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Old 01-30-2007, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default Cape Town to Gibraltar

Hi

As I'm going on with my route planing I've got one more question. Hope someone will tell me that my idea is absolutely wrong, or maybe not?

I'm going to start the passage from Cape Town to Med on December. The classic way is to cross Atlantic twice, runing Brazil and Azores with favourable wind and currents.

So is it possible to get to Gibraltar sailing up the coast of Africa? I presume the conditions will be ok on first stage with fair Benguela ang Guinea currents. On the NW coast of Africa we'll face a contrary Canaries current and tradewinds (although tradewinds are far from their peak at that time).

So the main question is - maybe, if sailing close to the coast, it's possible to escape contrary effects and take advantage of counter-current? Or it's so senseless I must not even try this?

Which is the common opinion about Africa western coast? I mean first piracy and some local specifics.

I'll be grateful for any comments.

Liss
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:26 PM   #2
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Tony Herrick CRUISING CONNECTIONS is a good contact for an opinion on your questions. He is based in South Africa and has written a number of "Cruising Notes" covering the Indian Ocean and Atlantic (which are available on his website). However, VERY little has been written about your proposal to sail up the African west coast, probably because this route is VERY seldom (if ever) undertaken - for all the reasons that you have mentioned.

Perhaps you should post your question on the Discussion Forum on his website as well.

Sorry I cannot assist any further - my personal decision would be to make the "double" Atlantic crossing.

Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:11 AM   #3
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I have done this run a number of times. IMHO, after leaving the Cape you should head for St. Helena and then for a point north of Recife. Make sure you do get north of the bulge of Brazil otherwise you will find the current taking you southwards.

Once north of the Amazon you can choose your own moment to tur towards the Azores and then to Gib.

I have sailed up and down the west African coast in motor ships and down in in a sailiong vessel. Sailing south you have the favour of the Canaries current which gives you a nice run from the Canaries to Cape Verde. Sailing northwards I would not like to head into the current. Also, you get winds off the Sahara at tmes which even far out to see covers the boat in a fine red sand. Closer inshore it is worse. Sand in your mouth, in your winches, in your clothers, in fact everywhere is not so good. Even if the particles are small they are stil abrasive.

As for pirates; I don't think that is a majour concern in this area but again, it is another reason for doing the "double crossing". By doing the double trip you should also get favourable winds most of the time.

As for the Benguela current, be careful. Once leaving the Cape and after passing Cape Columbine you wil not be close to the coast and, as you pointed out, the current is in your favour but the water is cold and both fog and near gales ar not uncommon. The further out to sea you are the less the chance of fog.

Unless yopu are heading for Luderitz or Walvis Baai, keep wel off the Namibian coast. It is not really trecherous but it does have some surprising tricks to play on you regarding fog, unpredictable currents and a lack of any ahrbour other than those two I have already mentioned.

Enjoy the trip!

Stephen

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Old 01-31-2007, 02:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for detailed answer, Stephen.

I see, the things are nothing better I've supposed.

So one more question - how are the sailing yachts received on the African west coast harbours? I've heard from my friends they had problems in Casablanca.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:42 PM   #5
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Hi there

We have just replied to your question that you sent us via our contact page.

Hope it was what you were looking for!

:-)
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:48 PM   #6
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Sorry Liss. I have only ever been in Dakar but that was many years ago.

I will be meeting my boss the day after tomorrow. He has spent many years in west Africa so I will ask him and get back to you with an answer.

Aye,

Stephen

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Old 01-31-2007, 11:18 PM   #7
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That's great

It's a superfriendly forum, really! Thanks
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