|Tue 10-05-2022, 12:00Charlestown, Cornwall||Thu 12-05-2022, 12:00Charlestown, Cornwall||Mascotte||2 Nights||MT100522|
1904 Mascotte needs little introduction to pilot cutter fans. At 60ft she is the largest surviving Bristol Channel pilot cutter, and with her beautiful cream sails and sheer elegance she cannot help grab all the attention of the whole fleet at events like the Classic Sailing Pilot Cutter Review. The Edwardian pilots certainly knew how to live when they were on board. The saloon is plush, good sleep was important and the sailing performance had to win their pilot trade for them. It was important to be seaworthy, fast and impressive. All the right ingredients for an amazing charter holiday experience too. From Spring 2020 we are thrilled Mascotte will be offering voyages from Cornwall with Charlestown Harbour and Classic Sailing.
Beginners keen to try a new activity on a famous classic boat with wooden decks. Pilot cutter enthusiasts who want to try an original 1904 Bristol channel pilot cutter. Keen sailors who can’t wait for Spring and summer to arrive and love outdoor adventures in Cornwall.
The crew on Mascotte are happy to teach you as much sailing skills or marlinspike seamanship as you want, or be your guide to the unspoilt and rugged coastline of Cornwall or even Devon. Mascotte even has small sailing dinghy kept on deck which you may be able to try if weather and time permits. All along the South Coast of Cornwall are tiny coves, beaches that are generally without the surf you get on the North Coast. Wooded creeks and deep water ports offer shelter for the night.
You may recognise Charlestown Harbour from countless film and TV productions. It is still used today for filming and you can imagine the characters striding down the quay or joining a ship in UK programmes like Poldark, Taboo and the Three Musketeers. This Georgian Harbour has been kept as original as possible with cobbled wharves and a small fleet of resident tall ships clustered in the wet dock.
If you are simply looking for a few days escape then this really is a unique way to explore Cornwall and its coast and rivers from the sea. If you love secret Cornwall – the places that most the tourists don’t get to see – then exploring by sailing boat should be your perfect weekend choice.an all inclusive weekend break with lots of outdoor time, great food, timeless scenery with empty anchorages.
The voyage is adapted to give guests a wonderful chance to visit natural environments far from the madding crowd. After a good day spent out in the elements you will be able to retreat to the elegant saloon to enjoy a freshly prepared meal in Mascottes mahogany panelled saloon, or on deck in the sun.
Mascotte is likely to be at anchor for most short trips, rather than inside the lock basin. This gives her the versatility to set off as soon as everyone has been introduced to the ship and safety briefings – whatever the state of tide. Guest crew and baggage will be taken out to the ship by boat, so you can admire your ships design lines as you approach. Anny is the flagship of Charlestown and owned by the harbour, so if you want to drop off your bags early or have a query, the Harbour office can help.
Once aboard, enjoy rereshments on deck whilst the crew give you a safety briefing and introduce to to the concept of helping sail a schooner from day 1.
In the event of bad weather in the wide Bay off Charlestown, the more sheltered Fowey Harbour is a short car ride away, and you will be informed of the arrangements in advance, or given a lift on the day.
The skipper is a local and knows how to get the best out of the different wind directions and how the coastline of bays, headlands and drowned river valleys can be used to create the most enjoyable sailing and overnight stops. in the Spring and Autumn you might squeeze in a bit of night sailing, but generally you are tucked up at anchor in time to relax and watch the sun set. In summer the days are long and with all that fresh air and lovely supper to send you to sleep you might not even see the dark.
On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage.
On the first day you will probably be so focused on learning to steer a big pilot cutter, set and trim sails and adjusting to your floating home, you may lose track of where you have sailed. It might not be far, but you will have been ‘in the flow’ of a busy day that is totally different from life ashore. You might anchor for lunch but it is more likely you will enjoy it on deck whilst sailing along when the weather and winds are fair.
Charlestown is tucked in a valley mouth under the distinctive China Clay hills of St Austell. The wide Bay that is on her backdoor stretches from the stripey daymark on Gribben Head to the reassuring bulk of the Dodman. Mevagissey, Porthmellon and Gorran Haven Polkerris are all little fishing ports or quays you can anchor off in different wind directions as well as hideaways without habitation like Silver Mine Cove or Vault Beach.
Around Dodman Point is Gerrans Bay, punctuated in the middle by Nare Head, Gull Rock and the Whelps. Inshore fishing boats are nearly aways present here, and can sail inside Gull Rock with a bit of care. Portscatho, Portholland, and Portloe all look very different from the water. There are many beautiful beaches here in summer that are fine to anchor off for a swim or a run ashore in offshore winds.
The next big sailing area Westwards is into Falmouth Bay, Carrick Roads and St Mawes Bay. the river entrances to Falmouth & Flushing, Helford River and the extensive Fal River network.
The Lizard Peninsula stretches 14 miles out to sea and offers up a barrier of Serpentine Rock to shelter the coast from Westerlies and Atlantic Swell.
