South African Waters
CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDING WATERS
The mountainous region pre-dominating the Cape area combined with the weather patterns coming in from the Southern Ocean create the strong winds and variable sea conditions typical to the Cape.
Cape Point is where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans are traditionally believed to meet (although the actual site is further south at Cape Agulhas) and rounding the peninsula is one of the highlights of sailing here. The average water temperature is around 15ºC on the Atlantic side warming up to 20C after rounding up into the Indian Ocean. The NW and SE winds alternate regularly with the blustery SE wind creating the spectacular tablecloth effect on Table Mountain.
Langebaan Lagoon where considerable time is spent learning close quarter manoeuvring, is situated on the Cape West Coast and is characterised by strong tidal streams, sand banks, islands and multiple nearby ports. The RYA found this area to exhibit many of the attractive features required for the RYA curriculum (similar to the Solent in the UK) and subsequently declared this area the official and only RYA examination waters in South Africa.
EAST COAST CRUISING
The East Coast trips into the Indian Ocean give the students the opportunity to experience long distance passages between ports whilst sailing in shore to avoid the southerly flowing Agulhas current. Moderate to strong winds with corresponding sea conditions, unpredictable weather changes and occasional fog are experienced here.
Ideal training for assisted student-skippered passages, pilotage, passage planning, flight plans, watch systems, heavy weather sailing and ongoing repairs and maintenance.
ALL THE PORTS ...
- Cape Town
- False Bay
- Knysna* (entry under ideal conditions only)
- Mossel Bay
- Port Elizabeth
- East London
*The entrance into the Knysna Lagoon tests even the most experienced yachtsmen, and this will only be attempted if weather conditions are ideal.
Wild Coast: The ruggedly beautiful and remote coastline between East London and Durban, "affectionately" known as the Wild Coast regularly offers challenging sailing conditions. Yachts hug the coast to avoid the southerly flowing current over a relatively shallow continental shelf that creates big waves in strong southerly winds.
Durban to Cape Town: Yachts head offshore out of sight of land in order to benefit from the southerly flowing current, and is blue water cruising at its best.
DURBAN AND SURROUNDING WATERS
Durban is the turning point for the long distance Yachtmaster cruises from Cape Town. The Royal Natal Yacht Club offers temporary membership to our students with poolside service for drinks and meals. A comfortable TV lounge is available in which to relax after hours.
- Subtropical climate
- Moderate to strong coastal winds, alternating from the North East and South West
- Warm Mozambican current flows in a southerly direction at speeds varying between 2 and 5 knots, becoming the Agulhas current further south towards Cape Agulhas.
The West Coast trips into the Atlantic Ocean offers less variable wind and sea conditions than in the Indian Ocean but with more fog and occasional big rollers coming in from the mid- Atlantic.
- Cape Town to Namibia: Few ports, many anchorages that provide the opportunity for practicing anchoring
- Benguela Current heads in a northerly direction results in the boats sailing inshore on the return trip
- Magnificent sparse, desert- like terrain
- Open coastline
- Fog over the current provides the opportunity to practice "blind navigation"