Monday, September 20, 2010

Turning the corner !

Originally uploaded by brisegalets
Crossing the Agulhas current already had been a kind of anticlimax, so I was bracing for the Cape of Storms, anticipating the real thing this time.
At the start, it looked that we were in for some excitement. We left Mossel Bay with an easterly gale force wind, 15 foot seas, rain and for us coming from the tropics, a temperature that made the weather feel like brass monkey weather (for those who don't know, the full expression is "it's cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey" probably irish expression), being in the low 60' and a very high humidity. I thought that this was going to be a rough but quick passage. Alas ! Around midnight, the wind which had been declining since early afternoon dropped to a point where we had to start the motor, once again. We had albatross, dolphins and whales around us to keep us excited, but this was not enough to forget our disappointment.
Then, as we were approaching Cape Point, the wind came back up to 35 knots and 20 foot seas to go with it. By the way, the Cape of Good Hope is the one called the Cape of Storms, but it's nothing of a cape. It sits like a small dent on the side of a peninsular at the end of which is Cape Point, which looks formidable. We could hardly see anything as the weather was kind of foggy with less than 2 miles visibility and very low clouds that were hiding the top of Cape Point.
At that point, the locking device which keeps the movement of the water paddle of the windvane in sync with the steering wheel broke, and there was a brief moment of high tension. We first tried a wooden plug, but it would not hold, being chewed up by the movements of the wheel. Eventually, we found the axis of a shackle that was the right size, and we were able to continue under the guidance of Firmin, our windvane.
Again, this was not a walk in the park with that kind of wind and sea state, but at least, we were flying, with on top of that the help of a 0.7 knots current. But this was to be short lived. As we passed Hout Baai, which is about 20 miles from Capetown, the wind died, then came back up at 20 knots in our nose, then died again staying in the northerlies directions.
We then finished motoring and entered the harbour of Capetown at 1 in the morning on Sunday. All our efforts to contact Port Control on 16 and 12 failed, so we went directly to the Royal Cape Yacht Club basin and tied up at the first berth available. And within 10 minutes, we were fast asleep, happy and relieved to be now in the South Atlantic. No more known weather monsters ahead of us !


Anonymous said...

Congrats on Turning the corner! JOB WELL DONE!!!!!

Rick & Pam

Crows Nest said...

All plain sailing now, Bernard.

NZ brothers of the Coast