Cape Town to St Helena Day 12 - St Helena in the not so co ld light of dawn

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Tue 31 Jan 2017 08:26

Position                    15:55.55 S 005:43.57 W

Date                          1000 (UTC+2) Monday 30 January 2017

                                 0800 UTC local St Helena time – British winter time

Distance run             in 8hrs 62nm over the ground, 60nm through the water

Passage total            1714nm over the ground, 1631nm through the water

Distance to go          0nm

Planned distance      Cape Town to St Helena 1697nm


With fading winds we motored overnight, partially to stop the boat rolling and slamming around.  We are assured that we can purchase diesel on St Helena at a cost of £1.27 per litre; the cost will make us feel at home.


At 0500 we started to pick up the red lights on the top of the island and as dawn came up just after 7 o’clock, which is 5 o’clock local time, we having been travelling steadily west, the island came up out of the dark.


St Helena in the dawn light


At 0720 a minor disaster struck.  After 49,000nm the linear drive motor on our autopilot failed.  We have carried a boxed new motor as a spare for the last seven years and I am hoping that fitting this will not be a too difficult job. The motor lives under the bed in the aft cabin and access is good.  With only two and a half hours to go it could wait until another day and be added to the job list for St Helena.  It is fortunate that the motor did not fail earlier in the passage as fitting it whilst underway, with the rudder working, whilst not impossible would not have been easy.


The approach to Jamestown Harbour was around the eastern side of the island and as the view opened up we saw the RMS St Helena at anchor, offloading goods onto lighters and beyond that the mooring field.  St Helena Radio were most efficient as was the Harbour Master who had allocated us a buoy and emailed detailed instructions in response to our notification of arrival.


Rounding the north east corner of St Helena and looking into the mooring field at Jamestown with the RMS St Helena anchored off


A couple of hours after arrival we were visited by the Harbour Master and HM Customs so that we could complete their paperwork.  It was then a trip ashore to check in with immigration.  There is an excellent water taxi service as landing with a dinghy can be very precarious in anything other than calm conditions.  We were definitely expected as the last of the World ARC Rally boats to arrive and this is a good feeling.  At the Tourist Information Office we were issued with our Rally pack and offered the no cost Rally Island tour, despite the fact that all other Rally boats had left.


We have allocated the next two days to boat maintenance and then we will be able fully to enjoy the island.


Due to changing circumstances at home duty calls, so we have changed our onward plans.  From St Helena we will be going on to Ascension Island.  >From there we will be heading north and east with the aim of getting to Gibraltar and then into the Mediterranean,  With the help of friends made whilst taking part in the ARC 2010, Celia and Andrew Sharpe of the sailing yacht Alice, we have secured a long term berth in a marina between Valencia and Barcelona.  The route towards Gibraltar will very much depend on the weather.  It is likely that we will call at the Cape Verde Islands, or sail close by.  From there depending on the strength of the trade winds we will head either for the Canaries or more likely the Azores, before heading east towards the Straits and into the Mediterranean.