I'd been delaying posting an update here in the hope that there would be good news before Christmas, or at latest before the New Year .... but holidays and lethargy have, unfortunately, got in the way of the hoped-for progress - so "Nereida" will be seeing in the New Year without any sign of a working engine, despite the fact that people here in Cape Town were willing to work on the new installation over the holiday period to help me get away sooner ..... Very, very frustrating for me - I should have been well on my way towards Cape Leeuwin by now.... on my way to Tasmania & New Zealand, with Cape Horn to be rounded in late February, towards the end of the Southern summer.
I've uploaded some photos here as part of my 'be positive' attempts at staying sane...
Whilst marooned within sight of Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope for nearly 3 days, with the wind having become light or non-existent (and my determination to use my sails alone from Lanzarote all the way around meaning no engine power used), I saw lots of sea life ... and a marvellous sunset on the second unexpected night at sea (Tuesday 8th Dec) before my landfall in S. Africa:
On the Wednesday, the day started out the same - no wind...! Overnight, we'd drifted around in a big loop so that, come morning, we were roughly in the same position as at sunset the night before. But slowly, the wind filled in & we made 1-2 knots, in 2-4 knots of wind, to begin with, but as I got closer to land, after midday, the wind picked up far more and I was able to make better progress towards Cape Town with Table mountain and the Cape of Good Hope at the entrance to False Bay in clear view all the time......
One job I'd been promising myself to do was carried out last week. The Hydrovane rudder had become a garden, with gooseneck barnacles galore growing on it - since the Canaries, I think. I thought they were only growing near the water surface but was amazed to see that they were growing happpily all the way down to the base of the rudder. So I wasn't too surprised to hear from my Afrikaans neighbour Gerhard that the entire keel was also looking like a forest - he'd kindly volunteered to clean my hull of the few (as I thought!) barnacles near the water-line after he'd dived on his own boat... Since I'm due to haul out (originally to reposition a through-hull fitting for the watermaker) as soon as the engine issue has been resolved, I stopped him - far easier to clean them off, especially in such numbers, when out of the water than when in!! I should add that there was no antifouling on the Hydrovane rudder whereas the keel has antifouling - which the gooseneck barnacles clearly love!!
With my mind constantly on the engine problem, trying over and over again to get progress made on that front, other work was put on hold - but the new rod-kicker is in place, sails have been repaired with new, firmer battens in place (even the seemingly unbroken ones were shattered!), the aft cabin bedding & mattresses etc have been cleaned, some small but important instrument and electrical problems have been dealt with and I'm finally getting around to installing the straightened stanchions - which job keeps getting totally side-tracked with time-consuming polishing and cleaning off the hard layer of salt over all the adjacent metal fittings and lifelines. I'm even hearing that my gimballed coffee-mug holder for the chart table is well on its way to being completed!!
So if only I had a working engine, with a good exhaust system, I could have been on my way well before now... which made it that much more painful to see 'Berrimilla' get under way to Sydney last week ..... I was up at 5am to wish them 'Bon voyage'... only to see them come back in later that morning with a sticking tillerpilot... swiftly repaired (yet again!) so they could get back out that same afternoon, to catch the favourable W wind before it died:
Australian singlehander Jim on 'This Boat' (!!), who was, like me, trying for a 'nonstop around' also finally left (on Boxing Day).... so all the other boats that came into Cape Town for repairs around the beginning of December, as I did (3 of them, if 'Groupama' is included!), have now left me behind.... stranded and rapidly losing my 'weather window' for the Southern Ocean around Cape Horn.
I'm trying to keep a positive outlook by seeing to all the jobs I can find to do on board (anyone into boating knows that's never a problem!!) - at least "Nereida" can enter the New Year clean, tidy & well-polished!
All best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year 2010 to you all!!