The Eventider's News



Issue Ten.  Spring/Summer 2008 




Page No 3

African Sailing Part II


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A dream takes shape… 

The sight of Aurora (a 24 ft wooden Eventide) sitting forlorn and neglected under her tin lean-to at 
Jacana Yacht Club near 
Harare had always conjured up a streak of covetousness in me. Clambering aboard on a monthly basis, with 
various bemused 
friends and family members, braving wasps and dust, I pictured her fitted for sea, replete with shelves, bunks, 
gimbaled stoves 
and Seagull engine, bravely battling the warm waves and currents typifying the Mocambique coast, 
only 600 km away. 

I had always managed to resist temptation, however, in the sensible knowledge that I already owned three 
tired old wooden yachts (a Rambler, a Hartley 18 and a YM Senior), which could each take to the sea (and 
they all had at various times of my wild youth) at a pinch. These were themselves replete with character 
(read “wood rot”) and homeliness (read “bad curtains and worse paint job”), and already took up too much 
space in the various sheds dotted around my garden. Those of you who know Africa know that a one-acre 
plot is not unusual, so this is not quite so dire as it sounds, and the house is not yet earmarked for 

Fortunately for all concerned, my friend Geoff, out from Australia on a “fact finding mission” was less 
negative. He thought she looked great, and offered to chip in half of whatever amount I negotiated with the 
owner, should he still be alive. Now I knew God smiled on this dream. 

Anyway, after much detective work, e-mailing etc, Lex MacKenzie was tracked down, an offer made and 
accepted, and work was done getting her forlorn and well vandalised hull out of the shed and on to the 

She floated!! 

Leaks there were, but all tolerable (“character” being what it is), and after the very fine and little used 
Jeckel sails fitted, she showed signs of life, and even breeding. The rig was re-organised, with the inner 
forestay brought back to the samson post to create an “inboard” cutter rig, and various bits strengthened or 

Trials (or rather “booze-cruises”) were undertaken at the nearby Lake McIlwaine (14km by 8, a bit polluted 
but very scenic) and, as the work progressed I became encouraged by the many compliments and admiring 
glances I received from fellow Jacana members. It seems others had also tried to buy her, but they had less 
luck, or maybe less persistence. 

After many months of very enjoyable but hard work, Aurora was ready (ish). Wooden varnished shelves, 
louvre doors, “homely” curtains, new paint, new heads door, and a flexible fresh water tank, and she was 
ready to delight, and it seems, impress. To ensure she could do more, i.e. sail, I entered her for our annual 
“May Regatta” held over a week at the fabulous lake Kariba (300km by 50km, clean potable water, 
mountains, warmth, Hippos, Crocs, Elephants and sunsets abounding). We did well, the interesting rig (two 
head sails, one main, one storm jib tied below the boom, and a big striped umbrella) giving her a pace 
which surprised many, enchanted her crew (Helen and me), and earned her a fourth place, despite us 
throwing the last race in an effort to get back to Harare that day to pick up Geoff from the airport. 
Apparently our handicap is to be altered. 

Two more days tidying and touch- finishing Aurora, and we three were on our way to Mocambique. 

I towed using a Hino 2 tonne lorry, which gave no problems, but still a long trip at 80km/hour max. 
We broke the 11-hour journey at the quaint 
and colonial Mutare Club, nestling in the mountains near the border. 


Arriving in Beira (still moth eaten, but rapidly recovering after the war, and with a great deal more on the 
shop shelves than anywhere in poor, 
beleaguered Zimbabwe) we headed straight for the docks to investigate launching. A major port, 
there is not a slipway to be found, so a crane 
had to be sourced. Contacts were made, boat certificate issued, and all was organised for the next day. 

An interesting aside: all negotiations there are generally in Portuguese as little English is spoken. Playing the 
part of the idiotic but friendly white, with a three word vocabulary (one of which is cerveja/ beer) pays huge 
dividends, and we managed to get our letter applying for the certificate written for us by the port officer, to 
which we simply had to affix a signature. 

