Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Port Elizabeth Arrival and Passage Summary

Hi everyone,
We arrived at Port Elizabeth at 0930 this morning, exactly 3 days after departing Richards Bay.  This is not particularly quick for a 475nm passage.  We had a lot of assistance from the Agulhas Current but had light winds at the start and end of the passage.  We also slowed right down yesterday and last night to arrive in daylight.  I really don't enjoy slowing down!

Zen Again at Port Elizabeth (Algoa Bay YC in background)
First the usual track and speed plots.  As you can see we gybed to and fro all the way down the coast.

Zen Again track
Zen Again speed (over ground)
 Next the vital statistics...

  • Distances/Speeds
    • Route distance = 475nm
    • Logged distance = 345nm
    • GPS distance = 516nm (so we gained about 170nm from the current)
    • Duration = 3 days
    • Average boatspeed = 4.8 knots (slow)
    • Average speed over ground = 7.0 knots

  • Weather
    • Wind speed = 0-35 knots
    • Apparent wind angle range = mostly broad reaching but all angles overall
    • Seas/Swell up to 3m
  • Engine
    • Total = 20 hours
    • Driving = 20 hours
    • Charging = 0 hours
  • Failures
    • None
  • Stars
    • Aires wind vane

Broad reaching in 30 knot breeze on Sunday
A quiet reach under yankee only on Monday
Motoring in this morning (note distant fog bank)
Entering Port Elizabeth harbour
Approaching ABYC (to port) and Fisheries Jetty (to stbd)
Yesterday afternoon we continued sailing under yankee alone and found it a very comfortable arrangement.  It wasn't fast, but we wanted to delay our arrival until this morning.

Overnight the wind held in until the early hours of the morning.  We sailed for an hour or so under full sail to keep moving.  Then suddenly we were in a flat calm and thick fog.  We started the engine, rolled in the jib, reefed the main (to reduce slatting) and motored gently onward.  We haven't encountered fog for decades and that was in the English Channel!  A surreal experience.  The fog delayed our entry from dawn to 0900.

The fog lasted for three hours until just after dawn when it rapidly burned off.  We arrived in PE in bright sunshine but with a bank of fog/cloud only a couple of miles away to the south.

Entry into PE is simple.  The space between the marina and the fisheries jetty isn't very wide, but is wide enough to turn around in.  A W wind of 20 knots had come up just as we entered harbour but we came alongside the British yacht Gallinago without incident.  The marina is full and the fisheries jetty is filling up too.  Several boats are rafted up as we are.

Unusually for us we used the Aires wind vane for much of this passage.  It seemed to cope well with the seas, not threatening to gybe the boat as it has so often in the past.  Perhaps it only likes sailing with current assistance!  Or perhaps the hull is now sufficiently dirty to stop the boat surging on waves as she so likes to do when clean!

It is great to have made it down the coast to PE.  It's a shame we ended up motoring so much.  I'm glad we slowed down since finding our way around an unknown harbour would have been "interesting" at night in fog.

We will probably stay here for a couple of nights to catch up on sleep.  Then we'll push on when weather allows.  We'll probably be heading for Simon's Town with a possibly stopover at Mossel Bay.

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