Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Another week in Sunshine State

Fort Lauderdale by brisegalets
Fort Lauderdale a photo by brisegalets on Flickr.
Another week during which I did not have to switch on the heater, the temperature remaining all week above 72. After the festivities of the President's day week-end, it was mostly work on Papy Jovial, to take care of some of the wear and tear resulting from the last 34,000 miles. She now has a brand new goose neck on the main, a new traveler for the spinnaker boom, and although it does not show, new pins on the elements of the roller furler. I should get the sails back this week. Oil change and other minor maintenance have been performed and she is almost ready to go out again.
On the positive, there was the visit of Tom and Sarah, the original parents of Papy Jovial when she was Precept. Tom and Sarah have been with me by email the whole trip, helping me not only with the weather, but anytime I would mention on this blog a technical difficulty on the boat, they would immediately send me an email suggesting ways to deal with the problem. I will never be able to thank them enough.
O)n the negative, there were two more yachts taken by the Somali pirates, one american with all four people on board killed in circumstances net yet very clear, and one danish yacht, with seven people including children, taken to the Somali coast for what promises to be another long wait in captivity waiting for someone to pay a ransom.
I am upset because I believe that those people who very clearly had no business being in that dangerous area, indirectly, were pushed to choose that route by people who keep claiming that the route around South Africa is dangerous and treacherous. This could not be further from the truth. Having done it myself, I had spoken to numerous skippers from South Africa who sail around their country all year round. Yes, you have to watch the weather very carefully, yes you have to make sure that you are not out there where worse conditons can be met. But with good weather information and careful planning, there is no more problem than sailing around britanny in the west part of France, or other areas known for difficult weather conditons at times.
By repeating endlessly that the route around South Africa is not doable by the average ocean cruiser, the end result is more people choose to go the Red Sea route with the consequences of risking a pirate attack. And the percentage of getting caught is very high, I am told around 1 %. If you were told that 1 % of the flights were going to fall out of the sky, would you fly ?
Enough said, but anybody who would like to know more about my experience going around South Africa, you can contact me on ""

No comments: