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Voyage Plotting and Planning

Ruth II is nearly ready! And in anticipation of imminent departure now seems a good time to try to outline what might lie ahead.

Our last few jobs should be finished tomorrow evening - just some fresh fruit and vegetables to buy - one final stow and there is every chance the boat and her crew could be starting the long voyage homewards the following day.

Hopefully the attached large scale Navionics route map will give a good indication of our voyage plan for the next couple of months.

The intended destination is Palma, Majorca, some 500 NM into the Mediterranean from Gibraltar and 6,600 NM or so from our current safe harbour in Cape Town.

We don't have a date of arrival - we are not on a schedule, and even if we were the vagaries of the elements would ensure it was wrong.

The first couple of legs are expected to be straightforward, off Africa's west coast the prevailing winds are South East and unless we are quite unlucky the breeze should be behind us.

St. Helena is our first stop - a small island on its own with no harbour to speak of. As we understand it, if we are lucky, we will get to tie to a mooring or anchor, and if none of that works we will sail on. Maybe a couple of days ashore, maybe not! What we know right now is it is 1700NM away, about a 9/10 day nonstop voyage.

Next should be Ascension Island, another outpost of  the South Atlantic with similar prospects for a visit ashore as we understand things. Distance for leg 2 is 700 NM - just a hop!

And beyond Ascension lie the doldrums - that area of ocean where the South East and North East trade winds meet and cancel each other - dreaded by sailors of old but hopefully with our currently full diesel tanks will just be a bit hot and sticky for a while as we motor through the calm patches.

The only major stop en route during this mammoth voyage to the Mediterranean is likely to be the Cape Verde Islands, some 15 degrees north of the equator where maybe the crew (and Ruth II) can talk a proper rest and fresh stores.

The second half of the route is trickier, being against wind and current for the most part, so best not to worry about that for now!

Once we get to Cape Verde, maybe a further navigational blog posting will happen but for now hopefully you know as just much as your author.

This is a late night post - Sweet dreams from South Africa....


  1. Will be monitoring your progress on a regular basis - fair winds - smooth seas - sound boat / rig - good food - great conversations and memories. ET


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