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Update from S.Africa - trying to head for Tasmania and on... but a few problems to resolve first

I'm writing this from Cape Town, having motored around from Simon's Town on Sunday.  I'd hoped to leave S.Africa for Tasmania (Hobart) late on Monday (30th Jan) with a weather window seeming to have appeared for then.  So I was up before dawn and got away in bright sunshine soon after, heading into stronger-than-expected headwinds to get to Cape Pt and away from False Bay (which is nigh on impossible to do when the prevailing strong summer SE wind blows).  The swell was quite large, as expected, and made for lumpy seas and an uncomfortable ride a lot of the way and the wind died soon after rounding the Cape and so I wasn't able to use my headsails as I'd hoped.

Soon after tying up in Cape Town, Judy came by to take me to Gordon & Anne Kling's place (they run a winery there) at Kloof Nek -  in a beautiful setting high above Hout Bay, not far from Constantia.  They and the rest of the 'Lobelia' crew had wanted to have a get-together to say 'goodbye' to me before I left S. Africa - it was a lovely evening and a lovely thought - Thank you all!

Things got a bit hectic before leaving Simon's Town, with a variety of stainless steel and fibreglass work being done right up to the evening of the day before and some re-wiring the day before that - work I'd been trying to get finished for the past few months...! A steel tab on the windscreen frame of the opening window broke off and was also mended by Baden at the last moment - with more work needed now, of course, to install it.  The net outcome was that I wasn't able to sort the boat out properly for passage-making as was needed, although we were more or less OK for the short passage to Cape Town.   So when Monday's weather window disappeared, it was really a blessing in disguise - I've been very busy for the past few days here at the Royal Cape Y.C.and I'm now looking at the next weather window (Sat/Sun?), wondering if I'll make that...  My AIS screen display kept disappearing regularly on my way here - but has failed to do so since .... despite being left on solidly, along with my instruments and autopilot, since my arrival.  I've a back-up system so the plan is to get that working, just in case.

Pick and Pay supermarket have kindly agreed to donate me some nice fruit juices - I run a 'dry boat' on passage (except when I cross the Equator!) and so it's nice to enjoy a drink of juice each day.  Eileen took me a good baker and to a specialist supplier of good 'biltong' (the S.African dried meat) and then on to a 'Pick and Pay' near Simon's Town last week, so I've already stocked up with UHT milk, onions, potatoes, cereal, eggs and apples, also gem and butternut squash which last for ages, and I've been checking through, and re-organizing, my dried & tinned foods - plenty of those from before.

I received quite a big order of spare lines and halyards from Southern Ropes on my return and Warren, of Associated Rigging, generously offered to splice eyes for me where they were needed.   I'm also pleased to have organised a pole for my staysail - that could be very useful in strong following conditions.

I've seen lots of cruisers since December and especially since my return.  Most have come down the coast from Richard's Bay or Durban, after crossing the Indian Ocean from Thailand, Indonesia or Australia.  It's been enjoyable chatting to them.  On my arrival here at the Royal Cape Y.C. on Sunday, I was greeted by Kurt of 'Salsa' calling out to me as I looked for somewhere to tie up to:  "Jeanne, remember me - I line-handled for you through the Panama Canal...!!"   It's always good fun to meet up with a cruiser unexpectedly like that (it was early in June 2008) - one of the things I enjoy about my sailing!

I promised some photos in my last posting - but never managed it... and I just found that it's not possible at the Club here.  The photos are all ready but will have to wait until I find a way around that problem... A pity, since I've some nice ones!

The SE wind ('The Cape Doctor') is howling now... and has been since Tuesday (racing was cancelled yesterday with winds of 30-40 kn)...  but over the weekend, a Low is supposed to pass by - which might give the less strong wind from a better direction for me to be able to 'escape' S from here for two days or so, to get around the Agulhas Bank, before 'turning left' to head East for Tasmania..,.  We'll see how that works out....  I'd better get back to the boat and do some more stowing and organizing...

Written by : Mike

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