Sailing across the South Atlantic, Day 1

Day 1 – V&A Waterfront, Cape Town – South Africa
9 September 2013, Monday – Distance Covered: 130nm

We departed 4 days late because Magnus (the skipper) got food poisoning. The extra days bought us time to do more last minute preparations, which is never a bad thing.

At roughly 10am we did one last check/top-up of the water tanks, disconnected the shore power and cast off. We had been to immigration a few days before.

The lines came off and we eased out of our berth. The weather was glorious with a brisk breeze to set us on our way.

It takes a long time to sail away from land until the point where you can no longer see land. It was probably 4pm before the last traces of shadows that were once land disappeared.

I was feeling good. On the previous crossing we left late in the afternoon, I ended up exhausted and feeling quite ill. This time I was chipper, doing menial tasks and keeping busy.

While I write this I am reminded of how excited my parents were, especially my father, who pestered me to the point of annoyance wanting to see the boat and asking endless questions about every last detail. That said, I owe this passion to him and I love him dearly. I’m sure I would be the same if I were in his shoes. Watching them on the dock waving goodbye was a lovely experience. Lynnae had to work, we had said our goodbyes earlier in the day, I love her so much for being supportive of my crazy adventures. We exchanged text messages as I sailed away.

Leaving Cape Town

Dolphins waved us off, tracking the boat for a few miles and then getting bored.

As the sun set I started preparing omelettes for the crew for dinner, but I must admit to having to stop half way through when I began to feel a bit queezy. For people who have not spent much time at sea, one oddity is that going below and doing any sort of hand/eye coordination task amplifies any wooziness that one might feel before getting your sea legs. It takes a few days to completely acclimatize.

Laura started to feel ill shortly before sunset. This doesn’t look like seasickness… this looks like what Magnus had. Getting a communicable sickness at sea is a very not-fun experience. The close quarters mean that it’s almost inevitable that everyone will get sick. We’re all a little bit shifty at the thought.

We spent most of the day doing between 8 and 10 knots with good winds.

The Crew
Skipper, Magnus – An all round awesome guy and adventurer. This is the guy you want to be stuck on a desert island with. Originally from the UK.
First Mate, Laura – Magnus’ better half. She used to work for the BBC but traded in her desk for adventure.
Engineer, Chris – Born in the Falklands and intimately familiar with every corner of the boat.
Thomas – A German living in Norway with arctic survival skills and a very manly beard.
Paula – An Argentinian biologist specialising in variety of Antarctic fauna and flora.
Myself – Freeloader and nerd.


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