Nereida sails in to Cape Town harbour - at last!!

Safe arrival in Cape Town harbour Wednesday 9th December at 1600UTC (6pm local time) - under sail all the way from Lanzarote in the Canaries with no use of motor power anywhere along the way!

But how frustrating those last two days.... I kept thinking I'd be in harbour by evening and then the already light wind would die to nothing ...yet again! I was so close, I could clearly see Table Mountain above Cape Town and over to the Cape of Good Hope at the entrance to False Bay. Late Monday afternoon, I thought I should try out the engine ready for manoeuvring in to my marina berth - & found that the starter motor wouldn't turn.... I tried it several times, but no joy.... Oh well, that meant not only sailing up to the harbour entrance, which I'd always intended, but also sailing within the confines of the harbour up to the marina entrance - a good distance further on.

Again, it was useful to be in email contact by Winlink with my contact Tom on shore who contacted the Royal Cape Y.C. who were able to have a boat waiting by their marina entrance to help me in to my berth once I'd downed my sails & Tom and friend Mike kindly came out on the yacht 'Storm' to escort me to the harbour once I got close on Wednesday afternoon - when finally the wind had picked up nicely after yet another night and morning of near flat calm. I actually had a great sail on the final leg on my journey towards the harbour entrance and, in even stronger winds, & with hurried reefing on my part, into the main harbour itself - where I found lots of racers heading out as I put in a series of fast tacks in the face of a strong headwind in an effort to get through a relatively narrow entrance to the inner harbour.... I just made it and hoped that the shouts from one or two boats passing me headed out were ones of welcome (I had my red ensign flying) rather than loud cursing...!! I did try hard, of course, to keep out of everyone's way - but there were an awful lot of them and I just hoped they'd heard my earlier 'Securite' VHF radio message to Áll ships' warning of my lack of engine power. (Most of the boats heading out were running their engines, even though they had sails up - that's normal within a harbour, as a safety precaution)

So I'd arrived - after 61 days at sea from Lanzarote. It felt good, despite being 9 days later than I'd expected 2 or 3 weeks ago, and it was lovely to have several people I knew (and several I didn't!) come by to welcome me to Cape Town. As I sat in the Yacht Club bar area, enjoying a meal, surrounded by people, I totally relaxed and enjoyed the moment...!!

Written by : Mike

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