Port St Francis to Knysna

A 10 knot Easterly and a favorable tide saw us leaving Port St Francis at 10h00 on Friday 10 July. Now I’m not superstitious but I don’t usually leave port on a Friday, just in case! This would be a test case and theoretically the only thing that could go wrong would be an impassable Heads on arrival in Knysna. The consequence of that would be having to find a place to sit out the forecast westerly gale predicted for Saturday afternoon and Sunday. We had two options, one would be to take a decision to run for Mossel Bay some 45 miles to the WSW, involving mostly motoring in the dying breeze and hoping to get there before the westerly arrived. The other option was to take a leisurely trundle back towards Plettenberg Bay, 22 miles to the East and anchor in the lee of Robberg. This would have been “Plan A”.

As it happened, a call to Jerome of the Knysna NSRI reassured us that there were no dangerous conditions in the Heads and that a transit would be quite simple.

The Knysna Heads seen from the sea side.

Having not sailed through the Heads for around 30 years, it would be fair to say that I was quite focussed on getting my line right. The leading lights are easily visible from the correct position and with Anita looking aft to spot for unexpected swells we had an uneventful transit. A sharp turn to port near the wreck just before Emu rock sees one lined up for the channels into the Lagoon which are all marked by red and white ‘safe water’ marks.

As a matter of interest, I decided to have three of our four onboard chart plotting systems recording the track we sailed through the Heads and up the lagoon. If we had blindly followed our default plotter, iSailor, it could have been embarrassing. Open CPN and especially Garmin were far more accurate in this case. There have been time, especially in the Indian Ocean, where the reverse was true.


Open CPN, less detail at the same scale, but more accurate.

Mark 1 eyeball proves to be just as relevant today as it was when man first started navigating.

On arrival in the Knysna Yacht Club mooring area we were greeted by local yachties preparing to do a sail past of the SA Navy vessels that had been participating in the Knysna Oyster Festival for the last two weeks. The friendliness continued once ashore with the Club Manager, Tracey, making us feel really welcome and several club members warning us that many a visitor has stopped in for a week and stayed a year or more!

And with scenery like this, who could blame them?

So, where to now? That’s easy. Back home to Simon’s Town. When? Well that’s a completely different question…….

One thought on “Port St Francis to Knysna”

  1. Great to read and stay in touch …what an interesting life. Mine is a lot safer tho.

    Saw MB…doing well.

    Cheers G Dorrington Matthee Consulting CC 25 Draper Square Draper Street Claremont

    Tel: +27 (21)6715215 Cel: 083 6598665 Email:graeme@mattd.co.za web:www.mattd.co.za


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