A comfortable night spent at an up market B&B after a dinner of prawns, and we were at the harbour in good 
time. The mobile crane duly arrived (nothing happens in a hurry in this part of Africa) and Aurora was 
unceremoniously hauled skywards on three borrowed slings and a towrope. 

Apprehension, indignity and embarrassment all combine at this point, the last as a result of the big brown 
blotches the paint brush couldn't reach. 

The tide being out, she was lowered into a soup of Dickensian sludge, possibly not unlike the ooze that her 
sisters near her home on the East-Coast waterways of England experience regularly. 


The spring tidal swing here is up to six or seven metres, and, mast up and truck secured, we were soon 
sailing joyfully across the shallow silted waters of the Pungwe River, south, towards the destination of our 
dreams, the wonderful Bazaruto Archipelago. Utter elation amongst the three of us, as a dream held since 
childhood and long worked (and spent) for, finally got under way. 


In The Mud 

Narrowly missing the wrecked dredger, apparently impaled on the previous wrecked dredger, we reached 
the far side of the delta, 20 km 
away, as night fell. After some amateurish premature beaching on the ebb tide (the local fishing villagers are
 especially useful at these times), 
we snuggled for the night into a small and well-sheltered mangrove river for the night. Swimming around to 
check the gradient of the 
ground beneath us destroyed our night vision, such was the radiance of the phosphorescence in the water. 

Content in our nest, sundowners were consumed and things got even rosier. Geoff (who should know better) 
tossed out a stern anchor into a line of mangrove trees. Certainly a vast improvement on his previous 
attempt on an earlier trip to Kariba, in that he did at least first tie it to the boat, and he only needed to dive 
for it the next day this time, after the rope had broken on the low tide. But there is more to tell of this night. 

We had always assumed Aurora would settle beautifully on her three keels, and our inebriated state as we 
took to our bunks reflected this view. Helen now has a lasting vision (though thankfully no photographs) of 
two mud spattered heroes in underpants swinging on ropes rigged between mast head and mangrove stump 
in an attempt to overcome the suction of the mud around one bilge keel, and restore our world to a sleepable 
horizontality. The headlamps we were wearing (they are called “Dick-head lamps” at our rowing club as a 
result of their antisocial nature) did not diminish this vision, and Helen now calls us “The Gumbie Boys” 

The next day, after scratching our hands and feet on barnacles, trying (successfully) to dive for Geoff's 
anchor, we set of further southward to the legendary bay of Sofala. 


Only forty kilometres south of Beira, this huge bay predated Beira by three hundred years or so, as the main 
harbour for the Portuguese in this part of the world. Abandoned due to siltation, I was determined to be one 
of the last whites to see, touch and photograph its crumbling castle. Entering Sofala at anything near low 
tide is very risky, as the deep channels are narrow and incorrectly marked on charts of this area. After a 
couple of unpleasant incidents involving more pushing, and more torn feet (spiny sea urchins this time) we 
made our entrance by following a small fishing boat (built in the traditional Portuguese style) and a school 
(pod?) of dolphins. We were just in time to see the castle remnants disappear below the tide in the far 
distance so we looked at an old mosque instead, still well maintained in the final stages of it's losing battle 
against the encroaching sea. 

Another mangrove river gave us the shelter we needed for a good night's sleep, 
but wiser we were, and logs were jammed beneath the 
narrow bilge keels before we let alcohol do what alcohol does. 

An early sunrise start, and an easy and exhilarating exit from Sofala at high tide. Perfect sailing, 
winds moderate off the southeast, sun 
shining, brolly up, music playing. It is not for nothing Africa is known for it's hardships. 

Chiloane Island 

We had planned to overnight in the lea of Chiloane Island (I saw it on the charts, but no-one else had ever 
heard of it). A deep channel, correctly charted, led to the little settlement at its northern tip, and a good 
landfall was made after a light lunch. 

