Cruise #1 to Simon’s Town

24 -27 April 2021

Dear GBYC Skippers and Sailors

Cruising is back, by popular demand! The first of the 2021 cruises will take place during the long weekend of Saturday 24th to Tuesday 27th April. Wind conditions will determine the exact days of sailing, which should become clear by Wednesday 21st April. We will be sailing from GBYC to False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC), sleeping over two nights, and then returning to GBYC. The idea is to be casual, so if you are a day late or have to leave a day early, please don’t let this stop you from taking part. Any power vessels that would like to take part are most welcome!

1. Sailing and mooring arrangements

GBYC will handle all mooring bookings on your behalf, provided you commit to the cruise before close of business on Wednesday 21st April. Please RSVP to Barry directly at 076 469 6485 or barry@firefinch.co.za.You will be supplied with a map of the marina and a berth number. Crews will be able to make use of FBYC facilities, including the braai area, clubhouse and bar, restaurant, and bathrooms (including 24-hour access to toilets and showers). There will be shore power available, subject to supplying your own adapters and extension cables.

We will depart GBYC as tide allows. While a uniform start and sailing together would be nice, feel free to depart for Simon’s Town when you see fit. The trip in a more-or-less direct route is around 22nm, meaning about 4.5 hours sailing if you average 5kts. If you add putting out sail, reefing, motoring, and variation in speed, and perhaps a tack, you are probably looking at 6 hours on the water either direction.

Please note that should you wish to stay more than two nights, a mooring fee will be levied by FBYC. Skippers are to please make their own arrangements with FBYC should they wish to stay a third night.

2. Safety

All yachts over 9m in length must have a valid COF of a minimum of Category C, with all safety equipment intact, up-to-date, and functioning. In accordance with SAMSA regulations, yachts under 9m in length do not require a valid COF certificate. However, all yachts under 9m are required to be at Category C standard to participate in the Club cruise, although a certificate is not required.

As per COF rules, all yachts are required to have a working VHF on board. The channel for monitoring is Channel 71 and all yachts in the fleet are expected to keep active watch on this channel.

  • Active watch on Channel 71
  • NSRI: 112
  • FBYC: 021 786 1703

3. Hazards to navigation

The principal dangers between GB and Simon’s Town are all in the Seal Island area, 10 to 12nm west of GB. These are:

  1. East Shoal (breaking and always visible), at 34º 08.8′ S and 018º 38.9′ E;
  2. Seal Island, around 34º 08.2′ S and 018º 35.0′ E; and
  3. York Shoal (mostly invisible), around 34º 09.3′ S and 018º 35.3′ E.

Only in the heaviest seas does York Shoal break. This makes it the greatest navigational hazard en route. It is positioned roughly between a mile and two miles SSE of Seal Island. It is likely that the fleet will shoot the gap between Seal Island and York Shoal. Treat York Shoal with extreme caution, and if in doubt, head north of Seal Island.

When approaching Simon’s Town, note the North Cardinal Buoy near to Roman Rock Light; the light marks a number of rocks in the area. Keep north of the North Cardinal Buoy.

An electronic chart plotter with Navionics is highly recommended, and will assist in shooting the gap between York Shoal and Seal Island. All boats should have appropriate paper charts (e.g. SAN HO-1016) and all necessary means for safe navigation in the event of electrical failure.

3. IMPORTANT: Entering Simon’s Town

When you approach Simon’s Town (say, once you have passed the North Cardinal Buoy), you are required to radio for permission to enter. If you have pre-booked a mooring at FBYC, then radio DOLPHYN BRIDGE on Ch. 71 to request permission to enter the marina. You are not required to radio on departing FBYC. Don’t forget your mooring lines!

If you anchor in the bay, you are required to contact the Naval Harbour Master (callsign BULLNOSE) for permission. Also note that in Simon’s Bay, naval vessels have right of way, over and above usual COLREGs.

4. Provisioning

Obviously, the responsibility for provisioning your boat is yours. The only recommendation made here is that adequate emergency rations are kept aboard in case of emergencies. Please note that drinks from the FBYC clubhouse may not be taken onto the marina.

There will be a communal braai on the evening of arrival, so do plan for that. There will be firewood available at FBYC, but if you intend braaiing on board your vessel, you need to bring your own charcoal. Please be mindful of the wind direction and other vessels moored at FBYC.

5. The ‘day off’ in the middle

A two-night stay means a ‘day off’ sailing in the middle of the cruise. If there is sufficient interest, the following activities can be arranged:

  1. Viewing penguins by kayak with paddlers.co.za (reasonable fitness required)
  2. A visit to Boulders Beach (bring a WildCard if you have one)
  3. A day sail to Smitswinkel Bay or even Cape Point, or
  4. You can just relax on your boat and enjoy the sights and sounds FBYC has to offer.

If you are interested in a kayak tour or viewing penguins, please contact Barry by 19th April so interest can be gauged and arrangements made.

6. Help! I don’t own a cruising yacht/I am looking to crew/I am new to sailing

The club would like to both encourage as many yachts to take part as possible. Just because your yacht isn’t a 30ft+ blue water boat, doesn’t mean you can’t cruise! Small boat cruising only adds to the adventure. We are expecting yachts ranging from 23ft to 37ft.

If you want to crew on a boat, either ask on our sailing WhatsApp group, or contact Barry at 076 469 6485. Crew opportunities can’t be guaranteed, however—it is ultimately up to skippers to decide whether to take additional crew.

If you want to crew, or take crew, but are uncomfortable about sharing the cramped interior of a yacht overnight, there is always the option of sailing along but sleeping over at a guest house. There are many options available in Simon’s Town.

We hope to see many power vessels, yachts and yachties at Simon’s Town on the long weekend. If there are any questions—no matter what—don’t hesitate to contact Barry or any of the Sailing Sub-Committee members.

Happy sailing!

GBYC Sailing Subcommittee