Blog Post 12 by Jon Sanders: gentle heel of the yacht and quiet progress
I am on the ocean as I type. By the time you read this blog I should be tied to a mooring Jamestown, British Island of Saint Helena, South Atlantic.
Since last writing, the weather has been mild, with the wind behind, pushing me.
My mainsail – always one reef and wee jib. Progress good and comfortable.
One can get squalls, often more to the west than where I am.
Night time squalls, however…
Three years back Robin Morritt, Gareth Owen-Conway, Lance Rock and I, in this very yacht, demolished a spinnaker in such a squall. (2014 Cape to Rio Race).
The sail was not much bigger than a heavy weather size but constructed of lighter cloth. So when caught out it would ‘Blow’, keeping the rest of the yacht intact. (We had another).
This region, now, most cruising yachts will have max genoas and mainsails, but not this black duck. Been there, done that.
The gentle heel of the yacht and quiet progress, to me, is nice and we (boat and I) are getting there.
However, nearing target, Saint Helena, I am juggling the speed to arrive in daylight. I must pick up a mooring amongst other moored boats and fishing boats with long leads. Boats all unlit.
On leaving Table Bay I experienced light to windless, other times not a lot of wind. (Plus that 25/40 Kt sudden gale).
The Yamaha at low Revs, economical, 1 to 1.2 litres per hour diesel use at 1200 RPM making 5 to 5 1/2 Kts. (17 to 20 hours per 20 litres). I carry 11. 20-litre jerry cans. I will use four Jerry’s Cape Town to St. Helena. My electricity mainly comes from Super Wind, wind generator, the whispering giant.
Also, leaving Cape Town there were ships and fishing boats galore for two to three days. A picket fence. Fishing boats always a worry. They do not hold course. They just change it all the time! They are fishing. Many countries now require fishing boats to carry AIS and switched on.
After three days from Cape Town maybe one ship a day on AIS. (All is plotted on the B&G screen). Often 15 to 22 nautical miles distant. If you did not have AIS, you wouldn’t know they were there. In years gone past there must have been many a ship, not far, – yet I knew not.
The other day on this NW course, a tanker past, going the same way – parallel course 18 NM. AIS said destination, New York. Two days later another tanker going the other way – to Singapore. My guess is the line from south of South Africa passing St. Helena is the route to and from North America. (IQ of 1).
Before leaving Cape Town, I was told beer in St Helena was only 60c for a large stubbie.
I wonder where that is brewed. (At 60c the place should be full of Australians).
In this yacht “Perie Banou 11” (in this day and age (“the Romans are dead”) it should read “Perie Banou 2”.
Four years back, near the Australian island of Christmas Island, an Australian warship called me up on channel 16 the international receiving channel, calling “Perie Banou Eleven”. I replied, “Perie Banou without 2 or eleven”.
Anyway, on this yacht, 27 years ago, 1990, I visited Saint Helena.
With me then was young South African, Andre Cheminais. At different times he and his brother Marc – and me – have done 1000s of sea miles together.
Marc and Andre are now wealthy, self-made business people with young families. (Andre will be reading this).
At St. Helena there was a beautiful French yacht owned by a friendly bloke (about 60/62 years of age) with his lady partner and crew. Her age was, Umm, 21 or 20. (Poor bloke was flat out busy keeping an eye on Andre).
It is now Monday evening; I will sign off for the moment and sign on for a bit tomorrow morning Tuesday 28 Feb – last day. I should sight St. Helena then, which is surrounded by high cliffs.
Now It is Tuesday 28th. 6-30am.
With the grey of the morning, it is the distant cliffs and hills I see. But I am here, which is good.
My 1970s chart puts the highest mountain at 2685 ft (about 245 meters) Mt Actaeon. There is a lot over 2000 ft. The island is high with hills. My Navionics electronic chart does not give Island altitudes. However, the wonderful old grey and white British Admiralty charts do; along with grey colour depths for cliffs, names of hills, mountains, valleys, gullies, buildings, woods and so on.
Next week I will tell you about Saint Helena. What’s going on!
Regards and best to all. Jon