Sailing Around The World

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Day 2 Passage to BVI WINDY

We are making good speed but have had really strong winds and big waves tossing us around. I hope by tomorrow we will be out of the westerly band that shadows South Africa. Did have some fun last evening when our freezer control thermostat broke because a few drops of salt water shorted it out. I spent the evening and morning rebuilding it with old parts and we seem to be back in business. Rocken and Rolling Jacques and Cary

Current Position: UTC 18:67, 32deg 0.5min S, 15deg 8.4min E, COG 327deg-M, SOG 7.1kts, WS 25 to 35kts gusting to 40kts, Swell 2 to 6 meters, 1015MB

Cape Town To The Caribbean 50 Days At Sea

The Sailing Route for the next 50 days

The Sailing Route for the next 50 days

To let you all know my friends/crew Jade, Ben, and Sarah have departed Dragopnsbane to do some land traveling in Africa and I wish them best of luck. As for Cary and I we are on the eve of our last major passage that will take us from Cape Town South Africa to the Caribbean BVI Tortola Island over the course of 50 days. We will sail a total of 5,990 nautical miles short handed. We will run on four hour shifts, 4 on 4 off and work together in situations that require two people. This will be a fun challenge and will also complete my world circumnavigation of 2.5 years. I am glad to have my good friend Cary on baord to help stay the course. So that said I will post updates on our passage as often as I can but I will not have the energy to do daily post but I will try.

Thank you,

Jacques & Cary

East London to Mossel Bay South Africa Passage “STORMS, WHALES, 50KTS WINDS, WAVES”

Thunderstorm at night 45kts wind and 4 meter swell plus

Thunderstorm at night 45kts wind and 4 meter swell plus


Based on our experience from our last passage out in the Auglhas current, swell, and weather we decided to go for it in the next available weather window. The weather looked good for a 48 hour period. We could complete the next 320 nautical mile passage in that window but it would be close. The weather began with 25kts on our backs with 2 meter waves. The barometer read 1017MB and rising, good news. We made quick work of the first 120 nautical miles passing Port Elizabeth 15 nautical miles off our Starboard and barometer read 1022MB. By mid afternoon when I came on watch the barometer had fell to 1018MB in only a few hours. The wind was now a constant 35kts right on our stern pushing us along at 8 kts under full reefed sails.
Cary making it happen  in Huge seas wish photo could do the waves jusitic.

Cary making it happen in Huge seas wish photo could do the waves jusitic.


By late mid morning the next day the barometer read 1010MB with 68 nautical miles to go. The wind was now 40 to 50kts with 3 to 5 meters swells pushing us down waves 8 to 15 kts go crew. We were also getting thunderstorms crossing our path. At this point we started heading straight for the coast trying to get in the fetch of land to protect us from the growing waves and wind. We realized we were no longer 10 nautical miles off shore because the coast dipped north in our position, we were 26 miles offshore with a barometer hitting 1008MB meaning we had one hour to get out of the Auglhas current before the wind changed and huge breaking 10 to 15 meter waves started. It would take use three hours to get within 10 miles of shore. As we raced for shore waves began filling the cockpit and breaking over the entire deck of Dragonsbane. At one point I watched been at the Helm disappeared in a breaking wave in a foam of white and blue ocean water. It was Sarahs watch but I took her watch and began to helm the rest of the way back to shore turning down waves and protecting Dragonsbane from broaching.

An hour into my watch a giant hump back whale surface in a swell half a boat length off my Starboard. I was heading for a collision with the whale and new if I hit it head on I would lose the keel because I was surfing down a wave at 12 kts. I just made a choice to turn hard over and aim right for were the whale submerged and hoped for the best. I screamed Whale in hopes to alert the crew down below. As I turn hard over I paralleled the swell which knocked us sideways on our beam submerging the port deck underwater. The hump back whale surfaced right under half the boat on the portside and Dragonsbane rubbed across her side. We felt no impact and I regained heading and continued going.

