RoRCs Report January 2018 - South Atlantic

RoRCs Report January 2018 - South Atlantic

The latest news and whereabouts [January] of our Club’s Roving Rear Commodores in the Southern Atlantic...

By David Blackburn - 30/01/2018

Jonathan and Anne Lloyd in Sofia - April 2016 – 2019

At the time of writing Sofia is berthed in Cape Town in the Royal Cape Yacht Club marina, where we have been since 9 December 2017. Since our last report t we have traveled from Reunion in the Indian Ocean to Richards Bay in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and then down the South African coast to Cape Town via Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay. This stage of our circumnavigation has proved to be the most challenging to date and I have written an article for the next edition of Flying Fish, which describes the considerable challenges of sailing in these waters.

On arrival in Richards Bay on 26 October 2017 we received a very warm welcome from the newly appointed POR, Tasha Wolmarans. After clearing in at Tuzi Gazi small craft harbour we moved round to the Zululand Yacht Club (ZYC) marina, where we were to spend the next 5 weeks. Our original intention had been to spend one week here and then move down to Durban and spend 4 weeks there before heading down to Cape Town. However, the marina in Durban was badly damaged by a severe storm in early October and was closed to visitors. This made finding a berth problematic as the World ARC fleet was due to arrive mid November. Fortunately ZYC managed to squeeze us in.

After organizing the repair of our mainsail and genoa, which had been damaged on the passage from Reunion, we hired a car and spent a very enjoyable month visiting cousins in Durban and Johannesburg, touring the Kruger National Park and Drakensberg mountains, and visiting the Zululand battlefields. Just prior to our departure to Cape Town we helped Tasha organise an informal OCC braai (BBQ) on 27 November, which was much enjoyed by crews from Dreamcatcher, Joyful, Arianna and Sofia. It was the ideal opportunity to present Tasha with her POR’s flag.

Due to the tricky weather conditions which prevail along the South African coast at this time of year it is unusual to be able to make the passage from either Richards Bay or Durban to Cape Town without having to seek shelter from the weather on at least one or two occasions. The difficulties of the Agulhas Current mean that extra care must be taken. A local Durban sailor, Des Cason provides weather routing and advice to those making the passage. He does it as a hobby, and he is a marvellous help. Every OCC yacht sailing down the South African coast this year has used his services. Des can be contacted at

In our case we had to call in at Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay. However, I would advise anyone following in our wake to call in at Port Elizabeth only if there is no realistic alternative. The marina is subject to heavy surge. In addition, it is very close to the manganese ore loading terminal and everything on a yacht – sails, canvas rigging and ropes are quickly covered in black corrosive grime, and it does not entirely come off again!. Matters are made more difficult by a total ban on cleaning boats with fresh water during the summer drought. We are still trying to clean up Sofia at the time of this report.

We have spent an enjoyable time in a very windy Cape Town. Due to the severe drought, water use is severely restricted. In the marina the water is only on three times a week for one hour on each occasion! On 21 December we attended a splendid wine tasting at Constantia Glen followed by lunch at Groot Constantia, which was very kindly organised by the Cape Town PO – Robert Ravensberg for OCC and other international yachts visiting Cape Town (see photo). Port Officer Co-ordinator Jenny Crickmore-Thompson flew down from Johannesburg with her husband – previous commodore John Franklin – for the event. On current plans we will leave Cape Town for St Helena on 15 January. Thereafter we will head up to the Caribbean for the spring and spend the summer and autumn cruising up and down the east coast of the USA.

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