Sailing in tough conditions as we make our way around the World ... ( presently at Sea )

A Lady
Stephen Hyde
Wed 10 Nov 2010 08:41
SUNDAY   7th   NOVEMBER   2010         ( Day 9 at Sea )
00.30hrs  The weather has now become wild, with 35  /  40 knots 60 degrees on our port side, It was effectivly blowing fron the SSW .....
and we had a 1.5 knot current across us from NE  to SW, which helped us along , but also helped pile up the sea's....
Terry and Skipper decided that we would stay on deck all night, as the conditions kept deteriorating and leave the girls in their bunks,
Ohhhhh, this is terrible, Its not often we hear the wind screaming through the rigging , but thats just what its doing right now,
along with the seas breaking completly over the boat.  At times , we could see very little of the boat as she was swallowed into the surf.
But , but, we have a great boat and we will survive this tempest .
03.00hrs  We could no longer see Wild Tigris or Grand Filou,  but we knew from the radio conversations , that they were doing
the same as ourselves, going straight for Richards Bay.....
We kept the motor running , just yo keep a bit of stability on the boat, but the dreaded " Agulhas Current " never got above 2.2knots
so conditions could have been worse.   ohhhhh. the thought alone could wake the girls, ( not that they could do much sleeping in
these conditions, ) as the boat climbed up and sank down over and under the waves.
Distance to destination, 110 miles
A few huge ships passe us on their way to Durban . just about another 80 miles south of Richards Bay.
04.00hrs ( local time ) The condotions are extreemly difficult as we battle our way towards " Richards Bay " We keep thinking that if the smaller
boats get this type of weather, they will get a hammering.
08.00hrs,  Skipper spoke to Casey on " Wild Tigris " who are about 10 miles NE of us at present, they are having a tough time too
even though their boat is 72 feet long.
09.00hrs ( 07.00 local time )  Radio call,   This time " Crazy Horse " is the Radio net controller and they are some 400 odd miles behind, so we could barely hear them and " Drammer " had to do a relay for us.
The four lead boats , " A Lady "     " Wild Tigris "    " Grand Filou "    " Killopie " will finish within 3 hours of one another, Thats good going
having sailed 1,500 miles since we left Reunion Island.
11.00hrsConditions are still rough, but the wind has eased off a little. so Skipper and Terry managed some sleep.
13.00hrs,  We emailed our ETA of 18.30hrs ( Local time ) to rally control,  the seas had subsided at this stage and progress was good,
16.00hrs  We have only 20 miles to go to our destination.and we can see land away in the distance, always a great joy.
18.59.13 hrs  ( 5 pm effectivly local time ) we crossed the finish line.  First boat home.   yupeeeee..
We crossed the line about 10 minutes before " Grand Filou "  and that gave us a lift.
We were then escorted from the finish line to the marina by a Police launch, where we were met by Paul and the lovely Susanna
who directed us to our berth and assisted in tying us to the Quay wall.
Charles, the manager of the " The Zululand Yacht Club" welcomed us and presented us and all other yachts with some gifts and a bottle of " Bubbly "
which we drank straight away.  We felt that this was a great gesture.
We were tied alongside a small french 10 meter yacht called " Houba"  ,which had turned 360 degrees twice ( pitched poled ).  they lost all
their electrics, and engine, and also did huge damage to their mast and sails,  This all happened out where we had our waypoint.
Can you imagine, turning head over heels twice, and survive,
We also learned of another yacht on her way to richards bay, but much further north of our position was kidnapped by Pirates from
Somalia and 2 of the crew ( owner and girlfriend ) were taken off the boat and vanished with the kidnappers inland.  The skipper was rescued
by a French Frigate.   Gawd ,,,,   plenty of action around here. ( there have been 5 pirate attacks in this region in the last month )
Mind you, this all happened about 1000 miles north of our position.  so We suppose we were safe enough.
20.00hrs (  local time  ) we all piled into a taxi and off with us to " Porky's " restaurant at the Waterfront, which was located at the opposite
side of the litttle harbour to where we were located. There we met the Crew from " Destiny " ( who have been here for 2 days, as they left 2 days ahead of us )
they were Wolfgang ( owner ) Hermann, Anna, Udo, and Andreas, and had a wonderfull evening with them before returning to
" A Lady " again for a good nights sleep , Not without a night cap.
Another milestone, We have reached South Africa,
Distance from Reunion Island....................................................... 1496 miles
Distance travelled to date from Ireland........................................... 26,431 miles
Thats all for today.
Signed :-  Stephen Hyde   ( Skipper )