Sunday 3 August – Cape Lazaref
Course: South east Speed: 2 knots
Wind: East nor' east F2 light breeze
Weather: overcast, light drizzle, cool
Day's run: 9 miles made good.
I have been stuck off Cape Lazaref for almost 24 hours now, which it seems
the gods do not want to let me round. Some nasty rocks extend off the Cape,
two large ones, North and South Pinnacle Rocks, stick up out of the water
like two black obsidian canine teeth, and in between them, which I cannot
see but are shown on the chart, are a series of sharp incisors just below
the surface, ready to tear Sylph's belly out if I let her get too close. And
there seems to be a force at work drawing Sylph towards them, or at least
not letting her past them. I get a little breeze and work my way up to them
and thus far every time I get close to passing them the wind drops off, or
the ebb stream picks up and pushes me backwards, and then I end up becalmed,
drifting, going nowhere. I get a light following breeze and set the sails
square to run before it, but as I approach the reef the wind mysteriously
backs and the wind vane steers Sylph once again towards the menacing teeth.
I gybe, tack away, and the tide pushes me south. I stand on, and the wind
fades. I tack back, my course is good to clear the rocks, but as we are
about to pass the rocks, the wind backs once more, Sylph's head falls off to
the north and back towards the rocks.
I have light easterly now, a headwind. If it persists it will be a nice
sailing breeze, but will it hold? It is just as likely to freshen into a
strong headwind for all I know, the glass has been steadily falling over the
last 36 hours or so, and I know that a low pressure system was to the south
of us a few days ago, when north-easterly winds were predicted. I have
tacked once more to avoid the menacing teeth, and we are now crossing our
track from ten hours ago. I wonder whether I will manage to get a little
further east this time. Of course I could motor, but that would be cheating.
All is well.