Racing at Falmouth Classics 2018: Our Stories & Photos

Falmouth Adventures

SaltyJobs has been in Falmouth for a few weeks now, having adventures of all sorts and meeting some very inspiring people. I first came to catch up with Holly of Latham’s Traditional Boatworks, helping move lugger Veracity into the Cockwells yard at Mylor Bridge.

The 5:45am start was worth it, hauling up the anchor off the Pendennis anchorage in Falmouth and making our way round to Mylor Creek with the most beautiful sunlight and reflections on the still early morning water.

The best kind of early morning

Holly has been planning extensive works on Veracity, her home, and it has been inspiring to watch her make such fantastic progress in the yard over the past few weeks – we will share an article soon. 

It was also great to cross paths again with Cockwells, who we first met at the Southampton Boat Show 2017 and have since joined as our latest SaltyJobs Employer Member. They’ve posted x5 great new jobs already – plenty of opportunities to come and join this fantastic salty world in Falmouth. Check them out here

Falmouth Classics & Shanty Festival

And then last weekend was Falmouth Classics 2018 and the Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival 2018. The biggest events in the traditional calendar. We love any opportunity to catch up with friends, new and old, and spread the word about SaltyJobs that little bit further. 

Falmouth Classics is, after all, the largest Classic boating event in the UK – so we couldn’t miss it. We had an absolutely fantastic time and are excited to share our photos & stories with you.

Salty Connections

It seems the word has already travelled and it was awesome to see Tall Ship Kaskelot and wave hello at deckhand Jim, who was wearing his very salty SaltyJobs t-shirt. Deckhand Silas was also onboard – Silas was the lucky candidate who landed the much-coveted deckhand job that we posted for Kaskelot back in April.

Sailing back in to Falmouth past Kaskelot.

We were also looking forward to meeting New Dawn Traders, a sail cargo initiative from Bristol. Alex came down to exhibit at Classics, and it was great to put a face to an Instagram name. Thanks for the chocolate, New Dawn Traders! 

We’re pretty excited to be part of what seems like a strong new generation of female business leaders coming into the marine industry. There are more awesome women doing great things than I ever knew. Time for an update on that perhaps. 

Finding A Spot At Classics

Another friend, Edmund, also arrived in Falmouth for Classics. We met at Barry Yacht Club last October 2017, at the Bristol Cock ‘o The Channel Race. Edmund was racing on gaff cutter Jan Rorlan, and I was crew onboard Mascotte.  It was a gruelling race, and Mascotte was the only boat of three to finish. Edmund was on his way to Falmouth to race onboard Jan Rorlan again, and wondered if I was around. I replied straight away to let him know I was already there. 

Edmund looking over the bow at competitor Keewaydin at Falmouth Classics.

He was sure there would be a spot on Jan Rorlan for me. I had spent many hours watching her on the horizon in the race last year. It would be amazing to sail onboard her. 

Jan Rorlan alongside Falmouth Yacht Haven during Classics 2018.

Another fantastic few connections coming together. Falmouth seems to be the place for it.

Racing Onboard Jan Rorlan

And so, I was so excited and honoured to join Jan Rorlan and her wonderful crew for racing on Friday & Saturday, and the Parade of Sail on Sunday. 

Jan Rorlan is a 67ft gaff-rigged ketch, built to a Laurent Giles design, of a wood epoxy construction weighing 32t. Her build was started by current owner Wesley and his father, in 1986, and completed in 1994, registered in Bristol. 

Owner Wesley & Edmund racing onboard Jan Rorlan in the sun at Falmouth Classics. The natural suncream wasn’t so good after all.

I was very much welcomed aboard and soon found a place amongst the crew – consisting of Wesley, his partner Fleur & 6-year-old daughter Rosa, and crewmates Simon and Edmund.

Foredeck crew Simon & Edmund. No shade on this tack!

My first ever Falmouth Classics. Onboard a beautiful gaff cutter… and we might be in with a chance of winning!

I usually end up on the boat most likely to win some kind of booby prize, whether it be for oldest boat or boat least likely to finish, etc., so it was going to be a bit different sailing on something that wasn’t likely to start sinking halfway round, let alone actually win. 

With the finest suit of sails I’ve ever seen, ever. And a fine crew too. What a privilege. 

We raced on both Friday and Saturday, and did extremely well, winning all of our class races. It was planned to have two races on Friday, but the start was delayed due to a large shipping movement and the wind was not quite as expected, so it was late enough by the time we’d finished the first race – two laps of a course taking us up around the Carrick Roads, not a better place to race on a sunny summer’s day. 

On our second day of racing the wind was a little lighter, and we were the only boat of our class to finish the race. It was great fun though as it was light enough for us to place around with poling out big headsails, and sheeting in the flying jib didn’t become too much of a problem.

And then on Sunday it died off completely, making for a spectacular parade of sail, many ships looming  on a still horizon, full sails set, drifting nowhere. Another magical moment.

Overtaking lugger Grayhound on our way round the course. She looked mighty fine and her canon sounded pretty mean too!

And we really enjoyed ourselves. 6-year-old Rosa was an important part of the crew, handing out crisps whenever we weren’t tacking, and when we were, Rosa was on important look-after-the-camera-whilst-we-tack duties.

6-year-old Rosa took this fantastic shot whilst we were racing and she was on camera duty.

We were rafted out alongside a few bigger vessels – Grayhound and Pilgrim – so had to wait for them to go back in before we could. We enjoyed a sail out of the harbour and around the bay, before heading back to shore to enjoy the festivities.

The racing was awesome, but it’s great that Classics is as much about the taking part and mixing with the other crews as it is the serious competitiveness. After all, classic boat owners need all the social and emotional support they can get!

In the evenings, we discussed the day’s racing – and learned of our tactical misdemeanours – over wine and whiskey in Falmouth Art Gallery, mingling with the other Classics sailors and discovering an art collection by heralded Cornish artist John Dyer. The sounds of shanties rang all around us, and we enjoyed some fantastic bands. 

It’s also inspiring to hear everybody’s stories, all so different. Some classics are maintained on practically zero budget and the owners relish enjoyment from doing as much as they can for as little as possible; other vessels work for their keep, and represent their owners’ livelihoods; and some are fortunate enough to be in a position to maintain their classics with no expense spared.

The Amazing Story of Jan Rorlan

It wasn’t until the second day that I even came to realise the full story behind Jan Rorlan. Wesley, of Noble Masts & Spars, built Jan Rorlan together with his father, starting the build in 1986 and finishing it in 1994. They built her on a barge, in Bristol’s floating harbour, and Wes is now the sole owner of the fine yacht.

And the barge? 

Wes & family have been living aboard Jan Rorlan for yearswhose light and open space down below makes for a fantastic living space. Their home port is Bristol, where Wes still keeps the barge, and they have very recently moved off the yacht and into the barge.

However, this is not without complaint… Fleur points out there is currently an aeroplane in the way of their living & galley space. It’s Wes’s current build.

We had a great time. Thanks Jan Rorlan & crew for making me very welcome. 

An Awesome Classics

P.S. Thanks to Jessie, our friend and manager of Tall Ship Kaskelot, for this rare photo-of-the-photographer:

Meet Us In Falmouth

We’re still in Falmouth for a bit, and are keen to meet up with salty folk down here. So – get in touch if you fancy a chat! Leave a comment below or contact us.

Your comments: join the conversation

Events, Our Stories, Photos

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