Day 1 Passage to South Africa “The Tough One”
We left Reunion Island yesterday morning at 8:00am for Richards Bay, South Africa East Coast. The passage is roughly 1400 nautical miles long and should take 11 days or less hopefully. Based on historical sailing records the area we are about to enter is the most challenging ocean regions to cross for sailors. The area between Madagascar and the Cape of Good Hope is dominated by Antarctic low pressure systems that move eastward and form large gale winds. From these systems that can cover hundreds of miles they also produce random waves which reach heights of 20 meters with deep long troughs. Once the bulk of our passage is complete we then have to time our passage across the Agulhas current which runs from the north to south along the east African coast. The timing of our crossing must be done during a favorable wind direction of north east and should never be attempted during a south westerly. If caught in a wind change situation during a crossing we will have to turn around head back out to the ocean. It has been record that within one our of a south westerly wind change the 3 to 6 knot Agulhas current will build 65 foot breaking swell and will become very hazardous. We should be able to avoid such a situation by monitoring the barometer. Currently we are looking at a good weather window to cross the above areas and hopefully all will go well. There are 3 other sailboats that left at the same time as us. Looking forward to the challenges ahead of us and it should be a good time.
Current Position: 22deg 14.3min South, 53deg 33.5min East, COG 251deg-M, SOG 5.8kts, BP 1016mb, Sweel<1 meter, WS 12kts NE, Sunny