Well, we departed the Elliot Basin in Cape Town during the morning of 18 December and proceeded to the fuel dock where we took on about 600 litres of diesel. Then we cast off our lines and headed out of the port with our next intended stop being St Helena Island. It was not to be! Luke reported the smell of diesel in the boat and we soon discovered that our main diesel tank had split with the liquid gold finding its way into the starboard hull. About turn and with workmen working furiously back in the Elliot Basin, the next morning we had two new Vetus tanks installed and at noon on the 19th we were back at the fuel dock to start the process of fuelling up again.
Now we have the wonderful aroma of diesel in the boat, which does not bode well for anybody that has not found their sea legs yet. Although none of us were feeling too good last night, only Jackie is still feeling a bit queasy, which we all hope passes soon.
During the last night we had a large amount of shipping passing us which has been keeping all of us on our toes - we had to change course twice during the night for ships that just did not bother to give us our right of way.
We did get some good sailing in but at about 04:00 this morning the engines were started and we have been motor-sailing since. Alistair (ZS5MU), who we communicate with each day, reported earlier that our wind should change this evening from WNW to SW and then South during the night as a small frontal system passes us.
We put out one of our fishing lines this morning and had a strike within the hour but lost a good sized tuna as quickly as it took the lure. Fortunately we still have the lure! Then to put a dampener on our fishing attempts, we had to take the line in at about noon due to a seal persistently following us - and the sod is still out there as I type up this report. As you may have guessed, we cannot put the line back until the fellow has stopped following us or else he will take the line and also chase away any fish near us.
So, there you have it - we are eventually on our way and heading for St Helena. I will post another update in a day or two but must report that radio comm's is not great.
Regards from all on board - Jackie, Adrian, Luke and myself, John.
09/12/2008, Cape Town
We should have been off on our delivery today (Wednesday), but due to some shortfalls and delays in the commissioning of the boat, it looks like we will only depart early on Friday morning. Today we hope (wind permitting) to have a test sail and quick shake-down of Oceans Dreams systems and then have any last minute adjustments made.
Thursday is our scheduled clearing out day - a lot of last minute running around and visiting the local port office, immigration and customs office. Then we hope to settle down to a restful night on board and a visit to the fuel dock on Friday morning before departing on our first leg to St Helena Island, a trip of 1700 nautical miles. Lets hope that the winds are favourable and we can arrive in James Bay before Christmas day!
Before we depart I will do a test radio transmission to check that I can post to the blog to be able to keep everybody updated on the trip. So, for now we are all holding thumbs for a good shake-down sail and not too many extra faults found on Oceans Dream.
27/11/2008, Cape Town
Thursday arrive and at noon, so did Oceans Dream with a traffic department escort, after an hours land trip from the Admiral factory in Atlantis, 35 kilometres north of Cape Town. The trailer was backed into the Royal Cape Yacht Club launch area and soon the yacht club crane slings were in place and we had a 40' catamaran flying through the air and slowly being lowered into the water. She looked brilliant!
The Southern Spars crew stepped the mast and boom and then the boat was abuzz with technicians and factory staff whilst Adrian, Jackie and a group of factory management sat down for a quick lunch at RCYC before jumping back onboard and motoring the boat to the Elliot Basin, a smaller yacht basin a short distance from the main yacht club.
The factory has about a week of work to get all systems working and finishing touches undertaken before Adrian and Jackie move out of their apartment and onto the boat. We have done all the non-perishable shopping and need only to move the goods onto the boat as soon as the factory staff are finished and then do the perishable shop.
Luke Tod, our first mate who has undertaken two previous trips to Tahiti and one trip to Nice with me, is due to arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday and we will then start our survey on the boat and have any glitches rectified before we throw off our lines and head out on the first leg of our journey - first stop Jamestown, Saint Helena Island.
Visit Oceans Dream blog (the link is on the right of this page under "Favourites") to get Adrian and Jackie's thoughts on the launch - I am sure they will have a new post soon!
The photo above is Oceans Dream entering the Elliot Basin - sails to be hanked-on in the morning.
17/11/2008, Cape Town
Saturday arrived and I drove down to the Elliot Basin in the harbour to get one of the Moorings 47PC's out of its berth. Adrian and Jackie arrived and after warming up the engines we cast off the lines and did a quick tour out of the port and around Table Bay.
I had been instructed to pick up our "Telefonica guests" in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at 12:30 but due to the total chaos caused by hundreds of small private craft milling around, I started my entrance to the V&A harbour just as the Cape Town noon day gun fired. It was a slow entrance with boats of all shapes and sizes jostling around to get good positions to take a few snaps of the 70' Volvo Ocean fleet as they were leaving the port. I made it to the dock and with the help of Adrian and Jackie managed to tie up and load our 20 odd guests. One group was the wife and children of the skipper of Telefonica Blue, Bouwe Bekking. We had other wives and girlfriends of the crew on board as well and a couple of the support crew.
Then it was back to Table Bay and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to avoid wiping out any of the other spectator boats and at the same time keep close to Telefonica Blue for the families to shout and wave their goodbye's and shed a tear or two as their loved ones sailed off heading south to Cape Point, better known as the Cape of Good Hope, and eventually to Cochin, India.
We then returned to the V&A Waterfront and off-loaded the guests, returning to the Elliot Basin in time to dock, clean the boat and head home, exhausted, with numerous bruises caused by being thrown around by the wakes of other craft. It was a great day but one not to be repeated in a hurry! Thanks Adrian and Jackie for your assistance as the official "crew".
Oh, and before I sign off, it appears "Oceans Dream" will definitely be launched on either 27 or 28 November - as I have said before: Watch this space!
The photo above is used with permission - Photo by Adrian Schuler.
I have been told that "Oceans Dream" is to be launched on Friday 28 November. Hopefully the Admiral factory will keep to the date as all reports from the factory indicate that the builders are working full steam ahead to make the splash happen by the given date.
It looks like we will be able to leave around the 10th of December which means we will be spending Christmas on the island of St Helena.
At the moment all the Volvo Ocean Race boats are in Cape Town with Leg 2 due to start this Saturday at 13:00 local time (UTC +2 hours). I have been asked to skipper one of the support boats for the Telefonica Team. Adrian and Jackie are back from their trip up the west coast of South Africa and I have invited them to go along for the ride - hey, I need crew to help throw lines!
Talking about Adrian and Jackie, click on their blog link on the right of this page (under "Favorites") and read about their land-based trip.
More updates as they come in next week.