Monday, September 16, 2002

Land Ho - After 5 Weeks at Sea


The View Approaching Cape Town

    Last night as I started my watch, we had 10 knots of wind, and we had George steering, as the amount of wind was not enough to steer with the wind vane, with the motion of the seas.  We were still over 30 degrees off course.  Well before I ended my watch (2000-2200), the wind had climbed to 25+ and I had to wake everyone up to put two reefs in the main.  Later on the wind died again, and David and I tacked to port tack.  Right before my watch started (0200-0400) Eric woke us up again and we shook the reefs out of the main, as the wind had gone down.  The jib sheets had fouled, and Eric had to climb the ratlines to untangle them.  Once this was done, we were still a bit off course, as I started my watch.  I went to use the head, and when I came out, miraculously the wind had backed, and we were sailing the rhumb line!  By the end of my watch, the wind had backed enough to go on a reach.  As of this morning, we are cruising along at 6.5 knots on the rhumb line with 50 miles to go to Cape Town.  Hopefully we will land before dark. 
    This is day number 35 of our passage.  My excitement at the approaching landfall is without bound.

    Later this morning, on David’s watch, the wind began to veer again, sending us northward of the rhumb line.  Right away Eric’s ire was directed towards me, as he stated that I was given explicit instructions to increase the cross track error to the right between 2 and 3 miles.  I guess I misunderstood the orders, and though I worked to keep the course to the right of the rhumb line as best I could, apparently I didn’t try hard enough, and now it’s my fault if we aren’t able to make it to Cape Town today.  Well, another day, another fuck-up on my part.

    At this point we are motoring to try to make the correct course.  We have less than 30 miles to go.  I want to get there as soon as possible, before I fuck something else up.

Seals Hanging Out as We Approach Land

    At 26 miles distance from Cape Town, we began to see the outline of Table Mountain ahead.  We have spotted a few seals in the water, just their shiny black bodies and flippers visible above the water.  We have been seeing a lot more albatrosses, but since we are nearing land they are getting scarcer.

    I phoned Sue on the Iridium today, and her mother answered.  She told me that Sue is in Cape Town already, waiting for me.  That is very exciting news, something that I hoped would happen.  I hope she can stand to get close to me, after not having showered for more than five weeks.  It will be nice to have someone to interact with besides Eric and David.

At The Royal Cape Yacht Club, Looking for the Showers

Reunited, and Ready for First Meal in Five Weeks that Didn't Come From a Can