Monday 1st March (St David's Day - but no daffodils here!)
Murphy came visiting 'Nereida' last week.... to make sure a Monday exit from Cape Town and South Africa (today) became impossible. The new engine was run for the first time on Wednesday - everything seemed fine except that I noticed the charging system shooting up to well over 16V each time the secondary alternator kicked in.. not good news on a 12V system so the motor was stopped each time... The next day that problem was investigated and (more-or-less) fixed, but when the engine was run on Friday, hoping for a seatrial later that day, the pressure and temperature gauges were misbehaving.... another problem to be sorted out.
Some good news was .that Clive came back from the UK on Thursday, bringing with him a British ensign (plus a spare) for me to replace one that went missing in December, along with a replacement driving licence &, credit cards, to replace ones that were in a bag stolen just before Christmas. The bad news was that he went down badly ill on Monday so the engine seatrial was put on hold, but the good news was that the senders were changed by Philip and Welcome in the meantime, to give sensible readings on the temperature and oil-pressure gauges. (Clive's on medicine for a bad infection & seems much better already)
Last Friday (26th) was a frustrating day all round for me with the other jobs on board not being touched, let alone finished as had been promised.... TIA. . I buried my sorrows that night with dancing to the 'Cape Rockers' - all guys from the Royal Cape Y.C. here... and enjoyed what I hope will be my final Friday dance night in Cape Town. There's a possible 'weather window' later this week to get away South around the relatively shallow Agulhas Bank and then East towards S. Australia.
The previous week was, again, a very frustrating time for me - I should have learned my lesson after all the time I've been here in Cape Town but I assumed, wrongly, of course, that once the engine was in, all the other work which had been waiting for that to happen would get done quickly so I could leave soon after - surely well before the end of the month ... but... no way!!
The few days on the hard to instal a new watermaker intake through-hull fitting and make changes to the exhaust system were, as always, not as pleasant as being in the water, but at least the hull was thoroughly cleaned and then antifouled...
I was amazed at how badly fouled the keel was, on seeing it when the boat was lifted in slings by crane - lots of a kind of thick. dripping jelly all over, especially on the anodes and log/speed impellor, in addition to gooseneck barnacles still well stuck on with a kind of cement, as well as green 'whiskers' near the waterline and other, harder growth on the through-hull fittings.
By Friday 19th, "Nereida" was back in the water - but nothing else was achieved by way of work ("It's Friday - nothing gets done since the weekend is coming up"...!!)... more frustration.. so I was happy to be driven up the coast to where the Mykonos Regatta was being held, the first 60 mile offshore race having started that morning, up the coast from Cape Town via Dassen Island and on to Saldanha Bay. This is the big event of the Cape Town/South African racing calendar and had well over a hundred boats taking part - of all sizes.
It was a two-hour drive NW through mainly flat countryside of newly-built Cape Town suburbs initially and then partly through some coastal National Parks which, I was told, were full of flowers at the relevant time of year but were now devoid of much interest. Mykonos resort was based on the Greek island of the same name - having visited there, it was interesting for me to see how well they had achieved their aim - not too bad, was my reaction.
Sat 20th Feb - Looking out from Mykonos Marina, Saldanha - not a lot of wind for a Pursuit Race..so the start was delayed !!
But then the wind came up a tad, so reasonable racing was possible, although there were plenty of 'holes' to try to avoid... I was 'rail meat' on 'Picasso', courtesy owner Ray, but I found it very frustrating not to be allowed to be of more use. Men only, it seemed - who didn't all seem to know what they were supposed to do......!! But the 3-man foredeck (spinnaker) crew coped quite well with some difficult situations... It actually turned into a very pleasant afternoon's sail around Saldanha Bay - a much nicer way of touring it than by land! The view of the marina entrance on our return gives a good picture of the 'Greek-style' housing behind. And later I enjoyed the lively, sociable atmosphere - lots of people enjoying themselves with chatting, music and dancing.
The strong wind encouraged me to stay down below on Sunday and start seriously clearing up, to make the boat ready for passage .. made me feel a lot better and I've kept up the stowing & tidying since, even though I can't finish until all work is completed. One new problem has been the difficulty of changing the bow navigation lights - the wires were so well stuck in place that the pulpit steelwork is having to be taken off partly for access to get the new wires through the tubing....