The closer we came to shore the weaker the swell became and because the barometer read 1005MB we were in the middle of the low pressure. Like a hurricane the middle had no wind so we began to motor but still had 3 meter swell. The swell was moving much faster than us and would break right over the back of the cockpit soaking whoever was on watch. We finally made it to Mossel Bay by 03:00am. WHAT A RIDE!

Thanks,
Jacques

Departed Richards Bay Bound For East London

Well we have been at it for little over a week now battling around the Cape of Good Hope South Africa. Our journey began again from Richards Bay location on the east coast of Africa and sailed to East London 350 nautical miles away. We left the morning of November 8, 2014 in a good looking weather window that hopefully would last 3 days before the wind change to the South West and make the ocean deadly. As we motored out to the Auglhas Current 15 nautical miles offshore we enjoyed the sight of giant hump back whales breaching the ocean and crashing down throwing huge ocean spray into the area. As we continued we had to navigate through the giant anchorage of freighters waiting to head into Richards Bay for cargo, coal and other things.

The wind was very light but was running with us so in order to stay on schedule to arrive in East London I motored sailed for about 12 hours till the wind picked up. About 20 nautical miles south of Durbin the wind picked up to 25 to 30 knots and combined with a 3 knot current we were making average speed of 10kts. We were about 120 miles from East London the barometer began to fall fast down to 1012MB which is a clear sign that the wind would shift at anytime and the ocean would become violent. SO we pushed really hard to get to East London. The following morning we were 10 nautical miles away and the Barometer fell to 1009MB, we were all very happy to make into the harbor just before the wind shift. The passage down was a little intense with lots of marina traffic and large 3 meter waves but we made it safe and sound.

Thanks,
Jacques

Passage Notes Reunion to SA Richards Bay

Working on our position and timeing for crossing the Auglhas Current.

Working on our position and timeing for crossing the Auglhas Current.


I used historical waypoints from Reunion Island to Richards Bay. My way point below Madagascar was 27* 00′ S, 47* 00′ E. I then took a bearing to a way point of my own that worked out perfect for crossing the Agulhas current. It was 28* 29.25′ S, 33* 29.25′ E which should be the beginning of any Agulhas current but we did not experience anything at all. I then continued to WP 28* 44.14′ S, 32* 27.5′ E staying about 1.6 nautical miles north of this rum line just in case the current kicked up. Once again no south bound current effected us right up to this WP. Then I continued to about 28* 44.04′ S, 32* 16.5′ E and turned south and took a bearing straight to the entrance to Richards Bay.

The only area I found a 1 to 2 kts current caused by the Agulhas was right after I cross a shallow shoal which had a depth of 186 feet WP 28* 43.7’S, 32* 18.6E then dropped back to 200+ feet.

Our approach to Richards Bay. We are in the Agulhas Current

Our approach to Richards Bay. We are in the Agulhas Current


As for east to west current it was notice to be more tidal then anything. But reporting positions from the boats around us it seemed that staying south of the rum line by only 1 to 5 nm had a much more fAvorable east bound current and had less negative current. It was also noticed that only a few mile north or south could have a big change in current speed and direction. I suggest that if you have good wind angle but a negative current try sail a few miles north or south and you should see a change in current.

FYI there is a sunk freighter at the entrance of Richards Bay and you can pass it keeping it on your starboard. There is dark oil leaking out of it that looks like a reef but it’s not.
image The ship has a big oil plume that looks like a reef at the entrance of Richards Bay.

Some great pictures during our crossing.

Ben watching the waves and swell in 30 plus knots. Loving it!

Ben watching the waves and swell in 30 plus knots. Loving it!


Cary manning the helm on watch.

Cary manning the helm on watch.

We Made It! South Africa!

Yup I am in the Bar drinken a beer with the crew!

