Blessing of the Fleet & Monthly Meeting May 13th

May 13th at 11AM – The Blessing of the Fleet will have Refreshments provided by the club. Bring an appetizer if you wish. Come and enjoy…Also bring or wear socks to be cast into the fire with our new “Burning of the Socks” Ceremony…see you Saturday

May the seas lie smooth before you. May a gentle breeze forever fill your sails. May sunshine warm your face, And kindness warm your soul

2023 Dock Rules

POYC Dock Protocols

A dry erase board, markers and eraser has been placed in the pavilion for the use of documenting the date a Club Member places his/her boat on POYC Docks. This will include member’s Last name, boat name or registration number, date boat was put on dock and slip number. Dock stays are limited to THREE WEEKS on the dock, then off for no less than 7 days, unless dock usage is under 86% (two open slips). When dock usage exceeds 86%, first on first off rule is in effect till dock usage is under 86%. Also, if you are not planning on using your boat for a couple weeks, just haul it out. Be considerate of our limited dock space.

In addition, Dock Master will be documenting docked boats’ status using Dock Sign Board and photos on POYC Facebook Group. These photos will be taken no less than one week and no more than two weeks in frequency. Photos will show the boat registration number and current Dock Sign Board. 

Moreover, first on first off is just what it sounds like. The Dock Master will use the Sign Board to determine first on first off. The oldest dates on Dock Sign Board will be the first ones asked to remove their boat from dock, until 86% usage is achieved. If all boats at dock have less than three weeks on the dock, the dock will remain full until someone has been docked for three weeks. If two or more boats have the same sign in date, all those boats will be asked to haul out at the same time to maintain fairness.

We had a great sailing season last year with no significant problems with dockage. So, please fill out the Dock Sign Board and get your boat off the dock in the allotted three weeks or the floggings will commence.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Dock Master  Greg Glass

From Greg O’ Brien – Some Club History and a tip of the hat to Lee Huddleston

Hi Gary,

Thank you for your prompt response.  The race invite is attached, along with a letter about some road work.  My dad Les O’Brien and my family liked a musical called “The Fantasticks”.  In it there’s a teenager who says “I’m 16, and every day something happens to me.”  My dad said that POYC was like that at the time, quickly growing and changing.  The club had a good time, at POYC and away from it.  Dracula served Bloody Marys at a club Halloween party, a burning boat was set adrift in a Viking ceremony when the new commodore was elected, with the former commodore aboard (or what looked like him, wrapped in a cloth), and Lee Huddleston received fishing waders as a gag gift because his bottom so often got wet sailing his Y Flyer.  Bill Davis oversaw the Viking ceremony, his son played French horn from the dark woods when he called to Odin, and Jim Phillips was the outgoing commodore.

Best wishes to you and the club for a happy New Year!  Please give my regards to Lee Huddleston.

Kind regards,


Travelogue #9, Dec 20-30 “Eyes on the Prize: Rounding the Capes” by Larry Caillouet

“Eyes on the Prize: Rounding the Capes”

In baseball one of the most daring and exciting plays is the squeeze bunt. The runner takes off from third base with the pitch. The batter bunts the ball away from home plate to give the runner time to slide into home before the ball can be fielded and thrown to the catcher. It has to work just right to succeed. If the batter misses the ball or bunts it too hard, the runner will be tagged out at the plate.

My squeeze bunt is sailing to Cape Town with only a narrow window of opportunity to reach Cape Town in time to fly home for Christmas. If everything goes well, it takes 3 days to sail from from Port Elizabeth or 4 days from East London. If we are delayed by bad weather, fueling, clearing Customs and Immigration, or other unforeseen problems or if I have a problem getting an affordable flight out of Cape Town, I might get tagged out at home.

Paraphrasing Bing Crosby,’s wartime hit:
🎵Will I be home for Christmas?
Can you count on me?🎵

We will soon find out.

Tuesday, Dec 20
I was surprised last night when I saw the lights of South Africa and we were still 25 miles from shore. Now I know why. The land rises quickly from the shore and the towns and settlements are built at the crest, not down at the shoreline. When I saw the land for the first time by daylight I immediately thought how pretty it is, verdantly green with patches of dark green trees making patterns on the brighter green fields.

