how does it compare?
In a way it combines both. Cape Town has the variety of WA but within a much shorter distance. Over a month you will also get many starboard tack opportunities. There are long drives if you go to Elands Bay or Platboon, but most destinations are nearby. Compared to my stays in both Maui and Oz, I would say that South Africa has been consistently windier, but much more crowded than both Oz and Maui for the same time of year (How about that – less crowded than Maui !) Of course it should be pointed out that Oz and Maui have you in the luxury of being able to sail in shorts. I had an excellent time and I think I preferred the variety of sailing within a day, for example, it is possible to sail at three different venues and still be back for a sundowner. The cost of living and climate of Cape Town were also plus points. But why limit yourself to one destination, a round the world ticket will cover all three, with an inclusive 65kg limit on excess baggage!
On the water
Regardless of the beach, get there early, as soon as the wind looks like arriving. Get rigged and be the first to go out, you’ll have the place to yourself for 30mins or so.
You can sail almost every day but you may have to drive up to an hour to find the wind. However, if you’re into freestyle as well, you will get the most out of the trip.
Join the Lake if you’re into freestyle. Don’t bother if you’re not.
What's up with the wind?
To answer this question you can use a WINDFINDER service by BLOWFEED, and by texting FINDto 36010 I would get the three current stations that experienced the most wind. This is very useful! For more information www.blowfeed.com
Off the water
Security: Windsurf kit is more likely to be stolen by foreign windsurf tourists rather than the locals. When sailing, always lock up and don’t leave kit lying around especially at Sunset Beach and Big Bay. We never had any trouble other than someone threw a rock at our windscreen on the way back from E-lands. The idea is that you stop and then they rob you. The window cracked but we didn’t stop!!
Don’t go to Saddle Ranch restaurants.
Yes, they are out there and if you’re lucky, you may spot one. Within our group of sailors we spotted them at Sunset Beach and Scarborough.
Big Bay has a flag system and will close the beach if a Great White wanders into the Bay. However, the majority of attacks have taken place on the warmer side in False Bay. The old dear who was doing backstroke in her flower cap one early morning was eaten whole just outside Muizenburg in Dec 2004. Consequently very few sail Muizenburg or Glencairn even when it is windy there and nowhere else. I bet you’re thinking right, forget it, I’m never sailing in Cape Town. But when you turn up to the beach and the sun is shining, the wind is cross- shore, the swell is head high, there are 30 other sailors out with Table Mountain twinkeling in the background, you’ll be out there!