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News from the Whale Whisperer! PDF Print E-mail

Latest News:  see part 1 - 4 of the blog  Saldanha Bay & the West Coast Cruise 2014/15

STOP PRESS=STOP PRESS: October 8th.  Congratulations to both Jakes Jakoben and Pete Sherlock on passing their Day Skipper exams today. Well done guys.

April 27th. Congratulations to the following Day Skipper students on passing their practical exam in Table Bay  today :( Steve & Aden Whitehead, Rheinhardt Brewis, Joost van der Ploeg, Nick James. Well done guys.)


March2014. I received this testimonial from one of my recent Comp Crew students; Hi Ralph I am safely back at the grindstone in Gauteng, thank you again for the great time last week. I really appreciate the trouble you took to take me out sailing every day --- I could not have asked for a better experience.I am adding a testimonial to the end of this message: 'I joined CTSA in March 2014 for the Competent Crew course. Ralph went out of his way to accommodate my schedule, and was willing to take me sailing even when I was the only student aboard. Ralph's reassuring and calm manner kept me feeling safe and in control even in tough weather conditions.
I really enjoyed the deliberate, hands-on approach to teaching that Ralph employs, ensuring that I understood the task at hand by having to demonstrate my ability.
I can absolutely recommend Ralph and the CTSA to anyone who wants to learn how to sail --- my time at CTSA was enjoyable, fun, extremely informative, and one of the most memorable weeks of my life. I will be back for further instruction as soon as I can." Johann Haarhoff.

'It was clear from the start that Ralph is both passionate and knowledgeable about the art of sailing.  He is also patient and goes out of his way to ensure that his students not only understand the 'what' of sailing, but also the 'why', and how to do it safely.  And all this through practical, hands on experience, at times, one on one.  I am confident that I am now competent to crew.  My next step is to gain experience, putting into practice the lessons Ralph has taught me until they become intuitive rather than cognitive, and then to go for my skippers ticket.To those who think that age is an obstacle, I am 71 years old, have only just started sailing, and am now committed to buying my own boat Thank you, Ralph, for showing me what is possible, and how much fun it is.  I shall be back for the next steps. ' Chris Beautement. March 2014  Today 9 March I received another email from an ex comp crew student who is now crewing on MY Topeaz heading for Namibia, St, Helena and Brazil. This is what he sent me today 9 March 2014

Ralph- So sorry and unfortunate that I lost touch with you during my final days in Cape Town. Logistics of staying on Topaz in Hout Bay & getting into city & coordinating car plans & doing repair/upkeep tasks aboard was a little more time-consuming than I anticipated. I wish I had the opportunity to sail with you at least once more; plus, on my last daysail with you, I left early after visiting Lady Amber. So no proper adieu. Anyhow--

I want to thank you very profusely for allowing me to sail with you over a dozen times! My experiences aboard Chantecler and Intrepid will not be forgotten. I learned a great deal from you and had a great deal of fun. You will forever be my ambassador to "tight as a duck's arse," "blowing like the clappers," and of course baking at 4am. More seriously, though, to the effectiveness of heaving-to, the superiority of the double-granny to figure-of-eight, the adjustable backstay, and "a little red port left in the bottle." And it was under your watch that I finally learned such sailing basics like the points of sail, the clove hitch, topping lift-kicker relationship, hanked-on headsails & how to fold/pack them, snubbing line, and proper winch-loading technique. I have definitely been received much more warmly on Topaz as a result of sailing with you in December-January.
I wish you all the best in the future. When (NOT IF!) I return to Cape Town, I will most certainly reach out. Happy sailing until then. (Alex Vincent)


The Yoga & Sailing Newsletter – Summer 2014.

Dear Friends, fellow Yogis, & Outdoor Lovers and naturally all you Sailors!

1. Sailing update:

It’s nearly the end of February and as I am writing this newsletter, the famous “ Cape Doctor “ i.e. our usual south easter is blowing like the clappers in Table Bay making sailing today a non event. Generally I take experienced students out sailing on days like this to give them a taste of gale force conditions, but with beginners it’s a definite “ no no “. I prefer to err on the side of caution. Besides, when it’s blowing 40 kts plus it really is not that much fun being out there unless you happen to be sailing downwind. So I am using the day to bring you up to speed with recent developments at the Cape Town Sailing Academy.

A few of my past students, ( Tella Osler, Orion Barragan de Wet & Jonathan Ollivier ) who recently finished their competent crew and day skipper courses are now crewing on Lady Amber, a schooner doing marine research on the oceans of the world.

Lady Amber is currently moored at the V & A Waterfront and will be leaving for the Indian ocean in a few months continuing with marine research collecting valuable data on ocean currents, salinity levels, water temperature etc. Check the website if you want to know more and support this valuable initiative.

Currently I have a crop of day skippers who have recently finished their theory lectures and will write their exam with SAS soon. Some of them are already up to speed with their practical skills but one can never sail ‘enough’, or do enough ‘close quarter manoeuvring’. I personally am not a fan of ‘zero to hero’ courses and will generally keep inviting students to sail with me if there is space on the boat at no extra cost. The more experience you can get in different situations and in different weather conditions over an extended period, the better !

Some of you may not know that I have sold a 50% share in Intrepid to friends of mine, Amanda de Swardt and her husband Shane Rabbett and they have also recently completed all the requirements for their day skipper ticket. I use the boat for sail training as usual and they use it for pleasure etc. I would like to sell the other share at some stage so if you are keen to invest in a boat with a mooring at the RCYC please contact me. Naturally Amanda and Shane have first option to purchase the remaining share.

This year my plans for sailing Chantecler, the 45’ Roberts blue water cruiser up the West Coast over Xmas and New Year went astray as I had major gearbox issues and needed to sort them out. You can read up on it by following the blog entries

By the time those problems were resolved I had a new crop of students to train so those cruising plans have been put on hold for the time being. However I plan to sail up the west coast this year and possibly to Namibia and St.Helena. The Governor’s Cup to St. Helena is a distinct possibility so those of you who want to join me at the end of the year please get in touch.

The Cape Town Sailing Academy continues to go from strength to strength and those of you interested in sailing, please have a look at the website

Come and do a sailing course with me or book a charter and do a romantic 'sunset cruise'. Look under the Introduction to Sailing on the home page and for all you Facebook fans, you will find us under Yoga & Sailing in Cape Town.

