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Home : Past Voyages : Mounts Bay Area : Scilly : The Helford & Falmouth : East of Falmouth : Looe Lugger Regatta : France and Brest : Folkestone : Ireland : Young People Sailing


Folkestone Voyage

It is appropriate that we included a voyage to Folkestone by the Happy Return during the first full season of our sailing programme and we have included a note of the log.

We met many old and new friends who kindly provided us with so much information on the history of the vessel during it's early years spent working from this port. Many family members and relatives of the original owners from around the world arranged to see the vessel in Folkestone once again in it's original glory. They were able to experience the perilous lives that their ancestors spent working aboard.

It is just 100 years since the Happy Return made it's first voyage from Porthleven at Kitto's Yard where she was built to the new owners in Folkestone. She was originally paid for by public subscription in Folkestone on a wave of public sympathy for a local skipper John (Jack) Warman Saunders who lost his boat the Good Intent in a storm in 1904.

We took part in the SAILATHON 2005 on our 400 mile voyage to  Folkestone from Penzance which started on 19th July 2005.  The Association would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who took part in this event and especially our friends in Folkestone who gave us such a tremendous welcome. 

Folkestone has a strong affiliation towards Mounts Bay in Cornwall as many of it's fishing fleet at the start of the last century were built at Porthleven - mainly because of the strength, speed and reliability of these vessels. This bond may have declined in recent years but we hope that this voyage may have helped in renewing old ties between Folkestone and the people of Mount's Bay. 

Summary of the log

Quick links to the log on this page:-

Departure - Dartmouth - Weymouth - Swanage - Eastbourne - Folkestone - Home - Sailathon

Monday 18th July 2005: Happy Return was moved from Penzance to Newlyn and takes pride of place at Newlyn on the lifeboat pontoon alongside the Ivan Ellen the 17 metre-long all-weather Severn class lifeboat - the largest in the RNLI fleet.

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Tuesday 19th July 2005: Blessing by the Newlyn Mission Superintendent David Whitehead at 12.00 noon. Brian Barton, a relative of the family of the original owners, has a surprise - he has been booked on the voyage back to Folkstone as a member of the six crew! He is being interviewed here by Janette Eathorne for BBC Cornwall Connected. 

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The Happy Return departed Newlyn for Porthleven at 13.00. A brief stop was scheduled at Porthleven at around 14.30, but in the poor conditions she could only pass by the harbour. She can be seen here off Porthleven at 14.10 in a westerly force 5 heading for the Lizard. She moored up at the Custom House Quay in Falmouth for the evening at 18.30.

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Wednesday 20th July 2005: The Happy Return departed Falmouth for the Plymouth Area  making 7 knots under main and staysail and anchored at Barn Pool for the night at 17.45.

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Thursday 21st July 2005: Departed Plymouth for Dartmouth and moored up to the Town Quay at 17.30.

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Friday 22nd July 2005: Departed Dartmouth and moored to Brixham Town Quay at 14.00.

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Saturday 23rd July2005: Departed Brixham and made Weymouth Harbour at 19.15

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Sunday 24th July 2005: Departed Weymouth and anchored off Swanage Pier at 14.20 where Peter Barrett the previous owner met the Happy Return. Left Swanage at 17.00.

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Monday 25th July 2005: Moored Cowes Marina at 08.30.

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Monday 25th July 2005: - and later arrived at Sovereign Harbour Eastbourne at 19.00.

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Tuesday 26th July 2005: Departed Eastbourne Sovereign and arrived Folkestone Harbour at 16.00 and to celebrate this event the first photograph compares one of the original images of the Happy Return in Folkestone harbour with that of her at the end of this voyage:-

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Thursday 28th July 2005: Mayor of Folkestone's Civic Reception at 13.00 with pipe band and relatives of John Warman Saunders who sailed the boat from Cornwall 100 years ago. There was a blessing by the Folkestone Mission Superintendent John Field who received the cheque for £20,000 from the crew of the Happy Return to be carried on the next leg of the Sailathon 2005.

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Thursday 28th July 2005: Cast off 19.30 for Penzance.

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Saturday 28th July 2005: Brixham Marina 10.08.

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Sunday 30th July 2005: Cawsand Bay 20.00.

Monday 1st August 2005: Fowey Harbour at anchor 17.30.

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Tuesday 2nd August 2005: Moored up to Falmouth Maritime Museum at 12.00

Sunday 7th August 2005: Arrived Penzance to complete the voyage.   

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Sailathon 2005:

This was a round the UK relay involving yacht clubs, trusts and private boats carrying a TSB/Lloyds bounty cheque, starting at Greenwich Yacht Club and finishing back in London at St Katherine's Marina.

This was a unique historic event when boats relayed a giant cheque around the seven seas of the British Isles raising money for The Fishermen's Mission during the Year of the Sea 2005.

The Seven Seas are the North Sea, North Channel, Atlantic Ocean, Irish Sea, St George's Channel,  Bristol Channel, English Channel and - actually there are eight - the Celtic Sea.

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