Westerly winds. Heading west.
Not the most ideal of conditions for the arrival of a sail cargo ship, though thankfully Gallant’s valiant crew of the Blue Schooner Company, seemed to defy the laws of physics and battled against the elements (albeit for four days) to get to Penzance after delivery to Bristol, she made it, just! In the wee hours, she snuck in under the canopy of the breaking dawn, as she sailed in to open arms of the safe haven of Mounts Bay, and was met by the Penzance Harbour crew who welcomed both her and working fishing trawlers alongside, simultaneously. There seemed to be the sense of something olden happening, something that spanned generations, in the knowing that cargo was being bought in to town by sail ship once again.
The ship was very well received on her second visit to one of Cornwall’s most renowned seaside communities. After her first visit earlier in the year for the local summer festival of Golowan, there were numerous locals who were excited about welcoming her back, topping up stocks and buying in some goodies for festive gifts to share with friends and family.
As Thursday came, and the winds showed no sign of subsiding, Penzance’s Port Ally and curious customer’s were glad to wake to find that the good ship had arrived safely in the night, though not quite ship shape and of Bristol fashion – due to having to send two sails off for repairs upon arrival! Woosh! Despite the trying conditions of the voyage south, the ship’s crew were in great spirits.
The hope was that we would be able to invite locals aboard for ship tours and collections at our onboard ‘Ship Shop’ though this time, the access was too hair-raising to impose upon unsuspecting members of the public, so we rolled out the tables on the harbour to sell wares from far off lands to the good people of Penwith. We excitedly waited for our pre-order customers to meet us throughout the day, one by one and often all at once! Whilst hour-by-hour, anticipation was building for Penzance’s Sail Cargo Shindig to be held later in the evening just a short walk from the harbour itself at the town’s new bar ’45 Queen St’!
During the day we had the Cornish Maritime Trust’s Lugger ‘Barnabas’ row in on the high tide, to load up with cargo bound for Falmouth – to continue the sail-shipped chain to onward waters. Gone as swiftly as she came, dates have yet to be confirmed for this delivery from Newlyn, awaiting agreeable conditions whilst the cargo is stored nearby, so keep an eye on CMT’s mediums for updates in the days to come, and you may be able to join in on this voyage!
When the time came, the Ship Shop moved up hill to the town’s newest venue, hidden within plain-sight just off Chapel Street, opened recently by wonderful duo Hannah and Sam of ‘Tinkture’, who make beautiful Rose Gin in their local still. We were thrilled by salty musical stories by Alice and Keith of The Murmurations, and serenaded by various local legendary musicians Tom Dale; with the night ending in a suitably rambunctious knees-up with Danny and Mikey of the Flats and Sharps.
As Saturday came, after the ship’s maintenance was tended to and the ship-mates caught up with some well-earned rest, we managed to twist some arms in to staying one more night, as the crew of the New Dawn Traders and Blue Schooner Company were invited to a spectacular Tuvan inspired banquet put on by ‘Smugglers Records’ at ‘The Old Tractor Shed’ near Penryn, and accompanied by native Tuvan throat singer trio ‘Alash’, followed by a riotous selection of Cornish-festival-inspired games with local personality Seamas Carey – a night to remember for one and all.
Our late-night farewells to the Blue Schooner crew were followed by an early start for the ship, for her 5am high-tide departure. Without any further ado, the Gallant left as she arrived though not intentionally through cover of darkness, as we would have all loved to have waved her off! With a busy schedule to abide to and various ports awaiting her arrival, she made her merry way north-east to Newhaven.
A whistle-stop tour of Cornwall for the Gallant, but we so look forward to welcoming them back early next summer!
New Dawn Traders Penzance Port Ally