2. The Yoga Coach update. I have been teaching yoga for the past 12 years, the last 4 at the Virgin Active in Greenpoint and decided at the end of last year to take a year’s sabbatical and become a student again. I felt the need for new input and training and a desire to work with fellow teachers that I worked with many years ago. Naturally I will still do the odd class when asked to and also hold occasional yoga retreats at Fisherhaven, but for the time being I attend regular yoga classes and am loving it. I have often said, yoga & sailing is a great combination. The yoga website is

Well, that’s all the news for the moment. Enjoy the rest of the summer and remember, the best sailing conditions are still to come. Personally I think our best sailing season is from March thru winter to October every year. Toodles from the ‘whale whisperer’.



STOP PRESS .  Feb 2014 - Congrats to Alex Vincent on getting his Comp Crew .

Dec 27th: Congrats to Orion Barragan de Wet on getting his comp crew. Well done.

14 Dec 2013 Today we had the following 4 Day Skippers pass their practical exam with flying colours: Tella Osler, Jonathan Ollivier, Derick Steele and Andrew Hebbert. Well done guys.The examiner was impressed with you all.

Received this note from a friend who had never sailed before and who joined us for a fun day on the water to watch the Clipper 2013 race in Table Bay on monday 4 November 2013, This is what he said, "I had the good fortune to be invited amoung others as a guest on Chantecler (Cape Town Sailing Academy) to enjoy the start of the Clipper Around the World Race. What a fantastic day we all had. I found it all fascinating to watch as the skipper conducted complex manoeuvres with such ease in confined areas of the harbour. The three crew members undergoing their Comp. training have certainly found an excellent skipper/teacher. My thanks to CT Sailing Academy for a most pleasurable Monday. Andre Greef"

..August 27th 2013  Congratulations to the 4 Day Skippers who passed their practical yesterday with flying colours,i.e. Rosemary du Plessis, Georgia Mayou, Ben Botma and Derrick Milner. Well done guys.

friday 23 August 2013  Night Sail in Table Bay with 4 day skipper students Check out our Facebook Page: Cape Town Sailing Academy for the latest pictures.

check out the latest blog 'Waterpump repairs to Chantecler ' (copy this link onto your browser)

May 2013  Congratulations to Les Thomson who recently passed his Day Skipper practical and theory exams with distinction. Well done .APRIL 2013  Congratulations to Anne, Christophe, Ross and Erik on passing their Day Skipper exams , well done!!  14 April; Rachel Bernhardt passed her Day Skipper practical and theory with distinction. 22 April Congrats to Rory Rochat and Cheryl Anley on passing their practical Day Skipper exam today!!

Check out the latest blog: 'Rigger Mothes sets in '

Also check the blog for lots of great pictures .........


The Yoga & Sailing Newsletter – Spring 2013.

Dear Friends, fellow Yogis, & Outdoor Lovers and naturally all you Sailors!

  1. Personal update:
    The past 18 months have seen no weekend yoga retreats in Fisherhaven , mainly due to sailing commitments with the Cape Town Sailing Academy taking up soooo much time. I am passionate about sailing so I guess it’s difficult at times to strike a balance. However since August this year there have been some major changes. Without going into details, suffice it to say that I have come out of a long term relationship after almost 9 years and have joined the ranks of being single once more, whatever that means!! Certainly time for more yoga being one of them and more sailing.

Although I still teach yoga twice a week at the Virgin Active Point Gym on a Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I miss the retreats so I am planning to hold one before the end of 2013. The provisional date set is the weekend of 1 – 3 November 2013. You can read all about it on the retreats page Sailing and Yoga are a great combination.

The Cape Town Sailing Academy has continued to go from strength to strength over the past 4 years and those of you interested in sailing, please have a look at the website
Come and do a sailing course with me or book a charter and do a romantic 'sunset cruise'. Look under the Introduction to Sailing on the home page and for all you Facebook fans, you will find us under Yoga & Sailing in Cape Town.

  1. Next Yoga Retreat in Fisherhaven/Hermanus:
    Come and enjoy a weekend of yoga, breathing and healthy vegetarian food in the beautiful surroundings of the Bot River lagoon, just an hour's drive from Cape Town. Space is limited to the first 10 students. The final weekend retreat for 2013 is set for the 1 – 3 November.

Fondest wishes,




The End of the Long Weekend! Monday Dec. 17th 2012  SBYC.

Guess I can call it the three F’s, Fun, Fabulous Sailing & Fantastic Food!

Firstly when Paloma, Jocelyn and John arrived on Saturday, three days ago, it required two trips with the ‘water taxi’ to get all the bags on board Chantecler. It seemed as though they had collectively brought enough food and drink to last for a transatlantic passage, let alone just for the long weekend.

The sailing on all three days was fabulous, with the exception of today the winds were seldom more than 14 kts and whereas today, we experienced 20 kts plus, currently as I am writing this blog at anchor in Saldanha Bay, we have gusts up to 30 kts. It feels like I am on a bucking horse. ‘Boris’, the self-steering wind vane impressed the 3 crew members no end.

Today, under No. 3 Jib only and on the way to Mykenos across the Langebaan Lagoon, Chantecler easily made just over 9 kts on a close haul to close reach.

I mentioned in my last blog that both John and Jocelyn are keen birders so yesterday’s sail involved taking another look at the endangered Banks Cormorant found on Jutten Island. We had a bank of thick fog which enveloped half of the island as can be seen from the pictures taken but we saw no signs of Pelicans, so perhaps the fact that the volunteers who man the island during the Cormorants current breeding season and who continually chase away any pelicans, are being successful in their endeavors. We certainly spotted hundreds of Cormorants and saw at least three human scarecrows patrolling the island on foot. John has been tasked with finding out the latest on this saga so no doubt this will not be the last of the ‘endangered Banks Cormorant’!

We also took a closer look at Malgas Island which houses a large colony of Cape Gannets before making our way towards the lunch anchorage in North Bay. Imagine our surprise as we slowly motored towards the beach to drop the anchor, when suddenly a solitary Humpback whale popped up right next to the boat. Then, for the next hour or more this whale kept cruising backwards and forwards just off the beach keeping us and all the spectators on the shore highly entertained. There was also a large colony of seagulls sitting on the water that occasionally took to the skies as the whale surfaced directly beneath them and we assume that there must have been a large source of krill in the water which the Humpback was feeding on. At one stage he literally popped up right next to the boat and proceeded to dive under the bow and the anchor chain. Check out the pics.