Day 9 Paassage to South Africa “Weather”

So I ran the spinnaker for about a hour and decided it was time to take it down when I became confused on which was my wind speed or boat speed. For one hour I average 9 knots and had a heck of a time keeping Dragonsbane under control. Its funny when you run out of wind and put up a big sail on the Indian ocean the wind picks right back up and then you have to reef again. Anyway we are about 295 nautical miles away from Richards Bay and looking at the weather we need to make landfall by Thursday evening. It is going to be a real close call on the weather as a small south western blow comes up the coast to Richards Bay halting any landfall attempts. If we don’t make the window Thursday night we will have to go back out to sea and heavy too for 24 hours. I sure hope we don’t have to do that but if we do we will, safety first. The reason is because the offshore current 3 miles off the coast is way to dangerous to cross in a south westerly blow and can cause 20 meter waves with deep troughs that can be deadly so we will play it safe.

Current Position: 03:30UTC, 28deg 19.6min South, 36deg 03.5min East, SOG 7.4kts, COG 292deg-M, 1021mb, Swell 1 meter, WS 16kts

Thanks,

Jacques

Day 8 Passage to Africa

Well still making way to Africa but the wind is now getting to low to make good progress. I have decided to put up the spinnaker in a effort to make a safe landfall before another low starts up into the Indian. I have a 50 hours to sail the last 300 nautical miles with only 10 knots of wind to do so. So here we go!

Current Position: 11:08UTC, 28deg 08.4’min south, 38deg 00.4min east, 1022mb, ws 10kts ENE, Swell>1meter.

Thanks,

Jacques

Day 7 Passage to Africa “Soaked”

Well still making good progress to Richards Bay and have 450 nautical miles to go. We finally are out of a gale and just coasting along in 20 to 25 knot winds and everybody is feel better now.

Current Position: 28deg 05.3min South, 40deg 17.8min East, COG 286deg M, SOG 6.9kts, 1025MB, Cloudy, 20deg C.

thanks,

Jacques, Jade, Ben, Sarah, Cary

Day 4, 5, 6 ‘Huge Storm/Gale” Passage to South Africa

Yesterday evening at the end of my watch I could see on the horizon a large dark blue could that was low to the water. As we approach this large front I noticed a large gray iron ring projecting out from the dense areas of the approaching storm. I decided based on the movement of our past few storms that the front was moving from north to south. We were approaching from the east heading west into this system that was flashing lots of lightening and you could thunder. I decided to drop sail and reef to a triple mainsail, and hoisted our storm staysail. I then had Jade reach almost due north and slow us down to about 2 knots allowing the bulk of storm to move south so I thought. As the lightening and thunder increased and the front approached closer I decided to tack to the north east allowing us to get more north and away from the approaching storm because I thought I could see the back side of the system. Right after we tacked a rush of ice cold air like entering into a department store from out of the summer heat into AC. The wind was ice cold and then it began to blow. It reached up to 40 knots in less then a minute. Dragonsbane had her rail underwater and the waves began crashing over the deck. Then the rain came in buckets and whited out the air with cracks of thunder and bright lightening. I relieved Jade from the Helm and turn up into the wind pinching as hard as I could but still keeping us moving forward at 3 knots. The spray from the waves was blinding our sight and the wind began to spin 90 degrees to port then to Starboard making it very hard to keep Dragonsbane under control. We continued like this for 1 hour and finally the wind began to lesson down to 30 knots. But the rain, thunder and lightening lasted for 4 more hours. Eventually the wind dead off to 5 knots on the nose and we have been motoring sense. Everybody is doing well and sense we have been motoring we caught another Maha Maha weighting in at 22 pounds.

Day 5 & 6 has been a mix of 20 to 30 knots winds. Current we are in a full on southerly Gale sailing hard at 8 knots full reefed.

FYI it has been very difficult to send blog post via SSB radio so I may miss a few days.
Current Position: UTC 19:10,26-10-14, 27deg 34.8min South, 42deg 53.6min East, SOG 8kts, COG 300deg-M, 1022MB, WS 35kts

Thanks,

Jacques