– Landfall at St. Helena

In the dark of night at 0100, the forward lookout came aft and reported a bright light fine on the port bow. It had to be St. Helena. But St. Helena was still 50 miles away and there are no such mariners’ beacons on the charts, no lighthouses with that range. Perhaps this single fixed light has something to do with the airport. Anyway now at 0420 and less than 30 miles off the island it is as clear as light only a few miles away. Interesting.

At the change of the watch at 0400, both watches braced around to port tack as we close with the island. We fired up the main engine last night in order to make sure we could get in a cleared sometime today. They have weekends here too. Things shut down or charge overtime, or ignore you altogether. When it gets light we will shut down and sail the rest of the way. Nice that way.

At 0512 a light wind-stealing rain squall came through. By 0815 under sail again. The high cliffs of the island are stark. And burn bright in the morning sun as we approach Sugar Loaf Point. We are about 5.5 miles away from the anchorage at 0848 sailing under royals. Crew are all getting up to take in sail and get anchored and cleared in. Plenty of excitement.

As we rounded under the lee of the high cliffs the day broke clear and blue. A beautiful day to sail into St. Helena, well, not INTO exactly….

All hands took in sail close to the anchorage as folks in some workboats and ashore watched something that used to be commonplace but is now a rarity, a large square rigger coming to anchor of Jamestown, St. Helena. We pushed the last few hundred feet in so I could put the anchor in a best spot. Let go the big 1,500 pound port bower in 15 fathoms and put out four shots of chain. BIG chain. Big chain is the ticket. Square the yards to stow sail, launch the skiff, and as we are cleared in, head ashore by watches.

So ends this passage of 12 days from Namibia to St Helena. A passage of some 1,400 miles and more. 

Scroll to Top