One of my favorite movies features Kurt Russell as Cap’n Ron, a charming but dodgy rent-a-captain. When the owner’s wife expressed concern about safe passage in the rickety old boat they had inherited, Cap’n Ron assured her, “If anything is going to happen, it’s going to happen out there!” He was right. It did.

We started today heading south with the wind blowing north. Not ideal, but we could motor against the 12 knot breeze and still make good progress. By early morning the wind increased to 25 knots and the seas got steeper with short period. I hand steered to try to hit the waves in a way to minimize the splash of pounding directly into them, but the big waves still sprayed water all over the boat and slowed our speed. By afternoon the wind was in the mid to upper 30’s and our progress became agonizingly slow, mostly 3 to 3.5 knots, sometimes only 2 knots. A rough division of miles to the entrance of the next harbor by 3 was not encouraging. When we finally turned toward the harbor and got favorable current behind us we could do 5 or 5.5 knots.

In the midst of all this I noticed two white seabirds flying in long graceful circles over the water and occasionally diving to catch a fish. They seemed to not be bothered by the rough weather. I guess they don’t have any paid leave in their line of work. It’s “Give us this day our daily fish.”

We ducked into East London just after rain ended and just before dark. The commodore of the East London Yacht Club had arranged for a fuel truck to come out to refuel us. The operator and his wife took our lines and helped us get secured on a long high dock wall. We will clear in tomorrow morning and I think the weather will allow us to go on to Cape Town without any more stops.

Wednesday, Dec 21
We thought we had taken care of our Customs and Immigration process and had cast off all but the last dock line when we got a call that C&I wanted to do do some paperwork at our boat. So we secured the boat to the dock again, did the paperwork, and cast off about an hour later than we had expected.

It looked like a perfect sailing day as we left East London—blue skies, puffy white clouds, good wind, and nearly flat seas. Nevertheless, a weather report warned us of changes us as the day went by, so we were eager to put some miles behind us.

We sailed out far enough to get in the Agulhas Current and when we got 3 knots of current we turned south toward Port Elizabeth. The wind had backed and was now at the stern instead of at the bow as it was yesterday. We were using only the mainsail and had to reef it more and more as the wind built. This is where a sail that furls into the mast proves to be very useful. Wind picks up— roll the sail in another 10% or so.

As night fell the wind had increased to 35-38 knots and we had reduced the mainsail to less than half of its full size. We were making over 9 knots with only a scrap of a sail. I saw the boat hit 10 knots a few times. Frankly, this was scarier sailing than the previous day plowing into big waves. If you want to have a similar experience, try this: Go out on the interstate on a moonless night. Set the cruise control on 75 mph. Then turn the headlights off! Leave them off for at least 5 seconds. Then turn the lights back on and proceed as you normally would so that your heart rate can return to normal.

The chart plotter showed the locations and courses of several boats around us, some going our direction and some the opposite way. The AIS showed that none were near us or likely to come close until a cargo ship named Double Delight appeared on the screen. It was coming directly toward us at 11 knots. Add our 9 knots to it and we were closing on each other at 20 knots. AIS showed it coming as close as .16 mile. That’s 845 feet and way too close for comfort. I called the officer on watch on the VHF radio and requested that he alter course since we had limited maneuverability. He agreed and altered course 12 degrees to starboard. We passed port to port one mile apart.

Thursday, Dec 22
We arrived at Port Elizabeth about an hour after sunrise. That was good timing because it’s much better and safer to enter a new harbor in the daytime. The commodore of the Nelson Mandela Bay Yacht Club was waiting for us on the dock. He took our lines and after boarding the boat gave us a good orientation to the harbor, the city, and interesting activities in the area. Two African animal parks are nearby.

We docked against a long concrete dock wall that was built for the fishing boats. It was a busy and interesting environment. Joe walked down the dock with me explaining the equipment on various types of the big commercial fishing boats. Many of the workers nodded or said hello to us as we passed by. Some stopped at our boat to see what we were and say hello. Fancy blue water cruising sailboats are a rarity on this dock. One seaman from Egypt was especially friendly; we enjoyed talking with him as he was overseeing the unloading of fish from the 100-foot fishing boat on the dock behind us and the loading of ice for the next fishing excursion.

