July 8th – 12th: Swallow Yachts Raid 2018

[N.B. this is my “Diary Entry” Raid photos are Here!]

The Cafe and Exmouth NCI station

For the third year I participated in the Swallow Yachts Raid (based at Mylor Yacht Harbour near Falmouth) by helping to man one of the safety ribs. I drove down early on Sunday 8th July and did a minor diversion down to Exmouth for breakfast at the Harbour View cafe. Having left about 0520 I got there a bit before it opened at 8am and, in wandering around, realised that the tower above the cafe (which I hadn’t noticed before!) is the local NCI Station. When I was leaving after breakfast at an outside table they were just opening up so I went up and had a look around and a pleasant chat with the two watchkeepers.


At Mylor I checked in with Helen for important details like the combination for the toilet block door, a parking pass, and the time of the evening meal in Castaways. I then went on to the Greenbank Hotel. It was too early to check in but I confirmed I had room 209 (the same as the last two years) and got a parking pass so I could leave the car and walk into Falmouth where I bought some sandals and visited the Maritime Museum. For me the star exhibit is the Flying Dutchman “Super’docious” built by Bob Hoare of Highcliffe (who also built one or two seaflys). Rodney Pattison sailed it to Olympic gold.

Monday morning from the hotel room

Despite the hot weather, room 209 was not as hot as I feared, and the hotel staff undid the window restraint for me –  once I’d promised not to jump out! The view from the room makes up for any heat! I do like staying at the Greenbank Hotel.

My photos of the raid and sailing programme is described in a separate section of this website. Matt Newland had had a gear failure on his new “Coast 250” which had caused some minor damage just before the raid so could not bring it. The resulting reshuffle meant that on the Monday I was in one rib with Olly while Lara went in the other rib with Chris, and, since she knows the owners, did the race timing. It was hot and the winds were fairly light so apart from rescuing my hat when it blew off, and towing Pearl into Mylor when their engine would not start, we had a quiet day.

A sun visor takes a dip.

On the Tuesday a strong easterly wind cancelled the planned race to Helford and instead the fleet raced to Malpas and back to the beach below Trelissick House. Matt was hoping to get some aerial video using his new drone, so for the first time I was the main rib driver which I quite enjoyed. The fear that we might be needed kept the drone grounded for most of the day, although despite the wind gusts there were no capsizes. We rescued a sun visor and sometime later my Tilley hat blew out of the rib without me noticing. It was returned that evening having been picked up by one of the yachts – those hats really are guaranteed against loss!

Panorama at Malpas – the pontoon is centre coming out towards the viewer

Dawn on Wednesday was foggy. I dropped down to Flushing on the way to Mylor to look across at the Greenbank Hotel. You can really see how it is an amalgam of buildings all on different levels. The bathroom of room 209 is actually in a different building! At Flushing there’s one of the old RNLI barometers.

There was a worry that there would not be enough wind for the Helford trip. However the forecast force 2 to 3 duly appeared and it was a spinnaker reach in both directions. Again I drove the boat quite a bit and this time Matt did get more footage from the drone. The evening meal was somewhat disrupted since England were playing, and being beaten by, Croatia in the semi-finals of the World Cup.

I checked out of the Greenbank Hotel after breakfast on Thursday and headed directly back to Southampton. I’d still been waking up early in the mornings and the evening events tended to last until after 10pm so I felt pretty tired once back home. below are some assorted photos that did not make any of the other albums!

[view the photos of the 2018 Swallow Yachts Raid]