After five months at sea, Mouille Point resident Gert van der Linde and his sailing buddy Rudi Fisch, from Edgemead, returned to the Royal Cape Yacht Club at Table Bay Harbour on Monday.
The two members of the National Sea Rescue Institute set sail on November 11 last year, on a yacht called Faraway, which was designed by renowned naval architect Angelo Lavranos and built in Cape Town.
During their voyage around what Mr Van der Linde refers to as “the bottom of the world”, he celebrated his 60th birthday on December 5, and enjoyed a modest Christmas lunch with his 72-year-old friend while their families feasted back home.
They stopped at the Kerguelen Islands, Dunedin in New Zealand, Puerto Williams in Chile and Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, and passed “The great Capes” which are three major capes of the continents – our very own Cape Point, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn on the tip of South America.
Asked about some of the challenges they faced, Mr Van der Linde highlighted the long distances between stops, sometimes weeks or up to a month between destinations. And of course, there were also bad weather conditions.
“We have sailed in rough oceans around the world, we experienced gale force winds every week… sometimes winds were more than 50 knots (and there were) big 6 metre swells. So, very rough weather is the main experience.”
As for what they ate, said Mr Van der Linde, their diet consisted mainly of canned foods and cereal – and they took turns
cookingsimple meals like
pasta, mashed potato or cheese and bread.
Being well prepared, he said, was of utmost importance, as was teamwork, which sometimes involved them sleeping in three-hour shifts while the other kept watch over the yacht.
Mr Fisch said he had been sailing since the 1980’s and would enjoy going on another voyage but not for as long as the one he had just completed.
“We were only two and we have worked very hard but we managed to get through it. I would go on another voyage again but a shorter trip would do.”