By now it was midafternoon and the fogbank was coming closer and closer. We lost sight of Marcus Island so I plotted a few extra waypoints on both the ships GPS and my handheld GPS and we set sail for our mooring back at the SBYC. Now totally enveloped in fog, we were in constant touch with Port Control and other vessels as we made our way around Marcus Island and then stayed just outside the shipping channel making our way under sail past all the East Cardinal buoys denoting the mussel farms and finally towards our mooring at the yacht club.



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‘BORIS’ – Part 2. Dec 14th. Saldanha Bay & Langebaan Lagoon.

It was one of those magical mornings here on the water. Not a breath of wind and the sea like a mirror! Check some of the pics.

Needed to do some shopping in the flourishing metropolis of Saldanha again so decided to stroll into town, get the stuff and on the way back popped into the Protea Hotel for a yummy cappuccino. They have a lounge overlooking the whole of the bay with an outside terrace with awesome views, AND they make a mean coffee. Is R17.00 expensive for a good cappuccino? (Methinks not!)

By the time I got back to the yacht club the breeze had picked up and it was time to prepare the boat and put ‘Boris’ thru a second day of trials etc. This time was even easier than yesterday and there was enough wind so I sailed with only the no. 3 jib and didn’t bother hoisting the mainsail. Also tried my hand at dangling the new lure behind the boat in the hope that some miracle might happen and ‘the whale whisperer’ lands a fish……. (Guess I will live in hope and die in despair!!! All day that lure was doing its thing, even had the local seals and dolphins pop in to say hi but not a blessed mackerel, only plenty of them in the sky!!!)

But what do they say with the Lotto? ONE DAY IS ONE DAY!!!!

Anyway back to the serious business of the day, Sailing and testing ‘Boris’. I tried the ‘light wind’, wind vane and most of the day the breeze was a steady 10 kts. Occasionally going up to 14kts. for short spells. Once again as yesterday, I tested Boris on all points of sail even the dead run which was a problem yesterday, but today, with only the headsail the performance was superb. Once Chantecler was on a specific course I could make small adjustments to the wind vane to get the optimum speed and it was a joy to behold. Managed to maintain a fairly constant speed of around 3 – 5 kts.

Hands free and no energy consumption! A big thumbs up to Blondie Hasler who I believe was the inventor of the self-steering wind vane back in the 1970’s.

Naturally once back at the mooring it was time for another swim with water temp. being a lovely 17,5 degrees. Dis lekker by die see, ek se!

I have been listening to a lot of classical music of late and with the new outside speakers it was a real treat. Beethoven and Mussorgsky mainly.

Have Paloma and John and Jocelyn, friends from Hermanus coming tomorrow so it should be a fun long weekend. John is a keen birder and we will sail around the two islands i.e. Jutten which has the endangered Cormorant and Malgas which has a large colony of Cape Gannets. There are lots of other species of birds around and having someone knowledgeable onboard will be a lot of fun, but more of ‘feathery tails’ in due course. Toodles.





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‘Boris & Fritz’ – what do they have in common??

December 13th. SBYC.

There is always lots of stuff to do on a yacht and most of yesterday was spent taking out the two ancient and rusted external cockpit speakers on Chantecler and replacing them with new ones and wiring them up to the sound system. What a pleasure to finally listen to music whilst enjoying the view from the cockpit. Gives the notion of ‘surround sound’ a whole new meaning! Also had my first swim at the mooring. The temperature gauge on the boat said 18 degrees and those of you who brave the waters in Clifton or Granger Bay know that it hardly ever reaches 18 degrees, so I was in like a flash and cooling off. I remember last year the water temperature also stayed between 18 and 22 degrees throughout December and January here in the Langebaan Lagoon.

So back to ‘Boris and Fritz’! Most of my sailing students and friends know that the ‘Danbuoy’ (the floating thingy with a long pole and a flag on the top used to indicate a MOB - man over board) is called Fritz. Besides Dan sounds boring so, on both boats, Fritz it is!

‘Boris’ on the other hand is the name I have given to my Monitor Self Steering Wind Vane – the solo sailor’s auto pilot that works like a charm and doesn’t use any electrical power.

Today was the day that I was not going to do anything on the boat except tie up alongside the jetty, fill the water tanks, wash the boat and then go sailing with the express intention of putting Boris thru his paces.

What a great days sailing it turned out to be! Initially very little wind to start off with it gradually increased to around 14 – 18 kts. (Multiply by approx. 2 if you want to know what that is in km/hour.)

Backwards and forwards I sailed across the lagoon testing Boris on all points of sail. From close hauled, close, beam and broad reach Boris was a star allowing me to leave the helm unattended and go about the boat doing all sorts of odds and ends, from trying out a new fishing lure to calling Saldanha Bay Port Control etc.

The pics show that up to around 20 kts. wind Chantecler is able to sail with full mainsail and no. 3 jib and no reefing (making either the jib or mainsail smaller ) is necessary. With minimal tweaking here and there Boris showed his true worth and was an absolute pleasure to use.

However when it came to sailing back in fairly strong wind with the wind from behind, on a run as it were, Boris could not be left unattended. Due to the mainsail being so much larger than the headsail the boat would continually ‘luff up’ i.e. turn into the wind and after reading the Monitor manual it made perfect sense. When sailing on a run, i.e. dead before the wind it’s best to sail with a headsail only or twin headsails as the boat would be a lot more balanced and the problem would be solved.

Will try that scenario next time!

I was sailing topless all day with the result that my back now is the color of beetroot and burning like hell, mmmmm the things we do to get a ‘tan’!!!

Once back at the mooring, which I managed to pick up successfully without any hassles it was time for a much need second swim. Still 18 degrees celcius.

Ja / Nee! Dis lekker by die see! Till next time! HLVB.

PS. Been studying the clouds and it seems there is some strong wind coming – but more of those tell-tale signs in the sky another time.


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Those of you familiar with Table Bay and the west coast up to Yzerfontein know that there is only Robben Island, approx. 6 nautical miles from the harbour breakwater and Dassen Island, situated another 30nm. Further up the coast. This is our first port of call and although we are not allowed to disembark here, we are however allowed to anchor in House Bay, the best spot on the island, (as long as the wind is coming from the south.)

