South African Sailing

Stephen Bassett
Fri 29 Nov 2013 16:50

The time has come to leave our cosy corner in Richards Bay and venture out into African coastal waters. The salty tales are not too encouraging but we are going anyway. No choice really, not if we want to get to the Cape of Good Hope.
After 17 days in the Tuzi Gazi Waterfront marina we undid the lines and left at 0600 Hrs on 22nd November, destination East London. Had a fantastic sail for the first 24 hours then the wind turned against us. Tried to find an anchorage but there was none. Hove-to overnight then motored mostly to East London. Had called Buffalo River Yacht club for a mooring or a berth. They have trot lines which we did not use as the wind through the harbour made it too difficult, plus it was dark as we arrived about 2100 Hrs. So we anchored on the edge of the ship's turning circle. And waited, and waited for the wind to ease. Sat on board all day.
As we sat there, one of the moored vessels ( a charter catamaran) broke the bow mooring line and started to fall back on the boats behind. We tried calling the yacht club but no answer. Tried another number and the chap who answered was quite unconcerned. However a little while later they came and secured the cat.
Then watched another yacht come in under sail - their engines had failed. Impressive sailing as they slid alongside the harbour wall. It is a catamaran called Alleycat Two. What's next, I wonder?
We have to check in and out with the port control with our flight (!) Plan before we are allowed to leave each harbour in Sth Africa. That is the only reason we went ashore in East London. Not much to say about it!
Left East London on 27th November at 1100 Hrs into drenching rain with foghorns sounding at the harbour entrance. How long will the next leg take? Here we go.