Cornwall lies at the extremity of the peninsula that is southwest England. It is bordered on the north and west by the Atlantic Ocean and on the south by the English Channel.
These are great waters for yacht charter, reasonable weather with in the main good winds, a dramatic coastline and numerous rivers set in beautiful valleys to explore. A two week charter will enable the yacht and crew to cover most of the south coast of Devon and Cornwall. But the area also lends itself too much shorter charters. As an example take a yacht charter from Falmouth and head north up the Fal estuary for Truro or go south and explore the beautiful River Helford.
Cornwall is the oldest county in England. The region is known for its deeply indented coasts, rocky cliffs, and rolling moorlands. Its scenic beauty has long attracted visitors. The craggy shores of Cornwall were once a haven for marauding pirates, immortalised in Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera The Pirates of Penzance.
Eating - Cornish pasties, pastry surrounding a filling normally of meat and vegetables. Originally produced as food for the local miners to carry underground. Variations include fillings of fish or a sweet filling rather than savoury. Or a combination, start eating at the savoury end and continue through to the sweet course at the other end.
In the main the climate is moderate and damp. Storms are common outside of the summer months and the prudent yachtsman will keep a close eye on the weather.
At Saltash, on the western bank of the River opposite Plymouth, Saltash Boat & Mooring Service has moorings
Torpoint is also on the west bank of the River and you will find moorings at Southdown Marina Boat Storage
West Looe lies on the Coast further to the west and Millpool Boat Yard offers moorings.
Fowey is one of the major sailing centres in Cornwall. It is situated on the south coast of Cornwall between Plymouth and Falmouth and is about 20 miles from each when sailing. The town Fowey stretches for about a mile along the west bank of the River Fowey to the mouth of the river. A passenger ferry runs across the river to the village of Polruan on the opposite bank. The busy harbour has a mix of commercial shipping involved in the export of the locally quarried china clay, many yachts and occasionally a large cruise liner. Fowey has an interesting history and much can be learnt about the town by visiting the Museum. Or, during the summer season, take a guided walk on a Tuesday morning. Other places of interest in and around Fowey include; the two block houses on either side of the harbour entrance, built around 1380, between which a chain was hung to prevent the entry of unfriendly ships into the harbour. Polruan blockhouse may be visited on foot. The harbour contains both swing moorings and floating pontoons. Contact Fowey Harbour Patrol on VHF Channel 12 when entering the port. A water taxi serves the harbour moorings, between Easter and November, and can be contacted on VHF Channel 6 or telephone +44(0) 7774 906703. Visiting yacht crews are welcome to use the facilities of the Fowey Gallants Sailing Club and the Royal Fowey Yacht Club.
Charlestown Harbour is a 200 year old Georgian china clay port and home to Square Sail's 3 Square Riggers. The harbour has lock gates open 1 hour before HW. SE & S winds cause heavy swells that can affect operation of lock.
Mevagissey Harbour is primarily a fishing Harbour. The village dates from the 15th century. If approaching from south a wide berth of Citadel Point is recommended. Approach to harbour is straightforward, but a sharp lookout should be maintained for static fishing gear in bay. The harbour entrance should be approached at low speed, no more than 3 knots. If the wind is from the East and exceeds force 3 it is strongly recommended to use Fowey as an alternative.
Truro is situated on the River Truro at the head of the tidal estuary of the Fal. The spire-topped towers of Truro Cathedral, the central tower is 76 metres high, built between 1880 and 1910, dominate the town. Many Georgian buildings survive from Truro's prosperous tin and copper mining days. The Royal Cornwall Museum has a good collection of paintings by local artists. For Truro follow navigation buoys marking the deep water channel up the Fal Estuary from the entrance. Carrick Maritime Section runs the visitors quays in Truro, including Town Quay, Worths Quay and Garras Wharf. The Upper Quays of Truro are tidal and access is restricted to vessels with a draft of not more than approximately 2m. Malpas Marine has berths.
