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Helford River

September Sailing to the Isles of Scilly

By Core Info

Our exclusive skippered charter to the Isles of Scilly in September was a complete success. Our venture to the west was helped by favourable conditions: with a NW Force 3-4 and tide on our side, it was one of our fastest passages to this part of the South West! The passage from Helford was just under 7 hours.

But it wasn’t easy.

Firstly, just look at the unreliable weather we experienced in August and September this year – high pressure was always close by but it was a complex picture. Our (normally) reliable apps that help us forecast wind speeds and direction were appearing less accurate and were changing regularly as sailing dates approached, making any planning for our skippered charters particularly difficult. It was frustrating for our skippers as they were often unable to predict what was going to happen one day to the next, let alone looking even further ahead to prepare for a trip to the Isles of Scilly.

However, as I am sure you are aware, the key to a successful sailing holiday is flexibility. And that is just what we got with our guests who were determined to reach this wonderful destination.

Due to the sailing conditions, our guests agreed to travel to Plymouth a day early to take advantage of favourable winds. After a night on the Helford River, an early start the next day meant they arrived at the Isles of Scilly by 2pm.

The first mooring was in Porthcressa – a bay located just south of St Marys. Our arrival was greeted by the pop of the champagne cork as our guests (who had attempted to get to the Isles of Scilly 3 times in the past!) had finally achieved their goal. With our early arrival, it was a trip ashore for a few beers in The Atlantic.

The following day heralded a change in wind direction and we were off to explore Tresco. This gave our guests the opportunity to spend the day exploring Tresco Abbey Garden and Vahalla Museum. Highly recommended.

With strong winds forecast from the south, the next day was going to be an ‘ashore day only’. We decided to relocate the yacht to St Marys, where our guests could go ashore and explore the island for the day. When mooring in the Isles of Scilly, you frequently have to move, as no one location has shelter from all wind directions.

With the strong weather over, it was time to use our SW winds to make the best speed to Helford. Sailing under perfect conditions in the sun with the yacht averaging speeds of 7 knots, we were back on the Helford River by 4pm, leaving us plenty of time to visit the Ferry Boat Inn.

The following day was our final leg back to Plymouth. In a strong southwesterly with impressive speeds, our leg was just 5 hours. Moored at King Point Marina by 2pm we were able to enjoy a much-welcomed shower in the first-rate facilities available there.

Many of our guests have ambitions to reach the Isles of Scilly, but are often surprised by how long it takes – it can be particularly difficult for inexperienced sailors or children due to the long passages required. This is why it is important for those wishing to undertake a trip like this with Devon Sailing Experiences are aware that, although it may be your dream, it may not necessarily happen. As with all our trips, your safety and comfort is our priority, so flexibility is the key. If you aim for the Isles of Scilly, but only get as far as Falmouth due to the conditions, it is important to accept that. However, if you make it all the way there and back in your scheduled time frame, the sense of achievement is amazing.