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Old 19-05-2013, 07:15   #1
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Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Love the forum when I have internet! I'm looking for HELPFUL hints, suggestions on where to stop, Ham nets in S. Africa and fishing conditions on our upcoming passage.

After unsuccessfully selling our beloved schooner "Cocokai", I'm into the last month of a major 3 month refit. New decks, sub-deck, rigging, sails, deck and inside paint among other things. The boat is a 1980 custom, 64' OD, 31 ton schooner we have sailed 30,000nms so far this trip. A bit too much maintenance for me! I know it's a pretty fast trip and hope to be in Brazil next year. We're in our 7th year in our circumnavigation.

The Plan: We will be leaving Phuket early July to provision for a couple days in Lankawi. From there we will head over to Sumatra and down the west side til I feel we have a good angle to Cocos Keeling. (Any Good stops?) Need to be there by the end of Aug. for my Girls to fly home for the next school year. From there, with 3 POB, I figure it will be a fast and (rainy?) trip across to Mauritius. Then I hear its the rough stuff to Reunion and on to Durbin. I plan on being in Cape Town by late Dec./Jan.. We will be going south of Madagascar!

Any thoughts or tips?

Cheers, Greg
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Old 19-05-2013, 17:18   #2
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

I would love to get some feedback. Especially about the west side of Sumatra, what to expect when crossing under Madigascar to Durbin, and durbin to Cape Town. Any hints?
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Old 19-05-2013, 17:49   #3
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Mate, i too am interested in the thoughts of others who have sailed these waters. Off the top of my head I think Atoll would be someone with a lot of experience sailing these waters.
Why south of Madagascar ?

Good luck and fair winds.
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Old 19-05-2013, 18:15   #4
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Salti, I also first thought of Atoll. I respect his input on many subjects and know he's done. this crossing. Hopefully he'll give some insight .

I'm going south of Madagascar to shorten the trip. A friend on a 45' cat did it last year and sat on a sea anchor off Reunion a couple days. I expect it will bit a bit rough there. I think the local (S. Africa) Hams will be a help when I get close.

Cheers, Greg
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Old 19-05-2013, 18:47   #5
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

We went from Bali to Sputh Africa last year leaving in September. We stopped at Christmas Island (very good moorings provided they do not allow anchoring), Cocos-Keeling, Rodrigues, and Mauritius. All are well worth a visit. The Ausssies have more reasonable quarantine rules for Christmas and CK than for the mainland but you still need a visa (available online) and give notification by email that you are coming. Almost for sure you will be buzzed by Aussie patrol aircraft who will ask who you are.

The Aussie islands have some provisioning but quite expensive. If you need something for your boat it can be shipped by air, but again pricey. Provisioning in Mauritius is excellent. We were going to stop in Reunion but had to leave Mauritius because of an out-of-season cyclone and the small man-made harbour in Reunion was already jammed.

Overall the sailing in the Indian Ocean was tremendous with beam to broad reaching in 20 to 30 knots until approaching Madagascar. After that it is a bit of a crap shoot. The weather forecasting seems pretty good but the problem is that the weather forecast changes dramatically every 12 to 24 hours so the idea of getting a weather window for the crossing to South Africa is a non-starter. You can anchor at a couple of places near the southern tip of Madagascar and boats were there for as long as 19 days without heading north to a port of entry. The whole idea for crossing to South Africa is to avoid southwesterly winds blowing into the Agulhas Current - as the guide book says, 'waves can reach 20 m' in these conditions. Fortunately, the Current is pretty narrow and its location is known. My understanding of the best approach is to start out in any sort of decent weather and either just keep going or heave-to to wait until a cold front goes through and the wind switches. In any case, be prepared for 40 knots even in normal conditions.

There is a terrific radio net, Peri-Peri (see periperiradio.net for details). Their local people are very experienced and provide both forecasts and personal interpretations and suggestions.

Suggest your port of arrival is Richards Bay rather than Durban. Nice place to stop with a friendly yacht club and nice restaurants along with decent marine services. Secure place to leave your boat and want to go touring. Can't recommend Kruger National Park too highly - we saw lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, pretty much every big animal but leopards. Overall we loved SA and will be back there, Simon's Town, in October or November.
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Old 20-05-2013, 05:18   #6
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

AiniA, Hope your hand heals. Thank you for all the great info. I will look up the net. I hope to get some more info about good stops in Sumatra. Looking forward to getting to SA.

Cheers, Greg
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Old 20-05-2013, 05:27   #7
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pirate Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
We went from Bali to Sputh Africa last year leaving in September. We stopped at Christmas Island (very good moorings provided they do not allow anchoring), Cocos-Keeling, Rodrigues, and Mauritius. All are well worth a visit. The Ausssies have more reasonable quarantine rules for Christmas and CK than for the mainland but you still need a visa (available online) and give notification by email that you are coming. Almost for sure you will be buzzed by Aussie patrol aircraft who will ask who you are.

The Aussie islands have some provisioning but quite expensive. If you need something for your boat it can be shipped by air, but again pricey. Provisioning in Mauritius is excellent. We were going to stop in Reunion but had to leave Mauritius because of an out-of-season cyclone and the small man-made harbour in Reunion was already jammed.

