National Geographic : 1961 Aug
Blue-winged Water Skimmers Sweep Across Falmouth Harbor Enterprise-class dinghies racing during Fal mouth Week in mid-August follow the wake of a long parade of ships. Tradition speaks of Ro mans coming here for grain, Greeks for hides, Phoenicians and Bretons for tin. Henry VIII built a castle on Pendennis Point, and Sir Wal ter Raleigh laid plans for developing the port. The golden age of sailing shed much of its glitter on this Cornish harbor. Out went pack ets carrying the mails to the West Indies; in came grain sailers and nitrate ships for orders that sent them to the ports of Europe. In World War I Falmouth harbored thousands of Allied ships. No longer a major shipping center, Falmouth still keeps its harbor filled. Pleasure craft tes tify to its fame as a year-round resort. Flower-lined lanes and pastel-painted shops enchant Mrs. Melville Bell Grosvenor, son Edwin, and the author on a tour of Polperro. Many shops and inns in Cornwall bear nautical names, such as this Captain's Cabin. motion, as if it were in a bad temper that morning and did not want us to make westing at all. Well, there were lots of places we could go into and put the anchor down if it got really )' bad. Brixham, Dartmouth, Salcombe were all SlPIA good anchorages. So was Tor Bay. But mid IABmorning brought a real improvement, and we -- sailed on. I could look in at all these fascinat ing ports on the way back. The wind went to northwest and north, off the land, and the cliffs of Devon gave us shelter from its strength. We bowled along pleasantly under all plain sail. The sun shone and the decks dried. Ike gave the boys- Hank Hornblower, from Boston and Plymouth, Massachusetts; Peter Lisle-Taylor, cadet at Pangbourne Nau tical College; and my 12-year-old son Peter lessons in splices and sailors' knots, while seated round the chests on the little poop. Ike mostly acted as cook, too. He was our best seaman, and he never tired of passing on sailing-ship knowledge. "Soon there'll be nobody left who can do that at all," he said, which is sadly true.