As is not unusual in these parts, our arrival caused much interest, and we were taken in hand by the “Village Idiot” 
who, chattering 
incessantly, refused to leave us to explore the delightful island in the solitude we wanted. 

Diplomacy and all that, and a walk around the ruined old harbour, and buying of masses of prawns straight out 
of the nets made for a pleasant afternoon. A seemingly safe anchorage was investigated 
and we settled down to another prawn filled and pleasant evening in Paradise. 

Believing the ground to be firmer, we hoped to settle upright. No such luck. On our ear by 11 at night, but 
with no interest in propping her up, or playing in the mud, we tried to sleep tucked into various corners. 
Sleep did not come easily after Helen casually asked if the water would not pour into the cockpit before 
Aurora rose. Reassured by me, she fell asleep. Alerted by her, I had less luck. 

However, like the lady she is, Aurora responded well to the waters gently cradling in the wee hours, and 
quality sleep followed. 

I was desperate to get an early start the next day, as Bartholomew Dias Lagoon, near our destination, was 
calling. This is a wonderful large sand enclosed bay, famous for its clear water, and therefore snorkeling and 
spear fishing, for all of which we were equipped. 

In his enthusiasm, Geoff had set two anchors. He was delighted to report that our main anchor (the one that 
didn't actually dig in properly) had been so effective that the other (the little one that turned out to be 100% 
reliable) was under no pressure at all. 

Congratulating himself on his fine work, and regally accepting our congratulations, he hauled them in, only 
to find the reason behind the lack of pressure on the one rope, was that it had long since broken. It is now 
clear to me that reject rope that is not good for anything else, also does not make good anchor line.

 Six metres somewhere below us was all that threatened our early start, as we reckoned we did not want to 
go on without. I dived repeatedly, and with mounting desperation, but the murkiness of the water, and my 
bleeding hands, settled us on the decision to wait for low tide. The wind grew in strength, direction perfect 
for a fine sail to our objective, seventy kilometres away, and still we waited. 

Helen's log records “Prawns and bacon for breakfast” so not all bad. 

Groping around as the tide ebbed, more cuts and urchin discoveries, the anchor was eventually found at 
exactly the point the GPS readings said it would be. 

Knowing it was now too late to attempt the leg without some night sailing, we settled for reducing our next 
day's distance by sailing inland to the south of the island, 15 kilometres away. A very fine day this had 
turned out to be, and we holed up in a largish mangrove river that, according to the chart, did not dry out at 

low tide. Gathering wood in the nearby forest, we settled to a braai (barbecue) on it's banks, and mosquitoes 
notwithstanding, a very fine and relaxing evening was enjoyed, the last of our fresh meat, sausage, 
being dispatched.  It was amazing to see that, having clambered up the muddy bank to our chosen spot, we then 
had, later, to clamber back up on to the boat, as the rising tide threatened to engulf our fire and position. 

Another fascinating phenomenon was the peculiar crackling noise, just like that of a large bush fire, coming 
through the hull all night, after we had anchored in the middle of the channel. Crabs? 

The Gale 

Awakened from a good sleep, the sounds of strong wind in the rigging alerted me to what I feared most. The 
Dreaded Southerly. We sailed out bravely into it, however, but within hours, it turned into a full gale. We 
heard later that winds were in the region of 14 to 25 knots, and, as our destination was due south, we made 
heavy weather of it, under small inner headsail, and well reefed main (rotating boom type). Aurora was 
magnificent, but charting our position with help from the GPS, we were alarmed by how little meaningful 
distance we had covered. Helen and Geoff both were showing signs of fatigue and fear, and the rising wind, 
my own nervousness, plus the fact that our landfall was still many hours away, and could not be raised in 
daylight, decided me, with much regret, to put about, and run back to Chiloane Island. 

