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Monday, June 21, 2010

June 22, 2010-Africa Planning

wingssail images-judy jensen
Making Flags

Long months of indecision seem to be behind us; we're going to Africa. South Africa to be exact. After that into the Atlantic Ocean and eventually to Europe the long way.

I know it seems a bit out of the way compared to going directly across the Northern Indian Ocean to the Red Sea but there are reasons (including pirate activity in the Northern Indian Ocean) and compensations (we get to visit a lot of islands in the south like Cocos Keeling and Mauritius which we'd miss otherwise) plus Africa itself is an attraction.

And it should be some good sailing; the Southeast Trades blow steady in the South Indian Ocean.

We'll leave within a month. The itinerary includes: Sumatra, Cocos Keeling, Chagos, Rodrigues Island, Mauritiua, Reunion, and Richard's Bay, South Africa. At least that is the plan. We're excited. We're making flags for all these places.

But this is not cast in concrete; things can change. We'll keep you posted.

AIS

On June 11 computer screens around the area lit up with a new symbol: Wings. We installed a new charting system, OpenCPN, with AIS (Automatic Indentification System) which shows our position to ships (and shows ship's positions on our own computer screens).

It works well as far as we can tell here at the dock with little traffic around. I turn it on a couple of times a day just to look around and in the example below there are three other vessels showing, including two right here in the marina. Nothing dramatic about it yet, but it is really an advance for cruising yachts. Ships will see our name, position, speed and heading (look at the example at the right of the image). We can kill the transmission of our information with a "Silent" button at any time if we want to be sneaky.

OpenCPN Electronic Navigation with AIS

Other than that the boat projects are coming along fine and the list is getting short. Today we pick up our refurbished stove and that will complete the rebuild of the entire propane system from tanks to hot water heater: everything but the gas piping will have been replaced or rebuilt. In a few days the canvas dodger will be rebuilt and all the other minor sewing projects (like flags for Africa) will be finished.

Provisioning remains the big item, plus repacking the boat to make room for the food and drink we need for a three month trip. Actually, we will probably only be away from stores for about 5 weeks at the longest time, so it shouldn't be a hardship. Still, we'll take everything we can carry and the wine locker will definately be full.

So it looks like we'll be in Africa in November.

When we get to Europe is anybody's guess.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Phuket, Thailand

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