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Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011-Forty Knots Isn't The Same Anymore

Cape Town: No this is not 40 kts

Four days ago we were anchored at Cape Agulhas and it was blowing forty knots and we could hardly stand up in the boat it was pitching and rolling so badly.

A few days before that we were in the port of Mossel Bay in 35 knots of wind and we were being slammed up against the wall and knocked down so badly fenders were exploding.

Now we are in the marina at Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, its blowing forty knots again and it's nothing. We are just so very damn glad to be here. There is no pitching, no violent rolling, no jerking and no shrieking dock lines. Judy looked outside and instead of breakers she sees ripples.

Forty knots? Bring it on. We’re in Cape Town.

Click here to meet our new/old friends in Cape Town

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cape Town

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

December 17, 2011


wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Cape Agulhas


wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Cape Town

Words Not Needed.

Click photos to see more.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cape Town

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Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011-South of a Continent

The storm passed over us

The incessant howl of the wind gave way to a soft moan

The hobby horsing became a gentle sway

A soft, rhythmic, clatter is heard from the mast, internal halyards

We sleep.

Now sailing, close hauled,

rise and fall on a gentle ocean swell

sunshine, blue ocean, blue sky, cool southern breeze

south of a continent.

No land anywhere but north of us.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cape Algulhas

Added: Photos

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 15, 2011-The Southern Tip of Africa

A low pressure system is keeping us hunkered down in the lee of Cape Agulhas at the most southern point of the African continent. For a few days the cold wind from the low cell, one of many that spawn in the roaring 40's and spin past Africa, has been howling over the cape and there is enough fetch where we have taken what little shelter the peninsula affords so that even here Wings pitches and rolls.

Outside it is worse; we can see the waves boiling by and crashing on the reef and they refract around and roll into the shore near our anchorage, the wind blowing their tops off like long grey beards. We've set the storm anchor and we seem to be holding but the snubber line shows signs of wear and we've put on chafing gear. We go on deck to check and adjust the gear and the thirty five knots of wind threatens to blow us off the boat. Walking forward is an adventure. We had a peak of 45 knots yesterday. That's more than enough.

Down below we are out of the wind but listening to the howling sound is tiring.

Our main occupation here is watching the weather. We need a break in the westerlies to get around Cape Agulhas and Cape of Good Hope, 80 miles to the west. The low out there should to move east and there could be a day or two before the next one sweeps in. We'll make a run for it when that break occurs, if it does. The weather is fickle. What looks like a window one day often evaporates by the next and on the weather maps we see the lows out there circling eastward one after the other; they look like monsters waiting to pounce. Sailing in the gap between them is like dashing across a freeway between trucks.

Other boats, also waiting in dubious shelters along this coast, are in similar circumstances including our friends on Nepenthe stuck in Port Elizabeth where the conditions are as bad as here, or worse. One boat, Sonia Azul, left Mossel Bay a few hours behind us in the last break but failed to make it here before the westerlies came back. Tuesday night they were battling to get around Struis Point a few miles east of here, and not making it sailing, when their engine failed and they called for help. A helicopter flew over and checked us out to see if it was us and on the VHF we told them. "No, we're fine, it's another boat farther east." They flew on. Later that night a rescue boat towed Sonjia Azul into the bay where we are and anchored them near us. At least there was a rescue boat. Sonjia Azul is still here and again waiting, like us, for the next window.

And a cormorant, blown down wind and unable to make it back to shore, landed on our deck and sheltered for a while. We hoped he'd stay until the wind quit but he didn't and we watched him try and fail again, then fall into the sea.

We've heard that Simon's Town is a great little town and an excellent place to stop before rounding Cape of Good Hope, but right now all we want to do is get this whole coast behind us.

We want to get to Cape Town and forget the southern tip of Africa.

Added: Photos

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cape Algulhas


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Monday, December 12, 2011

December 13, 2011-Waiting for the Blow


We just anchored in a large bay within sight of Cape Alguhas, Africa's southernmost point, intending to sit out a three day blow which is supposed to be coming.

We think this bay will shield us from the westerly wind but right now the SE swell rolls in pretty good. It might not be the most fun place to be but probably better than the alternative of sailing around Cape of Good Hope in a westerly gale and anyhow, tomorrow the swell is supposed to come from the west.

The holding isn't so great either. With all the sand dunes on shore you'd think there would be some sand below our keel but the chain is rumbling on rocks already.

And the Internet here is slow.

On those happy notes I guess I should say that the trip here was fine. Wings sailed well and even though we were beating for about half of the way it was easy sailing, if not fast. Later we got a good shift and we eased sheets and reached towards this bay, our destination. We motored for the last bit after the wind died as projected and we arrived here right on schedule. Sometimes you get lucky.

Now let's get some breakfast.

BTW, The Volvo boats are somewhere near here working eastward, waiting for the same westerly we're sheltering from, but for them it will be good sailing and I don't expect to see any of them dropping anchor with us. We're watching the AIS to see if we can spot them as they go by.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cape Alguhas

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

December 11, 2011-Setting Sail from Mossel Bay

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Waves at Cape Blaise

The back wash slammed us against the side of the fish boat Mary Ann. Our fenders took the load and took it badly; another one blew. That is three out of five down. Mossel Bay surge is tough. Then the next surge threw us forward and the spring lines shrieked and jerked us to a stop. Down below we were both almost thrown from our seats.

“That’s enough”, I said, “let’s go try the anchorage.”

So we anchored out. It’s not calm out here but at least the motion is normal boat movement. We like it better.

And the other thing? We think we’ll quit Mossel Bay tomorrow anyhow.

It’s time to head for the cape.

We’ve got a short window to head west: 36 hours. Not enough to get to Cape Town but maybe enough to get to another anchorage 120 miles closer.

We set sail at 05:00 Monday.

We’ll let you know how it goes.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mossel Bay

Click here to see some shots of our hike to Cape Blaise.

Click here to see some more shots of waves.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

December 4, 2011-Birds of Eden & Prince Alfred Pass

Green Winged Macaw

On Sunday we fired up the merc and hit the road, eastbound out N2.

The Birds of Eden aviary was the first destination and that was the star attraction as far as we're concerned. Click here to see more photos.

After lunch, maybe a bit late it turned out, we headed northward to cross the Price Alfred Pass and take R62 home.

Coastal Mountains

We crawled over the rough gravel road for hours, climbing higher and higher, and wondered if we get across before dark, and that was only the first pass. The second one took us through a narrow gorge and the afternoon shadows had us into darkness.

But at 6:00 PM we came out onto R62, a long straight road through the dry rolling hills on the other side of the mountians and we let the merc stretch its legs.

Getting back to Mossel Bay before dark was easy with that car.

Click here for more photos from Prince Alfred's Pass.

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mossel Bay

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