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Sailing To St Helena – Departing Cape Town

Nev here and welcome to the first blog as we sail from Cape Town to St Helena. As with any departure on an offshore passage, no matter how much you prepare in advance, there’s always scope for not only last-minute jobs, but also last-minute issues that are seemingly sent to try us.

Our final morning in Cape Town included ‘lollygate’ when a box of strawberry ice-lollies were found inadvertently defrosted in the top of the freezer and had dripped both below and sadly behind the freezer casing. Ian did a grand job of clearing it up, but I think we’ll be seeing lolly-bits for weeks to come!

Then, on a final provisioning trip, Ann and Ian had ‘beergate’, with a series of exploding beer cans in their bags. Back on board, while I was taking forever to cook the first night passage food of macaroni cheese, Ferg was diligently cleaning the city dust and grime off the decks before we hit the high seas.

Before we knew it, it was time to cast off the lines and head out through the first of the two bridges that were opening for us at 11.45am. The previous night we watched in horror as the raised bridge got stuck and was only able to open one half as a large catamaran approached it. The cat had to think thin and subsequently charged through by the skin of its teeth. Thankfully no more dramas for us today, and we breezed through the fully open bridge and out into the South Atlantic.

With 11kts of wind from the north, we put up the mainsail, then the genoa and were soon sailing out past Robben Island at a sedate speed of 5.5kts. When the wind decreased for a couple of hours, as expected, the code zero sail was put into action and, running at 6 – 7kts with calm seas and under sail, we’re all very happy bunnies on board as we head into our first night.

Total miles to St Helena: 1700

Date: Monday, 13th February

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