Things that happen in cruising
We don't often enough have discussion of the sorts of things that can happen while cruising. Got an email from onboard a friend's boat off the coast of Namibia. I am sure he would not mind my sharing this. A bit of background. The boat is a 52' performance cat so we are talking about a very big, powerful rig. The captain is very experienced on a second circumnavigation while the crew is competent but not nearly as experienced. Note this email was sent to several family and friends, including non-sailors.
We want you to know that both of us are fine and the boat is fine.
We had a fairly major failure however today. The autopilot stopped =
working for no reason and the boat accidentally "gybed".
This cause two lines to break, the boom to swing to the wrong side and =
break it's mandril out of the cover. This will require us to go back to =
Cape Town for repairs.
I estimate a minimum of 4-6 weeks once we arrive. Arriving is another =
story by itself.
We are currently 38 miles north of Luderitz and heading back against the =
25 knots of wind plus sea. Uncomfortable, but we'll be anchored before =
Once there, I'll give a full report and look for a weather window to motor =
sail (with just the front sails) back to Cape Town. No way this would be =
Walvis Bay, Namibia!..(or anywhere in Namibia).
Some comments. It is interesting that he starts by making sure people know they are OK. When we were knocked down we wanted people to know, but of course no one would have any knowledge that there is any problem. Perhaps the desire to tell others that things are fine is a way of reassuring ourselves.
Plans are only good until something happens. Obviously the repair here is likely to be an expensive one with parts needed to be flown in from Europe or the US, plus marina and yard charges. Fortunately they are not too far from Cape Town (800 ? Miles) which has excellent facilities. Often you are not so lucky.
There are also major implications for schedule. Sounds like they may not be able to leave Cape Town until quite late into May which is getting into winter. Scott will have to decide whether he can safely leave then. He has the advantage of a very fast boat so if he gets a decent weather window he can make a dash toward the trades. Also it messes the schedule later on. I think it is their intention to go to the Caribbean and then Panama, but it would be hurricane season by the time they get there. They could hug the northern coast of South America, but they miss the chance to enjoy the Eastern Caribbean.
Anyway, a look at the reality of extended cruising.
In South Africa doing lots of boat stuff. Departure north from Cape Town around December 15th. Arrival in the Caribbean around the beginning of February, after 5300 miles or so.