25-Jul-2006 -- The Scilly Isles is a beautiful archipeligo of small islands of the SW corner of England – the weather can be bad – foggy or stormy – but when it is not they are magic. Go there once if you can – you will go back.
I went twice 40 something years ago when a small boy and again twice 15 years ago when our own children were small. So it was time to go again – twice?
Sailing has been a passion of mine for many years and the Scillies seemed a perfect place to sail around in a small boat. The trouble is that the sea between the Scillies and Lands End is not often perfect for a small boat. I have a 16 foot Wayfarer dinghy which is pretty seaworthy (they have been sailed across the North Sea to Holland and Norway and survived severe gales). So this all led to the idea of a crossing. The icing on the cake was a DCP halfway across – almost on the ideal course.
This summer I am at home for the first time for several years and I decided to go for it. My son Thomas agreed to join me and we drove down from Scotland. After due preparations and the local lifeboat coxswain asking “ I am now going to ask you a rude question – Do you know what you are doing?” we set off at 10.30 on 25th July into the wide blue (well greenish) sea. The weather was very calm after a period of hot weather and little wind. The outboard was required to make progress and with good visibility we were able to head directly towards the point.
There is a Traffic Separation Scheme around the Scillies – these schemes are designed to avoid ships crashing into each other in congested waterways. Boats crossing shipping lanes are supposed to do so at right angles to the lane so that there intentions are clear to vessels using the lane and are not supposed to anchor or impede vessels in the lane. Well Captain Peter can tell you more about all that - I just didnt want him or his colleagues to mow me down.
The point 50N 6W lies just in the southbound lane. After just over 3 hours motoring covering a distance of 13 nautical miles we arrived at the spot and took the photos. Both the mainland and the Scillies were visible but it is difficult to see any detail on the photos. On the previous evening the Scillies could be seen from Lands End (and the point somewhere in between). The GPS says we took the “closest approach” photo at 14.21.
Once again we set off on our course to the Eastern Isles of the Scillies. Here we anchored and set up camp. We then celebrated my birthday with a delicious meal washed down with wine or Irn Bru according to taste.
We had 2 days on the Scillies and sailed back – no need for motor this time – on Friday 28th. This was a little earlier than planned but strong winds were forecast and I did not want to be stuck there.
One more confluence point done – not previously indexed – but definitely with a view of land - so within the bounds of England and UK.