We are now two and a half days out of Cape Town and have had some very rough seas churned up by gale force winds. At times we had close on 50 knots of wind from the south with some of the waves breaking onto the back of the boat. Fortunately the wind has reduced down to the mid twenties and the sea, although still very confused and lumpy, has reduces down to about a three metre swells.
The forecast for the next few days is that the wind abates a bit more and thus the seas should flatten a bit more as well - something we are all looking forward to!
Due to the lumpy conditions, Terry and Shaheda have been seasick, but that appears to be passing as they both had a reasonable meal of macaroni and cheese for dinner last night, which stayed down. Hopefully we will only see further improvement in their conditions and an enjoyable trip to come.
The weather has played its part with the boat - we have been doing some good miles noon to noon with 176 nm yesterday and 182 nm today. The down side of the confused seas has been a damp boat inside caused by the spray being blown off the wave tops into the saloon. This is now slowly drying out. We also lost our lazy-jacks (lines used to hold the main sail into the stack-pack sail bag), which broke off up the mast and will be on our "repair list" for when we are in St Helena.
In the next few days I should have been able to calculate our ETA in St Helena and to our destination, Tortola. Once I have done that I will add them to my blog report and see how close we are able to come to arriving at the different ports on the dates. Hopefully we can maintain good speeds during the voyage and keep to the estimates!
The photograph above was taken during the gale force conditions but does not depict the reality of the conditions - photographs seem to flatten the seas and not depict them at their worst.
The night watches have been very cold with everybody well wrapped up in their foul-weather gear. The stars have been bright and mostly clear due to little cloud and a quarter moon which should be a full moon when we reach St Helena. This morning whilst on my 06:00 to 09:00 watch, I saw my first flying fish. It was a small fella, about 7.5 cm long and trying desperately to get out of the way of the boat. It is still early days for flying fish and they will become more abundant as we get further north.
Today Shaun and I will be on HF radio trying to help our fellow Cape based Hams get some points in the HF field day contest. So, greetings from all aboard until my next report.
Well folks, at midnight we cast off our lines for the second time and are now well and truly underway. At noon we has progressed 87 nautical miles in very rough seas with a 35 knot wind from the south. We are sailing with two reefs in the genoa and doing just over 7 knots.
Shaheda, Shaun and Terry are suffering a bit from the motion but I am sure they will be fine in a day or two and start enjoying the sail. We just need the sea to calm a little to make conditions aboard a bit more comfortable.
At noon we passed a fleet of fishing vessels, all bashing their way back to Saldanha Bay. I spoke to the skipper of one of them and he told me they had been at sea for thirty days with little in their holds to show for their efforts - not a great life!
As conditions improve on board, I will include a few photographs with the reports and elaborate a bit more on conditions aboard. For now, regards from all aboard.
The 13th was an unlucky day! We cleared out with the yacht club, cleared out with the harbour authorities and then we all went to clear out at the emigration department. Let me first explain that the emigration office is near the harbour entrance and is also the office where hundreds of refugees from Africa gather to get refugee status verified. As we were walking into the entrance the refugees packed around us and within seconds I was minus my brand new Nokia N95 cellular telephone. Those guys were sharp and fast!
We then went off to customs and cleared with them, bought some duty free goods (cigarettes), and headed back to the boat and cast off our lines. We stopped off at the fuel jetty and took on 1350 litres of diesel before heading out of the harbour and set course for that little chunk of rock called St Helena.
Well, we only reached a point off Robben Island when I noticed our shrouds were flapping about a bit too much. After a check I decided to return to the harbour and have the riggers check out things - it certainly was a good idea as the mast was so loose it could have caused major problems later in our voyage. So, at sunset we were back where we started - tied up to the marina at Royal Cape Yacht Club.
After dark the wind changed direction (something I was expecting) but we were having a good fat steak in the restaurant across from the yacht basin. Later during the night the rain fell lightly on the boat but we all slept well after the "rush" of thinking we were on our way.
Today (Wednesday), the riggers were called in and re-tensioned the rigging after the boat was checked out by the designer, Gino Morelli. Also, we had a breakage in our starboard water suction line for fresh water, which was replaced by the plumber and a few adjustments made by the sail maker to our main sail - something I wanted done although it was not a problem.
So, we are now waiting for the front to pass the Cape and the wind to change (expected later this afternoon) when we will be off again - and not turning around again even if a few small teething problems occur. As the title of this entry says, we are all frustrated from having to bounce back to Cape Town like a ping-pong ball.
I will post to the blog again once we are well off shore - cheers from the frustrated crew, Shaun, Shaheda, Terry and myself, John.
Due to the boat being launched a few days late and work still being undertaken (at a frustratingly slow rate), we have delayed our departure from Cape Town for a few days. We hope to hit the route to St Helena on Monday 12 or Tuesday 13 November.
At the moment my lounge at home looks like a spaza shop with all our provisions boxed and "ready to go". We just need to get our perishables at the last minute.
Whilst the workmen have been working on the interior of the boat, the crew and I have been getting the small jobs on the exterior finished. We have wrapped the turnbuckles, moused all the shackles, checked all the rigging, gone for a test sail, flushed the water tanks, collected and stowed spare drums for fuel, been up the mast a few times, attached our radar reflector and a multitude of other small jobs. Terry is seen above fastening our anchor bridle and putting a lanyard on the chain hook release.
So, now everybody knows why there is no position report for us indicating an off-shore position - we are still in Cape Town!
The next boat, aptly named "Moorings 46#26", was craned into the water on Wednesday morning (31 October). During the morning the mast was stepped and the boat underwent a full QC inspection by the factory. The factory staff are working on board to get the boat ready for handover to me on Tuesday 6 November.
In the mean time Terry, a crew member from "Down Under", is staying at my home and we are undertaking daily trips to the supermarket and getting our basic provisions purchased to cut out a last minute mad scramble to get the 1001 things done that need to be completed before departure from Cape Town on our voyage. I am looking at a departure on next Saturday, 10 November.
The 1st Mate is Shaun and the second crew member is his wife, Shaheda. They will be joining the boat during next week to help with the final preparation and provisioning.
As we progress, I will post some updates to the blog and try to keep everybody updated as to our progress with the occasional photograph thrown in to paint a better picture.