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Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 19, 2011-Durban Lightning

Sometimes it pays to be the smallest boat on the dock.

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Afternoon Thunderstorm

On Wednesday a lightning storm landed on Durban and at least two boats in Durban Marina were hit including Doughty, the 70’er next to us, but we were spared. In fact I was on the computer typing an email when the sky darkened, the afternoon storm hit, the rain came pouring down, and the thunder and lightning struck. Again, and again.

“Bang”, then, “Bang”, then… “BANG!”

“Ouch!’ I said, “That last one must have been a close hit.”

I didn’t know how close.

The security guard told me it hit the boat next to us; he saw it strike, and sure enough, soon the crew on Doughty were removing fried electronic gear including the masthead unit. On the next dock over a boat named Revelation was hit and much of their gear was also damaged. But in that storm, on that day, not to say what might happen on future days or in other storms, we were spared; nothing on Wings was hit. Was it the 100’ mast on Doughty or the 80’ mast on Dream Free, on the other side, that saved us? Or just luck, maybe dumb luck? I don’t know; I’m just thankful.

Anyhow, the coast of Africa is unforgiving. The lighting storms are unpredicted, the strong fronts blow through with little warning, and boats limp into Durban with long lists of damaged gear. We’re seeing them arrive daily.

Our next jump down this coast will be 500+ miles to a small fishing port called Knysna. We hope to skip over two industrial ports on the way, Port Elisabeth and East London, however, given the unpredictability of the weather around here, we might have to duck into one of them.

We want to get going but we are watching the weather. No sense in going if the forecast is bad. Even if it is good we could get smacked, so might as well wait for the best possible weather window. Right now, from the data we see on the Internet, it is at least a week away.

Gives us time to fix a couple of things including the car we have.

Never thought we would own another car but we do. We bought an old Mercedes Benz while in Richards Bay and we have it here with us in Durban. It needs some work, so we have that to deal with. But we’ll leave it parked here, assuming it is fixed, when we sail to Knysna, and then take a bus back to get the car.

Fun, huh? A cousin of mine said, and he was right: “Freedom is nothing left to lose”.

And that includes a car. But we love driving that old Merc, so we’ll keep fixing it and keep moving down the coast.

Meanwhile, we watch the weather and enjoy Durban.

Click here for some other photos

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Durban, South Africa

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