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SA Report 6: Rough sail from Cape Town to Hout Bay ... and walks up Vlakkenberg and Lion's Head

Tues 9thAug .... Women's Day - Public Holiday in S. Africa - beautiful sunny day - I moved to a more protected berth with plenty of help from the many friendly people on the marina.

A beautiful small shrub seen frequently on my walks:

Recent boat work has included replacing a pair of shrouds after one was found to be  damaged (two strands broken) - which involved motoring over to the crane by the haulout area in the RCYC yard for unstepping the mast so it could be taken ashore (Table Mt in the background):
That meant it could be doubly checked and more easily worked on.  All toggles etc were checked & serviced and, while it was easy to do, I took the opportunity to tie twine between the shrouds and mast steps to avoid the main halyard fouling on the steps as it was otherwise inclined to do at times (I still need to go up the mast soon to tighten a few of the lines).  The spinnaker halyard and second reef line both needed replacing due to chafe.   A day later, the mast was stepped again and the mast-light cables were reconnected.... All wires and connections were checked over and some corrosion  (due to seawater having got to them in the knockdown) dealt with.

A clear screen attaching to the sprayhood is being made to protect the companionway and sliding hatch area from rainwater in an effort to stop the water from getting down below in bad weather from astern.   The theory is that I'll also be able to sit on deck in its lee and stay reasonably dry at times!

A week or so ago, a replacement for a faulty replacement shore-power control unit arrived from the Netherlands and last week RCYC member Paul kindly brought a replacement electric immersion heater element with him for me from the UK - after a lot of organizing on my part and help from Yachting Sports at Hamble Pt - many thanks to Paul and to Derek.  I'm looking forward to dealing with the heater element and maybe enjoying hot water on board soon.... but the ongoing fridge repair is proving more difficult, with a corroded cold-plate looking as though it's in need of replacement - yet another item not immediately available here in S. Africa....   The corroded cockpit locker light switch has been mended, the new solenoid switch on the galley gas supply and the gas sensor system are both now working, the isolating transformer is in position and working and the prop anode has been changed (nothing was left of the old one..) ... so some positive things have been achieved....   (I also did some necessary clearing up before moving around to Hout Bay!)

With regret, I decided I had to move from the Royal Cape Y.C. in Cape Town due to the cost of berthing.  It's very expensive for visitors compared with members (for both berthing and yard services), has just increased a further 7% with their new financial year and with my having been there for three months was set to increase even further with the addition of a so-called 'membership fee' (with no benefits!)....   With all the repairs I've needed to see to, it was getting too much - especially since I cannot sensibly leave S. Africa to head East towards Australia and N.Z. etc until the summer weather arrives in a few months' time.

I've enjoyed some more Friday night live music and many more lovely sunny days (although the air is cold and temp drops like a stone at night) but the very day (last Thursday) I wanted to sail the 20 ml around to Hout Bay, to give a talk that evening to the Yacht Club, it was blowing a hooley with nasty short seas that really knocked us about & the autopilot regularly dropped into 'standby'.    As I approached Hout Bay, visibility dropped to near zero in heavy rain but with the help of my radar I got in safely and my talk that evening seemed to go down OK...  

I shall stay here in Hout Bay, with its very friendly Y.C. (and highly reasonable charges) and active fishing fleet, for a short while (I'm going to see something of Namibia next week, ....camping!) before heading the 40 ml around the Cape of Good Hope/Cape Point to Simons Town.   There I shall haul out for a rudder repair & to clean the keel & antifoul and then I shall stay on at the False Bay Y.C. to finish with outstanding boat work.   In October-November, I might explore the coast to the N of Cape Town,  possibly stopping at Saldanha Y.C. for a while, in Saldanha Bay (there aren't many places along the coast to choose from to stop at, in fact).

My Sunday walk a week ago with Lee-Anne and Amanda was in company with quite a large group of walkers to Vlakkenberg - literally a 'flat mountain', but nothing like as large as Table Mt. which it is near to.   It was approached from the Constantia wine region with its large houses and many vineyards and the views over Constantia, False Bay and towards Hout Bay from high up were, as always, stunning.  Some of the many varied 'fynbos' flowers have been coming out earlier than usual, I'm told, due to the lovely sunny weather we've been having, even though the air temperature is well down - it's definitely chilly out of the sun and especially at night.

Start of path up the Vlakkenberg:

View S over Constantia vineyards across False Bay to Hang Klip:

View N to Table Mt:

Typical worn stone outcrops at the top of the mountain:

Lunch stop by top beacon - view W to Sandy Beach on far side of Hout Bay:


Last Sunday, I climbed the Lion's Head for the second time - this time with Judy and daughter Dominique (Olympic sailor!) and Amanda.   It was fun to climb up the 'chains' - put in place on a short vertical section of the rock-face to make it a lot easier and safer....   but with the warm sunshine bringing out hikers galore, there was a major 'traffic jam' of people waiting to use them - strictly 'one way traffic' with no 'passing'!   I didn't take my camera on the walk, thinking there'd be no need for it - but was surprised to find more several plants in bloom (bulbs, bushes and succulents) that were new to me.  One large N-facing slope (facing the sun in the S-hemisphere...!!) was a lovely mass of flowers!

At the RCYC, some Russians visited regularly from a couple of diamond rig boats, there in the harbour for maintenance and repair .... and we got chatting.  They looked over 'Nereida', took my 'repaired' wind-vane away -  it came back two days later - far more professionally and sturdily repaired...!!

Dimitri, Valery & Alex decide they can improve on my wind-vane repair:


Written by : Mike

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