On To Namibia

22 January 2018   Cape Town, South Africa
I was up early taking the staysail halyard to riggers so that they could splice the shackle on for me.  We then paid our bill at the marina and toddled off to clear out.  It’s about 1½ miles to the Port Control building, so we were glad that we still had a car. 

We went into the cylindrical port authority tower and were given a clearance document by the receptionist.  She told us that she’s allowed to do the clearance provided that the yacht is in the Royal Cape Yacht Club, otherwise you have to go to the Harbour Master’s office and fill in more forms, which can take a long time.

Table Mountain From Yacht Club

Immigration and Customs are in another building on the way back to the Yacht Club and we soon had their forms filled in and our clearance was completed by 09:30. There’s a north wind forecast for today and tomorrow morning, so we’re planning to leave on Wednesday 24th.  Our visas run out at midnight today, so we told the authorities that we’re leaving today.  We’ll be “Undesirables” if we are caught, but we’ll just stay in the marina, so that chance of having to show our passports is negligible.

 I dropped Glenys off at the boat and drove off to buy some engine filters & fill up the car with petrol.  We dropped the car off in town just before lunch.

We walked around town looking at some of the tourist “attractions” - Chiappini St has many brightly coloured buildings, originally Cape Malay people.  We walked through Company's Garden and found a nice restaurant at Greenmarket Square, where there are lots of souvenir stalls and buskers.  It’s okay for a big city, but I’d rather be in a small village somewhere.

The most interesting thing was going to the Namibian Tourist office (25th Floor, Atterbury House, Riebeeck Street).  A very nice lady chatted to us for 30 minutes about Namibia and things to do there and we walked off with a bagful of tourist brochures.  The view of Cape Town from their office window is impressive.

Back at the boat, there was a cold 15 knot wind from the north, so I’m glad that we decided to wait a couple of days.  In the evening, we went out for a meal at the bar with “Full Circle” - this time the kitchen stayed open long enough to get a meal.

Foggy Day

23 January 2018   Cape Town, South Africa
We woke to the sound of fog horns out at sea.  There was no wind and the dense fog didn’t clear in the marina until 10:00.  We got on with a couple of jobs - Glenys did a final load of laundry and I replace the primary diesel filter on the engine.  We then installed the new staysail halyard and hoisted the stay sail.  After filling our water tanks, we were ready to leave tomorrow. 

Over the next 4-5 months, we will be sailing about 6,000 miles with 45 days at sea, but for some reason, I feel fairly calm about it - shouldn’t I feel more worried?  Have I forgotten something or maybe we’re very well prepared, (touch wood!)

Over the past two weeks the boat has become very dirty with sand and grime brought in by the gale force winds.  All of the ropes are dirty, the standing rigging has a layer of greasy dirt and whenever we touch anything on deck we have to wash our hands.  Unfortunately, with the water crisis, we can’t wash the decks down with fresh water and the sea water in the marina is dirtier than the boat.  We’ll just have to suffer until after we have left.

We had a final dinner in the bar with “Full Circle” and had an early night.

24 January 2018   Cape Town to Lüderitz, Namibia (Day 1)
It was a glorious blue-sky morning and we managed to leave by 08:00.  There was a 8-10 knot west wind, putting us on a close reach, but the seas were only about 1 metre, so it was very pleasant sailing.  The wind dropped occasionally, so we had to start the engine a couple of times.  By 14:00, the wind had backed to the south and increased to 20 knots, so we put the spinnaker pole out to port and ran downwind wing-on-wing. 

Leaving South Africa

We soon fell into our routine and the day passed quickly.  The sea conditions were much better than we had between Richards Bay and Cape Town, so it was pleasantly normal.  Despite the sunny day, the wind was cold and we both wore fleeces during the day.  “Dreamcatcher” left Cape Town at the same time as us and were doing a similar speed, so we had a chat on the VHF after dinner.

The dirt accumulated on the ropes and rigging is driving us mad.  Every time we have to do something, we have to wash our hands.  Unfortunately, the boat is rocking and rolling too much and we can’t be bothered to wash everything down.  We’ll have to wait until we get to Lüderitz.

By nightfall, we had 20-25 knot winds and 2 metre seas.  We rolled away the main and ran downwind with just the genoa. The temperature dropped further, requiring jackets, long trousers, socks, gloves and a woolly hat – we’re glad that we’re heading north back to the tropics. ½ 

25 January 2018   Cape Town to Lüderitz, Namibia (Day 2)
We had another glorious blue-sky morning with a south 22-28 knot wind.  At 08:00, we’d done 152 miles, which is a good daily run for us – it’s helped that we’ve had ½ - 1 knot of current with us for most of the way.  We continued the day with just the genoa, occasionally reefing a little if the wind picked up and gybing a couple of times as the wind changed direction slightly.  

Damn Cold

Having the spinnaker pole out all the time is so flexible.  I think that the boat rolls less with the genoa poled out to windward.  To reduce chafe, we run the genoa sheet through a snatch block at the end of the spinnaker pole.   We had one minor incident when the snatch block broke with a bang – a bolt connecting the block to the shackle had corroded over the last seven years.  It only took ten minutes to gybe the genoa, lower the pole and reinstall a new snatch block – most of that time was finding out where the hell I’d stowed the spare block.

Despite the cloudless sky, it was another cold day.  We had various flaps zipped onto the bimini to try to block the wind, but it finds its way under them – we’re not really set up for cold weather sailing.  Late in the afternoon, we ran the engine for 30 minutes, so that we could have a hot shower.

The clear skies and steady wind continued after dark, but by our 01:00 shift change, the moon and stars disappeared behind a layer of cloud.  It was damn cold.  At 04:00, the wind started to drop and we encountered a counter current, so with our reduced boat speed, our speed over the ground decreased to 4.5 knots.