Robben Island. Located at a distance of 12 km from the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island lies in Table Bay. The island is flat due to an ancient erosion event, as a result of which the island is only a few metres above sea level. Robben Island has a low-lying terrain, where Minto’s Hill, at an elevation of 234 metres above sea level, is the highest point on the island.The island experiences Mediterranean climate, like that in Cape Town, although Robben Island is exposed to stronger winds and colder winters. Summers have an average temperature of 25°C. Winters, on the other hand, have an average temperature of 15°C.The island was basically used as a prison. It was used as the leper colony for almost a century. Having very few inhabitants on the island, the population of the nearest town, Cape Town is 2.95 million approximately.

This is where Nelson Mandela spent 24 years of his life as a political prisoner and the island has attracted great interest since the Dept. of Correctional Services handed the island over to the Dept. of Museums. The latest information at hand is that yachts are still not allowed to visit and the exclusion notice issued in March 1998 still stands. ‘ an area 1 nautical mile wide, measured from the low water line, in which entry and anchoring are prohibited has been established all around the island.’

Access to the island is denied, except to ferry craft, owned by favoured operators that convey tourists to and from the island. There have been numerous radio programmes berating the high cost of package prices, aimed at foreign tourists, who are perceived as having lots of money and who are prepared to pay inflated prices. These high costs however have disenfranchised many South Africans from visiting and for whom Robben Island has a unique significance.

As a sailor it is quite possible to circle the island just off the kelp line at a depth of approx. 6 – 8 metres as long as you keep moving and don’t intend visiting or dropping anchor. The 1 nautical mile exclusion zone indicated on the charts is not strictly enforced,,,,, i.e. as long as you keep moving. Naturally we hope that one day this ban will be lifted and it will become possible for us to sail there and spend the day and even overnight and explore the island. Guess we live in hope?


Dassen Island

Dassen Island is a South African island in the Atlantic Ocean. It is situated about 10 km west of Yzerfontein and 55 km north of Cape Town. The flat and low-lying island measures about 3.1 km long northwest-southeast, and 1 km wide, with an area of 2.73 km².[2] It is a proclaimed nature reserve.

The geological structure of the island is composed of a fine-grained tourmaline granite (with a few areas of biotite granite) outcrop covered with sand. Some of the granite features along the shore - to just above the high-water mark - consists of large, rounded boulders which stick out above the sand. Although temporary pans form during the winter in the interior, there is generally little fresh water on the island.

Except on its eastern side, Dassen Island is surrounded by reefs and consequently many ships have run aground here.

Dassen Island (early name Coney Island) lies 9 km off the coast, almost directly opposite the village of Yzerfontein. It is 55 km north of Cape Town, about halfway between Table Bay and Saldanha Bay.

With an area of 273 ha, it is the second largest of the offshore islands. It is generally flat and sandy, apart from patches of exposed bedrock, and some areas strewn with huge granite boulders. Dassen Island is preferred breeding ground to the majority of African Penguins in the world. Dassen Island is a Nature Reserve and not open to the public.

Dassen Island has a lighthouse and many ships have been wrecked on the underwater formations that surround the island.
Jetty and sandy beach at House Bay
View from lighthouse

Some photos courtesy of Andrew Roos

Underwater footage around Dassen Island Courtesy of

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A proclaimed guano island and bird sanctuary, this rocky outcrop covered with sandy soil is home to a fast diminishing colony of Cape penguins as well as many other species of bird life. No longer commercially fished for crayfish, it becomes progressively more difficult from year to year to give up a good catch. Poaching all year round is rife and government seems unwilling and powerless to put a stop to these illegal activities.

I remember about 7 – 8 years ago when I first visited the island and dropped anchor during the legal crayfishing season all you needed was to drop the net from the boat, wait approx. 30 min and haul up to find good size crayfish in your net. Nowadays you’ll be lucky to catch anything even using a dinghy to drop your nets amongst the kelp and waiting all day. The legal limit in those days was 4 per person per day.

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At its southern end this low lying island is topped by a lighthouse,

Fl W(2)30sec at a height of 47m above mean sea level with a range of 26 nautical miles and an automatic fog detector and its advisable to approach the island from a south easterly direction as there are some dangerous reefs & rocks scattered around the island. A large scale chart is essential when approaching the island with the intention of dropping anchor in House Bay. I have approached and left the island many times during the day and at night and often in thick fog, so good navigation skills and charts are essential.








Saturday Dec 8th. Week 1.

We finally left at noon on Monday 3rd, the crew consisting of Shalini, doing a competent crew course, Charlie, who finished his Day Skipper some months ago and is now doing his Coastal Skipper course, Markus, doing his Day Skipper course and Moi, ‘ the whale whisperer.’

The guys shaped a course taking us really close to Robben Island, then a waypoint off Bokpunt up the coast and finally on towards Dassen Island, with a safe approach from the south east past Waterloo Bay and the infamous Blaasbalk with its submerged foul ground and into House Bay, our anchorage for the night. We had great sailing doing 7 – 8 kts. under full main and no. 3 jib. There were a few slow hours approaching Robben Island and Koeberg as we drifted along doing between 2 – 3 kts. but our motto was, no engine under any circumstances. Besides we were ‘going nowhere slowly, by boat’ so what did it matter how long it was going to take us. It’s all about the journey and not the destination, a philosophy you quickly learn when you sail for any length of time.

As we turned into House Bay there were 4 other boats dotted around the bay, all fishing trawlers who, like us had sought a safe anchorage for the night. Charlie and Markus experienced some mild bouts of seasickness at times, but after being sent down below to lie flat amidships and try to sleep, they both recovered and were fine for the rest of the trip. Here is a great tip for those of you who are prone to this ‘mal de mer’. Take a Stugeron tablet the night before when you go to sleep and another one at breakfast on the day of the sail and in most cases you will be as fit as a fiddle and not feel like saying, nay begging, dear Lord, please take me, just let me die …. Generally it takes about 2 – 3 days to get over the malady if you are prone to it so prevention is better than cure.

So back to House Bay: we dropped anchor at 7pm. and watched the most beautiful sunset and then it was time for supper. Charlie was given the task of catering for the evening meal and our three courses consisted of soup & bread, followed by curry & rice and a piece of apple crumble for desert. We polished off a good bottle of red wine between us, discussed all the good and bad in the world and I ended off by singing a folk ditty and plucking a few strings on my trusty guitar. Markus and Charlie slept/snored in the forepeak, Shalini had the aft cabin to herself and I slept in the skipper cabin off the saloon.

