Sailing around the World ( presently about to leave Durban )

A Lady
Stephen Hyde
Fri 19 Nov 2010 07:50
THURSDAY   18th  NOVEMBER   2010
05.30,  Skipper had a blinkin nightmare, so got up early to settle himself down.
Text from home, Munster won their match against Australia, well done Munster. All other news from home is bad news,
07.00hrs  We were ready to go to sea once more, Having looked over the grib files, and read the weather reports, it all looks suitable
 for our trip SW to Port Elizabeth  , a total distance of 389 miles.
The conditions will be wild , but at least they will be blowing up our transome.
07.30 hrs We slipped our lines and motored out towards the harbour entrance, It was a cold muggy morning as we passed all
the Tankers, container ships, cargo ships, etc,  It is a real busy port,
We passed the coal berth, where all the trains and lorries were begining to creep along the quay wall as the place came to life.
08.pphrs We were outside the harbour entrance and set a course SW and out to the 200m contour line.  This is to catch
the SW flowing " Agulhas Current " and give us a big helping hand .
But, BUT  , always the but, in a NE 20 knot breeze,  a current in our favour , my ass , in fact we had a blooming adverse current
 of 1.5knots against us ,   Shite !
The Barometer was at 1020, the top of its cycle  , and this is the time to get going, according to all the experts.
The Sea conditions were moderate as we reached down the coast,  but the wind was building all the time,
12.00hrs, We had a big SE swell mixed with a sharp chop from the N as the now 36 knot wind whipped the tops off the waves,
It all made for very uncomfortable sailing, and it was cloudy to boot.
We reefed down the boat as we expected this wind to increase further.  and it did,
We passed many Sharks and Dolphins on our way, and they always add a bit of interest, and so did the friggin cold.
Its not often we wear shoes on the boat, but now we were putting on the winter wollies, plus shoe's and sock's,  brrrrrrrr, brrrrrr
14.30hrs, We had a midday dinner of Roast leg of lamb, Creamed potatoes, and red beans, yummy, yummy, We love our tummy.
Sudenly,  walla, Yupeeee, we  had sailed into the favourable current and we just took off ,
The current ranged from 2.5 knots to 5.2 knots, and we found ourselves doing some incredible speeds,
We were doing 14 / 15 knots over the ground regularly, and touched 17 knots a few times,  Mind you, we also had 45  /48 knots
 of wind behind , helping us along,
18.00hrs  We rolled up all sails and had 3 reefs in the main,  and were still sailing along at 11 / 12 knots.
00.00hrs,  We had travelled 154 n miles in 16 hours,   an average of 9.6 knots,  and thats good,
The Seas had moderated, but not the wind,and we had a clear sky with a good moon and all those beautifull stars.
We were still in sight of the coast, so could see all the lights and light houses in the distance.
The current was + 4 knots at this stage, and we were happy frozen bunnies. as we settled into another night at sea.
This time in much more comfortable conditions,
Thats it for now,
Signed :-  Stephen  Hyde  ,  ( Skipper )