Es­sen­tials

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Britain -

Brian Jack­man trav­elled on board Prov­i­dent with the Trin­ity Sail­ing Foun­da­tion (01803 883355; trin­i­ty­sail­ing.org), a reg­is­tered char­ity ded­i­cated to sup­port­ing the per­sonal de­vel­op­ment of dis­ad­van­taged young peo­ple through off­shore sail train­ing and con­serv­ing his­toric sail­ing ves­sels in its care. Its wooden trawler fleet – Prov­i­dent, Leader and Golden Van­ity – also of­fer tra­di­tional sail­ing hol­i­days in the West Coun­try, Channel Is­lands, Brit­tany and the west coast of Scot­land, with prices rang­ing from £295 for a three-night Taster Cruise to £1,095 for a nine-night ex­tended trip to Brit­tany. from green to deep­est mid­night blue, and the land changed also, with hardly a tree to break the windswept Cor­nish sky­line.

The fur­ther west we trav­elled, the wilder the coast be­came, its gaunt cliffs pierced by caves and chasms, un­til in early evening, rolling down the sil­ver path laid by the set­ting sun, a hag­gard head­land called the Grib­bin loomed ahead of us, its day­mark raised like an ad­mon­ish­ing fin­ger to an­nounce the im­mi­nent pres­ence of Fowey.

Lulled to sleep by the sound of church bells, I woke to find the weather had changed. Fowey’s slate rooftops were lagged with mist; but by the time we left our moor­ing the sun had re­turned and the wind blew strongly from the west, whip­ping up white horses all around us as we beat away to­wards the Dod­man, the high­est head­land on the South Cor­nish coast.

In late af­ter­noon the wind abated and the sea calmed as we rolled on past St An­thony Head to drop an­chor off Swan­pool Beach on the out­skirts of Fal­mouth. There we lay un­til our last morn­ing, en­joy­ing a lazy breakfast on deck be­fore cruis­ing into Fal­mouth Roads and com­ing to rest be­hind the Na­tional Mar­itime Mu­seum, an ap­pro­pri­ate berth for a doughty old relic of our seago­ing his­tory.

Only then, at the end of the voy­age, did I re­alise what a priv­i­lege it had been to sail with such a friendly and for­giv­ing crew. I would miss the skip­per’s cheer­ful ban­ter and that of Martin Hendry, the mate from Ed­in­burgh, with his in­ex­haustible reper­toire of sea shanties; but the real star of the show was “Provi” her­self, and long af­ter I had gone ashore for the last time I could still feel my body rock­ing to her easy rhythm.

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