It has been an interesting first few days at sea, with all of us, except Neels, fully getting our sea-legs. Neels, unfortunately, has not fully recovered from his sea sickness even though we have a relatively calm sea at the moment. However, his prayers may have been answered as we have lost the use of our port engine and are busy making our way to the port of Luderitz in Namibia for mechanical repairs. I think Neels will be departing the boat if he can find transport back to Cape Town - and I do not blame him as being sea sick on a small boat in the Atlantic Ocean is not what I would wish on my worst enemy.
We should reach Luderitz during Monday morning and hope that we are able to repair our engine with great speed as I have been to the port before and there is not too much to get excited about there. However, the rest of the crew will be able to explore the old German town with its unusual architecture and may even be able to visit the old "ghost town", a mining town just outside Luderitz which was deserted and is now mostly covered by sand dunes.
This morning I spoke to David Savage, the skipper of a Leopard 40, also en route to Annapolis. He had departed Cape Town a few hours after us and was only 20 odd nautical miles to the east of us. He and his crew were all well and were preparing to change course for St Helena island - we were busy changing course for Luderitz and would thus cross close to each other. Although we kept a good lookout and gave a few calls on the marine VHF, we never saw each other.
On Saturday we managed to catch our first fish, a small Yellowtail, which was just large enough to feed all four of us. It was really delicious and was served with baked potatoes and some gem squash. The chef of the day was Andries who did an excellent job cooking the fish. This morning (Sunday), Neels, although not feeling great, set out the line and managed to catch a fair sized long-fin Tuna. It is in the refrigerator and is our Monday night meal as this evening I cooked up an Indian curry, which appeared to go down well with all on board.
As soon as we know what is happening to our engine, I will update the blog and add a photo or two of Luderitz. For now, regards from Neels, Andries, Hardy and myself, John.
We finally departed Cape Town on the morning of August 6 - a few weeks later than we had hoped. Our first twenty four hours was not the most pleasant as we had massive swells and freezing weather. All of us were not feeling too good but that has now mostly past with only Neels still feeling a bit "off".
Our first leg is to the island of St Helena, a distance of approximately 1700 nautical miles. Due to the fronts moving across the South Atlantic at this time of the year, we are sailing the first section up the South African west coast, as far as the Orange River mouth from where we will then lay a course directly for St Helena.
Although we are quite loaded with provisions, diesel and water, the boat is handling it's self quite well. The wind (16 knots) is from the south west as is the swell (3 to 4 metres). We are sailing with the genoa only and are doing quite well, averaging over 5.7 knots - not too bad considering our size and weight.
I will do a more updated blog entry in a few days when everybody is acclimatised to the motion. Regards from Hardy, Andries, Neels and myself, John.
26/07/2009, Cape Town, South Africa
It has been an interesting few weeks since the launch of Leopard A4001 - with some frustrations thrown in for luck! The boat was moved to the "M" berth at Royal Cape Yacht Club where Robertson & Caine have their workforce and there has been a flurry of activity to complete the alterations and changes TUI Marine has requested.
To slow down the process we have had the professional photographers on board on two occasions to do their shoots for brochures and advertising and have had the boat out in Table Bay for test sails and more photographs. Each time this happened, we had to strip off the markers placed all over the boat to indicate faults - and then put them back afterwards.
On the crew side, Hardie (1st Mate), Andries and Neels (crew), are all waiting for the boat to be signed off and move aboard. We have done all our provisioning and now only need to prep the boat for the delivery, get the provisions on board and purchase the last minute perishable stores, before going through the clearing out procedure and departing.
I have been told that final sign-off is on Monday 27 - let's hope that it is!
Looking at the weather, there is a cold front moving across the South Atlantic which should reach Cape Town about mid-week, bringing unfavourable winds and seas with the associated rain. Hopefully this will pass quickly but, unfortunately, there is another huge frontal system following it, which will introduce NW winds and large seas, making it very difficult to get away from the Cape. We may sail up to Saldanha Bay during the lull and depart for St Helena Island from there as the front swipes the Cape - we will have to judge what to do closer to the time.
Well, hope the above updates everybody. The above picture is of our proposed route but may change as we progress north. John
My previous delivery to the Seychelles was not a good one for myself - I developed a severe chest cold and a high fever just after we departed Port Elizabeth, which lasted for two weeks. I must admit that I did loose quite a bit of weight as well but am now back "up and running" again.
The main thing is that we arrive safely in Mahe and spent a week in the hot and humid conditions cleaning the boat and seeing a bit of the island before flying back home to Cape Town.
The trip was also the last one that Luke will be my 1st Mate. No, we have not had a "fall-out" - Luke is now a highly qualified skipper after passing his examinations at the beginning of the year and now will be delivering boats as Master - well done to him!
Right, now lets look into the future a bit - on Monday June 29 my next boat was launched in the Elliott Basin in Cape Town harbour. It is hull #1 of the new Leopard 38 sailing catamarans and I will be delivering her to Annapolis for the next boat show. There will be four persons on board for the 7200 odd nautical mile delivery, which should take about seven weeks to complete. The handover of the boat from the factory to TUI Marine is scheduled for Monday July 13 and we should be ready to depart about a week after that.
In the mean time, I am taking a weeks break up in the mountains near the town of Clanwilliam, about three hours drive north of Cape Town. I will update the blog once I return - John.