Day 2. I always sleep badly on the first night, Monday night being no exception but after bringing the crew tea and a rusk in bed early on Tuesday morning, then having a breakfast consisting of muesli and fruit and yoghurt it was time to heave up the anchor, the correct nautical term I am told is ‘weighing the anchor’ and set sail for Saldanha. Shalini wanted desperately to see some whales and barely had we left our anchorage when we came across a pod of at least 20 – 30 humpbacks. Markus at the helm was given strict instructions by the whale whisperer to take evasive action and weave a course thru the pod. We were doing nicely with a stiff southerly behind us and Chantecler was up to 7 and 8 kts. on a broad reach in no time. The guys had set a waypoint off South Head lighthouse but due to the south westerly swell of 3 – 4 metres a dead run was out of the question so after a few hours and when almost abeam of lighthouse we gybed and headed for the gap. As we approached the Lighthouse we were greeted by approx. 4 Cape Dusky Dolphins who frolicked with the boat until we were into the calmer waters of the channel. The gap being the fairly narrow channel between South Head lighthouse and Jutten Island, a protected bird sanctuary and conservation area.

We have it on good authority that there is a small colony of a special Cormorant that is being threatened with extinction as their eggs are being eaten by Pelicans. As they are mostly only found here on Jutten Island the bird club of SA has organized volunteers who spend a week at a time during the Cormorant’s breeding season chasing away the Pelicans. But as we witnessed a year ago all the Pelicans do is take to the sky and either settle on the sea a short distance from the island and wait until the human danger has passed or they fly to another part of the island and continue to harass the Cormorants and steal their eggs. Not sure how successful the Bird Club is in its endeavors at keeping these predators at bay.

At any rate once we left the open ocean and were in the much calmer waters of the Lagoon it was time to contact Saldanha Bay Port Control on channel 12 and request permission to cross the shipping lane en route for the Saldanha Bay Yacht Club. All during the course of the morning the wind had been building in strength and by the time we did our final gybe close to the iron ore jetty we were into a force 6/7. Meaning, around 30 kts. Great downwind sailing and after doing a Mediterranean style mooring at the SBYC it was time for lunch and relaxation. Charlie and Shalini were being collected and were going back to Cape Town and I was staying on with Markus who was planning to do his practical Day Skipper exam with another instructor on Thursday morning.




(By ‘the whale whisperer’.)


How it all started!


Some years ago there was a local TV show by the same name. ‘Going nowhere slowly! ‘Except this series involved an old, comfortable red car, a few TV presenters and each week they would have a local South African celebrity travelling with them. They toured the country, visiting interesting and off beat places, chatting about the history and meeting interesting and varied characters, showcasing the landscape and its people, and what’s more, it was fascinating!


So being fond of history, geography and travel I got to thinking about doing something similar, except it wouldn’t be a car, it would be a yacht and it wouldn’t be on land, it would be on the ocean, travelling along the South African coastline, cruising from one anchorage to the next.


At the time I was the owner of a rather small steel yacht called Intrepid, a 32 ‘ Barens Seatrader , and although strong and seaworthy, she was rather on the small side and would only accommodate a maximum of 4 people, and with 4 people living on board for any length of time she would be far too small and cramped. So the idea was shelved and put on the back burner as it were.


Intrepid, by the way is now world famous having been breached by a 40 ton Southern Wright whale on 18 July 2010 in Table Bay, but more of that another time. (go to the Gallery page on the website and see Whale breaching on Intrepid!!!


Then in 2011 things changed and I purchased another yacht.


Called Chantecler, (for those of you who know your English history, Chantecler was the cockerel in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.) She is a 45’ Roberts design, a real blue water cruiser. Built in 1986 in Hout Bay she competed in the Cape to Rio race in 1993 coming first in her class. Subsequently she completed a world circumnavigation returning to Cape Town in 1999, and for the past decade was pretty much neglected, at least until I got hold.


I won’t go into the restoration aspects just yet, but suffice to say that she is extremely sea worthy and comfortable, sleeps 6 people easily, has a large saloon and galley area and is the ideal yacht to :‘ Going nowhere slowly ! ‘


Hence the project is back on the drawing board and will be initiated, with or without TV presenters and celebrities. (Maybe there is someone out there who is interested and wants to work with me on the project ???)
I plan to leave Table Bay on Monday 3rd December 2012 heading up the South African West Coast – ‘slowly’!


Summer and being the December / January school holidays, Cape Town is overrun with visitors and tourists. It tends to get somewhat hectic, so the West Coast is the ideal cruising area to get away from it all.


The Route.


The planned route will leave Table Bay early in December 2012 and stop over at Dassen Island, (a protected marine sanctuary). Then pass Yzerfontein and Vondeling Eiland on route to Saldanha Bay. This is the famous Langebaan Lagoon allowing us to explore many interesting places, including Oudepost, Churchhaven, Mykenos, Langebaan and Saldanha. It’s a wonderful sailing area with the tidal lagoon providing a rich and varied learning ground for both novice and experienced sailors. Furthermore there is ample swimming and fishing and interesting places to visit along its shores. We will spend quite a bit of time in this area before sailing out of the lagoon, past Cape Columbine en route for Paternoster, St. Helena Bay and Port Owen, (situated a few miles up the Berg River past Laaiplek lies the Port Owen yacht club.) St. Helena bay is another wonderful cruising area and has many small, safe anchorages with lovely, quaint West Coast villages to visit.
Dassen Island


Being summer in South Africa there will be plenty of gale force South Easterly winds to test the mettle of both the novice and experienced sailors.
At the northern end of St. Helena bay lies Elands Bay and the charming fishing village of Lamberts Bay, a must when cruising this area.


Finally, time permitting; we plan to sail further up the West Coast to Port Nolloth before making our way back south, and eventually ending up in Cape Town towards the end of January 2013. Then possibly in 2013 slowly plan to go along the east coast of SA, i.e. Cape Agulhas, Mossel Bay, Knysna eventually up to Richards Bay etc.


The Objectives.


The primary focus would be ‘Educational ‘but this would encompass many aspects. It would be both an outer as well as an inner journey of discovery. As I am passionate about the sea and sailing, a yoga teacher and a yacht master, amongst other things, teaching is a passion and these skills would be imparted to viewers and readers alike.


Career alternatives would be explored i.e. topics such as Environmental Awareness, Alternative Energy Sources, Learning to Sail, Navigation, Meteorology, Cooking, History, Geography, Yoga, Meditation, to name a few, but most importantly, learning to work with your mind and your hands. The ancient Greeks used to call it ‘a sound mind in a healthy body!’


