Despite what the world might think Cape Town does offer up some magical sailing opportunities in the dead of winter. Perhaps the wise would prudently avoid the inevitable frontal systems and huge wind and seas that inevitably follow them but with a little bit of patience and the ability to utilise a mid-week weather window when it arises sure can pay dividends.
And so, while the rest of the world spent their Wednesday slaving in their particular choice of salt mine, I found myself aboard Ocean Blue. The main purpose of the visit was to use the light winds forecast in order to test fit the new-to-me hank-on Yankee I’d frittered away my life savings on. True to their word the forecasters got it right and I spent a leisurely morning fiddling with sails and sheeting positions and generally just enjoying the sunshine on board.
Despite the general accuracy of modern weather forecasts I have learned over the years to add 5-10 knots or so to the expected winds especially if they are from the south east. Table Mountain acts as a huge wind break in southerly winds but creates distinct wind acceleration zones for both SE’ly and SW’ly breezes. The day’s forecast was for very light westerlies so going out to sea for a sail would be a bit of a lottery but as they say “a bad day at sea beats a good day in the office” and so ‘Blue and I headed out to Granger Bay under motor.
Dropping the anchor in around 7m I marveled at a Granger Bay that was more peaceful that I had ever experienced it. Usually it is the haunt of manic power boat and jet-ski activities, generally the anchorage to avoid if a tranquil wilderness experience is what you’re after. Lest I am misunderstood, the rumble of the city is always present here and there too were the ever-present jet-skis. It’s just today they seemed to be teaching the beginner class and so the activity was muted and less noisy than the norm.
There’s always the odd wake that arrives out of nowhere reminding one to properly place the lunchtime crockery and glasses but overall the ocean surface was a flat as it can be around here. Calm enough for me to do a solo climb up the mast to check out the rigging.
By the time the post lunch climb was complete and the gear all stowed a decent 10-15kt westerly had set in and the return to the yacht club was done under full sail and via a long detour out toward Whale Rock. It’s days like these that have me coming back sailing despite the potential for much harder days. Flat seas, just enough breeze to power up the boat and a constant gurgle from the bow as the boat chugs along at 5knots.
Magic day out!