats like Tallulah, but would love to explore on a smaller size boat that they might be able to buy for themselves one day. Outdoor types like kayakers, van dwellers and anyone wanting to embrace green transport and go exploring.
An introduction to dinghy cruising and exploring the Cornish coast and creeks with 17ft open sailing boats. With a comfortable pilot cutter as your moving expedition base and classroom, Tallulah’s skipper and mate can introduce you to small boat skills, open boat navigating and beachcraft for sailing on and off the fascinating littoral zone between the HW and LW.
Tallulah can get you to deep water anchorages in some beautiful places but St Mawes, Helford and the extensive Fal Estuary also offers a fantastic tidal playground for boats that only have keel depths of 40-60 cm. We use Tallulah to take us to the best locations for wind and tide. Once there we can plan and implement some mini expeditions on our 2 spritsail yawls Outdoor Girl and Wild Boy.
This week there are big spring tides which means in the late afternoon – evening we can sail these shallow draft historic replicas far up some of the more remote Cornish creeks and salt marsh.
Whether we do it as a trial run for camping overnight and return to Tallulah for proper bunks and a meal on board, or actually try the real thing and pack the boats for overnight camping in tents ashore or under boom tents is dependant on weather, tide times and what individuals want to do.
First evening on board 44ft Tallulah, and probably an evening sail on the big boat, for everyone to get to know each other.
The first full day – introduction to the smaller boats and practicing sailing skills. Aboard the Tallulah ‘classroom’ we can look at charts and identify a good sailing and rowing foray that can be achieved without using an engine. On the risin afternoon tide we can head off up a creek on the big spring tides, find a place for a campfire (or more discrete stove cooking) and wild camp ashore or try the boom tent. Return to Tallulah in the morning.
Second full day, relocate to a different estuary by either sailing alongside Tallulah, or towing the small boats. Another exploration on the evening HW – either camping out or all returning for a meal on board, and sleep on board this beautiful wooden pilot cutter.
Last morning – if time and tide are suitable sail the small boats back to their St Mawes beach moorings up the Percuil River.
Swimming from Tallulah in a beautiful anchorage often a big part of the fun on our sailing activity holidays.
The availability of Wild Swimming from Tallulah is at the skippers discretion. Supervision is provided from Tallulah and her dinghies. All our skippers are qualified with First Aid at Sea but not all are lifesaving guards.
Those on the open boat will be sailing closer to the shore and up rivers into much more shallow waters. Learn practical pilotage, how to survey uncharted waters and beach landing techniques with the first mate to get into unusual coves and tidal pools. This is a carbon free challenge as there is no engine on board – only sails and oars. Camp overnight in wooden glades, remote beaches or under the boom tent.
Scope to learn skills from the RYA Navigation and Basic Seamanship Syllabus & Certificate, or pick Debbie’s boatbuilding brain about the best type of boats to buy for your own future adventures. In 2021 she spent 12 months at the Boat Building academy learning the relative merits of solid wood versus GRP or plywood, clinker versus carvel and much more.
Now we have a bigger pilot cutter, the low carbon theme remains. This week we have swopped her trusty expedition rowing boat Number 8 for the 16ft sailing boats to get ashore.
If the winds are too strong for the small open boats then we have the option of sailing Tallulah instead…..and if we can squeeze in sailing both we will.
Tallulah is fitted out to take 8 people sailing offshore in comfort. She can easily be self sufficient in water, food and fuel for a week. There is heating, hot showers, fridge, radiators and stove on board, and the bunks come with duvets and linen provided. Tallulah has a barrel windlass, oil lamps as well as 12v lighting and solar panels so we try to minimise our fossil fuel usage.
Roundwood Quay is great for a BBQ. There is officially wild camping at Turnawear Bar, and the remainder of our favourites remain a secret. Ruan Creek winds its way into shallow salt marsh and the remote village of Ruan Lanihorne.
The Pandora Inn is famous, but further up the estuary there are stone quays, islands, salt marsh and quite complicated navigation around the banks and channels. Another fantastic haven for wildlife, and a lovely pub at Devoran village.
Helford is timeless. You feel like you are in a Daphne Du Maurier book. Dense, twisted oak trees sweep down to the water. Oystercatchers flash between rockpools, bluebells, gorse, wild garlic and primroses waft their scent out to sea. Tallulah can tack into the widest part of the river and sometimes right up through to the moorings free upper reaches if the tide is high. Beyond that the little boats come into their own. The main creek dries at LW but at high water you can get to Gweek, Scotts Quay or up Frenchmans creek or Porth Navas.
In between the well known beaches of the Roseland and Falmouth Bay coast are more inaccessable coves and caves. Great to anchor off for a swim or paddleboard, and sometimes a tiny bit of flat back beach can be found for some wild camping with small tents. There is always rocky spots for a BBQ if you bring your own wood and charcoal and leave no rubbish.
Tallulah has a mooring across St Mawes Bay – so your first challenge is to meet Debbie on the Quay and row yourselves and bags out to your floating holiday base.
After finding out a bit about each other and individual hopes for the short break, the skipper and mate will introduce you life on a boat and how you sail Tallulah and the little boats safety. The training is on going through the few days and the more guests participate, the more we can do.
Some things on Tallulah are quite physical. Some things are easy peasy. She a has roller furling jib, but you need two halliards to hoist the mainsail (like all gaff sails). The barrel windlass is very manual and ancient in concept. There are loads of places to sit. There are high sides to the deck and there will be guard rails so walking on deck in rough weather feels very secure.
Meals are often taken on deck, but the saloon is also characterful with a big oak table and skylights above. We generally have all hatches open when stationary, so Tallulah has a well ventilated restaurant and al fresco options to take your meal on deck if you prefer.