Viewers and readers would get first-hand experience of what it is like sailing the ocean on a yacht, how sailing actually works etc. The presenters and guests on board would become part of the crew and it would become hands on experience for them too. We all share in the responsibilities of running the ship on a day to day basis.


It doesn’t matter if they have never sailed before, an enthusiasm and a willingness to embrace the new is all that is required.


So over the coming months I will be writing a series of articles about the trip with lots of hopefully, interesting pics and news.


I look forward to having you on board.


‘The Whale Whisperer ‘.



The Cape Town Sailing Academy is a small yet exclusive SA Sailing accredited sailing school that specializes in Competent Crew, Day Skipper & Coastal Skipper, internationally recognized courses. We also offer sailing charters for small groups.


Contact me, Ralph Mothes, cell. 082- 445 9059082- 445 9059




Introduction: The Oceanic Environment Around Southern Africa.


Southern Africa is bounded in the west by the South Atlantic Ocean and in the east by the South Indian Ocean. The meridian of 20 degrees East, running through Cape Agulhas is accepted as the dividing line between the two oceans.


Let’s look at some of the physical aspects of the oceanic environment around Southern Africa and around South Africa in particular. For mariners it is only the conditions at and near the sea surface which are of importance and therefore only some relevant aspects of deeper waters are mentioned. It’s important to realize the dynamic and variable nature of conditions at sea. Currents and temperatures vary from day to day and from area to area, so it’s important to understand why the variation occurs and then to make an intelligent assessment of what conditions are likely to be encountered.


In terms of the Marine Geology around our coastline, the Continental Shelf, which extends from the low water line or seaward edge of the shore out to the shelf’s edge is of utmost importance to the mariner. The gradient of the shelf is of the order of 1 in 500, and the shelf edge, or shelf break, is where the gradient changes, usually abruptly to about 1 in 20. This change will as a rule show up well on the echo sounder. The depth over the shelf edge varies in Southern African waters between a maximum of 590m on the west coast and a minimum of 54m on the east coast, but is normally found to be between 180 to 210 m. For convenience in charting the Continental Shelf is assumed to extend out to the 200m isobaths. Off the mouth of the Orange River the shelf is approximately 95 miles wide and between Hondeklip Bay and St. Helena Bay the average width is 40 miles. The widths off Cape Columbine, Dassen Island and the Cape of Good Hope are 11, 19 and 7 miles respectively.


The west coast bathymetry, (the study of underwater depth or ocean floor) is not as steep as that on the east coast and the nature of the bottom on the shelf, from the Orange River to the Cape of Good Hope consists of sand with rocky patches found close inshore and mud, sand and gravel found in patches on the outer shelf.




We know that Tides occur as a result of the gravitational forces of the sun and moon exerted on the earth and the resultant orbital motions of these bodies. The actual tide experienced at any particular place is a consequence of these forces and their reaction to the local conditions. Thus the adjacent ocean basin, continental shelf structure and coastline shape are all important in determining the type of tide that occurs.


Because of the relatively straight coastlines and open ocean areas around Southern Africa, tidal conditions do not vary much over the whole region. The dominant tide is semidiurnal, i.e. there are approximately two periods of high water and two of low water over a 24 hour day. The actual period of the semidiurnal tide is about 12 hours and 25 minutes which means that the tide progresses by approximately 50 minutes each day.


Propagation of the tides around Southern Africa is from west to east and therefore the high and low tides occur earlier on the west coast than on the east coast, however the difference in time is seldom more than about 30 minutes.


A substantial Spring and Neap tide variation is superimposed on the diurnal tide. Thus during full moon and new moon the difference between high tide and low tide can be as much as 2 meters, while during First and Third Quarter the difference can be as little as 0.5 meters. Greater variations occur during the equinox tides in March and September when the tides can typically be 20% higher than the tides at the solstices (June and December).


Forecasting the tidal variations is a complex procedure but generally the Rule of Twelfths will be sufficient for the mariner. The Tide Tables (SAN HO-2) are a useful addition to the sailor’s library bearing in mind that various other factors can affect the sea level, including weather conditions, (barometric pressure), internal waves, continental shelf waves and wind-wave setup. The published predicted times of high and low water are generally accurate but the mariner needs to exercise greater caution when entering the Knysna Lagoon on the east coast and when sailing in the Langebaan Lagoon and when entering the Berg River at Laaiplek, en route to the Port Owen yacht club on the west coast. The tidal currents in these areas can have a marked effect on sailing conditions and mariners are advised to consult the South African Nautical Almanac as well as the South African Sailing Directions Vol. 1 -3 and the Tide Tables (SAN HO-2). Thus apart from the three areas mentioned above, the tidal currents tend to be small and seldom exceed 0.3 knots, generally flowing parallel to the coastline.


The Benguela Current is the name given to the general northward movement of water off the west coast of Southern Africa and estimates of a mean northward surface current between the latitudes of Cape Town and Cape Frio in northern Namibia are about 0.3 knots.


Leg 1. Table Bay to Dassen Island.   ( to be continued.....)

Check out our blog:
It is this time of the year again when we head up the West Coast to get away from the strong South Easters in Table Bay and enjoy the favourable sailing conditions in and around Saldanha and St. Helena Bay.
During December and January 2012/2013 we will be offering past and present students and anyone else interested, the opportunity to grow their sailing experience and skills. We will be doing regular 3 and 5-day full time live aboard sailing trips and visiting places around Saldanha and St. Helena Bay.
These are practical trips with the object of gaining valuable sea miles and coastal sailing experience. Students live on board the yacht 24/7 and lengthy daily passages will be sailed regularly. There will also be time for swimming and just relaxing.
Some prior sailing experience or a Competent Crew or Day Skippers Certificate is advisable, though not essential. This is the ideal way to gain sailing experience in the Cape waters in all conditions. The trips are designed to give the student the opportunity to be a competent crew member on any yacht, learn to be the skipper in charge and prepare for the Day Skipper or Coastal Skipper Certificates.
Instructor to Student Ratio: Max. 1 : 5 or less Cost: R 400.00 per person per day excl. food & drink (min stay 3 days)
How to Book a Course? Once you have made sure that a place is available on the dates you require, fill in the Registration and Disclaimer Form and send it with your Proof of Payment to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This will secure your place on the course.
Check out our website We will notify you of the pick-up point and students can sail longer than the 5 days if they wish with a minimum of 3 days.
DATES: Anytime from the Thursday 6th of December until the end of January 2013
End of January 2013 - Saldanha Bay via Dassen Island - Table Bay (Cape Town).
Contact us for more details and follow our blog:
Hope to see you on board. 