After the strenuous passage to East London and Port Elizabeth, the main activity we were interested in was sleeping. We all woke in time to walk to a nearby restaurant, the Black Impala, for dinner.

Friday, Dec 23
We all had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. No one expressed much interest in a mini-safari, so I Ubered into town for a Thai massage while the others went to a nearby grocery store. The day turned rainy with the approaching storm so we just ate on the boat. A delightfully low key day.

Saturday, Dec 24.
Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the boat
Not a sailor was sleeping
We were too much awoke

The crew checked their lists
Preparing with care
In hopes that fair weather
Soon would be there

Past Lizzie, past Seal Point, past Plettenberg Bay,
Past Mossel, past Beaufort, past Agulhas Cape
To the end of the land
To the Cape Town landfall
 Now sail away, sail away, sail away all!

Sunday, Dec 25.
Christmas Day!

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at Hussar’s Grille and woke early on Christmas Day to prepare the boat before our 8 am departure. Everything checked out until we turned on the instruments and discovered that the wind speed and wind direction instrument was not working. It hadn’t given us any problem previously and was working when we docked at Port Elizabeth 3 days ago. Boats! It’s always sompting! Even though we knew that we could motor all the way to Cape Town, wind data is important for speed, comfort, and safety. There was a spare anemometer on board so we tested it and then hoisted Joe up the mast to install it. This is familiar territory for Joe; he has been up to the top of Liberty’s 76-foot mast at least a half dozen times on this voyage. Success! It worked, and at noon we set sail.

Actually we set rpm. The wind was very light and directly on our nose. In other words, useless. So we motored.

Monday, Dec 26
Still motoring against a light headwind, we rounded the long anticipated Cape Agulhas and gave it a wide berth, about 6 miles. (I would have cut it closer for better photos, but that decision was above my pay grade.) Seas continued to be benign, long 2-3 foot swells off the port bow. Current gave us a half knot boost. Wind was 12 knots smack on the nose so we continued motoring.

Tuesday, Dec 27
If I was a little disappointed that rounding the Cape was so anticlimactically easy, it partly made up for it going up the west Coast. The wind was still unfavorable so we motored on. Waves were bigger and stronger and on our nose so we lost about 2 knots of speed while still motoring 2000 RPM. Every time we calculated a likely time of arrival in Cape Town, it turned out to be wrong. The weather changes a lot around the capes of South Africa, so the forecasts are rather tentative.

Wednesday, Dec 28
We crossed the mouth of False Bay—actually it is a real bay, so only its name is false—and rounded the Cape Of Good Hope. This is the cape that is usually mentioned when the great capes of the world are discussed. Cape Agulhas is more prominent and is the literal southern tip of Africa, but it seems to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the capes—it don’t get no respect among anyone but sailors.

After we rounded this cape and headed north, the seas smoothed out and our speed increased. We made landfall at Cape Town an hour after sunrise and it was spectacular. Table Mountain towers over the city and totally dominates the horizon and skyline. Tall buildings look Lilliputian in front of it.

The harbor itself is beautiful. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Marina is surrounded by a complex of high rise luxury residences, 5-star hotels, upscale shopping and restaurants, and elegant office buildings. Rows of expensive private yachts complete the picture. Adding a playful note to our arrival, seals frolicked in the marina’s waters and big fat sea lions lying on a dock barked continually at nothing in particular.

After we docked and secured the boat, several people from the other Oysters stopped to welcome us. Some brought gifts. I think they were aware of the problems we had been dealing with. Even if they didn’t know the particulars, they could see that we were still in Reunion when they were already docked in Cape Town.

