We left Cape Town on Saturday December 15th 2018 with the 13:15 V&A Waterfront marina swing bridge opening. When calling Port Control over the VHF on channel 14 to ask permission to leave the harbor for one last time, I felt the importance of the moment and didn’t forget to thank the people in the tower and wish them happy holidays: “Port Control, Port Control, Port Control, this is Sailing Vessel Oroboro, Oroboro, Oroboro over… […] Port Control we are asking permission to leave the V&A Waterfront, destination Brazil via Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia and then St Helena… […] Port Control on behalf of the whole crew on Oroboro I wanted to thank you for keeping us safe, and I wish you happy holidays. We love your country and hope we’ll be back one day! […] To which they replied: Thank you Oroboro, we were happy to have you here! Fair winds!
Saturday December 15th, 2018
The first day we had strong winds over 25 knots, so we sailed with deeply reefed main and jib. Around midnight the wind increased dramatically, so we had to drop the main. We sailed nicely under jib only. The swell was fairly big with waves up to 3 meters.
Sunday December 16th, 2018
At 7 am on the second day, we hoisted the Parasailor. What a difference it made! Oroboro sailed really nicely, with winds about 15/20 knots at 150 degrees. At 1600 local time we caught the first fish: a big Yellowtail! Almost one meter long and 5 kg! Yuka prepared a great sashimi and sushi dinner.
Monday December 17th, 2018
The third day at 3 am the wind suddenly died. There was a small low pressure system south of Cape Town that messed up the south easterly winds. We had to motor from 3 am until next day. There was really nothing else that could be done, we tried to stop and wait drifting, but the swell made it really uncomfortable, so we started the engine again and kept motoring. On a positive note, the sunset was spectacular.
Tuesday December 18th, 2018
In the afternoon the wind came back and we hoisted the asymmetrical spinnaker. The sea was flat, so Oroboro was sailing very nicely along the coast from Orange river to Luderitz, where we arrived around 9:30 pm. Usually it is not a good idea entering a harbor that you don’t know at night, but we didn’t have any other option. Luckily the port control guy over the VHF was very friendly, and gave us useful tips on where to anchor.
The next morning we went on shore the next morning to check in with custom and immigrations, and the procedure was a breeze. We didn’t have to pay any money, unlike in some countries in the Caribbean, and the authorities were very friendly and laid back. For the first time since I was a child I saw a carbon copy paper used for filling in the immigration forms!
Our passage lasted 79 hours, we covered 433 nautical miles, 35 of which under engine. We had winds ranging from 3 to 26 knots. The wind angle was from 140 to 160 degrees.
We used all possible sailing combinations. Main and jib, jib only, parasailor, asymmetrical spinnaker. We are very happy when sailing with the Parasailor, that was the best dollar spent on the boat. Totally worth it.
Night watches were hard, especially the shift from midnight to 3 am. Fool moons and starring skies help a lot. So does freshly backed cakes.
Last but not least, I think there can’t be any crew better than this. We are even getting a South African accent with a slight Portuguese twist. And Joao and Ligia are learning some Italian as well!
Life is good.