A total of 32 motorboats ranging in size from 6m-18.6m returned to home ports on Friday and Saturday after a two-week exploration that ranged as far west as the Scillies.

A total of 32 motorboats ranging in size from 6m-18.6m returned to home ports on Friday and Saturday after a two-week exploration that ranged as far west as the Scillies.

There was no doubt that the highlight for many was the opportunity to overnight in St Mary’s Harbour. Despite its exposed nature only one problem was experienced by the fleet on the that night; a complete absence of wind coinciding with slack water meant that rafts of boats were getting gently intimate on moorings all over the place as each group randomly swung to its own tune. A glorious sunset was a more than adequate trade-off.

The following day saw the fleet return by a series of dog legs, first to look at Longships off Lands End, then St Michael’s Mount, before running to Port Pendennis in Falmouth. The day after the wind got back from its holiday and buolt fresh out of the west, the sea state forecast for areas that had been mirror smooth turning to rough. No matter; by then participants were either exploring Falmouth or walking around the National Maritime Museum with ybw.com forum regular and former IPC staffer Bob Tyler who now lives in the area.

While the south-facing edge of the West Country can prove to be horribly exposed, its undulating nature can also provide shelter from even strong winds. Thus it was that the fleet took F5 westerly wind with tide passages firstly up to Fowey, where an overnight stay provided the opportunity of grandstand seats for the Duke of Kent’s visit for a Sea Britain day, then Mayflower Marina at Plymouth for a group meal at the on-site Brasserie.

After that came a run to Salcombe for an all-too-brief overnight stop, the original plan to stay longer curtailed by doubts about the weekend’s weather and the timing of the arrival of a low pressure system.

In the final analysis this cruise proved to be extra-ordinary on four counts: for its generally benign weather, for the hospitality and helpfulness of many people in ports of call, for the ever-changing scenery of the West Country bordered by crystal blue waters and for the high standard of reliability of the 33 participating boats.

Of the latter, three had major mechanical issues, but of those the Pearl 42Mystique of Southamptonwas repaired and caught up thanks to a gearbox change in record time in Weymouth. The Fairline 36 TurboU-Floozydeveloped serious engine problems soon after leaving Weymouth on the way out and sadly had to be left there after safely reporting back in. The proof that bad things run in threes didn’t manifest itself until the last day when a broken shaft coupling and bent shaft caused a slow run back under escort from St Alban’s Head for the Princess 46 RivieraOdyssea.

For the majority of participants it was their first time west of Poole. It is unlikely to be their last.