Sailing instruction is informal, but the crew have wide interests so can answer most maritime questions from navigation to boat building. Never be afraid to ask to have a go at something.
If you start to sail for several hours of dinghy cruising you do need to stretch and move your legs. Going to the toilet is either an excuse to go ashore in seaside village, a bucket on board, or going off with a trowel and matches to the woods – to leave no trace.
These small boats have a galley box lined with stainless steel so you can cook hot meals and drinks on board whilst stationary.
Both Wild Boy and Outdoor Girl have a middle seat that can be removed and flat floor boards for camping mats. the 16ft long sprit forms a ridgepole for a canvas boom tent. Camping ashore with tents is a more spacious option, but both have their charms.
For more details read about Outdoor Girl and wild camping trips here:
Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.
We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities, and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.
Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
This is the home port of Classic Sailing. A seafaring village on the East side of Falmouth Harbour.
The historic Quay in St Mawes Harbour (TR2 5DW) is the official rendezvous for all Tallulah Voyages. Plan your travel for the quay in your first instance.
Tallulah has a mooring in St Mawes Bay. Skipper Debbie or the mate will normally meet you at the quay steps /harbour pontoon in Tallulah’s tender – a large blue rowing boat with ‘8’ on the side.
Bad Weather Alternative Ports
In the event of St Mawes being exposed to strong winds / big seas from the west or SW, we may start the voyage from more sheltered waters. This is likely to be the River Fal – Smugglers moorings near St Mawes or Falmouth Estuary.
Debbie will contact you at least 48hrs before the voyage with final joining instructions by email and text. All confirmed customers will be sent Debbies mobile number for emergencies or late arrival.
The A30 is the best route into Cornwall for St Mawes – if you follow a Sat Nav you will probably be taken via King Harry Car Ferry which is not the quickest route but is worth doing for the experience.
The best way is to leave the A30 at Fraddon and follow the B3275 until it meets the A390 where you turn left for a little way back towards St Austell. Then follow the signs to the right for the A3078 which ends in St Mawes.
There are two car parks in St Mawes both trouble free and you can pay by card
St Mawes Quay Car Park is very convenient as it is where you join your voyage but is a little more expensive.
St Mawes Central Car Park run by the St Just in Roseland Parish Council is recommended. It is just a minute walk from the Quay.
You can pay for a number of days with a debit card
There is free street parking in the roads up from the main beach, if you can find a space. Buckeys Lane is one way so please park on the right. The private roads of Pedn Moran or Freshwater Lane are popular with beach visitors and holiday cottage customers. Local residents are used to mystery cars parked outside for several days, as long as no drives are blocked, it seems the accepted thing. As with all street parking please make sure there is room for fire engines to get through. From any of these roads the Quay is about 5 minutes walk.
To get to St Mawes by train, buy a ticket for Falmouth Town Station, walk down to the waterfront and come across the water from Falmouth to St Mawes by passenger ferry.
Falmouth is on a branch line from Truro which is on the main London – Penzance rail line. Trains come into Cornwall to Truro from many parts of the UK and it is only 30 minutes down the branch line to Falmouth. Beware there are several small stations in Falmouth. Get off at Falmouth Town Station.
Falmouth Town Station (the Dell) is ten minutes walk from Customs House Quay where one of three ferries runs to St Mawes in the summer. If you just miss a ferry there are other departures to St Mawes from Prince of Wales Pier, the other side of town. In the winter – all ferries run from Prince of Wales Pier only. It is about 15 minutes walk through the town to the Prince of Wales Pier.
Ferry is the best way. St Mawes Passenger Ferry timetable for both piers https://www.falriver.co.uk/ferries/st-mawes-ferry/timetable. This has a live update to confirm which ferries are running on the day. It only stops in really bad weather.
St Mawes Ferry 01872 861 911 or 07855 438 674
Ferries are hourly in winter and three per hour in the summer and the journey is 20-25 minutes.
There are buses from Truro to St Mawes but they are very infrequent and take about an hour.
Newquay is the nearest airport but it is poorly served by public transport. A taxi to St Mawes can cost over £60
Classic Sailing recommend Treesisters charity as a carbon offsetting scheme and we have our own Classic Sailing Forest you can add tree planting to. These community tree planting schemes are all in parts of the world that desperately need reforestation and have maximum scope to reduce CO2
Please limit yourself to one soft bag or rucksack as there is limited storage space on board. No suitcases please!
Tallulah does not have waterproof jacket and trousers yet, so please bring a properly waterproof jacket and trousers on all voyages.
Walking and cycling waterproofs are usually adequate and much lighter to pack, so there really is no need to buy a coastal sailing jacket (unless you really want an excuse to invest in your future sailing). If you need any advice, or lack of a jacket is preventing you participating, please ring us on 01326 53 1234
Tallulah does not always have wine bottles for sale on board so you are welcome to bring modest quantities of alcohol, (unless it is an alcohol free voyage) e.g. to drink with evening meals, but drinking whilst sailing is not allowed.
A Note on Covid 19
While Tallulah's guests do not need to prove Covid Vaccination status at this time, it is expected that if a guest feels unwell prior to joining the ship they should always use common sense and test when appropriate to decide whether they should join the voyage, for their own safety and the safety of others onboard. It is a requirement that guests on residential voyages take out appropriate Travel Insurance and care should be taken to ensure insurance includes cover for such a case. Likewise, should members of Tallulah's professional crew including the skipper feel unwell prior to a voyage, they will always use common sense & test when appropriate.
Photos and images of the striking 44ft pilot cutter Tallulah, offering charter voyages for individuals, couples and groups from 2022. Based in St Mawes, Cornwall. No experience is necessary and a local skipper as your guide.
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