On the passage between Madagascar and South Africa as well as sailing around the Cape of Good Hope you always have to keep a close eye on the weather forecasts and usually have to wait for a period of favourable winds. So every sailing boat in the area knew that there was a big storm coming out of the south. In the moment there are a lot of boats on their way to South Africa and most of them meet twice a day via radio to give their position and weather reports. So everybody knows if any boats are in trouble and can maybe help them.
On the few days before the storm started a lot of sailing boats reached Richards Bay, most of the crews exhausted and happy to have reached a safe harbor. In Richards Bay there are two possibilities to moor your boat. There is the Zululand Yacht Club and the Tuzi Gazi Marina. The Zululand Yacht Club was already more than full and so all the other boats had to find a place in the Tuzi Gazi Marina. There the jetties are not in a good condition and you have to be careful walking on them because they are quite shaky sometimes. The fingers between the main jetties, which are supposed to mark the places, are only 10 meters long and the jetties themselves are secured with long and heavy chains at the bottom. Our catamaran is heavy and long, so we got to stay at the end of the outer jetty, which prevented any damage to our boat. Since we knew about the state of the jetties prior to our arrival we decided, together with three neighboring boats, to put out our stern anchors to stabilize the jetty as well as to minimise the force ontp the jetty. At the end of our jetty there was one boat where the owner was abroad. So we also decided to put out the anchor of this boat (actually, it was already blowing hard and we had help from the local police). In the meantime the conditions on the open ocean were getting stormy because of the strong northerly winds which would then switch into strong southerly ones. In the afternoon the barometer started to drop and reached the low level of 995,5 before it started to climb quickly. For hours there was no wind at all and it was eerily silent. The last sailing boat arrived in the Marina at around one in the morning and two hours later the wind started out of nowhere. We measured around 49 knots on our boat, the Richards Bay Port Control even measured 71 knots!!!!!!!

Damaged Pontoons at Tuzi Gazi Marina
Damaged Pontoons at Tuzi Gazi Marina
Damaged Pontoons at Tuzi Gazi Marina
Damaged Pontoons at Tuzi Gazi Marina

On our jetty everything seemed to be holding just fine but the second one was damaged badly. Because there were so many heavy boats and strong winds the chains which were holding the hole jetty broke. So the jetty was literally folded up and the fingers, which are not fixed anywhere, were pushed so hard that they flipped on their side and damaged some hulls or were even pushed under the boats. That was not a nice thing to see and even in the afternoon we tried asking for help from the pilot boats to stabilize the jetty. After app. 36 hours the wind decreased and the cleaning up could start.
All the boats were still afloat and some of them had some more or less bigger scratches on their hulls. It could have been much worse!
In the meantime the jetty looks about normal and there is water and electricity on the jetties again. The jetty which collapsed has been stretched, fixed with new chains and the fingers are taken out of the water and fixed. Because of all the anchors we were able to prevent the collapse of our jetty and therefor saved our boats as well as the jetty.
There were just too many too heavy boats at the same time in the Marina, but because there is no other space there also was no other choice. As long as we are here our anchor stays where it is and we hope that we will not have another one of this strong gales.

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Krüss Mikroskope