Cape Town to St Helena - Day Ten 18 31.244S 002 00.895W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 23 Mar 2014 13:36
The wind was up and down again last night and we made the decision to slow down a bit to time our arrival. There's no way we will get in tomorrow, but we don't want to arrive in the middle of Monday night, especially as the moon is getting later, reducing in intensity and struggling now to get through the thick cloud layer that seems always to be present overnight. Going into a new destination in the dark is rarely a sensible thing to do. It's better to stay out at sea until daybreak. By keeping our speed between 5 and 6kts we hope to arrive at first light on Tuesday. Our noon-to-noon run was 137 miles and we have 250 miles to go.

The sun has come out early today and it's a lovely sunny afternoon. The sea is a beautiful deep blue, but is up a bit and has lost it's shape. When the wind is light, the swell dominates and you can see the line of it coming towards you. The boat rises and falls in a nice steady manner. Today with the wind and sea being up a bit, the sea is more confused in the sense that waves are coming in small clusters in a random manner and at different speeds. As they catch us they cause the boat to rock and roll. It's not too bad - we have a steady period, then we roll, then it's steady again and so on. The waves are still all going in the same direction, and the same direction as us and the wind, so that's good. Both poles are still up, but not a lot of sail, and we're making 6 to 6.5kts.

Having pondered our position last night (and you get lots of time on night watch to ponder!), the longitude of Gosport, where we started from, is approximately 001 07W. We passed that in the night, as we head further west, so have actually sailed 360 degrees around the globe, but in a corkscrew fashion, now being several thousand miles south of where we started. We still have a long way to go before we actually cross our outward track.

While I think of it, one thing we found in Cape Town was the factory of Southern Ropes. They have a factory shop not too far from the marina and we've never seen such good quality rope so cheap. It was just as well, as together the surge in Simon's Town and 40-50kt winds in Cape Town have ruined our mooring ropes - most of which we have had for years without any signs of wear. So we have a brand new set of mooring ropes - multiplait polyester. All the good qualities of polyester with the stretch and flexibility provided by the plait. And what's more, they don't squeak, so that will keep the crew happy! While there, we replaced our furling lines and the sheets for the working genoa. Good thing that we both like new rope! So if anyone is going to Cape Town, by plane or boat, be prepared to go shopping for rope!

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