Showing posts tagged Cape Town to Canada

Tied up at The Angler’s Anchorage, Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island.

Time to take stock of life and replenish the ‘Cruising Kitty’.

Cloudy Vision

With two reefs in the main sail and a tiny handkerchief,  Summer Love pushed onward and upward and westward!  The miles ticked over quickly.  She skipped over the lines of latitude in the company of clouds (and squalls).

One can navigate by clouds.  Do you see the map of Trinindad? 

Well, it sort of looks like Trinidad, really, it does … if you sit right back in your chair and squint your eyes and pull your nose right up to your forehead and pout your lips like a puffer fish, it looks like Trinidad.  

To me.

100 miles off Suriname

3 March 2009 -

21h10:   Track boat on RADAR.

21h15:   Boat on a parallel course. 10 miles to port.

21h25:   Boat passes and then turns across our bow.  

21h45:   Boat to starboard.                        

21h55:   Boat passes to starboard and moves away.  

22h10:   Boat moves further away.  Good.  RADAR off.

22h30:  … thud, thud  thud …  ENGINES!  Boat is creeping up behind us.  

Robb:   Get down!  Quickly, Janey.  Go down below and stay down.

I unclip my harness and fly down the companion way.  Grab the flare-gun and crouch in the galley, my arm through the cockpit porthole and my hand, a vice-grip on his ankle.

Boat comes up alongside.  Crew hanging over the sides — peering.

Robb keeps his course — and keeps his cool.

And then …

they leave.

And then … I retch.

From Pollywog to Shellback

And so we crossed the imaginary line and were officially positioned in the northern hemisphere.  A slimy pollywog no more. 

I immediately checked to see if the water really went down the drain the other way. It was hard to tell, but there was a lot of gurgling … 

up on deck …

King Neptune had come up from the depths with a swig of rum for our efforts.

… the hair of a dog, a lightning hangover?


methinks it was the King himself, bellowing down my trusty shellback’s neck,

"Don’t you mock me, salty dog."

The Moon:
earth’s natural satellite
and when it turns a beautiful blue colour
then sailing conditions are about perfect.
Dave Zobel in the Bent Book of Boat Speak

Picture this.

The winds were light when we left the island of Morro de Sao Paulo

 and headed back to sea.  Heading north-east.

We pushed hard against a 2 knot current — all day and all night —

as the sea rushed past us.  The wind kept switching …

We tacked,

and tacked …

and tacked again.

In the morning we could still see the shadows of Salvador.

The sea was uncomfortable, like a lumpy old mattress.

Robb started the engine. 

“Let’s get out of this,” he said and ploughed through the seas.

We motor-sailed all morning.

By midday the wind came through, we pulled the sails in tightly.

At 3pm I noticed the genoa roller furling drum had lifted.  

Not good.  Robb went up to the bow and tied it down. 

He got soaked by waves that were breaking over the bow. 

He dried off and took the helm - for the rest of the day.

By 11pm the wind was blowing 30 knots and the sea was spewing froth all over us.  The dodger had a head of Guinness.

We had to shorten sail.

Robb hanked himself on …

and then crawled carefully along the deck towards the bow.

It’s a long way, in the dark … and all I could see was the light of his headlamp

bouncing up and down.  At least he was still there.

I held onto the wheel — my knuckles white — wishing him back to the cockpit.

Job done, he crawled back.  He was soaked.

We pulled in some sail.  

And then …

he had to go back again to tie the furler down.  

This …

was a problem.

He went down below to study the charts.  

“We’re going into Recife” he said.  “I need to fix that furler.”

I whooped with joy, jumped away from the wheel, went down to plot the course

only to realize … there was a reef … (‘Recife’ means ‘reef’ in Portuguese!)

which was not to be negotiated in the dark.  And

we needed permission from Port Control to enter the working harbour.

So we had to wait ‘til morning.

It was a long night sailing into Recife. 

At 2am we put a 2nd reef in the main sail and squeezed through the squalls. 

By 4am we were both drenched.  

And we were tired.  

And we had to reef the genoa.


6am at last — I tried to contact Port Control over the VHF radio.

Nothing.  No response.

I tried again.  And again.


At 7am my call went through,

"Port Control, this is Yacht Summer Love.  Permission to enter the harbour, Ma’am?”

"You may proceed, Soomer Loove.

I think she heard me whoop.



We slipped away from Salvador and crept quietly out of the bay.

And when the shrinking city was nothing but a blurr,

Robb turned Summer Love hard to starboard and headed south. 

"Hey Skipper," I shouted, "the Caribbean’s the other way,"

and then just in case, went down below to check the charts.

By the time I’d come back up for air — we were cruising down the coast

of Brazil with a full set of sails, heading towards Morro de Sao Paulo.

And there he was … the Captain, my Captain

 in his element.

Far from the maddening crowds wind

and into a sea of people !