When does it end? I have no doubt that in various contexts this question has been asked so many times over the eons that the answer would be mirrored to that of another timeless question – how many grains of sand on a beach?
In this particular case the question is a rhetorical one aimed at myself at the necessity of having once again found it necessary due to financial needs to fly to Europe to go and collect another yacht and deliver it to a new destination. The vessel in question is currently moored in Cartagena in the south of Spain and its final destination is Stone town – the ancient capital of Zanzibar. The distance involved? Some eleven thousand nautical miles… damn near halfway around the world in terms of mileage.
The roots of this particular adventure go back to 2010 in Zanzibar when I hosted a family for a week long cruise from Tanga on the mainland down to Zanzibar. Jean-Yves was a computer fundi that had been looking after the IT requirements of the ICC based in Arusha, they who have been prosecuting certain individuals for war crimes related to the Rwanda genocide for nearly twenty years. We spent a delightful week exploring places like Njao Gap, Mesali and Panza Islands around Pemba Island before ending our trip in Zanzibar. That he thoroughly enjoyed himself was made evident when upon disembarking he turned to me and said ‘I am going to buy a yacht…’ Six years later he bought his yacht, a sweet little South African catamaran built by Maxim Yachts in Durban and launched in 2005.
I have no Idea how the vessel ended up in Spain but for whatever reason that is where she was lying when he bought her. From the very beginning there had been a tacit understanding between us that if ever he did buy I boat I would deliver it for him from wherever to East Africa. Truth be told I was reasonably sure that the most likely place for him to source a boat would be from South Africa – turns out I was spectacularly wrong about that. Thus it is that once more I need to dig out the weather routing charts for the north and south Atlantic oceans.
There is a different hue to this delivery though. Those of you who followed the saga of the delivery of IKRA ll from France to Cape Town back in 2014 might recall that due to time and circumstances we ended up transiting the South Atlantic in pretty much the middle of winter. Some of the posts on that blog that related to that leg of the journey were, as I recall, peppered with some rather pungent language describing the weather conditions down there. That was the second time that I had been down there in winter and from the beginning of the discussions relating to this forthcoming delivery I made it abundantly clear to all concerned that I wanted no part of that piece of ocean in winter ever again.
So, this is roughly what the plan is: on the 16th of August I, with my old mate Avi will fly over to Barcelona whereupon we will overnight and then take a train trip down to Cartagena. On the 20th young Hugh White will join the crew after spending a few days in Barcelona taking in the sights. In the interim Avi and I will start looking at running a thorough systems check and trying to find a marina that will allow us to do our own work on the vessel – apparently the one where the vessel is currently berthed has a closed shop policy that allows them to do all work required – at seriously brain damaging prices.
Apart from fitting a new head-sail the rigging is also being replaced – which should in theory give us a fair fighting chance of getting home with the rig still intact… To all accounts the vessel is in very good nick which if true should see us heading for Gibraltar by the end of the month. We will fill up with diesel there (prices there being about half of what they are in Europe courtesy of Gib being a duty free port.)
Around the 4th of September we should be able to head out – first down to the Cape Verde’s to top up with fresh fruit and veg and thereafter down to Brazil, Cabedelo to be precise. All going well we should be there around the end of September where I plan to hang around four about a month to six weeks. This delay is to be able to let the southern ocean settle down a bit after the endless onslaught of the winter storms. There is no guarantee that we will be able to make the crossing without encountering severe weather, but the odds are definitely better of having a decent crossing in summer than in winter.
There is much to do before we leave so the next ten days or so are going to be quite busy. I will endeavor to keep posts coming on a regular basis so that those of you who have a direct interest will be able to follow our progress.
To those of you who remember and followed our IKRA ll saga – welcome back and I hope you get some entertainment from this blog as well. To those of you who are newcomers to the rather odd life I lead, a warm welcome to you – I hope you find some of these scribbles entertaining.
Until then Y’all take care and stay safe.