Arrival to Cape Town Area

We left on Wednesday at the crack of dawn from Knysna intending to make it to the marina in Simons Town where we plan to keep the boat while we visit the Cape Town area for the next few weeks. The winds were forecasted to be light and the seas pretty smooth for this trip. And that’s exactly what we got. We had to use more fuel on this 1.5 day trip than we used in any one trip for the entire time we crossed the Indian Ocean. The reason is that we had a reservation at the marina and they are completely full. So, we didn’t want to miss our reservation. So, we couldn’t afford to wait for a better weather window.

Knysna 500

Knysna 500

A few interesting things to note from the trip. The night before we left, we met the owner of Knysna Yachts – a company which makes a quality South African catamaran. They have just started building the Knysna 500 – a 50 foot cat similar in size to Tahina. He told us he modeled his company on the quality put forth by St. Francis (our boat’s manufacturer), and in fact has raced our model before. He was quite enthused to find out that we were leaving the next day at the same time as one of his boats who were also leaving for Cape Town. Until he found out the forecast was for non-sailing conditions and so a race wouldn’t have much meaning. The picture here shows the Knysna 500 we traveled with about a mile away.

Dolphin fishing

Dolphin fishing

As we were motoring up the coast, a pod of dolphin (along with a lot of sea birds) were giving chase to some fish. They almost came to Tahina, but either the fish dispersed or the dolphin grew tired because they dropped off before reaching us.

We had a nice bright moon for much of the night which made the watches at night a little easier. There wasn’t much to see really except the stars and water, except for the ships going by in the night in the shipping lanes around the bottom of Africa. We knew the ships were there anyway with our AIS system which shows the position of all commercial vessels within 30-50 miles typically.

At 3AM we passed Cape Agulhas – the southernmost point of Africa and the official end of the Indian Ocean and beginning of the South Atlantic Ocean. It was a momentous occasion, but we put off the celebration given the late hour. I did post about it on Facebook. The Indian Ocean was the most consistently challenging Ocean that we’ve travelled around the world. So, we are glad to have it behind us. It wasn’t especially bad, but we needed to have good sailing skills, good weather skills, and a lot of patience, to successfully cross it.

Spinnaker pano by phone

Spinnaker pano by phone

Our motoring successfully allowed us to keep up the speed to allow us to arrive at Simons Town during the day. Even better, during the last four hours the winds kicked up a notch and we were able to put up our spinnaker and sail it for part of the way. I took this panorama with my smartphone and was surprised the stitching software could do such a good job considering how much the boat moved. As we entered False Bay, the winds changed direction around the nearby mountains which forced to to drop the spinnaker and use our normal sails. Still, we were going 9 to 10 knots for the final run.

Along the way, we were in communication with the marina. There was someone occupying our slip at the marina, and they had to find the skipper to get him to move the boat. We ended up having to wait about 15 minutes in the anchorage area until he moved out. Then we were able to move into the marina. Our friends on s/v Solace came over to help the linesman from the marina. And a couple of other yacht skippers lent a hand as well. The slip they gave us was just barely wide enough. There’s a small monohull occupying the rest of the space and we had to put out fenders to keep ourselves from touching it. There were some breezes blowing while I tried to park, and I eventually realized backing up the slipway and then turning into the spot backwards was the best way to get us in there. Thank God both our saildrives now work again or this would have been a real pain.

We joined our friends from Solace and s/v Gryphon 2 for some drinks at the marina bar in the evening and we toasted goodbye to the Indian Ocean properly. Then we went out for dinner and had a good time catching up with the travels of our friends. Below is the map of our location now and you can see Cape Agulhas to the bottom right:

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One Response to Arrival to Cape Town Area

  1. Hugh says:

    You have traversed the Indian Ocean – WOW.
    Now for that short leg to the Caribbean 🙂

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