Just the usual start of trip collisions
Sun 24 Mar 2013 10:43
Position 31:44S 17:16E
Left Cape Town yesterday morning early, with a forecast of strong but favourable winds, and the usual anxieties at the start of a long trip. Preperation has been very pleasant, the Royal Cape Yacht Club is a convivial place, I spent two days with my old work colleague Harry Norcott, and braved downtown Cape Town on a Saturday night to attend a small concert in a Masonic Temple within the Parliament Building.
Also an accident and incident free, and fairly cheap, rent car. So luck could not hold, and the day before I left my wallet dissapeared in the check out queue at the Supermarket. The usual chaos, cancelled cards etc, and my driving licence also a victim, though I am not anticipating needing it again before, and if (see below) I get home.The next day, the YC receives a call from a man with a mobile phone who says he has my wallet. I phone him and he wants to meet me outside the main railway station to 'give' it back to me, minus the cash of course. Stuff that for a bunch of cherries!
An anxious day at sea yesterday culminated in my colliding with a tanker off Cape Collumbine. Had the guy in vision, and also tracking him on my AIS radar, he was in a traffic seperation lane, I was in the small craft inshore shipping lane, and he was overtaking about a mile off to port. I was cooking supper when about five mins later we collided. My high zoom electronic chart did not disclose that the seperation zone had a break to allow traffic to turn right into a local port, and I was cooking supper and not paying attention to the screen. Of course it was his responsibility to keep clear, but thes big guys either don't see you, or they ignore you. Miraculously I not only survived, but there seems to be not structural damage to the boat, just the masthead wiped clean of some quite expensive and useful electronics, not to mention my nav lights.
This was a glancing blow, and I suppose that the pressure of water moving down the side of the tanker keeps the boats apart? Down below there was a rather curious change in the wave pattern, but absolutely no noise, until the first of several loud bangs transmitted down the mast. Of course I shot out of the companionway to find a surreal scene: To port was a huge brown cliff against which we were relatively travelling backwards, mast banging against it as we went. Suddenly the end of the cliff was in sight: I could see the ships rudder, and the prop wave. And an instant later the prop wave had smashed over the stern and filled the cockpit. And then it was all over, and the cliff receeded into the night. On this occasion my deck floodlight still worked (See Indonesian adventure!) and there was no sign of hull to hull damage, and the mast was straight, and all the standing rigging was in place. I pondered whether to try and sail back upwind to a harbour but finally decided to carry on, under much reduced rig. This morning the masthead itself looks pretty normal, just a bit bare!So I am continuing. The forecast is for lighter winds in a day or so, and then I can get up the mast fairly safely and do a closer check. If there is a problem, there is a yacht friendly port in Namibia(!).
Have had a good sleep this morning, and feel better. Toothache a bit of a worry:I had an extraction two days before leaving UK, but I serioisly think that he pulled the wrong one!