We can’t imagine you will spend 3 days on Mascotte and not go to lovely Fowey and Polruan. The harbour entrance between cliffs is dramatic but its deep water so you can sail in between the forts when the wind is right. This bustling port has China Clay cargo ships to surprise you but is a perfect evening venue for pubs, restaurants or local walks in the woods and clifftops. In summer colourful Troy dinghies race amongst the moorings with great daring and gig boats train.
Beyond Fowey is Lantic Bay where wild orchids grow and kestrels hover over the beautiful cliff backed beach. The rugged coastline from her has few ports that Anny can enter until you get to Cawsand or Plymouth itself. It doesn’t stop you anchoring off Looe Island and watching 70-80 fishing boats head into the shallow port. Polperro is also too tiny for Anny but you could still visit by ships boat, or remain at anchor, aloof from the tourists ashore.
The remoteness of the Cornish coast in the far west brings its own special reward to those who sail with us. Cornwall has some amazing starry nights and with no street lights causing light pollution, it can be so clear that you can see the Milky Way. Ocean sunsets to die for, isolated lighthouses with their unique sequence of flashing times, tiny fishing harbours that are still in use today by inshore fishermen and women. Some of the biggest cliffs on the south coast of Cornwall have been sculptured by pounding winter gales and wild wind. Almost tropical white sands with sparkling mica sticking to your toes; woodlands stunted by the wind, but with trees adorned with lichen (a sure sign of unpolluted air), lush ferns and springs along the many coastal footpaths make Cornwall a magical place to explore from the sea.
The Gulf Stream provides unexpected sightings of turtles, sunfish and more regular visits by dolphins (common, bottlenose and risso’s dolphin), porpoises, whales and giant basking sharks. Gales often bring in wheeling gannets, tiny storm petrels, guillemots, razorbills and even puffins.
The Fal and Helford Estuaries are designated as Special Areas of Marine Interest, and Fowey River has much unspoilt woodland on either bank. Breeding seals hide in sea caves and deep “zawns”, a Cornish word for a deep cleft in the cliffs probably caused by the collapse of a cave. The drowned river valleys (called rias) have dense oak woodlands with branches sweeping down to deep green waters. At low tide the mudflats are home to egrets, curlews, oystercatchers and leggy herons—all the birds that go screech. At night you hear owls hooting in the moonlight, and a few guests have seen elusive otters in the early morning mists.
The beauty of coastal wandering in local waters over a couple of days is the skipper can find the best sailing angles for the most enjoyable sailing. Mevagissey Bay, , Falmouth Bay, St Mawes Bay, Gerrans Bay, all can offer sheltered waters in certain wind directions and the vast Plymouth other Harbour behind its breakwater offers options to the East. Not so easy to sail up unless you like a challenge, but equally fascinating are the drowned river valleys of Cornwall. The wooded tidal Rivers of Fowey, Fal and Helford, offer still waters and places to moor up and shelter from wild weather. Surrounded by nature it’s not a bad place to ever be storm bound.
In fine weather you can head as far offshore as you want for more wind, ocean swell and a good blast.
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 on 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
This historic private harbour is the home port of Anny and Mascotte, but there are often several tall ships in the dock and you never quite know what you will find.
Charlestown Harbour is set on the rugged South Cornish Coast. The last open 18th Century Georgian harbour in the UK, Charlestown is proud to be a UNESCO world heritage site, with a unique history and geography. Charlestown is still a vibrant working port, with classic sailing vessels, beautiful beaches and great places to eat and drink.
Charlestown Harbour has also made a name for itself in the film and TV industries, featuring in Poldark, Taboo, Hornblower and many other productions.
A natural amphitheatre and great setting for your friends or relatives to come and wave goodbye from. Charlestown is tidal, so access both in and out is determined by high tide times. We will advise you nearer to departure of the exact joining times.
Mascotte is a totally new vessel for Classic Sailing to promote, but she has been sailing with charter guests and as a private yacht for many years - mostly in Scotland but also in the Scillies and Norway.
Skippers from many of the other boats we have worked with have sailed in company with Mascotte and we have never personally heard a bad word about her voyages.
The many photos we have of Mascotte were taken by the co-founders of Classic Sailing Debbie and Adam when they have been out on Eve of St Mawes as skippers.We have raced against Mascotte and although she was 4 times the weight of our little pilot cutter Eve Mascotte was always sailed with perfect manners and courtesy and her guests always looked like they were having fun with former skipper Richard Clapman.
We are thrilled the former mate with Richard and Mascottes relief skipper Huw has taken over the the main skipper of this big pilot cutter and historic heirloom.
You won't have to take our word for much longer.
As soon as we have the first guest feedback we will update this page.
The largest surviving Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter Mascotte is 60 ft on deck. Built in 1904 in Wales and restored in Gloucester Mascotte is a magnificent example of Welsh maritime history. She is now offering short sailing breaks around Cornwall from her new home port of Charlestown Harbour.
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