Dec 022016
 

Attracted by the distant roar, a strange and uncertain sound for sure, we look to the north. Something is racing across the valley, sights set on us, coming closer. It’s approaching quickly now, nearly upon us and as it hits we realise – hail!

The weirdest thing it was, a micro-burst of hail, possibly only a 100m or so wide racing out of the north west. While the overall sky was typical of a late afternoon thunderstorm, this particular little demon was totally on his own plug, leaving Mummy Rainstorm in a huff and throwing his toys around in anger.

I wonder if he made it back home to mummy that night or whether he’s still out there, wreaking havoc with his tantrum?

Nov 152016
 

Back from a maintenance weekend, filled with howling SE’lies. Sometimes wonder what on earth I’m doing. And yet, what else would I do?

“One thing at a time, as in the days when I was building Joshua. If I had wanted to build all the boat at once, the enormity of the task would have crushed me. I had to put all I had into the hull alone, without thinking about the rest. It would follow . . . with the help of the gods. 
― Bernard Moitessier, The Long Way

Nov 112016
 

The forecast for the next few days is big – 25 to 30kt SE’lies. It’s not unusual for the actual wind speed, especially in the gusts to exceed the forecast by 5 or even 10kts and so we’re in for a windy visit to ‘Blue this weekend.

The nerves are absent though because this is a maintenance visit with no plans to sail. The reefing block and stanchion that we broke last time out need repair or replacement and the chart-plotter install needs to be finished up. While I may tackle a few other projects, that sounds like enough for a couple of days.

The weather has been crazy of late. Wednesday afternoon a gigantic, ferocious thunderstorm dumped on Joburg, so badly that the N3 became a raging flash flood. I would have been there, the very spot and time, had I not taken Modderfontein for the back roads.

These coincidences in life, they continue to puzzle me, There are too many, too often to even consider that they might be random events, just pure luck. Somehow, in all of this, I retain a belief in a God out there. Somehow, the polarised views of Science and Organised Religion have allowed ego and dogma to cloud the search for truth. Somehow, in all of this I think there is a scientific God who, somehow, still looks after things.

Anyway, I digress. All that remains of today is to survive the Project from Hell and disappear to ‘Blue for some honest physical labour. Can’t wait.

 

Dec 252014
 

The forecast for today was rain. This morning was clean enough for a run to Simons Town but this afternoon has certainly vindicated the weatherman! Rain, Rain, Rain. Beautiful!!

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Dec 162014
 

The early morning Ocean seems cold and gray and some wispy, weeny, dirty clouds scud past a gloomy and formidable Elsies peak, driven on a chilly SE’Iy. It’s all an illusion though as the Summer sun begins it rise in the Eastern sky.

The Owls are gently hooting, putting to bed for the day while the Hadedah’s are up, on passage to whenever it is they go. The distant crashing of the surf on Glencairn beach, the rapidly lightening sky, they all bode well for another perfect day in paradise.

The eastern skyline is an undecipherable jumble of mountain peak & everchanging cloud mass. As the Sun relentlessly climbs into the sky the infinite shades of grey on the horizon are transformed replaced instead by a myriad of pinks, purples and morning orange.

The summer sun rises far to the right this time of the year, behind the mountain. The winter sun rises behind Elsies. That’s an arc of about 40°! Unbelievable!

We’re in for a nice fresh SE’ly today, maybe 20kts or so, with bright, Sunny Summer Skies. the False Bay waters are still relatively flat but today’s south-easter will pack a punch. It’s already noticeable and after a few hours of this the bay will be wild and bumpy. Not the conditions the locals will choose for a day-sail. A morning like this is cold at sea. The pre-dawn watch, the cold wind-swept ocean, they leave a chill in the sailor’s bones that lingers long after the first cup of coffee and the sun’s first warming rays.

05:38 and the sun is peeking up over the mountain, like a child, standing on tippy-toes just managing to see over an obstacle. In an instant the cold, gray morning colours are magically transformed. With a snap of his fingers Old Man Sun has arrived. Hello day!!

Jun 142014
 

For a while now I’ve been trying to convert a planned overnight cruise into reality. Three weeks have slipped by, circumstance dictating changes to the plan. It’s not that I haven’t visited the yacht over the last three weeks, it’s just that time has not allowed for an overnighter.

Roll on this weekend, time for the planned cruise.

As is usual, I’ve been trawling WindFinder and WindGuru to forecast the best spot to anchor. They both agree. We’re in for robust W’ly to SW’ly winds this weekend as a minor front sweeps through from down south.

_forecast

The forecast doesn’t look too bad for an overnight anchorage, but chances are we’ll get more than the predicted 6-10kts overnight. That calls for an anchorage well protected from the W through to the SW. Bunny Brook looks like the best option and I’ll be putting down 2 anchors tonight!

There’s always a part of me, a part of every human I guess, that looks at the 25kt+ forecast and thinks “Let’s give this weekend a miss, that looks like cold, hard work”. Sitting here in my cosy, under-floor heated kitchen that won’t drag the anchor tonight, that won’t battle the rising frontal winds as they sweep through, I’m battling a mental block that says “Call it off, it’ll be a struggle”.

Can I handle the conditions? Yes, I think so. Can the boat? No question. Yes, it’s a little harder in restricted waters than out in the wide-open ocean. If things get out of hand, you can’t just drop sail, bang closed the hatch and sleep it out. You need to be on your toes, deal with the issues, get out of the rocky shallows. Yes, I am concerned about my anchoring [still] with this Miura. I haven’t had much joy to date. So, this will be an active sailing weekend for sure.