For Penryn, follow channel marks and buoys up Penryn River to Exchequer Quay where visiting yachts may berth. Access is tidal. Moorings are available at Penryn Bridge Boatyard Challenger Marine has berths
Falmouth is a major yachting location in Cornwall and sits on the shoreline of the third largest natural harbour in the world. The Cornwall Maritime Museum tells the storey of Falmouth's nautical history. Many gardens are worth viewing and the subtropical climate supports the growth of many varieties of plants. The following are well worth a visit; Fox Rosehill, Queen Mary, Kimberley Park and Gyllyngdune are in Falmouth and those of Trelissick, Glendurgan and Trebah are all reached with ease. Pendennis Castle stands on the nearby headland of Pendennis Point, built by King Henry VIII between 1539-64 as a defence against the French. Today, the Castle, with its fine views across to the headlands of St Mawes and the Lizard Peninsula, stages battle re-enactments, jousting tournaments and concerts. There are several marinas offering berths. Trevissome House Marine has moorings. In the harbour are 18 visitors moorings marked with green buoys. A harbour launch will direct you to a suitable mooring. Do not berth at the Custom House Quay or Prince of Wales Pier steps as commercial vessels use these. If anchoring keep the fairways and channels clear. Do not anchor in vicinity of the docks or small craft mooring areas.
Gweek Quay Boatyard has moorings at Gweek Quay on the river Helford.
Penzance is the largest town in west Cornwall and the most westerly town in England and overlooks Mount's Bay. In the bay is St Michael's Mount, a small circular granite island that can be reached by a causeway at low tide. The island rises to about 100 metres and an ancient castle and monastery sit on top. Penzance has many old buildings dating from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The National Lighthouse Museum follows the history of local lighthouses that have directed ships away from the rocky, dangerous coastline for centuries. The Penzance Maritime Museum has an interesting collection of nautical memorabilia. The area around Penzance is a mix of high granite cliffs and white sandy beaches; many subtropical plants thrive due to the mild climate. A large number of prehistoric burial mounds and stones can be seen in the area, as can the extensive remains of Bronze Age villages. Penzance Harbour has 50 berths for visiting yachts. Access is tidal and lock gates are manned on every tide, 7 days a week, from 2 hours before high water until on hour after high water.
Newlyn is home to the largest fleet of fishing boats in the South of England. The Pilchard Museum shows how this little fish, which was once a major part of the local economy, was processed and packed for shipment to destinations worldwide. Penlee House has a collection of paintings from the Newlyn School. The school flourished during the late 19th century, inspiring artists such as Stanhope Forbes to capture the local area on canvas. If approaching Newlyn harbour from the E stay well to the S of Gear rock. From the W an E cardinal buoy marks Low Lea shoal. 3 cables to the NW a second shoal, Carn Base, is unmarked. Approach between 240ºT and 335ºT. Once inside Newlyn harbour head for the SW side of the central pier where you will be asked to tie up alongside the pier or a fishing boat.
The Scilly Isles lie about 25 miles off the southwest coast of Cornwall. There are 140 small islands and rocks of which only five are inhabited: St Mary's, Tresco, St Martin's, St Agnes and Bryher. The capital is Hugh Town, situated on a narrow sandbar on the south western side of the island of St Mary's. Yachts can moor or anchor St Mary's harbour. There is an anchorage at Old Grimsby on the eastern side of Tresco. There are moorings and an anchorage in Great Bay on the northern side of St Martin's. The cove on the western side of St Agnes is an almost landlocked bay and makes for a good anchorage.
This report is written to provide general information for people considering or preparing to charter a yacht in Devon. There is brief information and marinas, harbours, moorings and anchorages you may wish to visit during your charter.
More detailed information on this location can be found in our Cruising Guide. All this said, the prudent skipper, prior to embarking on the charter, will make sure the yacht is furnished with the appropriate, up to date, charts and pilotage notes for the area they are intending to sail in.