Jon Sanders on the subject of eggs and Cape Leeuwin

Jon Sanders is currently heading back to Australia on his 10th circumnavigation of the globe.

Island regions affect wind strengths. Often beginning several hundreds of miles distant. Generally less wind – up wind or down wind.

Vis Rodriguez Island, Mauritius, Reunion.

In the South Pacific Tuamotu's, Tahiti & Society Islands.

On the other hand the Trades in the Caribbean (the Islands I visit or pass on route) are more reliable.

As I tend to sail with shorter rig. It might look a wee bit strange departing Tahiti reefed mainsail and there’s not much wind.

Sure as eggs as the distance gets “more” the wind becomes “more”.

It's lots easier tying the reef (neat as) when at the dock. Than at 2am.

Currently each day the swell gets bigger.

From the south, south-south west & south west. Something is down there.

I’ve got eggs on the brain.

I forgot to buy them at Carrefour.

Never mind I can buy some in New Caledonia. They have lots of chooks.

I know, when I was last there I could hear them in the morning.

“They do it in the dark of night”.

In 1977 I decided to do the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

I would need to sail my S&S 34 from Perth/Fremantle, go south of the Australian continent to Sydney on the east coast. 2250 Nautical Miles via my Way Points.

Back then no Sat. Nav., GPS or Electronic chart plotter.

(I have done 7 Sydney Hobarts. 3 in my S&S 34. & 4 in this S&S 39).

I usually single hand to Sydney and 1 or more of my crew sail back.

The first portion of the passage to Sydney is to go first south west to Cape Naturaliste, then south to Cape Leeuwin, one of the 5 great Capes.

Ideally you then do a lefty and head for Bass Strait, the other side of the continent, the other side of the Great Australian Bight.

Problem. Prevailing winds at the Cape and eastwards along the coast is “east to south-east”.

Strong summer winds. 25 to 30 knots can be the norm.

100% head winds. (Sorry that should read 101% headwinds).


So one stays on a port tack, going south, 180 to 200 NM.

To 38 degrees/39 degrees south latitude. Here the wind shifts to south, south-south west, or south west.

Then tack and lay Bass Strait – a reach.

On this occasion I pass the “Leeuwin” – Dutch for Lion. Night time. Cloudy. Wind 30 knots south east. Head seas.

In other words “Rough as Bags”.

Close hauled, yacht throwing heaps of spray plus green water flooding over, leaping off crests into troughs with a occasional thump. (Current stock production yachts with their front flat bottoms converts that to a more frequent “bang”).

Hasler wind vane self steerer steering the yacht. (Hasler the pioneer of that type of steering) – today I have an Aires Wind Vane – – and Simrad tiller electric pilot for quiet conditions.

Me, wet gear on. Opening and closing the cockpit hatch. Maintaining lookout for ships rounding the “Leeuwin”.

Quite unknown to me, a dozen eggs dislodged themselves in the port top bunk, threw themselves over the lee cloth and scattered themselves along my bunk – on the lee side.

One even managed to find its way into my sleeping bag.

How did it do that?

(I am oblivious to all).

When the yacht and I are about 25/30 N Miles south of Leeuwin I decree there is not going to be any more ships in this current region.

Time for a well-earned kip.

(What ships Captain, in his right mind, is going to be sailing south. 30 miles south of Leeuwin and continue going south. Like me).

It would be a bit like Cecil Rhodes African Railway “to nowhere”.

There ain't anything there.

I shut the cockpit hatch tight.

Take my wet weather gear off. Towel myself and do a bit of my own leaping.

Right into my lee side bunk.


I still know nothing. Nothing at all.

Until morning – that is.

To my horror, my bunk, my clothes and me, look and feel like “an uncooked omelette”.

Still rough as bags.

I remember thinking “God Hates Me”.

At this very moment I am 22 N Miles north of Mitiara Island. Cook Islands. There are 4 islands in this particular 40 mile radius. More scattered elsewhere.

Wind 18/20 SSE. Steady progress. All is good.

Kindest regards to all. Have a nice breakfast.


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