Race : July 17th to August 20th Days 34
7725 Nautical Miles
The second leg, the longest in the whole race, is 7725 nautical miles from Cap vert to Mauritius. In August, team MILAI will pass the Cape of Good Hope and arrive in the Southern Ocean in winter. On the way up to Mauritius from there, the sea condition could be very rough due to a strong current south of South Africa. It is highly important for every team to get through there safely to complete the race.
Today is July 28th. It's been 12 days since we left Cap Vert.
It was too hot to sleep before we crossed the equator. However, we need sleep bags to keep warm 4 days ago. It is getting colder and colder while we are heading towards the Cape of Good Hope.
In addition, there were unique problems such as the squall before we crossed the equator. We had to be very careful about the wind speed and direction changes. Even at night, we never let our guard down and kept checking squall lines using radar.
Now we finally came to the area under stable weather. We are trying to get rest as much as possible to be ready for the sailing in the Southern Ocean.
So far, Andrea and I are fine! We still have 5,000 miles to go to get to Mauritius. I think we can arrive there around August 22nd if everything goes well.
We will try our best to sail safely!
The voyage from Cap Vert to the Cape of Good Hope was the first hurdle to circumnavigating the globe.
It is ideal for us to make the most of St. Helena high pressure while crossing the African continent from the west to the Indian Ocean. Therefore, we decided to go down to the South Africa and head for the Cape of Good Hope going around the high pressure.
On August 6, we were caught by the first storm 700 miles from the Cape of Good Hope. The maximum wind speed was about 40 knots. Our boat was hit hard by waves. About 8 o’clock in the evening, the keel, which is the bottom-most longitudinal structural element on the boat for counterbalance, began to make strange noises. It sounded like the keel is moving while hit by waves.
The keel of ‘MILAI’ was removed last winter for maintenance. I(Suzuki) had a presentiment that there was something wrong at that time.
We did not think it would cause the keel to fall off, but there was still 3,000 miles to go to cross the Cape of Good Hope and get to Mauritius. Considering safety, we decided to stop over in Cape Town, the nearest place to us.
It was such a difficult decision for us as we had been being chased by AMHAS, an American team running in 2nd place, for about three weeks since the start of Leg 2. However, reaching our destination safely is the premise of all. After discussions with Andrea and other team members on land, we decided to stop over in Cape Town for repair where is 650 miles from us. We slowed down the speed for safety sailing in the following 3 days and arrived in Cape Town on August 9.
Cape Town is the largest port city in South Africa's with a long history of shipbuilding.
A wide variety of ships are built here, from large fishing ships to small pleasure boats. We rented a dock in the Waterfront Marina for maintenance. Thanks to the support of the crews, the trolley and crane were ready when we arrived. We took a nap and lifted the boat in the next morning.
We were relieved to know that the condition of the keel was not as bad as we thought, but the lamination around the keel had peeled off. We made plan to repair it in 3 days.
Although we had to make a stop from the race, it was good chance for us to be refreshed with delicious food and a low-humidity environment after spending 25 days on the boat.
August 12 was my 37th birthday. I never imagined that I would celebrate my birthday in Cape Town with the staff at the boatyard. It is a lifetime memory.
We were ready for departure on August 13 after all repairs were completed, but we had extended for another day due to bad weather. However, it is more than anything to get back to the race and head for Mauritius.
With good weather, I was able to complete my first voyage to cross the Cape of Good Hope and move into the Indian Ocean.
At the time of writing this report on August 16, our destination was 2,000 miles away where we planned to get to in 10 days.
Even though we have fallen from the top to the last, the first thing we had to do was catching up with American Gryphon Solo who were 200 miles away. I believed we could make it in 10 days.
I would like to make every effort for the race and enjoy the rest of the sailing to Mauritius.
Thank you for your support!
Suzuki(left) and Andrea(right) completed the second leg
Delicious food and chatting with team members (from left: Suzuki, Andrea, Luca)
Refreshed by the beautiful mountain and sea
Maintenance in Mauritius
Although it was a difficult decision for us to stop the race temporarily, we were able to have our boat repaired in Cape Town and get back to finish the rest of the race, 2,000 miles to Mauritius.
Crossing the Cape of Good Hope, we felt refreshed to move north after sailing south for more than two months since June. Although the keel still made strange noises when the sea condition was bad, we knew that we just did an emergency repair in Cape Town but there was no big problem to arrive in Mauritius! With the maximum wind speed of 50 knots (25m/s) passed along the way, we kept sailing as fast as possible.
On the early morning of August 26, 12 days after leaving Cape Town and 39 days after leaving Cap Vert, we finally arrived in Mauritius and completed the second leg! It was such a long trip not only because it is the longest leg in Globe 40 but also it was an unforgettable voyage that made us feel the vastness of the African continent.
Mauritius is an island with almost the same size as Tokyo, located on the east of Madagascar.
Since the Age of Discovery, it has been a port of call from Europe to India. Co-existence among Mauritians of Indian, African, European, and Chinese ancestry has led to a sharing of cultures. Port Louis, the capital of Mauritians, is a mysterious and charming city. We found great nature while going to the suburbs. Although we wanted to enjoy more beauty of Mauritius, we had to prepare our boat well for the next leg. With a two-week stay in Mauritius, we wanted to remove the keel, and completely fix it.
There were more problems than we thought. It took us more than 10 days to check the condition of our boat including the engine, electrical connections, and repair the keel. However, with the help of Andrea, and Luka who will be on board in the third leg, and many people at shipyard, we had good maintenance for our boat and lifted it down to the sea on September 5. Even though there was other preparation need to be done, we have passed the peak.
The next, we will start about 33-days voyage to Auckland 7,000 miles away on September 11. We will have a good rest and be fully prepared for the upcoming challenges!