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  #11  
Old 12-22-2012
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Well we made it to East London rather than further since there is a moderate southwester tomorrow (15 to 25 knots), the window got shortened again. We probably can go another step the day after but Christmas Day is looking like a serious SWester (25 to 30). On the map the distance from here to Durban is 260 miles but we went quite a bit further since we were about 25 miles offshore were the current was supposed to be strongest. We were only out for 36 hours including 8 hours of motoring in light southwesterlies at the beginning. Once we got going we had a 24 hour run of 206 miles. Winds were in the 20 to 35 knot range with seas up to 10 feet but short period (6 sec) and sloppy. In the middle of the night my wife had one surf down a wave of 15.6 knots which is a new record for the old girl - I mean the boat, not my wife, although it was a record for both. Had to handsteer for the last eight hours as the sacrificial tube in the Monitor's rudder shaft sheared off. Must of hit something which made it fail, which is its,purpose after all. Put the spare on in the morning. BTW, when we came out of the current this afternoon the water temperature fell16 Celsius degrees.

Someone suggested going south of the Agulhas Current.You could do this in theory but it would really be putting all your eggs in one basket. When you look at the synoptic charts there is some serious bad weather to the south, and if there were winds from the south, you could not bailout since the Current is there blocking your way. Might make sense with a big, powerful, fast boat with a good crew. For a Ma And Pa operation like ours, and most people's, it makes sense to take your time and pick your windows, which are pretty common at this time of year. Nice to GE this long leg done. From here on the legs are shorter and there a number of capes you can hide behind if the poop hits the fan unexpectedly.

BTW, we are waiting for boat named Jago to appear in East London. When he called the radio net this morning he was 110 miles from EL and had a broken forestay. Said his jury rig was ok, but really hoped to get here before the wind switched, which may be happening as I type since a squall is coming.
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Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.
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  #12  
Old 12-25-2012
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

One more step down the road. Sunday evening we got the weather and listened to the radio net and made a snap decision to go to Port Elizabeth which was 120 miles, knowing that we would be motoring all or most of the way (in fact, we only got to motorsail as there was even less wind than predicted. The next SWester was to come at 2am today so we had 31 hours and used 20. Longest time the engine has been on ever but got us further along. From here it is 130 miles to Knysna which is incredibly beautiful but very hard to enter because it is shallow and waves often break across the entrance. If we can't go there then Mossel Bay which is another 40. From either of these it is wait for the really good conditions needed to get around Cape Agulhas.

An interesting problem when you come out of a port for a relatively short trip like this last one is what angle to take to get into the current and how far to go out. We went to the 100 m depth contour and followed that. Another boat that should have faster did not go as far and was an hour slower. We might have gone faster at the 200 m contour but that would have meant going an extra hour out and in. I realized that it was not a problem of optimizing my outcome, but rather finding a satisfactory outcome. When we got to 100 m we could do 8+ knots and we were happy with that and decided not to look for greener pastures out further. Used a combination of boat speed, depth soundings and water temperatures to keep in the groove.

BTW, saw lots of wildlife, whales, seals, a large shark, and even many penguins.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.
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  #13  
Old 12-25-2012
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Those current considerations make for some fun nav!

Do the blows come in on time?
So you said you were expecting the next one 10 hours after you arrived in safety. Did the weather change as predicted?
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  #14  
Old 12-25-2012
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Generally the weather predictions have been pretty good. Based on the limited number of observations we have it seems that the changes in weather happen a bit faster than predicted. Not surprisingly a great deal of time and attention is put on the weather. We have been using Buoyweather, Passageweather, the South African weather service, Weather Underground, and the local radio net, Peri-Peri Net to make our decisions.

We may be stuck in PE for a week or so since the forecasts are not good. We seem to be getting the fringes of depressions from the Roaring Forties rather than small, coastal depressions that spin off from the cold fronts of southern depressions. I can't imagine what it must be like once you get away from summer.
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  #15  
Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Next step down the coast and not a good one. We left Port Elizabeth with what was described as 'not a great window, but a window nonetheless'. Sort of like going on a blind date with someone who has been desired as having a great personality. We were supposed to have 8 to 10 hours of west winds in the 10 to 15 range but it turned out to be 24 hours of 15 to 20 (her personality was not great either). Our orginal plan was to go to Knysna which is a gorgeous spot but an only be entered in ideal conditions ie one hour before high tide and only when there are no large swells which break across the narrow entrance. We had timed our trip for this tidal stage and it became apparent that we were not going to make it, so we headed into Plettenberg Bay which is well protected from westerlies. When we reversed the engine to set the anchor we got a godawful howl and when we shot down the engine we found that the raw water pump was leaking like a sieve. So we became a real sailboat and picked up the anchor and sailed off for the real harbour which is Mossel Bay which was about 60 miles away. This epic journey lasted 25 hours with most of that in winds to about 10 knos close to on the nose and with 3 metre swells, currents and wind waves. The last part of the trip was fine sailing, much of it with the asymmetric up. But then the winds went up and as we were lowering the sail, the halyard broke and we had a long purse seine beside us. Do you know when one these babies falls in the water, the sniffer inverts and the whole thing ends up being about 100 feet long. Once we got that wet mess back on deck, we contacted Mossel Bay port control about getting a tow into the harbour since it is not large and had no idea where we going inside. They said there policy was not to do tows at night and that we had to anchor outside the harbour for the night. We managed this just in front of a small mooring field and the mighty Manson grapped first time and held us brilliantly with 20+ knot winds and good-sized, but not good swells all night. It is amazing how well you can sleep when you are tired enough. Anyway, we got towed in this morning by a small tug and are glad we did not try to sail in at night. The wharf walls are quite high and lined with big heavy equipment tires. It is hard enough to climb onto the dock when the boat is tied up, jumping up with a line from a boat (40,000 pounds) docking under sail would be pretty impressive, even for my wife who is very athletic. In any case, we are here and the new pump is at Westerbeke in the US (I hope!) since there apparently is not one in Africa and the one that went was already my spare.

An addition, once you get past Port Elizabeth the impact of the Agulhas Current is less since it starts to spread out and weaken. It also gets further offshore so it is not convenient to use.

Might be in Mossel Bay for a time and it is not a bad place to get stuck. On Sunday we are doing a cage dive with great white sharks - our three sons are going to be very jealous.
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Last edited by killarney_sailor; 01-02-2013 at 02:10 PM.
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  #16  
Old 01-02-2013
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Wow... not your usual uneventful passage that time, was it? Good job getting into port however it went.

Thanks for the update!
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  #17  
Old 01-03-2013
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Had a thought for anyone coming this way. When you estimate how long it will take you to go from Richards Bay to Cape Town use this rule. If you consider yourself to be a realist/pessimist, double your estimate. If you are an optimistic type, triple it.
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Old 01-03-2013
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
Had a thought for anyone coming this way. When you estimate how long it will take you to go from Richards Bay to Cape Town use this rule. If you consider yourself to be a realist/pessimist, double your estimate. If you are an optimistic type, triple it.
Really enjoy reading about your trip Killarney_sailor, hope you keep posting updates.
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  #19  
Old 01-03-2013
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow



Glad your safe and sound. Cage with the whites.....hmm I want pictures.

Dave
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Old 01-03-2013
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Re: Looks like we are going sailing tomorrow

Glad its coming together, but the thought of rounding SA has taken some of the romance out of a circumnavigation. But, to be honest, I have no real ambition to do so. My bucket list voyage is a crossing to northern Europe, down the coast, the Med for a year, cross to Caribbean, then back up to RI. By comparison, its a milk run.

The shark dive at the end was a real topper!
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