Thing is, if I can’t get over this mental hurdle, if I can’t deal with the wind, the anchor, the sailing on the Vaal, then I’m wasting my time with the dream. If I give up on this weekend for the fear of some hardship, then I should certainly just sell up now, cash out of yachting and not waste any further time, money and effort on moving OB back ‘home’ to Simon’s Town.

I’m fond of telling people “There’s no such thing as bad weather, it’s only bad clothing”. Now’s the weekend to prove myself a doer rather than a dreamer. The yacht is prepared and able, the cold-weather clothing is there. It’s just the skipper that needs to step up.

_BunnyBrook I think, for this time of the year, with this front, we’ll have some wind during the night. Forecast says 6, gusting 10, but that could easily be a couple of points higher. Bunnybrook has always been a good anchorage and with the forecast looks to be secure for an overnighter. Plan tonight is to set the CQR in about 5-6m with plenty of dragging room to the east. Then, I’ll be taking the dusty Danforth out of storage and rowing that out slightly SW of the main anchor. If that doesn’t hold us overnight then it may really be time to cash in the sailing chips?

By now I guess you would have concluded [and rightly so] that it’s not so much the boat handling, the larger-than-normal winds, the sailing, that has me in this mental place. It’ the nagging uncertainty that I’ve forgotten how to anchor, to stay put overnight. All I know for sure is, the all-chain, CQR route has not worked for this boat since I came into her life. Tonight it’s “try something else” or why would you expect anything different?

Lest I fill myself with regret, I’m packing up and heading out. Hope I get back to give an update here.

—ooOOoo—

The awesomeness that was sailing this weekend defies description. Beautiful and steady 18-20kt breezes on Saturday dealt up a 16nm sail around the island, finishing up in Bunnybrook at around 16h00

OB Sailing 15-20kt

The boat performed flawlessly, averaging 5kt and topping out at 7, all with a reef in the main and the corresponding rolls in the genny. Speechless.

But, no weekend on the water is without it’s challenges. Only this time, they came from very unexpected quarters. Besides the usual cuts and abrasions that seem to appear on the sailors fingers and hands without explanation, two incidents from unexpected quarters …..

As we were rounding the north of the Island, close-hauled, a big puff had the autohelm working hard to correct. Suddenly, bam, the attachment to the tiller sheared off. Nothing but hand-steering from this point on.

Second incident occured the next morning as we were weighing anchor for the return voyage. As promised, I’d set two anchors but still had a restless night, up every two hours to check on position and weather. Up just before dawn, the morning cuppa down, I hoisted the main and then hauled in the CQR and 30m of chain. Then I discovered my error, the boat now sailing downwind, snagged on the Danforth trailing somewhere astern. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the boat turned head to wind and so, in a last ditch attempt to avoid disaster, I quickly transferred the rode to the stern and winched the boat back to the anchor using the cockpit winches.

This time the wind was light enough to let me get away with it!

Note to self: When next setting 2 anchors, haul the first in before setting the main.

Second note to self: get over this ‘use the CQR’ thing. The Danforth is the way to go!

—ooOOoo—

There are a lot of life-lessons to be learned from sailing. All the planning and goal-setting for the future, all the concern [worry] about what might go wrong often has us hesitant to strike out on the path. That’s a big mistake. The rewards of the journey are fantastic and the problems that crop up are never the one’s you’ve prepared for or have concerned yourself about. The challenges always crop up from the least expected quarters. No. Live your life in confidence, live it with enough buffer and capacity to deal with the issues that will crop up, but never not live it !!

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Apr 302014
 
a rainy morning run on the main drag between fish Hoek and Glencairn

a rainy morning run on the main drag between Fish Hoek and Glencairn

We’ve done 5 visits in 5 months since biting the bullet with Glencairn and I have to smile at people.

“Can’t live in Cape town, the weather is terrible”

“Can’t live in Glencairn, there are baboon problems”

“Can’t live there, there are too many stairs”

There seem to be a million ‘Can’ts‘ and not many ‘Cans‘.

Well I guess we had a little taste of the ‘bad weather’ phenomenon yesterday but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our morning run and later walking in to Fish Hoek [yes, in the rain]. Like S says, “It’s all in your mind”.

Well the more who believe it’s miserable and stay away, the better the peace and quiet for the locals. And remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

 

Mar 102014
 

Will this rain never end?

There is a current of 2-3kts flowing past OB at the moment. One can visibly see the current in what is normally a placid current-free pond. So far she’s good, no tree stumps or rubbish seem to have drifted down on her and no thieves have visited. Here’s keeping on holding thumbs and I’ll keep my insurance in place, just in case.

The oars are delivered but they don’t work with their rubber-protection :-/ I’ll have to make another plan there!

“Some have time, some have money. Supremely fortunate the man that has both !”

Dec 222013
 

One is a lot more closely connected to the weather here in Glencairn. A couple of beach walks with the pups, where they have had their eyeballs sandblasted has us carefully checking the wind strength and direction.

The SE’ly has been blowing non-stop, at varying strengths, for almost a week now and there is no end in sight. Today it’s set to strengthen later in the afternoon to around 30kts, so not puppy-walking conditions on the beach.

I love this SE’er! It’s chill and fresh and washes the air over the city squeaky-clean. Can’t get a big enough breath of it at times!

Best site checking up on it is here.