After a short rest, I was ready to see Cape Town since I had only 36 hours before my flight home. Dana, a crew member from another Oyster had stopped by Liberty to say hello to Carmel. She was ready to go to Table Mountain and so was I, so we teamed up and called a taxi. Traffic going there was thick. In fact, when we arrived our taxi was blocked from entering because the park was full. We paid our driver and got out and walked up to the ticket area. Yes, it was full but we could wait in a line for 2-3 hours and take the cable car up to the top. Or we could hike up one of the several trails that go to the top. That would take about 2.5 hours. Or we could pay double for a Fast Pass ticket and ride the cable car up in about 10-15 minutes. We chose what was behind Door Three.

The top of Table Mountain is as amazing as its sheer face is impressive. A huge variety of plants grow there in its unique ecosystem including shrubs, trees, ground covers, and flowers. Some of them grow only there; in fact, one of the six kingdoms of flora grows only on the top of Table Mountain. In addition to lizards, snakes, and birds, there is an animal living there that is about the size of a Guinea pig but is most closely related to the elephant. I didn’t see it.

After we came down we got in a taxi to go back to the marina. I had talked about hoping to see the penguins at Boulder Beach so Dana asked the driver how long it would take and what it would cost to go there. The driver said it would be 1600 Rand or $100 to take us there, wait for us, and then take us to the marina. I was a bit surprised at the price, but this would be my only opportunity to see the little tuxedoed waddlers and I knew it was about 40 miles round trip, so I agreed.

The penguins are a big attraction. Hundreds of people were there gawking and taking photos, just like me. The penguins didn’t seem to mind. They went on about their business—swimming, fishing, sunning, nesting, and waddling. We saw a few juvenile penguins but none freshly hatched. These were the stars of the Netflix series “Penguin Town” and, in the words of Buck Owens and Ringo Starr, “all they have to do is act naturally.”

Thursday, Dec 29
I had planned to pack and then ride the Hop On, Hop Off double decker city sightseeing bus before my flight home, but packing turned out to be a much bigger job than I had imagined. I had four months of light and heavy clothing, foul weather gear, medicines for a variety of possible maladies, cameras and electronics, and souvenirs. This called for my finest, most patient, most innovative packing. Solid things had to fit inside hollow things like shoes and water bottles. I managed to get 51 pounds into my rolling duffel and filled every cubic inch of it. With 26 pounds in my smaller duffel, 24 pounds in my back pack, jacket tied around my waist, neck pillow riding on my neck, Australian croc hat on my head and passport in my pocket I was prepared. And exhausted. Fatigue overcame my desire to do any more sightseeing. I called a taxi and went to the airport to get some rest.

Friday, Dec 30: Epilogue
27 hours later I arrived home—10 days after the flight I had originally scheduled, and 2 days after my rescheduled flight. Seeing the Australian Outback, sailing along the Great Barrier Reef, seeing the Komodo dragons, visiting Bali and some remote and far away islands, crossing the Indian Ocean, rounding the Cape, and visiting South Africa were truly a hoot—but I’m glad to be home again.

Travelogue #8, Dec 10-19 “Into Africa” by Larry Caillouett

Saturday, Dec 10

With a tip of my cap to Willie Nelson’s signature “On the Road Again.”

🎵 On the sea again – 

Just can’t wait to get on the sea again. 

The life I love is sailing oceans with my friends 

And I can’t wait to get back out at sea again.

On the sea again 

Goin’ places that I’ve never been

Seein’ things that I may never see again 

And I can’t wait to get out on the sea again. 🎵

Today was the Big Day. We finally set sail for Africa. Well, Mauritius and La Reunion are counted as African countries in terms of proximity and tectonic plates, but people who speak French and drive Peugeots and bring fresh baguettes home every day—that’s not what usually comes to mind when you say “going to Africa.” We are finally on our way to continental Africa.

La Reunion is so tall that it casts a long wind shadow. “Setting rpm” is a more accurate description than setting sail, but I’ll take it. Either way. When we finally escaped Reunion’s last efforts to hold us longer, we got back to what ocean sailing should be—boat heeled to leeward 10-15 degrees, sails filled out in graceful curves, bow slicing through waves like a hot knife through butter, sounds of water lapping at the hull, and the rhythmic gentle gallup of the boat toward the horizon.

