Looking back and looking forward – the ocean is calling

Looking back and looking forward. April three years ago, we should have been getting ready to cross the South and North Atlantic Ocean. But we got stuck in Cape Town. This time of year in the future, in 2024, we will sail from Cape Town to the Azores in 48 days. The same voyage we planned in 2020. I was supposed to sail this voyage as captain, but events would lead to Gijs sailing the Tecla back to the Netherlands. Extreme circumstances met by a crew that had no choice but to face the challenge and come up on top.

Lets go back to 2020, just before the Tecla entered the harbor of Cape Town on the 20thof March 2020, the Corona pandemic hit. We had crew on board, we had new crew waiting in a Bed and Breakfast, but we had no way of swapping places. With a gate around the Tecla, a crew that had been on board for 60 days, and some of the permanent crew, that had been on board for over 120 days. And Gijs who needed to get home to his new born son.

The harbor closed all possibilities for crew changes, as they deemed it a risk to the public health. All favors were called in by ourselves and our agent. Any string that could be found was pulled and pulled at again and again. Several Ambassadors got involved and just before the last plane left Cape Town and all air transport came to a stop, our guest crew was able to fly home.. But not our permanent crew. We were stuck.

I was stuck in my B&B apartment, shopping ones every three days. With the best view of Table mountain and the harbor, I could not do anything else but call our ambassador every other day, arrange food and transport for supplies on board the Tecla and work on our corona contingency plan from the kitchen table.

On board, the crew got one outing every other day, throwing out the garbage… Other than that they were confined to the deck of the Tecla.

We had to make a decision, wait longer, but possibly be too late for other voyages.. or just leave with the four crew on board. We did it before, we sailed the Tecla with just four crew before. We crossed most oceans during our circumnavigation with just four crew. But this time, it wasn’t part of the plan. Gijs, Enki, Jonathan and Nico had to start on this adventure and make the most of it, in this ‘new world’. No stops on St Helena and Ascension. These islands in the middle of the ocean are part of the plan for this voyage, but they were all closed off to the public. And no Azores… as they were closed too.. Maybe get some supplies, but then onward to the Netherlands.

On the 8th of April a repatriation flight was available from Cape Town to the Netherlands and Germany. I had to take this flight, or be stuck for possibly another month… Gijs got clearance to leave, just one day after my plane left, on the 9th of April.

We had to keep going.  

A voyage that can only be described as a once in a lifetime voyage. Sailing from Cape Town, using the westerlies to make North. Then finding the Tradewinds from the South East, crossing the Equator, going through the North East Trade winds, heading into the low pressure areas in the North Atlantic and then making your way to the Azores.

The Tecla and her crew arrived on the Azores on the 22nd of May and finally back home on the 7th of June. 

The plan for 2024 is that I will sail this epic voyage. After a dockyard period in Cape Town, we set sail on the 12th of April until the 28th of May, when we should arrive on the Azores. In between hopefully being able to visit st Helena and Ascension island! Although it still seems far way, I am already looking forward to this amazing ocean voyage, hopefully in different circumstances then Gijs faced in 2020.


Hope to see you on board! Jet Sluik

Cape Town to Horta

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