Around the Cape Part 2
Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Mon 3 Dec 2012 22:23
So there we were, around Cape Aghulas and heading north, taking it easy. We were well reefed and cruising downwind in 30 to 35 knot winds (moderate gale)
Then the wind started picking up. First 35 to 40 knots then 40 to 45 knots, and finally 45 to 55 knots (strong gale/storm).
It was not so bad for Anastasia because, with the jib furled and the mainsail fully reefed, the autohelm could cope OK and we could just retire indoors to sit out the storm. We broke a batten when the tiny piece of mainsail that was still deployed backed up accidentally and the batten got bent in two.
It was more of an ordeal for Brizo because, with a broken autohelm, they had to hand steer and some of the larger breaking waves could reach their cockpit, They were pooped three times and wet weather gear is just not designed to keep you warm and dry through total immersion.
The only good thing was that the wind remained from behind and we were being blown along quickly in the right direction. After about six hours of rough seas and howling winds, we rounded Cape Point and entered more quiet waters, sheltered by the mountains south of Cape Town.
When motoring out of St Francis our starboard engine had developed a nasty vibration and we had switched to using only the port engine. Now we had arrived in calm water we looked over from the other hull and could see something dragging behind the starboard propellor. Andrea offered Bertie £20 to swim down and free the prop, but Bertie said it would take £50. Neither Andrea or I fancied going into the cold water, so we agreed to his terms and Bertie put on my wet suit, tied on a knife, donned his mask and posed for a photo. Then he dipped his head into the water, said he thought he could see a shark below the boat and refused to go in.
So I had to go in anyway. The water is a bit chilly around Cape Town (I guess that is why there are so many sealions and whales and great white sharks) but fortunately the scrap of fishing net wrapped around the propellor could be cut away easily and it only took a couple of minutes to free it. Thankfully we then had two working engines to enter Cape Town Harbour.
We are now moored in the Victoria and Albert Marina, which is in a very smart part of town, just two minutes walk from the main shopping area, There are two footbridges that had to be raised to allow us into the marina, which was a new experience. There is a working dry dock right next to the marina and it is interesting to watch the ships being brought in and propped up before the water is evacuated.
There are sealions in the marina (round here they call them fur seals) but so far we have not had to use the drastic measures we used in Galapagos to keep them from climbing aboard Anastasia.