On my 9 pm watch the moon came up big and round and orange straight behind the boat, its gleam across the water like a tail on a kite. Clouds soon choked it, but the tenacious moon fought back and broke through again and again. This was no quitter moon. Eventually it conquered the clouds and became a bright beacon in the sky casting shadows over the boat.

A seabird made several attempts to hitch a ride at the stern of the boat. I thought it had given up until I caught a glimpse of him perched on a midships stanchion. This is not where birds usually try to land because there isn’t much to hold onto. This bird may be familiar with the Allies’ D-day strategy of landing where the Germans knew was a terribly difficult and therefore unlikely beachhead. I admired his grit and decided to let him ride. If he had to spend the night perched on an ocean wave, he could have become a shark appetizer.

Sunday, Dec 11

What a busy morning! I came on watch at 6 am. Alex had examined the forestay and found that it was too loose. It had a bit of sag in it despite the mast showing some rake. So Alex and Joe went to the bow to tighten the forestay while I stayed at the helm. We secured both spinnaker halyards to a shackle on the anchor roller and released pressure on the hydraulic backstay. Joe tightened the adjustment at the furler motor with an oil filter wrench, not the correct tool for this job but it worked pretty well. We returned the spinnaker halyards to their usual place and retensioned the backstay.

While we were all up and the wind was light, it was a good time to set the spinnaker pole to windward so we could pole out the genoa for downwind sailing. We can do this now that our spinnaker pole fitting was repaired in Mauritius and our genoa foil was repaired in La Reunion. Alex and Joe adjusted the pole height while I controlled the foreguy and afterguy. All these lines get complex so we had to reroute them several times to get them right. We opened the genoa to port, prevented the main far forward to starboard, and set the staysail between them. All of this was before 8:30.

By noon the wind had become so feeble that it didn’t matter how we set our sails. Reluctantly we started the engine and began motor sailing across a relatively flat sea.

Monday, Dec 12

My day started early on the midnight to 3 am watch. We were sailing again without the engine and making 7 to 8 knots. We had been watching a cargo ship named Lucy Ocean getting closer and closer to us. It crossed ahead of us about 2 miles away and then we were alone on the ocean again. Three more cargo ships passed close by later in the day so we must be in the shipping lane.

This is trade winds sailing. The boat is balanced and sailing downwind with little heeling. We glance over at the chart plotter now and then to make sure no freighter will be bearing down on us. It’s Culhane time on Liberty.

On my night watch I went to the aft deck to look up at the black night sky. The stars were spectacular! I think the Greeks were on the wacky weed when they imagined elaborate constellations in the stars, but it’s easy to see why the stars held such fascination for them.

Tuesday, Dec 13

After a small rainstorm passed through, the wind moved forward on port beam. Our sails were set completely wrong for that, so I furled the genoa and opened it on starboard for a broad reach and moved the boom aft. With wind in the low 20’s the boat hit its stride around 8 knots.

Alex had set a waypoint at about 100 miles off the tip of Madagascar. We decided to cut the corner and save some mileage. This might bring us into stronger winds also. It definitely brought us into the shipping lanes. At one time we could see four 1000-foot freighters or tankers heading northeast toward us while we were sailing southwest. It felt like being on a one way street going the wrong way.

Wednesday, Dec 14

The wind moved aft so we went back to sailing wing-and-wing. Waves and swells were 3-9 feet and were hitting the boat on its port quarter, so when a wave hit the boat it would roll to starboard and then yaw back to port. Winds were in the mid to upper 20’s so we were making good speed around 8 knots, but the rolling made tasks difficult. Nothing would stay where we put it, so hold on to your plate if you don’t want to eat off the floor. Anywhere else but here my walking motion would be a sure sign of intoxication.

We passed the tip of Madagascar at Cape St. Marie as I came on my afternoon watch. We were sailing our deepest angles of 170-180 degrees and making 8-9 knots on 20-25 knots of wind assisted by 2 knots of current partially aligned with our course. Seas had flattened somewhat so this was textbook ocean sailing. At dinner time we reached the halfway point between La Reunion and Durban.

Thursday, Dec 15

The Southern Cross greeted me when I came up for my midnight watch and the moon peeked out from a cloud to say hello. It’s good to have friends in high places.