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2012 from “the Whale Whisperer”
January/February 2012
Firstly greetings to you all and a happy and prosperous New Year. May your sailing be filled with fun, excitement and lots of adventure this year. Many of you have heard me say often whilst out sailing in Table Bay or elsewhere that “even a bad day at sea beats a good day in the office “or similar words like “this beats a day in the office” etc. I have yet to have a student disagree so I guess I consider myself very blessed and fortunate to pursue one of my passions, the sea and sailing.
Not only was the sailing amazing, but we also learnt that some Bird Clubs drop volunteers off on the island, Jutten Island, for 5 days during the breeding season of the cormorants. The reason being that pelicans are eating the eggs of the cormorants. All the volunteers have to do is to walk up and down the shore and chase pelicans away. It seems to work!
The other exciting event – and boy was it exciting – was the Down Wind Dash from Langebaan to Saldanha. Of course we had to happen to sail past Langebaan as they started and can you imagine +/- 260 kite surfers, wind surfers, hobbie cats and any other craft and some of the came dangerously close to Chantecler. We did not really want to test what it would be like to have a kite collide with the mast and sails!! But it was nevertheless awesome to see the sky with all those different colour sails in the air and on the water.
However, it was with a fair degree of sadness and regret that four friends and I sailed Chantecler back from Saldanha Bay this past weekend where I had spent the past two months. These two months were part of the Practical Mileage Courses we offered, giving past and present students as well as some of you who had never sailed before, the opportunity of doing a Competent Crew course or just gaining some valuable sea miles and sailing experience away from Cape Town in one of the country’s most beautiful sailing environs, i.e. the Langebaan Lagoon and Saldanha Bay area.
To quote an often used phrase, “all good things must come to an end” so here we are, back in Cape Town ready to start another sailing and teaching year filled with enthusiasm as we strive to offer quality sailing courses and charters in 2012.
Relaxing in Dassen Island

Welcome to the Second Edition of the Cape Town Sailing Academy Newsletter.

(Winter/Spring 2011)

It was just over a year ago that we had the Southern Right Whale breach onto Intrepid and when looking at the image once again it seems like it happened yesterday. The whales are back in Table Bay, and sailors need to exercise great caution as these magnificent mammals literally just ‘pop up ‘out of nowhere, often within a stone’s throw of the yacht. I think many of us learnt from that breaching experience and the golden rule is to start your engine if they are close. They have poor eyesight so your engine noise is the best warning. The problem arises however if you are sailing at night!!! Methinks, having a little word with Neptune won’t be amiss.

The most exciting news this year however has to be the ‘new addition ‘, i.e. namely Intrepid’s Big Sister, Chantecler!

We bought a lovely ‘blue water cruiser’, a 45 foot Roberts that needs plenty of work, but has a great history. She came first in her class in the Cape to Rio race in 1993. Then went on to do a world circumnavigation and has been somewhat sadly neglected since her return to Cape Town in 2001. However in the last 6 months all that has changed. She is sound, seaworthy and sails beautifully, has passed a SAMSA and SAS survey and has been registered to go “Offshore and International etc.” We are planning to do the Governor’s Cup in 2012, so watch this space!!!

More immediate plans are to spend some weeks over December and January 2011 sailing up the West Coast visting Dassen Island, Saldanha Bay, Langebaan and Mykenos as well as St. Helena Bay, Port Owen and Elands and Lambert's Bay etc. Any past and present students interested please contact us for more info.  Toodles from ' The Whale Whisperer.'



This is the first edition of the Cape Town Sailing Academy Newsletter. (Winter/Spring 2010)

Much has happened since we started the school in August 2009, so as ‘the new kid on the block’ so to speak, this is the end of our official first year and what a year it has been.

Not only were we able to teach many students the art of sailing, but we were also able to instill in a lot of them the same passion for this sport that Ralph has. It is great to see students attend an Introduction to Sailing course or a Competent Crew course, get hooked and then take it further to Day Skipper level and beyond. In fact Ralph has taught quite a few students who have bought their own boats and need a minimum Day Skipper license to be able to legally sail in SA. They are able to learn on their own yachts and the competent crew students get the chance to sail on a variety of different boats, thus enhancing their skills.

The legal process involved in getting a yacht commercially endorsed with SAMSA is onerous to say the least. Not only does the yacht itself have to be commercially endorsed by SAMSA and have its own DTC number, the teaching skipper is also supposed to have a commercial endorsement that qualifies him/her to teach/take charters legally in SA waters. Despite the fact that Ralph has RYA and SA SAILING Yachtmaster certificates of competence, is an RYA Cruising Instructor and is an accredited SA Sailing Examiner, he still needed to do yet another exam with SAMSA in order to get his commercial endorsement.

It is great to see that people do not get put off by the colder weather in winter and continue to come sailing. In fact, the sailing weather in winter is often better. Though not as warm as in summer, the Northwesterly and Southwesterly winds are often steadier and more pleasant to learn to sail in than the often gale force Southeasters. If you have warm clothes and wear a ‘beanie’ it can be a lot of fun.

Of course the most exciting event for the school was the breaching of the juvenile Southern Right whale on Intrepid on Sunday 18th. July 2010 (Madiba’s birthday)

what an awesome experience this was! To get so close up and personal with such an amazing mammal was an incredible incident. The bottom line however is that both Paloma and Ralph are lucky to be alive, a second later and the whale would have landed on top of us and we would both be history now. Another saving grace in this ‘freak accident’ is the fact that Intrepid is a steel boat. a fiberglass yacht would probably not have survived such an incident. The media frenzy that the pictures and video created both locally and internationally was unbelievable. Strangely enough the impact was bigger in the States and the rest of the world than here in South Africa.

It was also quite funny when people asked us if we had to push the whale back into the water or when we told them the dog house was irreparably smashed, to be asked if we had a dog on board. The only unpleasant part of this unbelievable experience were some false accusations from misinformed people and mischief making by some of the media who implied that we had been harassing the whale. The video clearly shows this not to be the case and as we have often said, ‘Sailors do not harass whales! In fact most local sailors here in Cape Town will tell you of ‘close encounters’ with these magnificent mammals as we see many Southern Wright and Humpback whales at this time of the year. In fact, often the Port Control Authorities will warn ships to be on the lookout as they have whales at the entrance, or even inside the Duncan Docks or the V & A Waterfront. It is quite a common occurrence. What we have learnt from experts in the field is that whales have poor eyesight and that to be safe, always have your engines on.

