27 March 2011 | South Atlantic
We intended leaving Cape Town around the 17th of March, once the factory had rectified a few safety issues. However, this was not to be as the factory took longer than thought to make two major changes to the boat. Then we had the first of the winter cold fronts approaching the Cape and decided to sit in port for a few more days, rather than bash ourselves into oncoming seas. So, we pottered around the Elliot Basin and did what board crew do - visited the restaurant just outside the basin and had a few pints whilst waiting for better weather.
Then we decided to depart in the early hours of Thursday 24 March. A few minutes after midnight I was up and ready to go - however, a thick bank of fog had rolled in over Cape Town and I could just see the bows of the boat. Not a good idea to depart with no radar or AIS! So, I went back to my cabin and fell asleep again.
At 06:00 I was up again - the fog had lifted and we were ready to go. The crew were woken with a hot mug of coffee and the dock lines cast off. With port controls permission granted, we were off at 07:00.
Now let me go back a bit in time. When we received the boat from the factory staff, we brought it to the Elliot Basin and plugged ourselves into the mains system to ensure that our batteries were constantly at their peak. I did not think of re-checking the charging system off the main engines, which had worked fine before receiving the boat.
Now go to our second morning at sea. First thing in the morning I started our port engine to give our batteries a charge - engine runs fine but zip charge to the house batteries. Shut down the engine and start up the starboard engine - zip, nothing, no charge! Fortunately this boat has a generator on board and we thus charged up our house batteries using the generator, but cannot continue doing the charging this way.
So we sat down, contacted the Cape Town office and informed them that we had the problem and were now changing course for the small port of Luderitz in Namibia and needed repair assistance.
As I write this blog entry, we are about 35 nautical miles from Luderitz and I have just notified the port control, via Luderitz Radio, to expect us in port at about 17:30 local time this afternoon. Let's hope that our Cape Town office has organised some electrician to give assistance first thing in the morning (Monday 28 March).
So, the start of our delivery has not gone quite as planned, but we will get there! Besides the problems, I helped Josh to set up a fishing line at 06:00. Within 10 minutes he had a small "skip-jack" landed. An hour later he had landed a reasonable size long-fin tuna. So, tonight we are having fresh tuna for dinner and the skip-jack will most likely be given to one of the port staff in Luderitz.
Unfortunately, not too much to report on except that Dave and the crew can pop over to Kolmanskop, a small abandoned mining village just outside Luderitz, which has become part of the desert and quite a tourist attraction. I am sure they will enjoy the quick visit before we get all our systems up and working again and head out for St Helena.
Until the next blog entry, regards from all aboard the Leopard 44.