2014 Sail Tahiti to South Africa


April 2014
A photo journal of a sailing voyage from
Tahiti to Darwin

Map1 Proposed Route

 The proposed route

31 Dec 2013

It’s been 4 years since I’ve been on an open water sailing trip. That one had been on a yacht called Jenzminc from Turkey to Oman. In fact 4 years ago to this day we’d been shot at by a group of Yemen soldiers off the Hanish Group of islands in the Red Sea near the Strait of Bab el Mandeb.  Then the motor failed involving long hours slaving over it trying to get it to run properly.  But that’s another story.

I’m now ready to try another venture and on an impulse a couple of weeks ago I checked out a sailing forum to see if any boat owners or skippers of yachts wanted crew for proposed voyages. Several caught my eye so I registered myself at the website and answered a few of the posts made under the Crew Wanted section.

02 AndrewLeft: Skipper Andrew

Andrew was one who responded.  He was laid up in Tahiti waiting out the cyclone season before heading out on the next stage of his voyage.  We started corresponding. Today I accepted Andrew’s offer to join him and Thomas the cat on his 35′ yacht Athena, and set sail for South Africa via Darwin NT sometime in April 2014.

The proposed route subject to possible changes is Tahiti, Samoa, Guadalcanal, possibly the Louisiades (?) pending Andrew’s concurrence, and Darwin.  It’s estimated that it will take about 45 days Tahiti to Darwin plus stopping time at places along the way.

We should be in Darwin by late May. Athena will lay up for a while in Darwin to get anti-fouled, make repairs if needed and for me to show Andrew around Darwin and Kakadu.

After that the idea is sail to Christmas Island, Maldives, north about Madagascar then onto South Africa. It’s about 30 days to the Maldives and 35-45 days to South Africa , plus stopping time at places along the way.  There’s only a 4-month weather window against cyclones across the Indian Ocean so I doubt he’d want to spend too much time hanging around the South Pacific, or in Darwin either for that matter.

01 AthenaRight: SV Athena

Once in South Africa I expect I’ll be coming home. Andrew has lived in Durban before so I assume I’ll get to be shown something of the country there.   However if all has been going well as shipmates there might be a possibility of extending the voyage further to St. Helena, Rio and the Caribbean.  Hoping for the best!

My early plans now are that wife Delma and I will visit one of our daughters in New York for her birthday on 15th March 2014. After that we’ll be taking some tours, including one of the Gettysburg civil war battlefield.  I’ll then fly straight to Tahiti from the US in the last week of March.  This should give me time to take a look around, maybe do a couple of tours in Tahiti, join Athena and get to know Andrew and Thomas before we set sails roughly in the 1st week of April.

Map 2 Tahiti-DarwinLeft: The proposed route from Tahiti to Darwin.

For those who might want to follow this voyage you should know that the posts to this blog are going to be fairly sporadic.  There is a lot of ocean to cross between shore based internet Wi-Fi hotspots.  You’ll notice at the bottom of the right hand column a ‘Follow’ button.  If you click that button you will notified by email whenever a new post is made. I’d appreciate it if you do.

Am really looking forward impatiently to this.



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