During my watch the wind backed 10 degrees making it impossible to maintain our course to Durban without jibing, something we aren’t going to attempt at night. That would require one or two crew on deck to remove the port running backstay, remove the starboard preventer on the boom, center the traveler, change course to move the boom over to port side, set a port preventer, set the starboard running backstay, and lower the traveler. Not on a bouncing sea at night.

And that doesn’t even include taking the spinnaker pole down, resetting it to the other side, and rerunning all the lines. That’s an ordeal of its own. So now the course that the wind set for us is toward Port Elizabeth. I would rather go there than Durban anyway, but weather considerations in the next 24-36 hours will make that determination.

We have a following sea. When a big swell or wave comes up behind us, it lifts Liberty’s stern and shoves us forward. We gain one to one and a half knots with the push, and when the wave passes under us our speed falls back.

Friday, Dec 16

The weather changed our plans. It is forecast that a storm coming up the coast of South Africa will cause the seas offshore from Durban to be very rough when we were to arrive there. We would have to either slow down or heave to in order to allow the storm to pass. We decided to change our course to East London 250 miles down the coast from Durban. We will use our time to make progress instead of stalling to get into Durban. If the weather is good when we approach East London, we will sail past it to Port Elizabeth, 150 miles further south. Sailing in cantankerous weather requires juggling multiple options.

Speaking of cantankerous, that’s our wind. It has backed so far behind us that we are sometimes sailing by the lee with the wind coming slightly from our starboard side while our sails are set for port winds. We have a strong preventer on the boom so we are not worried about an accidental gybe, but we don’t want to sail very deep by the lee. So our course is farther south than we would like, but we have no choice until we can do a controlled jibe in daylight.

Well, it didn’t take long for the wind to force our hand. Around 7:30 am a huge wind shift had us scrambling to jibe the boom and spinnaker pole. We are still sailing almost dead downwind, but on starboard now instead of our usual port tack. This is forcing us up above the East London rhumb line. Our course may change several more times before we make landfall somewhere on the coast of South Africa.

Saturday, Dec 17

Another pretty day in the Indian Ocean with blue skies and white clouds. The wind is telling us to go to Port Elizabeth by backing around from the east to the north. If we maintain a constant wind angle, this guides the boat farther to the south. But the low pressure front heading toward us will have the last word on that.

If you can’t think of any reason to go to sea in a small boat, let me offer you one: the sparkles of the night. Far from the light pollution of civilization you can see God’s handiwork in all its glory in the sky. The brighter stars demand your attention. The dimmer ones draw you into their depth. And when you finish marveling at the sparkles above you, look down to the wake churning off the boat and see the fire sparks of bioluminescence in the ocean as the phytoplanktons complain about being disturbed.

Sunday, Dec 18

The night was very dark with winds in the mid 20’s, seas building, but no rain. We generally had two crew up at all times. About an hour before my 9am watch I became aware of the boat pounding into the waves. Sometimes it sounded like the boat was landing on rocks. Joe and Alex were driving the boat hard.

My cabin is in the bow so it has more motion than the rest of the boat. Some people say that they can’t sleep with all that movement, but it’s rock-a-bye-baby to me. When the bow is climbing a wave, I can feel a gentle pressure sinking me into the foam mattress under me. When the wave is crested and the bow loses its support, I experience semi-weightlessness until I press into my mattress again and get ready for the next surge upward. I think a bird in a nest on a limber tree branch may enjoy the same ride. But without the landing on rocks.

We had marked two rhumb lines on the chart plotter, one to East London and one to Port Elizabeth, 140 miles farther south. We had hoped that the wind would let us go to Port Elizabeth but yesterday morning it pushed us toward the East London course. As I came on watch this morning it drove us over the East London rhumb line and the most southerly course we could sail was due west. We are expecting the wind to shift to the east and let us turn south. If not, when we reach the Agulhas current, it will take us south unless a northerly wind like the present one makes that passage untenable. As with many things in life, timing is critical.

Monday, Dec 19

It was a golden daybreak. The sky was softly colored with gold and the myriad facets of the sea surface reflected the gold back to the sky. This was a full half hour before the sun made its official entrance into the day. By that time the sky’s gold had faded into a soft blue, a sensible color that announced that the day was open for business.

