Letter from S/V Nehaj
13 March 2016 | Cape Town
Subject: Susanne in New Zealand, N1QFE
Hello Sam and the South Africa Maritime Mobile Net,
I want to give you a great Thank-you for your help and for guiding me along during my sailing trip in the Southern Ocean. It was wonderful to have you on board and to feel your concern. You kept me company and most of all I valued your huge effort of giving a daily, extremely accurate and detailed weather forecast for my exact location.
This journey was the lengthy maiden voyage of NEHAJ.
I had spent nearly three years of work in transforming the bare Aluminium hull of NEHAJ into a seaworthy home.
Our trip started in June 2015 in Holland. I sailed single-handed across the North Sea to the Shetland Islands and the Faroers, crossed the Arctic circle on the North coast of Iceland and then sailed South towards the Azores Islands.
On 10th of October 2015 we left the Canary Island of Lanzarote on a trip which took exactly 19 weeks, or 4 ½ months to Nelson in New Zealand. I chose the route in the mighty Southern Ocean, passing Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Tasmania without stopping.
My first contact with the South African Maritime Mobile Net was with Sam, ZS1SAM, on the 4th of December 2015, which was my 55th day at sea. Soon a warm contact developed and Sam spared no effort in researching the daily weather conditions for my area.
On day 69 NEHAJs position was at over 43° South and 50° East. A major low of 962hp was approaching from the West. With Sams good advice of changing course I avoided storm conditions. With increasing pre-frontal winds we sailed to the ENE for four days to the latitude of 42° South where the passing low and the sharp drop in the barometer brought no more than a Force 8, a big difference to the expected severe conditions further South.
Sam sent me the last weather forecast on the 19.02.2016 via E-Mail, just one day before my land fall in New Zealand. For eleven weeks and for nearly three months I was a welcome guest to the SAMM-Net, with Sam and his wife Marijke guiding me across three Oceans. I assume that I have outlasted my welcome a wee bit. Thank-you very much.
After passing South Africa I noticed the beginning of hull fouling with goose neck barnacles. I was hoping that these shells would fall off in the colder water of the higher latitudes. That was not so! Gradually our speed diminished until we were severely handicapped and started to loose manoeuvrability at about half speed by the time we reached New Zealand. During the entry procedure the officials for Biosecurity demanded an immediate haul-out, but it was a very friendly request and I had no fines to pay.
It was a very good, if at times demanding trip. NEHAJ has proofed herself to be a strong and seaworthy boat and she has taken good care of me.
During this journey Pactor was a great thing for me, not only to keep in contact with friends but for receiving the treasured forecasts from Sam and for down-loading grip files occasionally. It is people like Colin, ZS1RS, in Cape Town who support the sailors on the high seas with their mail-boxes as well as keeping the real Ham spirit going.
Here are some high lights the journey:
Day 0: Leaving the Canary Islands on 10.10.2015,
Day 2: Only 17 NM off the coast of Mauritania in light head winds
Day 4: Entering the tropics at latitude 23° 26' North, very light NE trade winds
Day 7: First week 735 NM with 4,38 kn, Odometer 735 NM
Day 10: Passing the island of Maio in the Cape Verdes in 16NM distance. Still very light winds
Day 14: 2nd week 744 NM with 4,43 kn, Odometer 1.479 NM
Day 21: 3rd week 754 NM with 4,49 kn, Odometer 2.233 NM
Day 22: Crossing the equator at 028° West
Day 26: Passing Recife in Brazil in a distance of 150NM off the coast
Day 27: Reaching the most westerly Position at 032° 14' W while beating against strong SE trade winds
Day 28: 4th week 1.043 NM with 6,21 kn, Odometer 2.838 NM
Day 29: The sun's declination is exactly at our latitude, so at noon the mast is throwing no shadow.
Day 30: Passing West of the island of Trinidade in a distance of 105NM and the end of the SE trades
Day 30: Sailing close-hauled and off-track for two weeks now
Day 33: Leaving the tropics at latitude 23° 26' South, first time on course since leaving Lanzarote
Day 34: At last my drinking water tanks (500 litres) are completely full after heavy rain showers
Day 35: 5th week 956 NM with 5,69 kn, Odometer 4.232 NM
Day 36: The last ship seen for the next three months
Day 41: Hove too for 38 hours in strong SE winds, right on the nose
Day 42: 6th week 875 NM with 5,21 kn, Odometer 5.107 NM
Day 44: Passing South of the island of Nightingale (Tristan da Cunha) in a distance of 25NM in thick fog
Day 46: Passing the island of Gough in a distace of 125 miles
Day 48: Passing the Greenwich meridian at the latitude of 40° South
Day 49: 7th week 1.068 NM with 6,36 kn, Odometer 6.175 NM
Day 50: New 8mm steering ropes for "Miss Aries", my wonderful wind powered self steering system
Day 51: 1st low passing. Measured 1025hp, wind NW force 7 shifting W 6 ("my Atlantic front")
Day 54: Drifting for 41 hours in total calms at 41° S and 016° East
Day 55: First contact with Sam, ZS1SAM, South Africa MM-Net
Day 56: 8th week 767 NM with 4,57 kn, Odometer 6.942 NM
Day 57: Passing Cape Agulhas in a distance of 420NM at latitude of 42° South
Day 57: 2st low passing. Measured 1015hp, wind N force 6shifting SW 3 ("my Agulhas front")
Day 61: 3rd low passing. Measured 1007hp, wind N force 8 shifting SW 8 ("my first-gale-front")
Day 63: 9th week 892 NM with 5,31 kn, Odometer 7.834 NM
Day 64: My friend John on 'Faraway' has checked into the SAMM-Net, we last met in 2003 in Hout Bay
Day 65: Passing Price Edward and Marion Island in a distance of 240NM at latitude 42° South
Day 67: 4th low passing. Measured 1009hp, wind N force 7 shifting W 4 ("my headwind-front")
Day 68: The coldest measured water temperature of 8,7° C
Day 69: Passing Iles Crozet in a distance of 170NM at latitude 43° 20' South
Day 69: 5th low passing. Measured 1010hp, wind NW force 6 shifting WSW 7 ("my white-front")
Day 70: 10th week 828 NM with 4,93 kn, Odometer 8.662 NM
Day 71: 6th low passing. Measured 1011hp, wind NW force 7 shifting SW 7 ("my sunny-front")
Day 72: I notice the slower speed due to the bad fouling of NEHAJ for the first time.
