As shown in the fantastic documentary titled “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” travel plans can occasionally kick you in your bathing suit parts. When they do, you need to catch your breath, adjust your boxers, and figure out the new plan.
Delivery of Wild Rumpus was pushed from March 1, 2022 to May 1, 2022. Thanks, COVID. If this were a road trip, it would be no real problem. We would just pack a different speedo, and off we go.
But, since we are starting on the other side of the world (ish) by boat, there are other issues to consider. Primarily, we need to carefully consider three main factors: weather, weather, and weather.
Weather In South Africa
Our original arrival in Capetown was scheduled for early March, which is still summer in South Africa. Our weather would have been lovely day and night and winds great for a shakedown along the southern coast.
Our new arrival is early May, the first month of South Africa’s winter. As winter approaches, the high-pressure zone that generally sits over much of South Africa dissipates, allowing low-pressure southerly winds (from the south) to sneak in and bring colder weather and less stable wind patterns.
After consulting various books, pilot charts, and most importantly, speaking to a local sailor, the change in seasons will have a somewhat minimal impact on our trip. However, we’ll need warmer clothes and may need to run the heat at night. While not a big deal, we need to factor in running the heat into our use of our battery power. While our solar should be enough to charge the batteries, cloudy winter weather means we may need to run the alternator, which in-turn means we need to bring more fuel.
The uncertain wind patterns on the southern coast mean our shakedown will now be along the western coast of South Africa. We’ll still go around the Cape of Good Hope just to do it, but we’ll then turn around and head north along the western coast for a few days before going back to Capetown. The shakedown should take about a week or so. Our goal will be to have the boat passage ready by May 15, with departure soon thereafter.
Prevailing Winds and Currents
Luckily, the changing season in South Africa doesn’t have much impact on our passage. The winds and currents are likely to be the same as they would have been with our earlier schedule. The picture below is from the Pilot Chart showing the South Atlantic in May. The pen marks indicate a straight line from Capetown to St. Helena, and there is no significant change from our previous itinerary.
Weather At Our Destinations
I also checked each of our destinations, and we are good to go. St. Helena should still be in the 70s with a moderately higher chance of rain during our visit. Ascension Island will be in the mid to high 70s and typically has two days of rain in May and June instead of just one in April. The remaining destinations have no climate change whatsoever.