Weather Windows : the BPO tackles South Africa

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Following a fast passage from La Réunion, the Blue Planet Odyssey yachts spent some time in Durban, their first taste of South Africa including the obligatory trip to a game park.

Welcome beer in Durban

Maggie arrival in Durban

Zeke Holland of No Regrets writes:
We had a fabulous time for 6 days with our tour guide, Greg Garsons. He was interested in seeing the boats, so we invited him and his sweetheart and his daughter to visit. And we brought out our (rather tattered, I’m afraid) BPO banner for the occasion.

Greg brought each of the three boats a bottle of Three Ships South African scotch. He also acknowledged Liam for his detailed knowledge and inquisitiveness about South African history and culture, and presented him with a deck of instructional cards about Gandhi that is signed by Gandhi’s granddaughter.”

Emma (Greg’s daughter), Carol, Zeke, Norm, Nora, Sue (Greg’s sweetie), Rob and Liam. Greg was taking the photo. Nora and Liam are No Regret’s crew to Brazil

Greg presenting the cards to Liam

Testing some local food – bunny chow

In view of the potential challenging sailing conditions around the southern tip of the African continent, Jimmy Cornell had engaged Will Crockett to supply weather and routing advice for the boats. Will’s expertise and cheery style proved invaluable in guiding them on their way.

On 4 October the first weather window arrived, so that Maggie, No Regrets and Tahawus could leave en route for Cape Town.

They stopped for a short respite in Mossel Bay, to wait for better conditions.

Monday 17th October

Morning all,
Conditions are great to leave late afternoon today. Around 17h00 is perfect, and it should allow you to round Aghulus in the daytime.
At 17h00, expect the breeze to be SE about 10 knots. This will rapidly shift to the East. It should be in the east by about 20h00 where it will remain until Tuesday evening. In this period expect between 15 and 20 knots.
From about 17h00 on Tuesday evening, there is a noticeable shift back to the SE. With this is a general increase in wind speed. I’d expect you to be between Aghulus and Cape Point at this stage.
There is a further increase in wind strength from about Wednesday late at night (about 23h00). The South Easter builds to about 25 to 30 knots and shifts towards the east from about 2am. I think you’ll be in Cape Town by then, though.

To answer Zeke’s questions about the SE in Cape Town:

Yes, it can (and does) build up to be quite strong in the afternoons. This is very local (based on the topography of the land around Table Bay). However, on Wednesday the SE is meant to not be as strong as Mon and Tues. Coming up from Cape Point, it funnels through quite strong around Llandudno (just after Hout Bay), where the wind will be on your beam, and again through Camps Bay. From Camps Bay to Moullie (Green) Point lighthouse, there is almost no wind during the South Easter. Depending on how strong it ends up being, we’ve often dropped our sails just after Hout Bay, before the Llandudno blow, and motored the last few miles while tidying up.


Tuesday 18th October

Morning all,

Conditions this morning remain great! Expect between 10 and 15 knots from the ESE most of the day. As you get closer to Aghulus you’ll notice a general trend towards the south, although it is not massive!

Expect an increase to 15 to 20 by about 16h00 this afternoon. Direction will remain SE, meaning it’s almost dead downwind to Cape Point.

In a slight change from yesterday, I’m pleased to report that Tuesday night/Wednesday morning is no longer forecast to be as strong. I don’t expect it to blow much over 20 knots throughout that period.

It’s forecast to build on Wednesday during the day. There is a good chance this will blow 25 knots with gusts up to 30. As is customary, it will build late in the day. But I expect you to be close to CT, if not in CT by then!


Wednesday 18th October

Morning all,
Pleased to see you’re all safely close to Cape Town.
It promises to be a beautiful day today, with the South Easter building in the afternoon, just in time for Wednesday Night racing!
I hope you all have a wonderful stay here – this really is a special part of the country. I’m sorry I couldn’t get you here sooner!

The Blue Planet Odyssey yachts made a safe arrival into Cape Town on Wednesday 19th October.

As a special surprise Jimmy Cornell had arranged for Adrienne, who is looking after them during their stopover, to treat them to lunch on their arrival.

Clockwise: Martin, Mirko, Norm, Klaudia, Carol, Nora, Zeke, Rob, Adrienne, Liam, and an empty space in Jimmy’s honor!

They had a good run from Mossel Bay and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for their arrival this morning. Tahawus had recently arrived when I got to the Club and I was there when No Regrets and Maggie got in. The Royal Cape marina staff were great and all went smoothly. Once they were signed in, I took them all to lunch and drinks. They are such a nice crowd and we had a really jolly time.”
— Adrienne Gregory

“We have all arrived safely in Cape Town, it’s been fantastic, I feel sorry for the boats that dropped out and are not getting this experience and am quite happy that we are getting to see South Africa”.
— Norm and the crew of Tahawus.

“Adrienne joined us for a delightful lunch at the Royal Cape Yacht Club,  provided on behalf of the BPO. Thank you!”
— Zeke of No Regrets

“Bravo to all of you for completing one of the most challenging passages on the world cruising routes! I am greatly relieved but also very impressed by your achievement. Compared to what you have done this year, the rest of your voyage should be far less challenging. I do hope you enjoy your well deserved rest in Cape Town. Warm regards,
— Jimmy Cornell

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