During summer, the southern limit of the SE trades reaches as far as Cape Town, but because of the peculiar nature of the weather in this area, true trade wind conditions are usually met only north of latitude 25 °S. Violent gales of short duration are not uncommon even during January and February, which are the best months for this passage, although the gales occur mainly south of 30 *S. As the position of the South Atlantic high has such a major bearing on the winds to be experienced on this route, its location should be obtained before leaving Cape Town. One tactic used by past participants in the Cape to Rio Race is to stay well to the east of the high. This may mean staying east of the rhumb line, but the course can be altered for St Helena once steady winds have been found. Boats sailing north along the coast of SW Africa will find some facilities in the two Namibian ports, Luderitz (26°38'S, 15 WE ) and Walvis Bay (22°57'S, 14°30'E ), both used extensively by fishing boats.
Having left Table Bay, from WP AS111, the great circle route leads to WP AS112, east of St Helena. This rather forbidding island, place of exile for Napoleon, often stands out like a fortress, visible from 60 miles away, due to the excellent clear visibility that prevails in this region. The island's only harbour is called the Anchorage, which gives reasonable shelter from the prevailing SE winds. The main settlement is Jamestown, where formalities are completed. Port Control should be contacted on VHF channel 16 for mooring instructions.
Best time: Tropical storms: Charts:
AS 121 Helena
AS122 Ascension 7C52'S, 14'20'W
Clarence 7'56'S, 14'25'W
As a continuation of a northbound passage from South Africa, the subsequent leg from St Helena to Ascension benefits from favourable winds through out the year. The direction of the wind is predominantly SE, although its strength varies and sometimes can be light, especially in the summer months
January to March. From WP AS121, NW of St Helena, a course should be set for WP AS122, SE of Ascension.
A bustling military base, this outpost in mid-Atlantic is another welcome stop for those on long Atlantic voyages. The SE trades have often spent some of their force by the time they reach Ascension and can be as light as 5 knots. Heavy rollers and swell from the NW can be experienced when the NE trade is at its height in the North
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