Day 361, Year 5 Passage to Richards Bay, Day 8
Date: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Weather: Totally Overcast; Winds ENE 15-25+ Overnight; NE 4-8 All Day
Latitude: 27 32.812 S
Longitude: 033 22.652 E
Miles Traveled: 863
Miles to Go: 105 to Richards Bay, South Africa

Wild nights, calm days-that seems to be the way of things for us the past 48 hours. And we have one more night to go. Last night on Mark’s 7 to 10 pm watch, the winds were gusting to 30 knots from directly behind us. He had to divert course to avoid a cargo ship and somehow managed to jibe. Jibing in 30 knots of wind is no fun and for the second time this season, the pulley that holds the Jibe-EZ to the fittings on the deck broke with enough force to put a 12-inch ugly gash in our front windshield. It already had a small gash from this same scenario a few months back, but now there is no doubt that we will have to replace the plastic. We are just fortunate that no one was hurt. I then came on watch and had another three hours where I just had to sit right by the auto pilot to keep adjusting the course. The winds would swing from 10 knots to 30 knots and then back again. No fun. When things did settle down, they really settled and we have had to motor all day. I suspect tonight might be a repeat of last night, but if all goes as planned it will be our last night out. We should be in Richards Bay by mid-day. The southwest winds there subsided early today and won’t start again until Monday, so we are blessed with this 36 to 48 hour window allowing us to arrive with north winds. While all of the craziness was happening last night we had about two knots of favorable current, but then when the winds died, the current turned against us. Today we are asking, “What Agulhas current?” Other sailing friends have warned us that we could get as much as a four to five knot current in this area but as I write this log we are back to one knot of positive current, but nothing like we thought it would be. But we’re not there yet. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens tonight. One thing I do know, however, is that I will be mighty glad to get in the harbor, get checked in, and get my feet on solid ground. Although we were incredibly lucky to get the window to slip into Richards Bay without southwest winds and we have not had to live through a southerly storm, it just hasn’t been our favorite passage.

This morning when it was time for us to check in on the net to talk with Pieter and Carla on Odulphus, we were right in the middle of slowly receiving the BUOY weather reports via email. So I called Ed and asked him to talk to Odulphus. They have had some sort of engine problem and are expecting to have to sail all the way. They are projecting arrival in November, so they asked that we email their children in the Netherlands to let them know about the delay. They don’t have email aboard. Unfortunately, once we reach Richards Bay we are told that we will not have radio contact due to all the ships and buildings causing interference. So we might not be able to keep checking in with Odulphus. Today is Carla’s birthday and it is also Ed’s birthday. So happy birthday to Ed and to Carla and good luck to Odulphus in their trek to Richards Bay.