Wonderful sailing now, despite three-metre waves, and Geoff at the helm had her well under control. 
The crew's relief after the pounding we had taken earlier was tangible, which helped mask my own 
disappointment. It seemed we would not ever get  to B.D. now, as it was clear this storm would take some time 
to die out, and the wind direction would be unlikely to change any time soon. 

Captain Roy 

Arriving at the deep channel leading into the old port brought much relief, and another pleasant surprise. A 
forty-foot prawn trawler seeking shelter in the same place as ourselves raced us in (she won), and the 
Portuguese captain invited us to tie up to her stern. A most generous man Rui (Roy) Americano proved to 
be, offering us the run and provision of his ship, Atlas 2. Gleefully we accepted his offer of fresh water, ice, 
warm showers and endless prawns and other fish from his hold, and we promptly tied up. 

The fresh water was undrinkable, the shower was a bucket and rusty cup in the unsanitary toilet, and the ship, 
a cockroach infested rust bucket had not a straight line or neatly coiled rope anywhere. However the food 
was excellent, the welcome warm, the English poor, and the beers cold. More Paradise. Not so much 
disappointment now. One great sadness, however, was the loss of one of my jib winches, which I 
had stupidly used as a strong point when mooring our bucking boat to its indifferent neighbour. It is now in the sea, 
and it is a nice old Tuffnol jobbie, with two brass bands around the drum, and a bottom clipping chrome winch handle 
with a big black knob on the end. I say this, not because I think it will be found, but in the hopes that someone who reads 
this might have a spare they could sell me, 
so I will again have a matching pair. PS I have a son in England. 

To Continue; 
After a supper of, you guessed it, Prawns, Lula (squid) fish, and rice (vegetables are not a big thing here), 
the Capitano (not me) decreed we should take Aurora downwind from Atlas 2, and anchor independently. A 
little nervously, Helen and I (Geoff wisely chose cockroaches for company) cast off, and set anchor (the 
dodgy one) two ship lengths back. This decision, as unhappy as I was with it, probably saved Atlas 2: 

Having just nodded off despite the great pounding the seas were giving us, Helen and I were shocked out of 
bed by a crunch of even greater magnitude. 

Leaping to the foredeck to peer up at the big black bulk of Atlas 2, and trying to push us away, I yelled to 
rouse his night watch, “the one who stays up all night, so don't worry”. 

Anyway, in a flurry of oaths, clamour, wind, spray and floodlights, the Capitano soon realised what had just 
dawned on me in my drugged state - Atlas had dragged her anchor, and was heading, with wind and current, 
for the beach, close to the carcass of a previous trawler which had met her end in days of yore, amongst the 
breakers. Luckily for her, she had to reach the shore via us, and now, so I proved by quick-witted 
consultation with my GPS, we were also dragging our anchor (the dodgy one). 

Leaving Atlas 2 and her hapless crew of seven (plus Geoff) to handle their panic in their own way, I tried 
three times to re set the (dodgy) anchor, but had no success. Leaving Helen to reel in the tangled mess of wet 
and muddy chain and anchor, I leaped (staggered) to the stern, lowered the motor, and, praise to the God of 
Slapdash sailors everywhere, the old Ailsa Craig (4) started on second pull, with mere metres to go. 

Powering (?) against tide, wave and wind, we crawled away from the breakers (when I say “lea” of the island, 
I use the term loosely) and headed for deeper water. As sight of Atlas II, enmeshed in her own chaos brought no 
comfort, I determined to run the engine continuously till daylight came, or until we reached Beira and went home. 
Bravely, Helen took the tiller, while I refilled the tank (two capfuls of 2 stroke oil or thereabouts). After many histrionics 
the Capitano, his Hapless Crew (and Geoff) succeeded in finding deeper water, setting the “big” anchor (all done by hand, or 
to be precise, many hands), and then, by locating us as a result of the little LED nav lamps I had made, and then 
remembered to turn on, they indicated that we should moor behind them, and a massive line was thrown to us for 
the purpose. 

