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Staying on course for Richards Bay, South Africa, there was no way for the crew to avoid the severe low pressure system. The winds would blow south to north, or directly in their sailing direction, making it impossible for the crew to make their way.
Another thing to consider is the Agulhas Current, which flows north to south down the east coast of Africa. When the two opposing forces collide, they produce large rogue waves, creating the “Perfect Storm” scenario that the crew would want to avoid.
The Hokulea crew has been training for this leg for six years to prepare for what’s to come. Multiple international weather services also advise the crew to help them with their worldwide voyage. The decision to alter course was made with those advices in mind for the safety of the Hokulea.
Although strong winds will eventually reach Maputo, the crew should beat the developing conditions and be able to wait for the weather to settle before resuming sail south to Richards Bay.