This summer I was invited to spend a week in Cornwall to see the J class regatta being held in Falmouth. I made mention that a good selection of the Mountifield family were hoping to get a moment or two on the J class yacht Velsheda.

This boat was built in the 1930’s and was one of only 6 boats in it’s class at the time. I believe at the time the J class also represented the largest single masted sailing yachts.

Velsheda’s first ever captain just happened to be a Mountifield. A Captain Alfred Mountifield. One of Alfred Mountifield’s grandsons is alive today. I call this man Grandad. His eldest son is my husband’s father. So I married the direct descendant of the first ever captain.

Not that long ago another of my Mountifield relatives found a photo of the original captain at the helm. As my uncle in law had been allowed on Velsheda before to have a quick look over while she was docked in Falmouth in a previous year he let the whole family know they were in Falmouth again this year and emailed the new captain to request the possibility of the grandson, great grandson, and great great grandson (my husband) all being allowed on board to get photos in the same position as the old one.

About the same time we were talking about this I was also working out the plot for the sequel to Sherdan’s Prophecy and had a scene I wanted to be on a boat out at sea. Being the kind of person who likes adding in little gems of family history (there’s a relative of mine in the Caribbean at the same time as With Proud Humility is set and he’s mentioned in the book) I wanted that boat to be Velsheda so my uncle in law mentioned that too.

Unfortunately the new captain didn’t take too kindly to the idea of people wanting to go on the boat he commanded and wasn’t particularly polite in his replying email. To be honest I’d have understood if he’d said he was too busy, or even said something like you can come take a few photos but you can’t sail on her, or something like that. I’d have been disappointed but I would have given him the benefit of the doubt and possibly just emailed to ask nicely if he’d answer a few questions about the boat so I could still do enough research to include it in my novel.

Despite the mildly grumpy Captain we did still get to see Velsheda race against some of the other J class yachts. Including Lionheart, the newest J class. The shot above and the few below were all taken from my camera off Pendennis point at Falmouth as they sailed out in the waters in front of us and sailed back into the mouth of the river.

As you can see from the photo above all the J class yachts are a lot bigger than the normal ones that look tiny dotted around the outside. Although it’s not the clearest of photos it gives an idea of the sheer size of these yachts. Hopefully I can still find enough info out about one of them to include it in a novel even if it can’t be Velsheda.

The rest of the holiday was spent in a very chilled out fashion, often near the coast and gazing out to sea. Something about being near the sea or at sea that I find relaxing.