Of course, we were getting used to this sort of thing by now, and some sleep ensued. 
Tea and Helen's rusks provided a daily highlight each morning, and all the more so when you had survived a 
night full of near death experiences. 

Not an unpleasant day, with walks on the beach, some rain, and rising winds and seas. A poignant moment when 
we befriended a small cat on the beach, near some villagers: Paralysed from waist down, and blind, the pathetic ginger head 
would nuzzle up to anyone's shadow, in this case, the shapely one cast by Helen, and we stroked and petted it, trying to 
give it some love. It brought tears to Helen's eyes though, as we tried to leave, with it stumbling and mewling after us, 
dragging its useless hindquarters. If we were on our way home, I swear we would have tried to take it with us, but a small yacht 
is no place for a cat (and it's bowel movements) even if healthy. 

 No place for the faint hearted, Africa. 

We returned in the evening to Roy's Atlas, looking forward to the supper of pork he had promised us. I had 
heard some squealing near a village earlier in the day, and I feared the worst. Still I was a bit unprepared for 
the sight of the poor pig dangling from the ship's rigging, as we clambered aboard. Though we did our best 
to avert our eyes, western sensibilities being what they are, it was very difficult to reel Aurora in at the stern 
in order to dress for supper, without ducking immediately below the grisly carcass. 

I will say no more of this evening, except to mention that supper was delicious. 

Geoff slept aboard Aurora this night, as Roy was due to raise anchor and sail to his fishing grounds well 
before dawn. Our thanks were warm and heartfelt, and we awoke the next day, refreshed, and well stocked 
with prawns, water, bread rolls and ice. 

North again 

Sadly we had to turn our backs on my dream destination, as B.D. and the Islands that lay beyond were now 
out of reach in the time we had left available. We sailed back north instead, through big waves but moderate 
winds, heading, ultimately, for the lovely resort of Rio Savane, 30 km north of Beira, where the family has 
spent many many happy holidays over the years. 

We decided on a two-day stopover, en-route, at Sofala, as what we had previously seen invited further 
exploration. An easy day's sailing in warm sun and light winds, music playing, and we were there by mid 

Castles and Colonies 


Going aground only once, and in the shelter of the bay, we walked off to see the castle ruins. Nothing but a 
Medieval pile of rubble now, many stones having being re-used in the Cathedral in Beira, we were still pleased 
to see it and take the necessary photos. 

The ruins of the nearby town, Nova Sofala were of much more interest having been abandoned only in 1974 
when the Portuguese were pushed out by “the winds of change” then sweeping Africa. Master builders in 
concrete they were, and there are enough of the old walls, tiling, fountains, and prison left to wonder at. The 
hospital seems the most intact, i.e. the roof is still there, so I imagine it was left operable at that time, though 
certainly is no longer. Even cannons from the original castle lie nearby on the beach, though these were 
probably used in some decoration more recently. 


 Vines and fig trees engulf the crumbling masonry, wherein white children once played, overseen by their 
African nannies, parents at work in the sweltering portside buildings. Lumbering baobab trees bear witness 
to the process of decay, and overall there is a real poignancy at the scene, made more so as the red setting 
sun silhouettes baobabs, coconut palms and ruins alike. 

Cold beer on board Aurora, as we watch the show, followed by star and meteor gazing in the warm darkness. 
A supper of boiled prawns, the last of Atlas's largesse, and all is very very right with the world. 

A long walk through the native village in the hinterland the next afternoon brought more joy. The villagers 
are all smiles and “Boa tarde”s, mud huts decorative and substantial, yards swept bare and the ubiquitous 
earth bread ovens abound wherefrom gorgeous Portuguese rolls are available daily. 


A ruined beach resort lies at the end of this 5 km walk, at the mouth of the bay, where “Rhodesians” once 
flocked in the “good old days” for long weekends or school holidays. 
Again only rough concrete cubicles remain of what were once cosy chalets, the circular seaside pub a pile of 
rubble toppling onto the beach. 