Overall the sailing in the Indian Ocean was tremendous with beam to broad reaching in 20 to 30 knots until approaching Madagascar. After that it is a bit of a crap shoot. The weather forecasting seems pretty good but the problem is that the weather forecast changes dramatically every 12 to 24 hours so the idea of getting a weather window for the crossing to South Africa is a non-starter. You can anchor at a couple of places near the southern tip of Madagascar and boats were there for as long as 19 days without heading north to a port of entry. The whole idea for crossing to South Africa is to avoid southwesterly winds blowing into the Agulhas Current - as the guide book says, 'waves can reach 20 m' in these conditions. Fortunately, the Current is pretty narrow and its location is known. My understanding of the best approach is to start out in any sort of decent weather and either just keep going or heave-to to wait until a cold front goes through and the wind switches. In any case, be prepared for 40 knots even in normal conditions.

There is a terrific radio net, Peri-Peri (see periperiradio.net for details). Their local people are very experienced and provide both forecasts and personal interpretations and suggestions.

Suggest your port of arrival is Richards Bay rather than Durban. Nice place to stop with a friendly yacht club and nice restaurants along with decent marine services. Secure place to leave your boat and want to go touring. Can't recommend Kruger National Park too highly - we saw lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, pretty much every big animal but leopards. Overall we loved SA and will be back there, Simon's Town, in October or November.
Nice one... Thanks... copied and pasted for possible future reference..
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Old 20-05-2013, 06:46   #8
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Greg,

I have taken the route north of Madagascar via Nose Be twice. Note my boat has only 23.5' WLL, so on good days will cover 100-120 n.m..

I chose the northern route around Madagascar due to the relatively small size of my boat and potentially large waves south of Madagascar.

First trip, late October 2003 Mahajunga to Richards Bay. Encountered some headwinds and do not recall the current was a problem. But then, there was always wind and progress forward. Seventeen days to Richards Bay.

Second trip. Skipped Mahajuunga rumoured to have become too dangerous, and left from Nose be. Nightmare. The only time the wind was strong was when it was in my face. Heaving to was order of most days since beating into the wind and waves was hardly worth the effort. Otherwise, when the wind was favourable, it was too lite to make decent headway. Mainly windless days and at night in the Monzambique Channel, if I had any wind during the day, the wind died during the night. Adverse current pushed me back +- 20 n.m. overnight or at least until there was wind to sail on.

Wind backed about 300 n.m. to Richards Bay so downwind sailing in 20-22 knot wind became the norm. Waves going every which way and my Aries gear was unable much of the time to handle the wierd wave patterns.

18 n.m. from the approach to the continental shelf and the Agulhus current when I was engaged watching the barometer and sky for telltale signs a southerly buster may be brewing, a northwesterly arrived with 30 and gusts to 40 knot wind. This lasted a day and a half, pushing me south more than 50 n.m..

A light southwesterly followed, and since that was in the bag with little known about what may be in store next, I rode it toward Richards Bay. About dusk the sky turned ugly with variable wind. A southeasterly emerged so I diverted to Durban...

Took 32 days Mahajunga to Durban and I was ready to sell the boat before arriving in there. Had enough. With time most of us recover and remember the best passages. But, this is one less than desirable passage I'll never forget.

Most of the bigger boats took the route south of Madagascar, and didn't do much better. One boat out of Holland took 77 days from Darwin to Durban, drifting for some time going in circles south of Madagascar.

Either way you go is a crap shoot and not likely to be any fun.

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Old 20-05-2013, 07:16   #9
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Greg,

When I stopped in 2011 at Cocos Keeling to clear out of Australia, the Australian Police who fill in as immigration and customs officials would come to boats in their fast R.I.B. when arriving only. Departing boats were required to take crew via a ferry from Home Island to West Island to clear out. The round trip is time consuming and aggravating when one realizes the police could cover the distance between West Island and the only anchorage at Direction Island in 10, maybe 15 minutes. A ferry called at Direction Island only once or twice a week.

A community at Home Island, distant from the anchorage is permitted to charge $20/day anchorage fees. Considering Cocos Keeling is a port of entry and there is only one anchorage, my view is the fee issue is highly irregular.

I wonder why you aren't sailing via Addu, the southern most island in the Maldives. You are unlikely to suffer the high cost of stopping at Mali, and it's a pleasant stop. Then to Chagos, a memorable stop indeed.

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Old 20-05-2013, 08:08   #10
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Armido.

Thanks for all the info! We're not very good about sticking around paying "Anchorage fees". We'll see how it goes in CK. We thought about stopping in Chagos, but with the check in formalities and wanting to get across fast, we're skipping it. Maldives sound great but too far north.

Fair winds, Greg
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Old 20-05-2013, 12:24   #11
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Really good info here, thanks guys.
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Old 20-05-2013, 19:24   #12
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Greg,

Regarding Richards Bay, S.A.. Check Noonsite for information pertaining to recent changes re: import fees there. Some boats were impounded/seized by the authorities.

South Africa, Richards Bay & Durban: Foreign Yachts Charged New Tax — Noonsite

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Old 21-05-2013, 18:32   #13
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

In 2012 there were no anchorage fees for Cocos-Keeling and the authorities came to your boat for both entry and departure so that was much improved. We very much enjoyed all our stops crossing the Indian. We did not stop at Chagos because the multi-national naval force and International Sailing Federation were recommending that cruisers stay south of 12*S when west of 78*E. if you check there websites you can see if this has changed. It may have, because the pirate situation has improved a fair bit.

The stuff about importation fees and fines also applies in Durban and was for people who were there for a year and more.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:24   #14
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

Armido and AiniA, Thanks for the info. I don't plan on stopping in Chagos and won't be in Richards Bay or Durbin for long.I'll check with Customs when I get close or in Cape Town so I don't have a problem.
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Old 22-05-2013, 09:51   #15
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Re: Thailand to Cape Town passage. Thoughts or hints?

this link may be of interest Southern African Cruising Guide and Sailing Notes by Tony Herrick.
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