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Holding up in Falmouth – A Popular Cruising Stopover!

We had sailed from Fowey to hold up for a few days in Falmouth whilst we waited for a weather window to make our crossing to the Isles of Scilly. A friend had let us borrow his mooring, but shush…don’t tell the harbour authorities, especially as a visitor mooring would have been in the region of £30 a night (July 2022)😱

Apparently Falmouth has the world’s third largest natural harbour, and the deepest in Western Europe, not that that really matters to most people but we thought it might be an interesting fact for some! For those after a marina you have Falmouth Haven and Port Pendennis Marina adjacent to Falmouth town centre, Falmouth Marina about a mile upstream of Falmouth on the Penryn River, or Mylor Yacht Harbour Marina a little further up the Fal past Carrick Roads and around Penarrow Point. There are also visitor swing moorings available from Falmouth Haven and Mylor, and an anchorage area just east of the visitors pontoon of Falmouth Haven, which costs £10 a night in harbour dues. We also noticed some yachts anchored close to Trefusis Point.

Falmouth Haven Yacht Marina

Facilities Ashore

Taking the dinghy ashore we were able to leave it at Falmouth Haven at a cost of £3.50 for 4 hours (£1.75 per metre). They offer a loyalty card scheme where we could get the seventh stay free but unfortunately we didn’t use it that much. However we could use their facilities; their washrooms are very nice with the radio playing, though not as relaxing when you time it for the Jeremy Vine lunchtime show debating news stories! 😩 They have two washing machines, £4.50 for an eco wash, and two tumble driers, £1 for 10 minutes, and you will need that metal stuff called coins as they haven’t yet joined the contactless revolution! Plus they wouldn’t give us any change saying they only open the machine to give the money to the harbour master, not particularly helpful really.

We topped up our petrol at the fuel pontoon at Falmouth Haven at an eye watering £2.48 a litre – and apparently that was cheap as we were told it was around £3 up at Mylor! Luckily our diesel tank was still relatively full, one fuel payout a day was enough! For gas we had to dinghy up the river to Falmouth Marina as the Haven did not have any left. We left our dinghy on the back of one of the pontoons but were not made to feel particularly welcome, it was a case of ‘err you can leave it there but you’ll have to be quick and make sure you’re not blocking anyone’ So we took the opportunity to go over to Sainsbury’s and do a food shop🤣 The chandlery here is like an old portacabin but the man who ran it was very friendly, even if he did relieve us of £40 for a 2.7kg refill bottle. However that price pales into insignificance to a refill we later purchased from Bosuns chandlery in the town – a whopping £55 – insane prices!😡

As mentioned there is a large Sainsbury’s supermarket within walking distance of Falmouth Marina as well as a large Lidl. On our next shopping trip we left our dinghy on the Rustler Yachts pontoon, with their permission, and walked up. If you’re in the town itself you have a choice of two Tesco Express stores – the one ‘up’ in the town is better stocked than the one at Discovery Quay.

Falmouth Quayside

Falmouth town centre has a wide variety of shops and eateries and was colourfully decorated with pastel bunting across the street. There are various boat trips that run from the town including trips over to St Mawes and Flushing, and up the Fal. Along the front you’ll find a handful of quayside pubs or pop along to Discovery Quay where you’ll find a mix of shops, businesses, cafés and restaurants, as well as the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.

There’s also a huge retail shop called Trago Mills, just along the Harbourside, which claims to stock around 180,000 products in 38 departments including a small chandlery section which may be of use to visiting yachtsmen.

Discovery Quay

A walk out the headland will take you past the docks to Pendennis Castle, a Tudor fortress used to defend Falmouth for hundreds of years. The headland also offers spectacular views over the surrounding coastline. Further around you’ll come across some of Falmouth’s beaches including Castle beach and Gyllyngvase beach.

Falmouth is a popular port of call for many vessels, particularly due to its westerly position. Whilst pretty we found it very busy and quite expensive. However it was the perfect spot for us to do a bit of provisioning before continuing our journey west – it was time to take on our biggest challenge to date: Sailing to the Scilly Isles!

VIDEO: Exploring a little bit of Falmouth

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