Clinging on tight to the rigging just below the main yard, I looked down at the rollers of clear green water sweeping along the white sides of the ship, beneath her polished wood and neatly slaked lines.
Above me, perched nonchalantly on the yard, was bosun David, moving to the motion of the swaying mast as the hull lifted and fell on the waves. A few fathoms away lay Charlestown, with its grey stone harbour, white-painted cottages and sheltering cliffs.
I was aboard Anny, a topsail schooner available for day and overnight charters from the south Cornish village, well known to viewers of Poldark, The Three Musketeers and The Onedin Line. So little has Charlestown changed in 200 years that it is a favourite with location scouts and its unpolished charm makes it a delight to visitors, too. With Anny and her consort Irene, a 1907 West Country trading ketch, moored off shore and not an ugly modern steamer in sight, it is easy to imagine oneself back in time.