Preparing to Leave South Africa

15 January 2018   Cape Town, South Africa
After a leisurely full English breakfast, we visited the small museum in Franschhoek, which has fascinating information about the emigration of the Huguenots from France and how they settled in South Africa.

Huguenots were French Protestants mainly from northern France, who were inspired by the writings of John Calvin and others.  Europe in the 1500s was mostly Catholic and the Huguenots were violently persecuted by a series of Catholic French Kings.  Over a century, edicts for tolerance would be issued by the King, but then later revoked by the next monarch.  

Franschhoek Area

From 1661, Louis XIV went to great lengths to convert the Huguenots, but he failed.  So in 1685, he revoked the Edict of Nantes, which resulted in the Huguenot persecutions being resumed.  Once again, the Huguenots fled in large numbers (over 200,000) to other countries in Europe as well as England and America. 

About 200 Huguenots emigrated to Cape Town. They were mostly farmers and craftsmen and soon established farms in the Franschhoek ad Stellenbosch areas.  Many of the vineyards are still owned by their descendants.

Sated with historical knowledge, we drove to Stellenbosch, which is a large town in the middle of another wine growing area.  The town was heaving with cars and it was difficult to park, so we ran away - it’s only another big town.  Instead, we drove to Vergelegen, which is a large winery about 20 kilometres away from Stellenbosch.

Vergelegen is a stunning estate.  It was originally owned by an early Governor of Cape Town, who allocated himself five times as much land as any other settler (typical politician).  The vineyard has changed hands many times over the centuries and is now owned by Anglo American, one of the largest mining companies in the world.  They have rebuilt the historical buildings; reconstructed the traditional gardens and opened it up to the public. 

For the small entrance fee of £0.50, you are able to walk around the beautifully manicured grounds; bring your own picnic; or go to one of their two restaurants.  We elected to go to the Stables restaurant, which is “a bistro dining experience in casual surroundings” - I’ve seen “posh” restaurants that are rougher…  

Vergelegen

Despite us arriving after 13:30, they didn’t have any tables available - “Booking is essential, Sir”.  However, they managed to find us a place on a couch in the waiting area, which was probably nicer than the tables.  We weren’t feeling very hungry, so we ordered two sandwiches, which were essentially huge salads, artfully ladled over a piece of ciabatta bread.  Accompanied by a couple of glasses of Merlot, the meal was very good.  

After lunch, we wandered around the grounds for an hour, visiting the lovely formal gardens and a small museum in the original manor house.   

It took us an hour to get back to the Yacht Club, where we found the rebuilt sea-water pump waiting in the cockpit for me - it’s back to reality tomorrow.

16 January 2018   Cape Town, South Africa
We were planning to leave on Saturday 20th to give ourselves a couple of day’s leeway before our visas run out on the 22nd, but there’s some strong winds and 5 metre waves forecast on Saturday morning.  It looks like we’ll have to wait until Monday the 22nd before we leave, which is taking it down to the wire.

I fitted the sea-water pump and ran the engine for 15 minutes - all looks good.  After picking up the running backstays, I spent an hour up the mast and installed the new fairlead and the running backstays, so we’re now in a fit state to go sailing.

Up the Mast

Our mast has a lot of bend in it and I was thinking of adjusting the lower shrouds to move the centre of the mast back.  I chatted to Warren from Associated Riggers, who was very helpful and sent along one of his riggers to have a look.  The conclusion was that our forestay is too long, causing the head of the mast to be too far aft - adjusting the lower shrouds would not help and would cause more problems. 

Warren gave me a new toggle to fit in place of the two existing ones, which will effectively shorten the forestay by 50mm, I’ll try to fit it tomorrow.

Late in the afternoon, we filled up with diesel and moved the boat to another berth because we’re staying longer than originally planned.

17 January 2018   Cape Town, South Africa
It was another early start, going to the doctors for another B12 vitamin injection and Glenys had another blood test for her white blood cell count.  It all looks good, so we can forget about doctors for another year.  While we were out and about, we went food shopping and stocked up on another 30 litres of wine, mostly quaffable stuff in boxes, but we bought a dozen nice bottles for special occasions. 

After lunch, I replaced the toggle on the forestay and the mast looks a lot straighter, but the inner forestay is now too loose - typical.  Warren at the riggers told me to remove sail, remove the toggle on the bottom of the  inner forestay and pull it down tight, so that I can measure how much to shorten the stay. 

I rigged up a rope from the end of the furler drum and led it back to a winch, so that I could get enough tension in the inner forestay.  I think that I have the mast set up correctly now, but I want a rigger to look at it and confirm before we decide how we’re going to shorten the inner forestay.  Unfortunately, the riggers were shut at 15:30 - I think Wednesday is race day.

In the evening, we went to Rod & Mary’s house for a traditional Braai and drank loads of red wine while reminiscing.