Our departure from Sofala is worthy of note -
Knowing we needed get an early start to make Savane at high tide, we made an arrangement with the nearby 
fishing boats/ water taxis going to Beira to follow them out early the next morning. 4 am was the negotiated 
time, and with some trepidation, we roused ourselves timeously, awaiting the sound of their preparations. 
With the start of their motors, we started ours. Up came the anchor, and we were away following……, well, 
not following anything, because we couldn't see them, and our motor had drowned out the sound of theirs.

 Silly us. The sun only starts lightening the sky here at 5.30. 

Inspiration. Look for the phosphorescence from their propellers. This marvel, plus our guides' patience, as 
they did wait whenever we fell behind, got us through the narrow channels quite safely, and, as the sun rose 
magnificently ahead of us in the east, we were well on our way to Savane, 70 km to the northeast. 

Passing Beira, 20 km to the west, we had our first opportunity in some time to SMS our family in Harare, 
reassuring them of our safety, and getting weather 
reports. Of course emanating from Zimbabwe, their messages to us were less reassuring, but that is a story 
beyond the scope of this article. 


The entrance to Rio Savane was raised at 3.30 pm, two hours after high tide, and the charts do not show the 
deep channels in any detail. Fortunately I had printed off Sat pictures from the ACME mapper on my 
computer, and these, plus my own memories of the place, aided an incident free, though tense, entry. 

Rio Savane is a beautiful place, palm-thatched chalets, colourful tents, tall coconut palms, warm showers, 
pub and restaurant making this a 
favourite with our countrymen. Big waves on the “front beach” for adults and older children, and still warm
 waters on the “lagoon” side, 
safe for toddlers or idle parents lounging on black rubber inner tubes sipping cold drinks. 

We enjoyed our first “leisure” swim off the endless beach, trying to jump above the waves like children 
trying vainly to delay the 
inevitable soaking, then headed off to the pub to drink beer and put in our supper orders at the thatched 
Anything you want, so long as it is fish, prawns or “lula”. 
Actually, after all this time, Geoff hungered for chicken, and this was rustled up too. 

A sackful of crabs was delivered to our boat by a villager in a dug-out canoe the next day, and, not up to the 
task of the slaughter myself, they were prepared by the resort kitchen, and that did us all for supper that 

Geoff had loudly stated on arrival, “Africa is a paradise” (less enthusiastic was he a week later at the border 
hassled by the inevitable beggars, vendors, idle officials and “agents” touting for fees to do what you could 
easily do yourself if things were more efficient), and so it was that when Helen and I decided to explore 
further up the coast, we left him lounging at Savane. Nicely settled in thatched hut with made up bed, 
mosquito net, and plastic table complete with Fijian type printed tablecloth, he was the picture of 
Crusoesque contentment. 

All very idyllic, and it was with some regret that we set off early the next morning to beat the outgoing tide, 
and thus get to Tama 40 km 
away, just before high tide. Geoff waved us off, took some pics, and toddled off for a day on the beach. 
Unfortunately we hit a sand bank, 
and as the rapidly ebbing waters defied all attempts at refloating, we joined him for a couple of hours, 
till the incoming tide could float us 
off again a few hours later. 

Our exit was incident free, and Tama was reached just in time, as the ebb from the bay through the narrow inlet
 was by then quite hectic. 
While at no time did we actually touch sand, despite the strident alarm on the old Seafarer depth-sounder, 
we were quite taken aback by a big breaker that sneaked up behind us, and caused us to surf elegantly over 
the sand bar obstructing the entrance. 

We didn't get the photo. All we have as a reminder are marks in the aluminium mast in the same shape as 
Helen's nails. 