This was the day I had booked my flight home from Cape Town. I cancelled it before leaving Reunion when I saw there was no chance of reaching Cape Town in time for my flight. I’ll have to find another flight when I get there.

🎵All I want for Christmas is

To be at home

To be at home

To be at home

All I want for Christmas is

To be at home

So I can wish you Merry Christmas!🎵

On my morning watch I finessed the light wind with small changes in heading until the wind was too light to finesse and too light to matter. We started the engine and set a course for Mbashe Point, 70 miles north of East London to take advantage of the strong Agulhas Current which is approximately 60 miles wide and runs south at about 4 knots.

Land ho! The light of the towns on the east coast of South Africa became visible at about 25 miles from the coast and became brighter and fuller as we continued toward Mbashe Point. When we were about 7 miles from the shore we turned south to follow the coastline to East London. Depending on the weather we may sail on past East London to Port Elizabeth.

Travelogue #7, Nov 24- December 3rd – Desperate for Durbin by Larry Caillouet

Thursday, Nov 24
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA, but just another workday in La Reunion. Diana is in Indianapolis getting ready to enjoy her sister Donna’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner extravaganza. I would be happy to feast on the turkey and ham and delicious casseroles and home made breads, but what I could really use is a big slug of pie. Any pie that Donna makes. I don’t know how the French people on this island can know so much about bread and little fru-fru pastries, and know so little about pie. Why don’t they send someone to 2047 N. Bosart Avenue and learn how to make pies?

Carmel prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for us on the boat. I am thankful for a good boat-cooked meal.

Friday, Nov 25
Carmel and Joe repaired the tear in the Genoa and we did a few small jobs on the boat. Alex and I went to the Peugeot dealer and rented a car again. We will need it to pick up the furler repair guy from Mauritius at the airport on Monday, and it will be nice to be unbound from the boat and marina. Our first excursion was to go out for dinner. Still no pie on the menu so we went to the grocery store and I found slices of flan in the bakery section. Flan is not exactly pie but it was cut in pie shapes, so I took a chance and bought a slice for each of us. It was good, but I’m still on the lookout for pie.

Saturday, Nov 26
Today was a big day. First it was Liberty laundry day. We didn’t have enough tokens for the dryer at the marina’s laundry so we turned the boat into a big floating backyard clothes line. Sheets, shirts, socks, and skivvies were hung on every line on the boat. This is part of the glamor of sailing around the world.

Today was France vs Denmark in the World Cup. Not too big a deal in the USA but here in France the street was closed in front of Le Boucanier restaurant where we went for supper and a giant screen was set up to televise the game. Tables were set up in the street and by the time the game started the tables were full. The crowd roared every time France threatened to score because actual scoring doesn’t happen much in soccer, or “football” as they call it here. France won 2 to 1, and the crowd was happy.

Most important, today was the 51st wedding anniversary for Diana and me. I wrote a song for the occasion. Get the tune of Glen Campbell’s song, “By the time I get to Phoenix” in your mind , hum it a time or two, then set these words to the same tune:

By the time I get to Durban
It’ll be December
The Oyster fleet won’t be there anymore
They’ll be sailing down the coast
To get to Cape Town
A dream I’ve had so many times before

By the time I get to Cape Town
They’ll be flying
Home to be with fam’lies they adore
I’ll miss my flight and I’ll be stuck in Cape Town
Regretting wasted days
That went before

By the time I make Kentucky
She’ll be waiting
She’ll run quickly and meet me at the door
She’ll smile just to know I’m really with her
And not just a promise on the phone
She just had to know
That I love her so 💕

Sunday, Nov 27
More bad news: We received a message assuring us that The Part that DHL promised would arrive last Tuesday, then promised for Thursday, then promised for Saturday, will arrive next Tuesday. Yeah, sure. Because they promised. We have drilled this well so deep waiting for this part that we don’t have much choice but to drill a little deeper.

