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Sailing to Cape Town

Motorsailing in the light southerly winds

And so it started, the last leg of our voyage. Behind us about 40 days and 4000nnm of Drake Passage, Antarctica, Scotia Sea, South Georgia, Southern Ocean, Tristan da Cunha. Now approximately 1400nm of open oceanic waters to South Africa.
The night saw many busy non deck, bracing a bit here an bit there to bring the ship off the turbulence one the winfield produced by the tall and round Tristan da Cunha. A whale, probably a Bryde’s, follow our struggles for a while, sometimes right next to the ship, sometimes a bit behind. Now and then the light of a torch reveals it for a second before disappearing again in the fear waters, and popping up somewhere else.

Waking up to a sunny day, with just a few clouds growing along the day, the Europa sails under all her canvas. But… what is that? a new sail hanging from the rig over Sloop deck? no, it’s just the Grey zodiac that has been taken apart, cleaned, and is ready to be stowed away. No more ladings ahead and putting it away we get a cleaner deck for sailhandling.
Braced Beam reach one Starboard tack, in the fair breeze the ship does her best to keep up with a good pace on her Eastward course.

Once more we find ourselves under the influence of a High Pressure system, giving clear skies and warm temperatures, but also weak winds close to its centre. Always thinking ahead on what’s to come, which course to steer, which sails to manage, it happens that the wind now is too light to keep a good average speed to make it in time to Cape Town. Meaning that for the moment she will need the help of her engines. After lunch they roar again on still lighter winds turning to further Southerlies.

Braces are pulled sharp and there she goes motorsailing under all sails set. Situation that lasts until late in the afternoon, when is decided to clew up all the squares and take away Desmond as well.

Now the light airs shift back and forth from a Southerly to a Southwesterly direction, while at the wheel we still steer to 090º to 095º, motor sailing with the remaining Staysails set.

Written by:
Jordi Plana Morales | Expedition Leader

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