by Richard Crockett
It is not always easy to amass sufficient sea time to get the necessary mileage and hours to qualify for a Yachtmaster Offshore certificate of competence. Which is why Cape Point Sailing Academy is now offering what they have termed a “voyage of a lifetime” – an exciting passage from Cape Town to St Helena Island and back.
It is purposely aimed at those seeking qualifying miles, and will be conducted aboard the comfort and safety of a well-equipped vessel, with the additional support of a qualified and experienced instructor. Just 6 berths are available, so all students will get first-hand experience under the guidance of and experienced skipper and dedicated sailing instructor.
That’s why candidates must have a coastal skipper’s ticket, 2500 nautical miles, 48 hours on watch, and three overnight trips of at least 100 nautical miles each.
This round trip will give students time to also explore the history and natural beauty of one of the most isolated places on the planet. The trip back will be the completion of enough sea miles for the SAS Yachtmaster Offshore qualification.
The onboard sailing instructor is Mark Devitt.
The vessel is ‘Urchin’ – a Good Hope 56 designed by Ed Joy Design of the USA. She was built for South African couple, Stuart and Charlie, who required a safe and reliable yacht for extensive cruising as well as for charter, research and film making teams who want to access the most remote locations which are only accessible by sea.
‘Urchin’s’ owner, Stuart Kirk, will be the skipper for this passage.
The first leg from Cape Town To St Helena Island will depart from Cape Town around the 28th of December (weather dependent) and head for Jamestown, St Helena on a comfortable downwind sail. This passage is 1700 nautical miles and will take roughly 10 days.
St Helena Island is a jewel in the South Atlantic as it is such a beautiful island.
For most sailors, the feeling of stepping onto terra firma after more than a week of the rolling Atlantic swells is like nothing you’ll ever experience!
Renowned for their hospitality, the Saints will make you feel welcome and will gladly share the unique history and topography of their island. The plan is to stay between five and seven days, although your Instructor and Skipper will assist you in planning an optimum departure window.
The homeward leg back to Cape Town will see the course set towards Tristan da Cunha in order to make the best use of the wind and weather patterns, with the sight of the majestic and beautiful Table Mountain on the final approach to Cape Town from the south west, is one seafarers for centuries have etched in their minds.