Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

GS2: Dodging a Major Gale / Getting through the Agulhas Current

by Joe Harris, GryphonSolo2 15 Aug 15:34 PDT

Today's update revolves around two events- dodging a major gale and getting through the Agulhas current.

First, the gale was forecast to be coming from the West and packing 40k winds and big seas. We had just sailed past the longitude of Cape Agulhas, the official marker of the Cape of Good Hope, while being about 30 miles south and knew that we had to get in close to the mainland to miss the worst of the NW wind. It was a race against time and we were sailing in light winds so we lost the battle when the first squall hit us with 35k gusts, sheeting rain and lightning! The lightning kinda freaked us out, and while we had been on the fence about whether to stop at Mossel Bay (which we had identified as a safe haven), both Roger and I felt we should seek refuge for about 12 hours and let the worst of the storm blow past. So about 0430 Sunday morning we dropped the sails and motored in to Mossel bay harbor. We took a couple of laps to determine the best place to dock and prepare the fenders and dock lines and were approaching the concrete pier to tie up when the engine suddenly quit.

We put it in neutral and it started up fine but when we put it in gear it stopped immediately. That meant that something (stray line or mooring buoy) had fouled our propeller, so we no longer had propulsion and we were adrift in this small basin. We rolled out the staysail with not much wind and gained a little steerage but realized we had to dock quickly. I headed for a big concrete pier in front of a fish processing plant and we crash landed with the bowsprit taking the first blow and then the boat nestling against these big tires that serve as fenders for the fishing boats. The sprit and boat seemed to survive the crash with no damage but not 100% sure. We tied up but realized pretty quickly that the wind was pushing us on to the pier hard and the 7' tide was going down and this was not going to be a safe place to hang out. So we called the Harbormaster on VHF 16 and he responded right away and said he would send a rescue tow boat to pull us off and relocate us in the harbor. They showed up a couple of anxious hours later and very efficiently moved us to a more sheltered spot moored against a tugboat.

Next we called a diver to cut the rope or whatever off our prop and two guys showed up at about 11:00 and cut away a massive amount (about 50') of rope that was wrapped around our prop (see photo). Crazy... and stressful... when we were just looking for a calm safe place to ride out the storm. Oh well... the best-laid plans...

So we arrived at Mossel Bay at 0430 and departed at 1430, so it was only a 10-hour stop, but we were pretty busy! We managed to get some breakfast and some groceries and hit the road, back into the trailing edge of the gale, which was not too bad. About 90 miles to the East sits the Agulhas current, which is a current packing 4-5 knots velocity of current. It's like the Gulf Stream of South Africa and makes rounding the Cape of Good Hope even more treacherous because you can get wind against tide and a horrible sea state. We caught it today with a very confused sea state after the gale and fairly light winds so it took all day to get across the approx. 40 miles of strong current flowing south as we went East. If we had hit that current during the gale it would have been a nightmare so very glad we paused, even though the stop didn't go exactly as planned, we enjoyed sleep, food and a shower after a month at sea!

Onward we sail to Mauritius- another 2,000 miles, so 9-10 days we hope.

Related Articles

GryphonSolo2: Globe40 Leg 3 day 12
The early goal has been to get South into the prevailing Westerly winds We are now on Day 12 of Leg 3 of the Globe40 RTW race going from the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to Auckland, New Zealand. The voyage is somewhere around 7,000 miles in distance and will take between 30 and 35 days. Posted today at 1:38 am
GryphonSolo2: Globe40 Leg 3 day 3
The stop in Mauritius was great We are back at sea here on day 3 of Leg 3 of the Globe40 from Mauritius to Auckland, New Zealand. Heading south to find the Westerly winds before turning East to Australia. Posted on 14 Sep
Globe40 Race Leg 3 Start
From the Indian to the Pacific Ocean, another lengthy passage for the fleet Today saw the GLOBE40 crews take the start of the 3rd leg of the event; another substantial leg worth a coefficient 3, which will take the sailors on a journey of nearly 7,000 miles (13,000 km) from Mauritius to New Zealand, depending on the routing. Posted on 11 Sep
GryphonSolo2: Leg 2 complete
We finally made it to Mauritius! A mere 40 days from Cabo Verde. Well... we finally made it to Mauritius! A mere 40 days from Cabo Verde. That was a work-out. About as varied a set of conditions as possible. Posted on 28 Aug
GryphonSolo2: Managing a big gale...
Now under 800 miles to go to the island of Mauritius We hope everyone is enjoying August and hopefully a bit of time off. Here in the Indian ocean, it is "game on"! Once we passed through the Agulhas Current we were truly in the Indian Ocean and turned NE towards our destination, the island of Mauritius. Posted on 22 Aug
Globe40 Race Leg 2 Finish
Amhas takes a Herculean win in Mauritius After 35 days 10 hours 42 minutes and 42 seconds of racing, Craig Horsfield and Oliver Bond aboard Amhas took line honours in Mauritius in this the second and longest leg of the GLOBE40 round the world race. Posted on 22 Aug
GS2: Approaching Cape of Good Hope
Big news here on GS2 from the high seas Big news here on GS2 from the high seas is that we passed the halfway point on this epic Leg 2 of the Globe40 a few days ago, which means we have sailed more than 4,000 miles from the Cape Verde Islands over the last 3 weeks Posted on 9 Aug
The halfway point in the Globe40's longest leg
3,600 miles since setting sail - 3,500 miles left to go Today, the front runners in the GLOBE40 round the world yacht race reached the halfway point in this second leg having covered 3,600 miles since setting sail from Cape Verde on Sunday 17 July. Posted on 3 Aug
GryphonSolo2: Slogging in the South Atlantic
An update from a Globe40 Race competitor who has beanbag problems We are slogging our way southward in a fresh South'Easter. The wind is highly variable in both direction and strength, so we are doing our best to stay on course and go fast. Posted on 30 Jul
GryphonSolo2: Past the Doldrums / equator passing
One week into Globe40 leg which started from Sao Vicente As I write we are only 93 mile from the equator - about to pass from the North Atlantic to the South Atlantic. Eating peanut butter on crackers as well, which is not helping the keyboard! Posted on 26 Jul
Marine Resources 2022 Salary Survey FOOTERArmstrong-Suptonic-728x90-2 BOTTOMMcConaghy 2022 - MC63p & MC75 FOOTER