Saturday 16th July 1745 UTC 1945 Local
After our exploring and travelling around Southern
Africa we took to the high seas again today. The coast of southern Africa is
known as being very hostile in winter and there are not many places to stop.
Ideally we should want to make Port Elizabeth some 400 miles away in one hop so
we needed to find at least a two day weather window.
Generally in the area and at this time of year
frontal systems come through every three days or so. They always blow south west
over the Agulhas Current and we have had our fill of that.
The technique therefor is to leave hard on the
heels of a passing depression. That situation arose over the past couple of days
so yesterday was a mad scramble to get our repaired and reinforced sails bent
on, which for the jib is relatively easy, but for the main it is quite a job,
though an all too familiar one now. Customs and port clearance needed also to be
maintained as well as all bills paid and thank you's to be said. So it was rush
rush rush and it seems we got everything done and I was up at 0500 sharp to
do three small jobs before raising Trish to cast off.
The front was forecast to be through by this
morning but in fact we headed to sea to find the tail end of it's
sou'westerly with rough sea conditions. Unfortunately Trish had headed to
the galley to make a breakfast and was caught out by nausea after having been
ashore for a over a month. I have to say I felt slightly squeamish myself for a
moment too and I think that was probably anxiety about whether the forecast was
wrong and I was going to be taking Trish into wind over Agulhas
The whole morning was a bit of a slog but
eventually everything cleared and we found ourselves with clear cold skies and a
reaching wind supplementing the current. Though the wind is only eight knots we
are being carried along at over nine knots and (10.4 just then actually!) very
comfortably. In order to get a free ride I am now unashamedly flirting and
holding hands with the very same current that we could not wait to escape from a
few weeks ago. In indeed it is paying dividends.
It gets dark early here now and it is nice for a
change to be sailing with the lights of the shore in view.
We hope the moon will find a stage for itself to
shine through the now cloudy sky too.
Thoughts now turn to the final legs of the
circumnavigation, though I am not being complacent about the 600 miles to go
round Cape Agulhas and Cape of Good Hope before Capetown.
I will say a bit more about it soon but I
might remind you all that way back in Lankawi before Brokeback we had decided
that Trish would not do any more long passages. I have to say however it shows
just how much seatime she has done and how many thousands of miles and nights at
sea she has put in when an 800 mile passage in the winter round the Cape of Good
Hope does not qualify as a "long passage!"
When we made that decison in Lankawi after there
were not a few tears shed (no, not by me.....) I had planned to single hand the
boat from Thailand to the Andaman Islands and then on to Sri Lanka or the
I am still hankering to single hand,
remembering how demanding and challenging, but enjoyable my round Britain &
Ireland single handing was, and I am contemplating sailing Rhiann Marie from
Capetown back to the Canaries or Gibraltar to close our circumnavigation before
the northern winter proper sets in.
At the moment it is not a firm plan but something I
would like to do if my fitness is up to scratch by then and I can find an
insurer prepared to provide the cover.
First we need to get