Onward Across the Atlantic…

Date: Jan. 18, 2017, noon Position: 30 52.58 S, 13 59.62 E

It’s been awhile since our last post, so here’s a quick run-down to get you back up to speed:

My Dad & I are sailing the boat across the Atlantic now, a 7,000 NM voyage to the US Eastern Seaboard. We are currently on passage to St. Helena, 1,700 NM distant from Cape Town, South Africa. Kelsey and Taz have flown ahead to the USA, as we didn’t want to risk having baby #2 in the middle of the ocean! They are back with the Grammys in Minnesota & Taz is reportedly enjoying the snow and being the center of attention.

After Kelsey, Taz, and I made landfall in Richards Bay, South Africa, we picked our way down the treacherous coast, weathering storms in each of the ports we came across–Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, and finally on to Cape Town. Until we post our journals of this leg, be sure to check out our pictures from the safari we took in Hluhlue/Imfolozi game park! Just like being in Jurassic Park… we were blown away by the magnitude of wildlife.

It’s been a very busy last two months sailing down the infamous Agulhas current to Cape Town–it took us almost 4 weeks to accomplish the 850 or so NM in between weather windows, and we spent Christmas at sea, rounding the Cape of Good Hope. In Cape Town we spent several weeks getting Privateer in order for her next major ocean passage across the Atlantic.

Privateer has come so far already this year. Of special note is that during 2016, Privateer has had her bow in 3 oceans: The Pacific (NZ-Vanuatu-Australia), all the way across the South Indian Ocean, and finally into the Atlantic at Cape Agulhas, just before reaching Cape Town. 3 oceans this year, and also across the breadth of the Coral Sea, the Arafura Sea, and the Timor Sea. And all with baby Taz (now over 2 years old!) and baby #2 has crossed the Indian Ocean & into the Atlantic in the womb, feeling every ocean wave. It has been a crowning achievement what we did this year. I am very sad to see Kelsey & Taz go off the boat for the Atlantic crossing–it’s as if one world voyage has come to an end, and another one beginning. If all goes well we should re-unite in about 2.5 months in North America.

My Dad (whom I will refer to as “Neptune” hereafter) & I departed Cape Town at 1100 hrs on Jan 17 & have been at sea for a few days now, settling into the new rhythms of the Atlantic. The first 24 hours were pretty ideal in light winds & sunny skies. Good old Privateer is all organized and shipshape. The passage from here to St. Helena and onward to the Caribbean is considered one of the most pleasant downwind sails in the world, but the first few days out of Cape Town can be bouncy.

Sure enough, the winds piped up to SE 25, but the seas were much kinder than the cross-swells of the Indian Ocean. We kept a double reef in the Main and are using our same “Indian Ocean sail plan” with the pole out to port, but we’re taking the swells at a much better angle now that we’re sailing off to the NW, & back into the tropics. Yesterday we had covered 124 NM in light winds and our noon-to-noon today shows we’ve covered 164 NM now that we’ve got a decent breeze. Things have tapered off a bit now, and we’re hoping for generally pleasant conditions from here on out, maybe with a bit more high winds tonight. Yesterday was just too bumpy to write, and it takes a few days to readjust to the ocean after sitting in a marina for a few weeks.

Nep and I are on a regular watch schedule now that Taz is no longer the determining factor. It’s nice for me to know exactly when my watch will end! We break the night watch into three 4-hour blocks, and the day into two sets of 6 hours. This gives us 6-hour stretches of sleep during the day, and one night will be sunset/sunrise watches and the next night the “graveyard” watch, from midnight to 0400. It should take us a few weeks to reach our first destination, St. Helena, a tiny dot in the middle of the South Atlantic…

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