New friends in Newlyn…


Most things seem better in the sun and with a bright Monday and the added bonus of Chris and Yee Tak on board, (and Chris’s Dorset Apple cake), we set about taming our wild diesel bugs. Research is suggesting that with bio-diesels becoming more common, the problem of bugs will not go away, it just needs managing. We consider taking out the tank for a steam clean (where?) and renewing the fuel lines, but even that doesn’t always solve the problem. In fact we meet Jacques, a depressed French sailor who had exactly the same problem last year and had all the fuel system professionally cleaned…and then encountered his buggy friends all over again. Talking to various people around the thriving fish dock, it seems that fishing boats are not immune either. Their most pragmatic solution is the one we finally opt for….regular biocides in the fuel, followed by dispersants to suspend the hopefully now dead slimes to be burnt in the engine…and a large stock of replacement filters. The message is not if you get an attack, but when.


Our problem now is to source filters and new fuel line…enter new Newlyn friend number 1. We don’t get his name, but the young engineer in MTS runs us into Penzance in his van having phoned ahead to determine that they have the parts. His knowledge of diesel filters and part numbers is encyclopaedic and even better, at  22 years old, he is a great advert for the power of apprenticeships…even if he is critical of Cornwall College’s admin! Within the hour he gets us to Penzance and back complete with parts and even better, it only takes one more hour for the guys at Mill Autos to get extra filters delivered to the quay.

A sub-plot to all this is Yee Tak’s new friend Louis, off the fishing boat Victoria Anne. He sells us 3 huge crabs and one large spider crab for a total of £10.  She spends the rest of the day plotting the cooking and serving of the crabs…

…meanwhile, back in the engine room…Heydays is treated to a new filter, new fuel lines and a shock dose of biocide. The fuel refuses to flow until we take the highly technical action of blowing down the fuel line! With a rush the diesel flows and soon Heydays responds with a healthily purring engine once more. We throw in some dispersant for good measure and the engine appears to run faultlessly. It will take a while however, for us to completely relax without hearing every little change of engine note…

Newlyn is a busy fishing port with the outward signs of relative prosperity and we are enchanted by the constant activity both dockside and in the harbour. Despite the lack of a decent shower and dedicated facilities for soft yachties, we find that it has swiftly become one of the highlights on our journey round the UK, with a welcome and friendliness up with the best of the encounters we had on the East coast.

Spider crab gives us a great late supper, washed down with some chilled Picpoul de Pinet…

New friends in Newlyn part 2…

Tuesday dawns bright and sunny and we resolve to test the engine with a sail round the bay over to St Michaels Mount. Heydays pushes through a clear sparkling sea with a few returning fishing boats for company and although we enjoy the wind in our sails, we keep the engine running and listen nervously for any coughing or spluttering. This comes just as the rock is abeam and instantly we are out of our reverie and making sure that the wind will take us comfortably back to the safety of Newlyn harbour. It turns out to be just a blip, but…

Back in our berth, two more crabs and some salmon fill us to overflowing for lunch. A very happy hour or so is spent cracking, sucking and picking very last bits of juicy sweet meat from the shells…these are then boiled up to make a fantastic smelling stock…

We then resolve to tackle the intermittent aerial problems at the top of the mast. John and Yee Tak heave James plus his share of crab (big mistake) to the top of the mast. Operations there involve the highly technical ‘wiggling’ and making and breaking connections.

The anchor light responds and so does the VHF (we think). This is not a job to be done at sea and we marvel at how the old sailors used to think nothing of going aloft to deal with wet and flogging canvas in often rough seas and icy conditions.

In to Newlyn for a drink and Yee Tak is drawn inexorably to the Elisabeth Veronique which is unloading her catch after 5 days at sea. Enter new Newlyn friends number 3, 4 and 5. The skipper Mark, together with his two crew Shan and the apprentice Adam are happy for us to have a look and very soon they are filling a bag with 5 huge squid. They refuse to take any money and yet again we are humbled by the generosity of people who, having spent 5 days at sea in a small boat are happy to give away some of their hard-earned catch to complete strangers.

After 2 days rest they will be back out to sea again, to ensure that the rest of us can casually have squid, cuttlefish, turbot and brill for tea as the fancy or the latest cooking show takes us. Safe trips guys and we’ll think of you as we tuck in to our squid.

The swordfish by the quay turns out to be simply a great old-fashioned pub (albeit with some great music). We get chatting to new Newlyn friend number 6. Tammy is from the same part of S London as James and her Dad had one of the last big traditional London funerals (as we see on You Tube later). She has named her dog after him and swears that her chocolate lab has her Dad’s spirit and genes…

On hearing our troubles in hiring a car, she immediately gets on the phone to sort things out for us. In short order, she has found a car and even arranges to drive us out there to pick it up next day in her break time from work. Once again we are humbled by simple generosity and the kindness of strangers.

We reflect that Newlyn has a special place in our hearts and raise (several) glasses to the men of the Sennen Cove lifeboat, to the apprentice at MTS, to Louis on the Victoria Anne, to Mark Shan and Adam from the Elisabeth Veronique and to Tammy and indeed all the others in this remarkable community we didn’t have the chance to meet.

One thought on “New friends in Newlyn…

  1. Wow that’s some story guys. Forget Master and Commander, you’ve got a future in writing sea going disaster novels or as in this case, fiction as reality! Lyn and I read this in bed on a sunny morning in Turkey and didn’t whether to laugh or cry. However mainly glad you’re safe and sound and, yes Newlyn experience clearly uplifting.
    Ps Lyn gagging over the squid bit
    PPS I’ve decided to cancel our order for the 50 footer Benetton.
    AnL xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s