leg 1: richards bay to durban
Richards bay had been good to us. We bought the boat there December 2016 and had kept her there to get acquainted with her. Repairs had been easy and the whole family had enjoyed learning to sail and time alongside at the Zululand yacht club. Although there was always a work list for when we went up to her, it still felt like a holiday staying on board there.
It was with mixed emotions then, when on the 1st of may 2018 lunchtime, Irene slipped her ropes and left walk-on 8B ZYC for the last time. Sorry to see the last of Richards bay and as always regrets at the things we hadn’t done, but at the same time immense excitement at what lay ahead. I guess these two emotions will be the norm for the coming year or so!
For the first leg of 100nm down to Durban it would just be with my Brother in-law, Ivor, and myself. The sail was absolutely perfect and probably the calmest and most unpuckery overnight sail I’ve had with Irene so far! We soon had the Asymmetrical out for the rest of the daylight hours but with only the two of us on board we naffed out and put it back in the sock before sunset. We regretted it at about midnight when Yacht Regality, an identical hulled prout 38, came sailing past us with her asymmetrical billowing! It was great meeting up with her new owners and delivery skipper in Durban though as they would be on the same sail as us down to the Cape. Always re-assuring to check your decisions with a professional delivery skipper.
We arrived into Durban just on sun up and managed to get in through the breakwater before the pilot flew out for his first container/Bulk ship pilotage in. The only mild incident we had was the dredger screaming across our bow and then handbrake turning to dredge the channel in front of us! Ball-Diamond-Ball or no, I still think it was a bit rude having to alter course around her in the channel! Bully!
Once tied up at Durban Marina, Ivor headed home and Carla and kids picked me up to head back down the coast for a few days to wait out a cold front coming up from the cape and to get the house on the market.
The next leg of the trip south is a long one. Between Durban and East London there are no ports of refuge and it is a notoriously dangerous coast line known as the wild coast. The 300 Nautical Miles require at the very least a three day weather window and as May creeps into winter these can get fewer and further between.