Coastal Skipper

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Early in June 2016, skipper Nic Strydom and three crew members set off from Cape Town for Durban with a Fairline Squadron 42, for an appearance at the Durban Boat Show. Nic shares his experiences during a trip that coincided with some of the worst winter weather this year.

The Fairline Squadron 42 has a fuel capacity of 996-litres and running at 2 000 RPM or about 10 knots would give us a range of around 171 nm. As one can deduct from the above distances between refuelling points, we had to make provisions for extra fuel. We carried an additional 875 litres of diesel fuel (35 x 25 litre jerry cans).

There were four crew members on board for the trip, which meant that our shifts were divided into three-hour watches per person.

The four leg journey:

  1. Gordons Bay to Mossel Bay 213 nm. (Refuelled underway)
  2. Mossel Bay to East Port Elizabeth 194 nm. (Refuelled underway)
  3. Port Elizabeth to East London 132 nm.
  4. East London to Durban 253 nm. (Refuelled underway)

The original plan was to stay on the boat Tuesday night and leave Gordon’s Bay early on Wednesday morning with the high tide, but with an approaching cold front, we decided to move the schedule up to Tuesday evening. We left Gordon’s Bay around 6 pm with the sun setting at our stern and steamed on to Mossel Bay.

During the first night, we ran at about 9-10 knots, but with the seas being slightly rougher, we needed to run at higher RPM’s to maintain this speed. The Squadron 42 handled conditions very well through the night, guided by the excellent Lowrance HDS10 navigation system. At around 3 am we rounded Cape Agulhas, Africa’s southernmost point.

The next morning, at around 11 am, we refuelled for the first time while underway. This was done by slowing the boat to about 3-5 knots to keep her steady, allowing us to walk forward to the fuel filler caps on both port and starboard decks.

We carried the 25L jerry cans forward, one by one, and then siphoned the diesel into the tanks using the old garden hose- gravity-feed technique. We refuelled 100l into each tank and managed to call into Mossel Bay Port Control just as our fuel gauges hit the 20% mark.

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