Everyone who owns a boat or yacht knows that no matter how new your boat is, there will always be something broken, about to break or dirty. Catching Up had just finished an onslaught with hundreds of people touching, feeling and walking through her at the Boat Show. She was in need of a well deserved clean. After doing a full exterior detailing she was back in a presentable condition. Since leaving Knysna, we never had the time or chance to fully sort out the storage and layout of all the things on-board and the boat show provided an excellent opportunity to do so.
Taking off from Australia I knew what journey was ahead of me. Having previously met “Catching Up,” I was so eager to get back to seeing that beautiful piece of craftsmanship. We landed in a cold Johannesburg and after a short layover; we were quickly on our way to Port Elizabeth. We’ve been asked why we decided to fly to a place that is 3 hours away when we could easily fly to George, which is only an hour away. The reason is the garden route. People pay thousands of dollars to come and visit this amazing landscape where lush green foliage meets deep canyons of granite. It simply is a stunning route to drive regardless of the impact on our time! The 3-hour drive goes by quickly with the weather changing from clear blue skies to dark storms. Soon we are pulling into 31 Boswerker St Knysna… the Knysna Yacht Company Factory and birthplace of Catching Up. Peeking through the big blue doors is a familiar sight. Suddenly I am taken back to the first time I saw her, with her bows facing outwards and her while hull reflecting the florescent lights of the factory. It brings back a grin that never seemed to go until we were leaving our baby in her spot at the marina. This time seeing her however, things were different from what seemed like an endless list of additions, modifications and changes that had been made since I saw her last.
Rika Fouche met us at the doors and said they had something to show us. She prefaced it saying if we were not happy it can be removed but she was confident in her workers and the design. We had little knowledge but what she was about to show us quickly became the best and my personal favourite feature of our yacht. As I climbed the wobbly wooden staircase, I glanced up at our solar panel system (not a new picture to me) and was met with this elegant fibreglass moulding underneath the solar panels. What originally was such a stunning feature on the yacht was suddenly stepped up by 100% with this new addition that seemed to blend the solar panel system to the rest of the structure. Knysna Yacht Co (KYC) was kind enough to show us our functioning electrical system with all the lights on, the Fusion sound system and the external courtesy lighting all functioning. By this point, I was already blown away and barely coherent at how much work had been done since the last time I was there. Since it was already 17h00, we decided to call it a day and go to our accommodation. I am glad I managed to get an early night as I severely underestimated the emotional, mental and physical demand of what was to come the next morning.
04h00 August 8 2018, I was woken by the annoying sound of my iPhone. As groggy as anyone who is cold, jetlagged and regretting setting an alarm for 30 minutes before I was supposed to wake up I soldiered on, got showered and changed. We arrived just after 05h15 at the factory and quickly got our GoPros ready and mounted. We had a few short moments to walk around the yacht in the factory one last time while the tow truck was getting into position and the crew were prepping the yacht. Before I knew it, they were already moving the yacht out of the factory. Suddenly the yacht was moving around the corner and down the road. It looked as if the truck was going at about walking speed I thought I’d just keep walking in front of the convoy for some cool photographs. My body aches and sore muscles would tell me later that this was probably not a clever idea. As the convoy rounded the corner of the factory we encountered our first snag, a beer delivery truck was parked up blocking the path of the convoy. Thankfully, the traffic police escort quickly dealt with the truck and we were back on the move. From where I stood, it appeared that two workers were situated on the bow and one was running with me ahead of the yacht. The whole experience was quite surreal. Everyone was calling out hazards, instructions and movements while slightly being drowned out by the engine of the truck.
To keep things interesting around here we’ve decided to share the story on how we ended up with our boat name. We hope you enjoy it!
When it comes to naming a boat, you can take two avenues, something funny or clever like “Ship Happens” or “Unsinkable II” or you can take a more personal meaning like one of our Knsyna500 sister ships S/V Second Chance. We decided to go with the latter group.
The whole family sat down and decided what name would have a special meaning to us. We reviewed countless names to represent our African origins with a mix of the Australian side, but all that it resulted in was names which were too complex or too difficult to put on a boat. One must realise that you will be using this name on all entry documents, when dealing with authorities as well as having to spell it out phonetically. So, when it came to our decision to try and apply the name “Scatterlings” after the song “Scatterlings of Africa” by Juluka. We realised that it would take nearly an eternity to spell that name out phonetically especially when dealing with non-English speaking authorities. It was back to the drawing board to think of a name.
When I first heard about SV Catching Up’s construction, it was a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Who are these builders? Are they going to do a good job? Will we end up bankrupting ourselves by taking on this venture? All these questions were running through my head. One can only do so much research when preparing to have a boat built. You can read reviews and watch YouTube videos of the same boat you are soon going to be sailing, however, to stand and stare at your vessel is a whole new experience. You get a rush as you put your hand on her port hull, caking your hand in the fibreglass dust, it’s an exhilarating experience! This is going to be the first article of many highlighting my experiences when visiting and viewing our “still under construction” yacht…
… a Knysna 500 SE called “Catching Up”.
Having handled countless tasks from arranging insurance to sourcing and purchasing electrical components on the vessel, it was a welcome surprise when I was asked if I wanted to travel down to Knysna to view the boat and meet with the construction team. Touching down in Port Elizabeth, the three-hour car ride along the Southern Cape Garden Route towards Knysna gave me time to prepare myself mentally with the questions I wanted to ask. The long moving background of deep canyons, ocean views and lush green bushland provided an excellent view to daydream to while I tried to prepare for what was to come.
As we approached the large corrugated iron factory, it dawned on me that the factory exterior had a mild resemblance to the Knysna Yacht Company sail logo. Perhaps this was merely the onset of early insanity following the 3-hour car ride mixed in with a little jet lag. As we waited for the slow mechanical gate to open, our vessel was greeting us through the opening of the factory doors. As we walked up to her, the only thought going through my head was “Holy Crap! She is a bloody big boat!” Sitting with a length of 50ft and a beam of 27ft it is easy to understand the initial reaction I had. Walking along her portside bow, I immediately noticed the excellent craftsmanship and care that has gone into our yacht. The movement of the factory staff felt like that of worker bees buzzing the hive, each tasked with an important role all culminating in a beautiful piece of art. I don’t use this word lightly, the Knysna 500SE is a floating piece of art! The endless customisation options allow for your wildest dreams, from hydraulically lowered swim platforms to custom made eco-friendly solar systems the Knysna Yacht Company takes customers desires and converts them from an idea to reality.