Sailing to St Helena

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 16 Jan 2011 10:26
We had a brilliant time in South Africa and were sad to leave. However, Paul from Rally control had given such a stimulating performance at the skippers briefing which made us look forward to the next part of our adventure.
The night before we left Hout Bay, we ate again at Luigi’s, an Italian restaurant, located on the main road out to Chapmans peak, just past the shopping complex where Woolworths and Checkers can be found. We recommend very highly this restaurant. The food is excellent, the prices good and the owner Antonio, has a great singing voice and super personality.
Generally we were pleased with the work done for us in South Africa, despite business closing between 16th December and 12th January. The only company to let us down was Associated Rigging who we had booked three weeks before the work was scheduled to be done 3rd January. Right up to 1pm on the day before we were due to leave Hout Bay, they called to say they were running late and would be there at 2pm. They didn’t arrive and Dick had to go up the mast and check the rigging himself. Fortunately nothing was required to be done.
From 8am on the 8th January, the day we commenced leg 21 to Brazil via St Helena, HBYC was serving a scrumptious cooked breakfast. Most of the WARC participants took advantage of such a nutritious start to the day.
We crossed the start line at noon although with boats in various marinas in Cape Town not all of them are officially in the “race”. Four boats have been delayed; Chessie and Kaliopie, who still await the completion of the repairs to their boats. They hope to leave Hout Bay on Monday. Crazy Horse and Ocean Jasper could not leave until they had their visa for Brazil so anticipated not leaving Cape Town before Wednesday. Grande Filou is taking part in the Cape to Rio race and will rejoin the rally later in Brazil.
There was little wind and we had to tack to get to the edge of the bay where we did manage to pick up a small breeze. We spotted a sunfish as we made our way out of the bay. In the distance, we could see, right across the horizon, a cloud bank. One hour later we were in the midst of the sea mist with very poor visibility for two hours. Then, brilliant sunshine and a blue sky but it was cold.
Next morning, with the sun shining and a blue sky but still cold, we had left behind the green sea and were now sailing in blue water again.
A nail clipping of a new moon sat around in the sky for most of the day and when night fell, it lit a path to our boat. There were plenty of stars in the sky.
We had been sailing between 70º and 90º off the wind but by Monday morning, it was not easy to achieve a reasonable speed without adjusting the wind angle on the boat to greater than 120º. At half past noon, we goose winged the main sail and the genoa and were sailing at 162º.
The sea having increased that morning was big, too big to raise the parasailor. Surfing off the big waves can cause the parasailor to get damaged as we have learnt to our cost.
At noon on Friday, the sea, though still moderate, had gone down sufficiently for us to raise the parasailor and it was still flying on Sunday. We anticipate that with the light wind, moving 50º within the hour, we will probably be able to utilize the parasailor until we reach Jamestown, St Helena. Failing that, if there is too little wind then we will have to take down the parasailor and use the engines.
We crossed the meridian between one and 2 am Sunday morning. I guess that we are now on UK time though we are still using South African time on the boat. This means that it doesn’t get light until 7am but stays light until 9pm.
When we listened to the SSB net at 9am on Sunday, it became apparent that quite a few of the other boats have had to resort to using an engine during the last 24 hours.
We have seen a few cargo ships. There was also a fishing boat near a bank late in the week. Two of the boats have spotted a ship traveling at 12knots which looked like an oil rig.
Generally we have been starved of marine life. Other than the squadrons of flying fish, we had seen nothing but a few birds since we saw the sun fish when leaving Hout Bay.
I became a grandmother for the first time, on Tuesday; a little girl weighing 5lb13ounces, born in Antigua. Mother and baby are doing fine and the father is delighted. Until now, I have “adopted” Dick’s two grandsons as my own.