Welcome to our 2024 season offering tours and sailing experiences on the River Fal, Cornwall.

Welcome all to our 2024 sailing season, our 7th on the River Fal in Cornwall since 2017. We will be available once more for our unique river trips and sailing experiences from Easter through to October.

Our river trips start and finish at Malpas near Truro, where there have been some welcome improvements over the last year or so. There is now a lovely coffee shop right on the quay which means if you arrive a little early (always recommended) you can grab yourself a nice drink, be sure to ask for takeout so you can bring it onboard with you. Here there is also a sparkly new ‘accessible’ toilet (we do of course have a standard toilet onboard Drifter too) and a new harbour office has been built and staffed by the very friendly team from ‘Port of Truro’.

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We are back! Our April 2023 blog update.

We are once again on our home waters of the Fal, Cornwall. We spent our winter sprucing up our beloved classic sailing barge ‘Drifter’ with new paint and varnish and we are looking our best ever for the river tours and sailing experiences we will be offering during 2023.

First trip of 2023 and what a stunning evening it was!

Getting on to the water is a must-do in Cornwall and you might choose to sail with us on the upper reaches of the Fal, which is Cornwall’s largest and most beautiful estuary. If you have never sailed before you will be especially welcome. We keep things very relaxed, ‘no waves – no worries’.

We start our trips at Malpas, strategically located moments away from the most enchanting and unspoiled part of the river. Two hours or longer on these sheltered waters observing its nature and wildlife and experiencing being under quiet sail on its emerald green waters is a highlight for many on their travels to the southwest.

We pick up and drop off at Malpas near Truro

Within these upper reaches of the river, there are steep and densely wooded banks with only a handful of idyllic riverside cottages along their shores. Being a quiet river, there is an abundance of wildlife including Herons, Cormorants, and Seals. Discrete signs of the rivers industry both past and present can be found as we travel gently downriver and back.

We are passionate about the river and its history and are always happy to share our knowledge, and we also take care of all the sailing so you can relax and enjoy the views.

Sailing past Trelissick estate in the Summer

As well as getting on the water here, there is so much more to enjoy nearby. You will be surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of special scientific interest, special conservation areas, historic estates, and all close to Cornwall’s great little city, Truro.

We thought we would shine a spotlight on some of the other things that you might choose to include in your day when you visit us here at Malpas. A bit of a ‘Sail, Dine, Walk’ suggestion as we want you to have the best possible experience both on and off the water.

Before leaving Malpas many of our passengers choose to dine at the aptly named and award-winning ‘Heron Inn’ which has one of the best river views in Cornwall (they do get busy so booking ahead is essential). This is a great spot to sit and watch the activity on the river and perhaps watch us sailing away with another excited group of passengers. Look up the Heron Inn by clicking the following website link – The Heron Inn

Perhaps a picnic (bring along) at anchor in one of the Fal’s beautiful bays.

If you are feeling more adventurous you also have the opportunity to walk along one of the very few riverside paths to be found along these upper reaches. It leads from here to the ancient church and almost secret hamlet of St Clements. Information about the walk can be found on Visit Truro’s website by clicking the following link – St Clements Walk

On your way back into Truro you will pass a beautifully maintained park area called Boscawen Park with an exciting children’s play area as well as another family-friendly and much-loved pub, The Trennick Mill. You might also find a cricket match in progress on the adjacent cricket grounds. Don’t forget to try some of the best ice cream in Cornwall (Callestick Ice Cream) available from the small booth next door to the pub.

Sailing into one of worlds best natural harbours.

Truro itself is a wonderful small city and is an essential visit if you are in the area, with lots to offer including unique artisan shops and markets. You can explore narrow lanes and side streets and maybe visit one of the popular museums. The jewel in the crown here is of course the spectacular three-spired cathedral. Throughout the year, there are also many unique events and festivals which give the city its vibrant reputation. Click the following link to the Visit Truro website for everything to do in and around Truro. You might even glimpse us sailing on their website’s title video.

During our river trips, we often reach the Trelissick Estate with its grand house set on the hill above the water’s edge. This belongs to the National Trust and walking here offers the most spectacular elevated views across the Fal’s large natural harbour towards Falmouth and St Mawes.

Sailing past the shore beneath Trelissick House

We hope you agree that where we sail is a wonderful part of Cornwall. Whether it is just the two of you or a family adventure, Truro and its surroundings offer something for all.

Visit our website Sailing barge Drifter for more information. See you onboard soon!

Haulout time – a bit of our history – good times to come!

Drifter ‘stripped down’ for hauling and blocking at Voyager boat yard

Our busy 2022 sailing season came to an end towards the end of September.  We then sailed Drifter east along the coast to the river Tamar for wintering. As we spend all summer in the Fal doing our trips, it is always a blast for us to get ‘outside’ and do a bit of sailing along the stunning coast of the southwest and on this occasion, we opted to stop for a couple of nights in the picturesque harbour at Mevagissey, which was still buzzing despite it being early October.  This is still very much a working fishing harbour and it was a joy to watch the boats going about their business from our comfortable cockpit.

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On the water again from June 2022

River trips and sailing experiences on the Fal, from Malpas near Truro

From the beginning of June until the end of September, you will once again be able to join us onboard ‘Drifter’, our traditional Dutch sailing barge. Our boat trips on the upper reaches of the Fal are a unique way to discover or explore one of Cornwall’s most beautiful areas.

The Fal is surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty and the estuary has become one of the most important marine habitats in Europe. It has sites of special scientific interest and is an area of special marine conservation along with the nearby Helford River.

Did you know that the river reaches 9 miles inland to the city of Truro itself? It is Cornwall’s largest estuary with over 86 miles of shoreline and formed with the melting of the ice caps at the end of the ice age, which flooded the valley that is now the Fal.

Although generally known as the Fal from where it meets the sea at Falmouth to the limit of navigation at Truro, it is a number of rivers flowing and meeting up including Truro, Tresillian, Carnon, Kennal and Penryn rivers. The River Fal itself joins from the east and flows from Goss Moor (St Columb Major), which is the largest continuous wetland complex in southwest Britain.

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River Fal boat trips and tours 2021. Truro, Cornwall.

Sailing barge in the Helford River, Tremayne Quay.

We are very much looking forward to 2021 and are busy preparing our traditional sailing barge for another season of river trips and tours.

From the Spring, you will again be able to join us on-board ‘Drifter’, our traditional sailing barge. During 2020, we adapted our barge layout and what we do on the water and feel confident that this year we will be able to share with you once more the enchanting, winding and sheltered reaches of the River Fal.

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