Sailing matilda

15 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
25 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
10 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
25 February 2013 | Speightstown, Barbados
18 February 2013 | North Atlantic Ocean - 165 East of Barbados
12 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 300 miles North of the mouth of the Amazon
03 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 260 miles East of Ilha de Fernando de Noronha
29 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 225 miles West of Ascension Is.
23 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 145 miles West of St Helena
16 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 75 miles from St Helena
10 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean
31 December 2012 | V&A Marina, Cape Town, South Africa
20 December 2012 | Hout Bay Yacht Club, Hout Bay, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Durban Marina, Durban, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Bluff Yacht Club, Durban, South Africa
16 November 2012 | Richard Bay, South Africa
11 November 2012 | 85 miles off Richard Bay, South Africa, Indian Ocean
08 November 2012 | Mozambuique Channel, Indian Ocean
02 November 2012 | La Port, La Reunion

A Happy New Year from the Cape

31 December 2012 | V&A Marina, Cape Town, South Africa
Heather & Jonathan
A Happy New Year to one and all from Matilda and hope that 2013 will be a happy and peaceful one.

We made it around to the V&A Waterfront marina just before the festivities took hold, and we were joined for the journey by some new friends Graham and Alison from the UK. The journey here (only a few hours) was wonderful as we encountered many southern right whales, one got very close with a baby in tow. We managed to sail most of the way but as we got closer the motor had to go on, but what a great way to enter Cape Town. To get to our bit of the marina we had to have two bridges open for us, and as this place is packed with visitors you really feel like a bit of a celebrity with all the crowds looking on. All this against the backdrop of the spectacular Table Mountain.

The next day we went up Table Mountain, via cable car, and had a great afternoon wandering around the top in perfect conditions. No Dassies were spotted (apparently it was too hot) but as soon as you walk a bit you lose the hordes and we had the rest of the mountain pretty much to ourselves. The cable car itself revolves, so even though you are piled in, you all get a fair shot of a view of the surroundings. In case you were wondering, a Dassie is like a big long guinea pig which inhabits Table Mountain, munching happily on the greenery. Their closest evolutionary relative is actually the African Elephant, which we still find hard to believe. Jonathan's main memory of Cape Town from his visit in 1975 is the cable car and the Dassies, so it was a shame not to see any this time.

Christmas itself did not really feel like Christmas, but was made special for us by sharing it with the rest of the ARC Christmas orphans. The festivities began when matilda hosted a Christmas Eve Mulled Wine and Christmas Cake Sundowner extravaganza on and around the boat. I won't say how much mulled wine we got through, but clearly everyone likes Christmas in a cup (as I like to think of it). After than Brizo had organised a get together at one of the lounge bars and also, on Christmas Day itself, a picnic on the beach. We had an invitation from Peat Smoke to join their visiting family for a wonderful Christmas lunch at the Westin Hotel. Later on Christmas evening the fleet all got together again as Anastasia nobly invited all to a pot luck Christmas dinner aboard. Once again Karaoke was involved, courtesy of Umineko, and Christmas officially ended to the sound of classic songs being murdered.

Our keep fit campaign took a bit of a step backwards when our first planned walk with a local guide had to be cancelled due to inclement weather. However we moved the Table Mountain walk forward and a few days ago we met the mountain guide and a party of Finns at 5.15am (yes there is such a time) to scale India Venster (apparently it is to do with the shape of the gorge which looks like a window in the shape of India and window is venster in Africaans). This is one of the more challenging routes up that doesn't involve ropes and crampons and as you start the walk there are signs all over the place telling you how extremely dangerous it is, so you do wonder what the hell you are doing there. However, I (Heather), was very proud of myself as there was a lot of scrambling (what they call easy climbing, but not so easy to me), a lot of heights and I didn't throw one proper paddy. Jonathan was subject to special praise from Riaan (our guide and also a mountaineer) who reckoned he should try his hand at rock climbing proper - great, another sport that would give me sleepless nights. Unfortunately for everyone else, we did the climb in cloud, but I was quite ok with that, it was hard to see the massive drops which made it a good deal easier for me. Nevertheless, it would have been good to see the cable car, as at one point we were just below it as it goes into the docking station at the top, all we got to see of it was a dark shape in the gloamin.

Today is New Years Eve and we will be celebrating at a restaurant with Peat Smoke and Gunvor. We should be in an excellent position to see the fireworks, a great way to see in 2013. After that, however, it will be boat chores all the way if we are to get the boat back into a condition to cross the last of the oceans. We head out on 5th January to cross the Atlantic for a second, and last time!
Vessel Name: matilda
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 42E
Hailing Port: Portsmouth
Crew: Jonathan & Heather Howard
About: Jonathan and Heather Howard are now back in the Caribbean after completing the circumnavigation. matilda is now on the market and in May we will return to the UK with our friends on Peat Smoke.
Extra: matilda was re-launched in October 2011. Our circumnavigation took 15 months and we are now starting to think about getting back to work.

Sailing matilda

Who: Jonathan & Heather Howard
Port: Portsmouth