Monday, Nov 28
If I could add a soundtrack to this travelogue, you would be hearing the swamp pop melody of Freddy Fender’s 1975 hit “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” playing softly in the background. I’ve read every news item the internet has. Ask me anything—go on, really, anything. I’ve done my Cyber Monday shopping. I found some good deals. I’m so bored that I polished the rust off the stainless steel on the boat. I even used a stiff toothbrush to get the hard-to-reach parts. The boat is gleaming— all dressed up and nowhere to go. Freddie, your music is immortal.

Tuesday, Nov 29
Another day and a new sound track—Dionne Warwick’s hit “Promises, Promises” is the tune of the day. Jerome, the ace rigger, flew here from Mauritius to install The Part. DHL, the worldwide delivery company that promised1, promised2, promised3, promised4 delivery today, now says that they don’t know where The Part is. I don’t think they knew where it was when they promised us before, and now they admit their incompetence.

Still, there was work to do to be ready to install The Part when it finally comes. Jerome took the lead on the project to remove the broken foil, which was a complex operation. First we shackled both spinnaker halyards to the foredeck to stabilize the mast. Then we eased the tension on the forestay by detensioning the hydraulic backstay. The foil was fitted around the forestay and the forestay was anchored inside the Reckman furler which was bolted to the deck and hull, so to remove the broken section of the foil we had to disassemble the furling mechanism and free the bottom end of the forestay. Once that was achieved, Jerome used Alex’s angle grinder to carefully cut away the mangled edges of the foil that was still gripping the forestay. He was extra careful to not knick the forestay itself because any weakening of the forestay would compromise the integrity of the rig. We unbolted this section of foil from the section above it and finally we could slide this broken section of the foil off the forestay.

Another 2-3 hours would have seen the new foil installed, the Genoa re-installed, and Liberty liberated from its dock lines. But with the foil in the Twilight Zone we had done all we could, so Alex drove Jerome back to the airport.

Wednesday, Nov 30
Today was a snoozer of a day. Read some, dozed some. We did manage to re-assemble the forestay. By this we proved to ourselves that we know how to do it and have the parts and tools we need—except for The Part.

Thursday, Dec 1
New sound track: Merle Haggard’s 1973 country hit “If We Make It Through December.” We still have no information about The Part. We have brainstormed several options, all of which have serious deficiencies or drawbacks. With each passing wasted day our Christmas deadline looms larger before us.

If I make it through December,
Everything’s gonna be all right I know.
I’ve got 20 days to Cape Town
And 2250 miles to go.
If I make it through December,
Got plans to be with family at Christmas time
And then home back in Kentucky
If I make it through December, I’ll be fine.

Boat broke down again while sailing
And parts are hard to get so far from home.
DHL says they have sent it,
But they don’t know their a**hole from a bone
I don’t mean to hate December
It’s meant to be a happy time of year.
But my family won’t understand
Why it’s Christmas time and I can’t be with them.

If I make it home by Christmas,
Everything’s gonna be all right, I know
It’s cold now in Kentucky
But I don’t care if it’s covered up with snow.
If I make it home by Christmas
That’s all that’s on my mind
To be with my friends and fam’ly
If I make it home by Christmas, I’ll be fine

Friday, Dec 2
After a minor job of cleaning small mussels and barnacles out of a refrigeration drain line, we drove down the west coast to St. Pierre. There we turned onto the crooked highway that crosses the middle of the island between the three dormant volcano cirques to the north and the active volcano to the south. Near the middle of the island at about one mile altitude we stopped at the City of Volcanology Museum. This is a high quality museum dedicated to volcanic activity in general but specifically to the volcanic history of La Reunion. It included a 4D movie about volcanoes in which our seats shook, we felt hot air on our face, and we even got a small spray of water in our face.

Saturday, Dec 3
Alex received a message that the airline had escalated this problem to upper management. The Part had been placed on a numbered pallet and was scheduled to be put on the plane in Paris for the Friday night flight to La Reunion. It should arrive here sometime on Saturday. We will get it sometime Monday. We will install it Monday/Tuesday and test it. We will clear out with Customs and Immigration on Tuesday, turn in the rental car, and set sail for Durban.

Sent from my iPhone