Around Cape Agulhas - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 01-20-2013 Thread Starter
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Around Cape Agulhas

Well they made it, but it was tense for a time. For those not following the story, my wife and I are heading around the South African coast. In Mossel Bay, which is 120 miles from Cape Agulhas the southernmost point in Africa and one of the world's great capes, I seriously injured my hand. I have returned to Canada for extensive treatment on my hand and we needed to move Ainia around the Cape because the harbour at Mossel Bay is just not good enough to leave the boat. The answer was that June would have to take the boat to False Bay near Cape Town. She recruited friends from an American boat named Serannity for crew and were off while I was winging my way north.

The first 225 miles went fine. They motored for seven hours or so and then had a really nice sail with SE winds in the 15 to 20 knots. The last five miles were shall we say, 'interesting'. The harbour is quite small with the docks close together and it became apparent that the could not enter the harbour as the winds increased to 30 and then 40 and then more knots. At the yacht club they recorded 56 knots. They tried to pick up a mooring near the entrance but the pendant seemed to short. They then anchored in 40 feet of water with 40+ knots. The Manson caught finally but they were in contact by radio with the yacht club and the local rescue station who did not want them out there since the conditions were not going to get better and might get worse. The rescue crew came out with their boat and several crew and helped get Ainia into a dock. All in all an exciting time (don't know how long it all took).

The conclusions:
The local people were great - we have found South Africans to be very helpful and interested in visitors
These weather conditions are not uncommon here. SE winds are focussed through False Bay with high land to the north and south. These winds continue over the land and back onto the sea near Cape Town - shown by the famous tablecloth clouds spilling down Table Mountain.
Most importantly, June did a terrific job. She has only been sailing for about five years and has tended to defer to me too much in the past. But she really stepped up and did a great job and was even asking a question about how to bleed an injector since the engine needed to be bled several times after a repair in Mossel Bay.
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Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #2 of 26 Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

Kudos to June.
Hope your hand mends up quickly.

Rounding Cape Agulhus - wow!

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post #3 of 26 Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

Good news. Since she's sailed most of the way around the world, I imagine she is a lot more competent than most.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #4 of 26 Old 01-20-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
Good news. Since she's sailed most of the way around the world, I imagine she is a lot more competent than most.
She has sailed more than 30k miles offshore which does build experience. She is also a very competent, smart, and when needed, tough person having grown up in China during the Cultural Revolution and getting a doctorate in engineering physics.

I forgot one conclusion in my first posting (hey, I am on drugs) and that is that the cruising community is generally quite wonderful and supportive of one another. It is an odd, sort of floating (sorry) relationship since you get close to people and then schedules/routes diverge and you lose track, but then you bump into them again 4000 miles down the line. People say they want to learn a skill like refrigeration repair, or sewing to pay for their cruising but I don't think that would work well in the offshore cruising community where you just help others when and if you can.
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Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #5 of 26 Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

been reading your "adventures" glad to see she made it.. now we just need to get you back to the boat in working order

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post #6 of 26 Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

Hip hip hooray for June

Glad you are safe too


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post #7 of 26 Old 01-20-2013
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

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Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post

I forgot one conclusion in my first posting (hey, I am on drugs) and that is that the cruising community is generally quite wonderful and supportive of one another. ........People say they want to learn a skill like refrigeration repair, or sewing to pay for their cruising but I don't think that would work well in the offshore cruising community where you just help others when and if you can.
Just a comment on the above.. I think it's very true that cruisers DO help each other as they are able and when that help is required - it's usually given selflessly, without expectations of repayment but a frequent result is perhaps a beer, a bottle of wine, dinner or a reciprocal favour. I think that's true of the offshore and coastal cruising communities, at least in our experience.

It would be very difficult, esp given that pretty much anyone embarking on a circumnavigation is necessarily pretty damned self sufficient, for anyone to 'pay their way' in that fashion.


Very glad to hear the boat and crew are safe in harbour again!

Ron

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post #8 of 26 Old 01-21-2013
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Hi Bruce.
Good news.
Hope you better soon.
I second fasters comments.
Cheers
DC


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post #9 of 26 Old 01-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

Here is the latest poop in our little soap opera. I went to see the head honcho of the top hand program in the country, remarkable to see him less than 48 hours after showing up at emergency dept. The good news is that he thinks that skin grafts might not be needed at all. The docs in South Africa were talking about $20,000+ worth of graft surgery. Dr Graham, here said that there are three possibilities: major reconstructive surgery (highly unlikely), grafts (possible although he thought the skin would look worse after nine days if it was dead - to my eye the skin looks like something from a B quality sci-fi movie), and the skin just recovers on its own over the next month or so (most likely). His major concern is making sure I recover enough function to meet my needs for the future. Since sailing involves delivering a lot of power through both hands that means the rehab has to be right. I already had a session with an occupational therapist and will see again on Wednesday and probably Friday. Their goal is to have me in a splint with the fingers sticking out at 90* as the hand heels so as to avoid a sort of claw-like hand. Today the angles varied from 120 to 135*.

In terms of time, a best case scenario is probably going to be 4 to 6 weeks which means a March departure from SA (at best) and I just am not comfortable with that. Talked to June today and it is blowing 50 knots off Cape Town. Most cruising boats have already left and several more are going later this week. Our approach to this circumnavigation has been to act conservatively eg we went to American Samoa and Australia rather than Tonga and NZ to avoid gales (and did). March and possibly later is just too late in the season. The trades and depressions will have moved north making conditions much more hazardous than is prudent. SO, we have decided to leave Ainia in False Bay until next southern summer. We wii go back early and do more land travel in Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, and Victoria Falls come to mind) and make sure Ainia is completely ready to go - the Cape Town area, which includes False Bay is the best place in the country to get stuff done. Also an early start gives us more time to spend in the South Atlantic basin. Plus, June and are really missing each other (after five days). When you do extended cruising you are so intimately connected with your partner that it is hard to be apart.
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Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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Re: Around Cape Agulhas

Thanks for that.... best of luck.

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
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