The large mangrove bay at Tama is pretty enough, uninhabited save for the inevitable 
fishermen's huts and dug-outs, and we were quite snug there, propped up on the 
sulphur smelling mud with logs under the side keels. We enjoyed plodding through 
the ooze, snapped at by revolting fiddler crabs, exploring abandoned villages, and 
buying and cooking a huge fish from the men, on a bonfire of driftwood. However, 
we had reached and even exceeded our fun threshold, and felt ready to embark on the long homeward journey. 

Accordingly we left Tama after a morning swim, after examining our exit route through the breakers while 
the tide was still low. No problems, and no stress, and a gorgeous beam reach in a warm southeaster saw us 
cover the 40 km in only 3 hours. 

Back in time for evening drinks a plenty, and a memorable final supper, if only we could remember it. 

Homeward Bound 


Off early, and out towards Beira, some tacking and some motoring required into a light southerly, which 
saw us washed pell-mell over the shallow banks of, and into, the Pungwe river on a dramatic flood tide. 
While proximity to the squalid city's beaches acted to reassure us, the violent muddy brown upsurges over 
the shallow sandbanks acted to un-nerve us, and the occasional peep of the depth alarm sent Geoff into near 

Me too, but I was more controlled. 

Nerves notwithstanding, our return to the little fishing harbour was swift and uneventful, and frantic cellphone 
calls ensured the crane was at the pier only half an hour after Helen and I got the mast down. Geoff, 
in the mean time had been ferried by Keith Delport (our new best friend, then in residence in Beira 
struggling to establish a business there in light of the economic melt down in his native Zimbabwe) to where 
he had stored our truck, which arrived minutes after the crane. All very efficient, and within another hour, 
we were out, Aurora having been inelegantly deposited on her trailer. I had looked longingly at an old dug- 
out canoe abandoned nearby, with a view to converting it to a garden feature back home but it was too 
heavy, sadly, and there were too many guards about. 

Keith was kind enough to put us up for a night or two in his lovingly restored old flat by the beach. He didn't 
normally encourage visitors but 
said it was fine, so long as we didn't tell anyone. And we didn't. 

A day of exploring the old town resulted, buying coconuts for friends, enjoying coffee and pastries at the 
cafes, re- fuelling and 
stocking up on groceries sadly unavailable at home. A final seafood supper with our excellent host, and then an early 
morning start for our 
12-hour journey home. 

A dream long dreamed had become a reality. Approximately 600km cruised, and only 15 litres of petrol 
used. Marvellous!! 

Lessons learned: 

Monohulls with fixed keels (of any length) don't beach well. 
The locals may seem a nuisance when solitude is anticipated, but are vital when things go wrong, or when 

supplies (fresh water, bread rolls, beer, coconuts and fish) are required. They are always cheerful, helpful, 
and above all, inquisitive. 
I may affix two “logs” in torpedo shape to Aurora's side keels next time, so ensure a good night after drying 

If your cockpit self drainers let in a little more water than they let out, use some duct tape and a tab of stiff 
plastic to make a flap over the hole at the hull, opening backwards. One worked perfectly, and is still there. 

The other lasted three days, until my appalling paint job really let me down, and it was lost, though 
obviously easily replaced. 
Make all the plans you like, but it is always the wind and the weather that have the last say. Flexibility is 

In Africa, smile a lot. The less you know the lingo, the more this is necessary. 
If there is a difference between deep channels marked on a 1965 chart, and a 2006 satellite photo of the same 
channels, believe the photo. 

Ensure the man you place at the bow to keep an eye open for sand banks is not red-green colour blind. Geoff 
and I argued over many of his alerts, and he was always right. He is a genius. 
Reefing in gales is a good thing. Old and new technologies make great bedfellows. For example: Boat, 1973; 
GPS, 2007; Primus stove, 1982; 

Hurricane lamp, 1966; Ailsa Craig 4hp motor, 1975. 
Eventides are great boats, and Maurice Griffiths was very clever. 
Good dreams are always worth following. 

Robin Barrett, 1 July 2008 -Harare, Zimbabwe