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Saturday, January 07, 2012

January 8, 2012-Table Mountain Down Draft

Wave of Cold Air Breaks over Table Mountain

On an otherwise nice day a Tsunami of cold air suddenly crashes over Table Mountain and pours down into Cape Town.

Sea gulls take shelter on the lee of our transom.

An afternoon Sou’Easter is coming and the masts soon catch the blast and the yachts begin a mad dance like they’re all on ecstasy and they’ll be up all night while we huddle in our cabin and listen to the howl.

It is just another normal summer day in Cape Town: sunny and warm at lunchtime when we washed the car in the parking lot. Then we saw the white cloud form over the mountain and the wind turned to the south and we wondered if there was any punch in it but Jim Burwick said if it turns black it’ll blow 40 knots and while we thought that was just talk, some sailor braggadocio meant to scare us Cape Town newbies, it did turn black and it blew like hell and by 21:00 it was over 38kts and the gusts were getting stronger.

So he was right.

But cape sailors shrug it off; they’re strong down here, have to be, boats were coming and going all day.

Not us; we check the dock lines and stay put.

Table Mountain is a rock in the stream for air blowing from either direction. In a SE wind it bangs into the Twelve Apostles and flies over the top before crashing down into Cape Town. A few days ago however we found ourselves on the West side, over by the Twelve Apostles, and on that day a NW wind blew and the cloud came over in the opposite direction and came down onto us on the coast highway by Clifton. In the late afternoon sun it was gorgeous and when it got cool we just climbed into the car and switched on the heater.

Like a few other places in the world, Auckland, Hobart, and Patagonia, for example, when you are on a point of land sticking down into the Southern Ocean, the air masses will take their measure of you, they really do, and we are reminded of what insignificant specs on this planet we really are.

But we could be at sea in this stuff. That would be worse.

Click here to see more Cape Town photos.

Click here to see some boat work photos (Rope splicing and Stove Repair)

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Cape Town


It's the next night. The neighbor's wind generator sounds like it is self destructing, the howl is louder than ever, the instruments say over 49 knots of wind, and Wings is jumping around at the dock like a bronco on a short leash.

This is in the marina?

We wonder if this is a normal thing for Cape Town; the locals don't seem to be taking any notice. Maybe this is typical. If so, we're impressed.

Today's Highest Gust

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