Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 4, 2013

Sailing from Mozambique to South Africa

1.10.13 – Tuesday – Today the weather window we were waiting for opened; it wasn’t really a window, more like a hatch or a porthole and it was not wide open, we had to force it a bit. We knew that going out on the 1st, the conditions in the first 40 miles would be bad. We didn’t imagine how bad they could be. 20 knots of headwind can be easily managed by using both engines (tacking in this case wouldn’t be realistic); the unknown factors are the surface condition and unforeseen changes in the wind velocity.

We started out at 0545; inside the bay the sea was calm and the wind around 10 knots. I was motoring north towards the exit from the bay, through an area that we passed before, actually between two tracks that the navigation software left on the chart. I suddenly saw some turbulence ahead, the depth gauge went rapidly from 6 to 1.6; before I could react it showed 0.9, the keels glanced the bottom ever so lightly and the depth went back to acceptable values.

At that time the wind picked up quickly, reaching 25 knots from behind; I had only the main up at first reef and with the out going tide we were doing 7 knots. As we got to the exit we had to turn east northeast which brought the wind to about 60 degrees off our bows. The depth at the exit was oscillating between 4 and 7 meters and 3 meters waves were rising ahead. This was very unpleasant not to say frightening, going in with waves like that would be outright dangerous. When we turned southeast to go around Ponta da Barra the wind was straight on the nose and reached 28 knots, the sea was simply wild. Through all this Gili was feeling very sick and curled on the saloon settee. "It’s worse than the Reunion" she said.

Only when we turned at the waypoint leading directly to Richards bay, a course of 212 degrees, with the sea was on our beam, conditions became bearable. That happened at 1400, ending eight hours of misery for me; Gili continued to feel very bad. " I feel vertiginous" she said; we couldn’t understand what brought that about. 12 hours after departure we made only 63 miles.

As night fell I was ready to operate as a single-hander but Gili insisted on doing her 2100-0100 watch.

2.10.13 – Wednesday – At 0545, 24 hours after we left the Linga anchorage, we were 250 miles from destination, having made 132 miles. The wind and sea became much calmer, so calm that we had to use the engines. The port engine reached the hours for oil and filter change and I entered the engine room and did it. The starboard engine, that we had to use much more for the frequent charging of our diminished and ailing battery bank was also close to service. Not having anticipated that, I did not have enough oil on board and it would have to wait until we reach Richards bay.

Gili was still feeling very queasy; we couldn’t understand why. At 1530 the wind came and we started clocking the miles; as evening came we even put the main in first reef, to be ready for possible gusts.

3.10.13 – Thursday – 0545 – in the last 24 hours we sailed 148 miles. Not bad, but we hoped for and needed more. Our arrival at Richards Bay will probably occur at night. I waited for the forecast winds to arrive; they should have been from the northeast at 13 initially, then north at 20 knots. They were late in coming but when they did the current was there too and we started flying south at good speed. When the autopilot was still able to control the boat, before the surfing down big waves began I took the following picture.

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Later we saw some astounding figures on the plotter. one wave, not too big, took us for a ride; I could feel the boat surging forward, saw spray flying up from the bows and heard the change in the noise the hulls made through the water. Concentrating on keeping the boat straight I saw 16 knots for a few seconds on the plotter; a new "Two Oceans" record! I could not take a picture of this, believe me I had my hands full controlling the boat.

We continued past cape Saint Lucia, sailing at 8-10 knots. Daylight arrival suddenly became a possibility. 6 miles to the entry channel we spotted whales at 1 o’clock and as we got closer they took up an intercept heading. I started an engine to alert them to our presence; too many stories about whales jumping and falling on top of yachts in this area. 5 miles to go. I called port control on channel 12 requesting permission to go in. Permission granted but the question regarding what position to take received an ambiguous answer. "Go into the Small Boat Harbour and find something…" We furled the jib, pole connected – couldn’t go on the foredeck in that sea condition to take it down – took the main down and commenced going in at 1830, proceeded slowly in the dark, navigating by eyeballing and the C – Map on the laptop. We entered the Small boat Harbour, tried taking a spot alongside a dock but were told it belonged to a tug.

A seaman out of one of the commercial boats there called port control for us. "go to Tuzi Gazi marina find a place there" he said. That we did; the operation ended at 2030.

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                                    In Tuzi Gazi

4.10.13 – Friday – We waited a long time for the officials to come. Customs, quarantine and finally immigrations. A bit after midday we left Tuzi Gazi and motored to Zululand Yacht Club, where I planned to leave the boat until December. Zululand has a lot of docks and slips for local as well as visiting yachts plus hardstand area which I am going to use too.

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                       A section of Zululand Yacht Club

In the coming days I will try accomplishing some maintenance jobs, the first will be the electrics. I’ll fly back home on the 12th.

It occurred to me that coming back to South Africa, "Two Oceans" actually concluded a circumnavigation! She was built here, sailed by the previous owner to the U.S where we took over. She has 48797 miles on her log and there are more in her future.

Signing off – Gili and Miki on Two Oceans.

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Responses

  1. Chapeau to you and Gili,
    I hope to see you in Israel.

    regards
    Boaz

  2. well done friends!!


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