Day 73: 7th low passing. Measured 1010hp, wind NNE force 8 shifting to calms ("my foggy-front")
Day 73: The maximum magnetic variation of 49° West
Day 76: Passing Kerguelen Islands in a distance of 500NM
Day 77: 11th week 925 NM with 5,51 kn, Odometer 9.587 NM
Day 77: 8th low passing. Measured 1012hp, wind NW force 8 shifting SW 7 ("my trouble-front")
Day 80: Drifting for 24 hours in calms at latitude 40° 37' South, scraping the bad fouling on the hull
Day 81: Passing 125NM South of the islands St. Paul and Amsterdam
Day 82: 9th low passing. Measured 1012hp, wind NNW force 7 shifting SSW 7 ("my up-and down-front")
Day 83: Four weeks of having contact with Sam, ZS1 SAM!
Day 84: 12th week 675 NM with 4,23 kn, Odometer 10.262 NM
Day 85: 10th low passing. Measured 1017hp, wind NW force 7 shifting SSW 6 ("my tame-front")
Day 89: 11th low passing. Measured 1019hp, wind NNW force 6 shifting S 4 ("my black-front")
Day 91: 13th week 898 NM with 5,35 kn, Odometer 11.160 NM
Day 91: 12th low passing. Measured 1014hp, wind Nforce 7 shifting S 7 ("my 2. foggy-front")
Day 93: 13th low passing. Measured 1003hp, wind N force 8shifting SW 10 ("my grand canyon-front")
Day 95: Passing South of Cape Leeuwin at latitude 41° 40' South
Day 96: The goose-neck barnacles are slurping and gurgling badly by now
Day 98: 14th week 713 NM with 4,24 kn, Odometer 11.873 NM
Day 99: 14th low passing. Measured 1018hp, wind NNE force 4 shifting SSE 5 (weak front)
Day 101: Passing the Antipodes position of 'The Titanic' at 41°47' N and 050° 15' W
Day 101: 15th low passing. Measured 1013hp, wind W force 6 shifting SW 7 (weak front)
Day 103: 16th low passing. Measured 1010hp, wind W force 7 shifting WSW 6 (weak front)
Day 104: 17th low passing. Measured 1011hp, wind WNW force 7 shifting WSW 6 (weak front)
Day 105: 15th week 718 NM with 4,27 kn, Odometer 12.591 NM
Day 108: The 75 Watt solar panel has suddenly quit charging, it is the main power supply on board
Day 110: Reaching the most southerly position at 45° 49' South
Day 111: Hove to for 120 hours in F7 East winds for one week, no mileage made good to the east at all.
Day 112: 16th week 550 NM with 3,27 kn, Odometer 13.141 NM
Day 114: The head winds turned to calms and thick fog, it's a bit spooky.
Day 116: Passing the tip of Tasmania at 44° 14'S, 147° East
Day 116: 18th low passing. Measured 1006hp, wind NW force 6 shifting WSW 8 ("my foul current front")
Day 117: Half circum navigation in 90 days with 10.313 NM, since Day 27. During this time hove too in head winds for 158 hours, drifting in calms for 134 hours which totals to over 12 dayss
Day 119: 17th week 460 NM with 2,74 kn, Odometer 13.601 NM
Day 121: 19h low passing. Measured 1017hp, wind NW force 5 shifting SW 5 ("my roling front")
Day 123: Four months at sea since October
Day 126: 18th week 625 NM with 3,72 kn, Odometer 14.226 NM
Day 130: 20th low passing. Measured 998hp, wind N force 7 shifting NW 7 ("my last front")
Day 131: Switching to the third of the three water tanks, I've been using a generous 3l per day.
Day 132: Last contact with ZS1SAM on the 19.02.2016
Day 133: 19th week 582 NM with 3,46 kn, Odometer 14.808 NM and land fall
Day 133: Saturday, 20th February 2016, 1430h LT tied up at the Customs dock. 20.000NM since leaving Holland eight months.