Jan 25 - Happenings

Pos: S26deg38.360min / E015deg09.442min. We re-anchored to have more swinging room for a blow coming thru tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I've been up the mast for routine check and maintenance, and a few other minor projects have also been completed. This morning, we were hoping to tour the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop nearby, but as it's Sunday, there was only one tour time, and we had missed it. Instead, we walked around Luderitz town a bit and noted the lovely German architecture of the early 20th century. Unfortunately, everything was closed so we missed out on the museum, a beautiful church, and local shops. The Yacht Club has week-end hours, but we've enjoyed the diversion of coming in to do internet, take hot showers, and enjoy the cold beer. We're planning departure later this week for Walvis Bay.

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Jan 23 - Safe arrival, Luderitz, Namibia

Today, the anchor dropped at 1500 in the yacht basin in Luderitz harbour. The passage up here, although only a bit longer than three days, was a mixed bag of weather. From motoring in the calms to putting a third reef in the main in 37 knots of wind with heavy seas, we were constantly wondering what the next few hours would bring. Weather forecasting around here is more art than science, and there are few ports along this very inhospitable coast to even think about diverting to should the need arise. As expected, Infini handled conditions with her usual aplomb, and as we closed the coast of Namibia in dense fog with visibility restricted to about 100 yards, the sun suddenly appeared and the wind dropped to 5 knots. Go figure! The Perkins went on, the SW swell was behind us, and we made good time. We anchored in 10 feet of mud out of the channel and near the YC; getting a mooring is improbable. Immigration, then Customs, was visited (no fees), and we then came into the Luderitz Yacht Club to take hot showers and have a celebratory drink. We'll sleep well tonight!

Jan 20 - Enroute to Luderitz

Pos: S32deg16.44min / E017deg23.81min We departed at 0645, motorsailed thru the pass and have had a beautiful day sailing in SW-SSW winds of 10-18. Distance to Luderitz approximately 365 nm. All's well aboard.

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Jan 18 - A bit of sight-seeing

We borrowed a car and drove to Jacobsbaai and Patermoster, coastal communities a bit further northwest from Saldanha Bay. Great ocean views and beautiful bays; we'll pass lthem both to starboard on passage north to Luderitz. Returning home, we stopped at Vrendenburg and the Weskus Mall, where we did a bit of last minute provisioning at Woolworths and Food Lovers Market. There is also a Checkers as well as typical mall shops, and a nearby Pick N Pay.
Pic: A small view of the beach at Patermoster, from the Skatkis Resturant

Jan 17 - Waiting for weather

Conditions have been less than optimal for heading north to Luderitz. So, we're catching up to a bunch of little items; also, Sue's posted a few new photo albums. Enjoy!
Pic: Waking up to fog...it had lifted by late morning.

Jan 12 - SBYC

Pos: S33deg01.238min / E017deg56.914 min One of the YC members let us know we had anchored too close to a channel the Navy uses for their launches, so we re-anchored just offshore of the Slipway Restaurant in a very protected bite, in 18’ water. We’re expecting a blow thru here in the next day or so, and this affords much better protection here. There’s a Spar store in town and it’s pretty well stocked. The Eigelaar Marine Store is nearby, as are hardware stores, an ATM, and a few bars and restaurants. Speaking of which, we enjoyed a very nice mussel dish at the Slipway, and there is a dock there to tie up the dinghy. The YC here doesn’t have a restaurant, but there are kitchen and braai facilities for general use, as well as a well-stocked bar (open M-F at 4 pm and S-S mid-morning) and lounge/TV area. There’s also a washing machine yachties can use, but no dryer; clothes lines are outside to hang clothes to dry. The club also has free wifi, a good thing as our Telkom dongle isn’t picking up signal. The showers are excellent, and the YC manager, Ivy, is very helpful, as we have found many of the YC members to be also. A newer marina nearby is Yachtport SA where haul-out facilities for larger vessels may be found. The YC here has a slipway for small to medium sized yachts, although there is a fairly large steel yacht using it as this is being written. Some ways around, but still in Saldanha Bay, is Club Mykonos Marina, and still further down is Langebaan Lagoon.
Pic: Matt in charge of pizza night aboard...yum!

Jan 10 - Test results

After careful evaluation, everything seemed in order in regards to the engine and tranny. We decided to raise anchor and motor around the bay at various rpm's, as well as going into reverse, to test the Maxprop. We had used Matt's Go-Pro camera attached to our long gaff to attempt to visualize whether the three blades were engaging properly, but with the clarity of the water being less than optimal, analysis was difficult. This morning, we hauled anchor and worked with and against the tide; results were mixed. Our top speed reached 4.7 knots with; 4.2 knots against, the tide. Reverse was not a problem. So, this is still a full knot less than what the engine speed should achieve, so we're thinking the Maxprop may need a bit of a tune-up. Unfortunately, this will mean a haul-out and removal of the prop to return to PYI in the States, not something we can do in the immediate future. Well, we have power, rpm's, forward and reverse, and a bit of speed, albeit slow....At times like this I'm doing my best to remember that, after all, we are a sailboat, and not supposed to motor so much!
Pic: The Saldanha Bay Yacht Club mooring field and dinghy dock.

Jan 8 - Saldanha Bay

Pos: S33deg01.03min E017deg57.14min
The wind started blowing the night before our planned departure. So much for advance planning. Fortunately, by morning it had layed down, although the seas still looked rough in the bay outside Simon's Town. You have to go about 12 miles from the marina or anchorage, usually directly to windward, to reach Cape Point, which then enables one to turn and round the Cape Of Good Hope, a milestone for all sailors. By 0930, the wind was down to about 15 knots, but it was obvious the seas had calmed down quite a bit. The decision was made, and we were so fortunate to have many of our friends cast off our dock lines; getting into, and out of, the Yacht Club moorings can be a challenge. Unfortunately, shortly after that we discovered we weren't getting enough power to push us thru the head winds and small chop. Our speed was a depressing 1-2 knots; something was seriously wrong. Propeller clean - check; all fluids changed and topped off - check; engine revs OK and putting out amps - check....it took us most of the afternoon going an average speed of 1.5 knots to finally get around Cape Point - how depressing is that? I had decided not to turn around and return to Simon's Town; our destination promised provisions, parts and mechanics; we decided to go for it and evaluate our problems there. The weather was actually quite right; 15-20 knots of wind on the aft quarter; the evening was really beautiful, but cold. The Benguela Current is found in these parts, and we donned warm clothes and foul weather gear to stay warm. By about 0300 in the morning, the wind died, and yes, we motored. There were a few ships around, but no problems, and getting to Saldanha Bay was straight forward. We anchored in 22' sand/mud, and took the dinghy into the Saldanha Bay Yacht Club, where we were warmly greeted by Ivy,the Club Manager. Foreign visitors get 10 days free access to the facilities here, and provisioning is a short walk away. We briefly were introduced to the mechanic we'll be dealing with, so now we're getting organized. More info as it becomes available.
Pic: Cape of Good Hope to starboard!