Finally, as many of you know, Intrepid has been up and “sailing” for the past three weeks. We have successfully qualified the first six competent crew students on the ‘new look Intrepid’, are busy training some Day Skippers and although Intrepid has a slightly shorter mast, she will get a “new look” as soon as the bimini is fitted in place of a fixed dog house. These students have already made history by being the first ones to have completed a Competent Crew course on Intrepid, the ‘famous yacht’ that survived a whale breaching.

(For more about this story with news and pictures go to the News and Gallery pages of the website. Pictures will also be put up as soon as the bimini is back on

We are also on face- book under “Yoga & Sailing in Cape Town”.

So from the ‘Whale Whisperer’, toodles from Cape Town.

Join the 'elite' group of students who are making history by training on the famous Intrepid, the boat a Southern Wright whale breached onto on the 18th July 2010 in Table Bay - enroll for sailing course now!!!


Comp Crew & Day Skipper news & exam results. PDF Print E-mail


Dec 27th: Congrats to Orion Barragan de Wet on getting his comp crew. Well done.

14 Dec 2013 Today we had the following 4 Day Skippers pass their practical exam with flying colours: Tella Osler, Jonathan Ollivier, Derick Steele and Andrew Hebbert. Well done guys.The examiner was impressed with you all.

December 7th. 2013  Huge best wishes to the following three Day Skippers on passing their theory exams recently:

AMANDA DE SWARDT                    97%                                     96%                      PASS

TELLA OSLER                                    92%                                     100%                    PASS

SHANE RABBETS                              100%                                   100%                    PASS

November 2013- Congratulations to Jonathan Ollivier, Pierre-Andrew Baxter and Herman Bester on passing their Competent Crew course with distinction.

,August 2013. STOP PRESS=STOP PRESS  :August 27th Congratulations to the 4 Day Skippers who passed their practical yesterday with flying colours,i.e. Rosemary du Plessis, Georgia Mayou, Ben Botma and Derrick Milner. Well done guys.

friday 23 August 2013  Night Sail in Table Bay with 4 day skipper students Check out our Facebook Page: Cape Town Sailing Academy for the latest pictures.

check out the latest blog with stunning pictures (copy this link onto your browser)

May 2013  Congratulations to Les Thomson who recently passed his Day Skipper practical and theory exams with distinction. Well done .APRIL 2013  Congratulations to Anne, Christophe, Ross and Erik on passing their Day Skipper exams , well done!!  14 April; Rachel Bernhardt passed her Day Skipper practical and theory with distinction. 22 April Congrats to Rory Rochat and Cheryl Anley on passing their practical Day Skipper exam today!!



January 2012. Since August 2011 we have had numerous students pass their practical and theory Day Skipper and Competent Crew exams: Congratulations to Danford Jooste, Hugo Venter,Hendrik Stander,Gerhard Jacobs, Dean van Rooyen...and presently we have a whole bunch of students in the pipeline. (watch this space).

..Well done to Rod Steyn and Rob Bloemen on passing their Day Skipper practical exam today ( 8 April 2011) See the Gallery Page for all the latest pics.

APRIL 2011 - Congratulations to JB and ANNA BREIDENTHAL  on passing their Day Skipper practical and theory exams with flying colours.

March 2011..  Congratulations to the following 5 Day Skippers on passing their practical  exams : BERNARD MONTEVERDI ,  ROSS MCCALLUM . SULETTA  SMITH , STEVE VAN GRAAN & EDMUND FARMER.   Well done to all of you!

AUGUST 2010. Intrepid is into her second training week after the 'whale incident ' and we had 4 comp crew students last week who successfully completed their course. Congratulations to Ross McCallum, Tatjana Moe, Naomi Kranhold and Simon Friend and naturally they are thrilled to be making history by being in the elite group to have trained on the famous Intrepid. The boat that the whale breached onto on the 18 July 2010 and that made international headline news throughout the world. See the relevant news article on the news page and have a look at the Gallery pictures. We have done quite a few ' night sails ' with the students who all enjoy the experience of sailing in Table Bay at night. Naturally safety harnesses are always worn on these occassions.Currently we have Thomas Clark & Steven van Graan in the process of completing their comp crew courses. Have a look at the Gallery page under Comp Crew Course - August.

Ross McCallum is currently starting his Day Skipper course as he wants to get his own boat together with Tatjana Moe his partner.

Tuesday 24 August 2010 we conducted an Introduction to Sailing with the staff of the CTBI. It consisted of a brief introduction to the art of sailing with some practical ropework and learning knots etc. Fun was had by all and they are now keen to learn more and venture onto the high seas as it were. Check out some of the pics on the Gallery page.

STOP PRESS..  August 2011. Congratulations to the latest Day Skippers on passing their practical and theory with distinctions: well done Adriaan and Gerhard Roeloffze

28 July 2011  Huge best wishes and congratulations to our latest 2 Competent Crew students Uri Rubin and Kay Kilian on doing so well and getting their certificates. Keep on sailing!!!!

6 July 2011 Congratulations to Coral Lindeque, Dave Roy and Antonio Ravaglia on passing their Day Skipper practical and theory exams with distinction.

Whale breaching onto Intrepid PDF Print E-mail

If you want to see all the pictures then please look on the Home Page and click on the Gallery page of our website.

Whale breaching onto Intrepid - the latest news and interview in SA People, take a look at the following link:

5August 2010: The genoa and the main sail have been re-cut and were put back onto the boat this afternoon and she is ready to go sailing from tomorrow. The next comp crew courses begin on sunday and monday the 8 & 9th. August respectivley. There is still some painting and a few minor repairs but Intrepid is back in business.

29 July 2010 . Report : the mast has been successfully and expertly repaired by Associated Rigging here in Cape Town ( a huge thank you to Warren, & the Team) and we are almost up and running once more. By the weekend we should be sailing again and able to resume our next comp crew and day skipper courses early in August. I have posted some more repair pics for those of you who are interested so have a look on our gallery page.

by now the 'Whale breaching on top of Intrepid ' pictures have flashed all around the world and are creating quite a stir. Have a look at them in our Gallery . The good news is that we are all ok, the whale is feeling somewhat bruised but otherwise unhurt and Intrepid should be back in business in about 10 days time, ready to resume our teaching schedule. It gives the phrase.'have a whale of a time' a whole new meaning and both Paloma and I are indeed lucky to be alive and unhurt.