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.
Having made it to Cape Town, it was full steam ahead preparing the yacht for the Cape Town International Boat show. Malcolm, who came down with the yacht from Knysna, stayed on board Catching Up to finish up the last minute work projects that were required on the yacht. Grant Boshard and Peter Abbot were not far behind, arriving a few days later with more supplies. The week purely involved cg, touch ups, wiring, sorting and storing all our personal belongings.
During the process preparing for the boat show, a St Francis Catamaran named S/V Wanda Rose came floating in at night into the V&A and docked next to us. Quickly Wanda Rose became more than a yacht you’d pass on the way to the ablutions. On board were Rorke (The owner), Joe (his brother), Meryl (Rorke’s partner) and Geoff (Rorke’s best friend). These Americans had travelled all the way from around the world to pick up this yacht and like us, were preparing to leap across to the Caribbean before they’d head up into the Great Lakes of the United States. After having a few chats on both yachts, the group invited me to join them on a trip up to Table Mountain. Having only gone up Table Mountain once as a child, I was super excited to jump at the chance to go back up and experience one of Cape Town’s natural wonders. I was the only one with a South African sim card and decided to order an UBER to the base of the cable car, however, if anyone was paying attention to the number of people on that boat it would become very clear that the UBER was not big enough for all of us. This resulted in a squished up car ride with 4 in the back and me in the passenger seat. Table Mountain is notoriously deceptive, one moment the skies above the mountain are crystal clear, the next it’s covered in a thick layer of cloud, the locals say that Table Mountain then has a tablecloth on it! We arrived at the base just as the cloud had descended onto the top of the mountain. The views from the car park were already fantastic. The ride up was amazing until we hit the clouds, then there was no visibility. We returned down after a short walk on the top of the mountain, before departing back towards the V&A Waterfront.
It’s been a few weeks since an article was posted. Cape Town has been a non-stop adventure from the moment I got here however, these stories will be discussed in articles to come.
Catching Up has been sitting in Knysna since it’s splash in August. With the final fit out and testing taking place, Catching Up never left the Knysna lagoon apart for the photo-shoot with the Knysna Yacht Company. Mum and Dad flew down specifically for the passage, however, due to abhorrent weather conditions around Cape Agulhas, the passage was delayed for another week. Our expected departure soon arrived on Wednesday the 10th of October. All was on track until Tuesday when Malcolm the delivery skipper approached me and informed me that due to worsening weather we were departing at 17h00 that day. I quickly got into action to prepare our yacht for the passage. I ran to the shops to get meals for the yacht while Grant from Knysna Yacht Company decided to provide catering for the yacht. After a long day of preparations, two last minute guests arrived on the yacht. Dave and Iolanda, boat owners of sister ship SV Impulse decided to join us on the passage. We loaded them up along with Andre, our sailing instructor and Malcolm and set sail to the Knysna Yacht Club Dock bound for Cape Town.
As the sun started to set, we settled in for what was going to be a very long night. The swell caused big waves to crash against the side of the boat, the resulted in Dave, Iolanda and I suffering from the effects of seasickness. I managed to hold it off by lying down and falling asleep until 3am, when I heard that Dave and Iolanda were not as fortunate as I was! Malcolm and Andre were nice enough to struggle trough the entire passage ensuring that one of them was awake for watch at all times. Having never done a night crossing before, it was very reassuring knowing that we had two highly skilled sailors on board with us for our maiden passage. As we continued through the moonless cloudy night, bioluminescence trailed in the wake of Catching Up. The first night passed and soon dawn was rising behind us with the Western Cape off to our starboard/right side.
Day 2 on the ocean was much more exciting. The ocean calmed down greatly and the wind was no more than 16 knots off our port/left forward quarter. The wind angle didn’t give us much of an opportunity to get a sail up, however, as the morning progressed the wind began to slowly pick up again giving us a more favourable sailing wind angle. We raised the sails and started picking up a few knots and dropping our time to the next waypoint. Dolphins would come up and play off the bow and just as fast as they arrived, would skirt off back into the deep blue waters. Massive whales would be seen breaching and their spouts going off. The amount of nature on this passage just blew my mind. The wildlife kept us busy for a few hours in between navigating, looking out and just listening to music. Catching Up was well stocked so there was no shortage of food to snack on during the long watch throughout the day. As sunset was approaching, Catching Up achieved her first major milestone … she passed the southern most point of South Africa! Cape Agulhas separates the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. As the sun set, Catching Up crossed into the Atlantic Ocean. The next time she will be back in the Indian Ocean will only be in approximately five year’s time. After the celebrations were complete it was back to the long night watches with ships pinging up on the radar screen. After a while we could see the lights of Hermanus off in the distance before I left my watch period and went to bed.
It’s been officially one week at the time of writing, living on Catching Up! The week has gone insanely fast and even this article had been placed in the background.
Flying down to George already started with a delay. Arriving at the airport with my luggage limit maxed, I was so excited to take the massive step of the adventure and move down to the boat. After getting all checked in and arriving at the boarding gate, I patiently anticipated the arrival of our aircraft. Boarding began and we got fas far as the boarding ramp before hitting all stop. There we waited for half an hour as the plane was cleaned and prepped for the flight. Finally we got to board and just as boarding was completed we were informed of a further 30 minute delay due to some overheated brakes on the plane. After take-off, I got chatting with the flight attendant. It turns out the flight was delayed for an hour due to the previous pilot having had a heavy foot with the brakes and overheating them.
Arriving almost 2 hours late we quickly drove down to the boat where I started the mammoth task of unloading all the stuff I’d brought down in my baggage. While unpacking, Grant Boshard from Knysna Yacht Co came down to discuss the action plan for the next few days. I was informed that we would be having a camera crew on board on Tuesday for a few hours to do some reshooting and then have a full day of film shooting on the Wednesday. We agreed to help Knysna Yacht Co do a corporate film and marketing shoot with Catching Up being the flagship of the company for the shoot. The film shoot on the Tuesday was only supposed to be a quick few hours however, it turned into a whole day ordeal.
Where we left off… our baby had just been delivered to the Knysna Yacht Club on a bitterly cold morning. By now, it was 07h00 and the sun had already started cresting the horizon. As we all huddled around trying to get some feeling back into our fingers I noticed out the corner of my eye, two ladies in swimming costumes strolling down to the water. We collectively commented that they had to be crazy to get into the water when it was almost unbearably cold outside. I did admire their commitment though! We decided that by now there was no point in being at the yacht seeing as there was no way for us to get on board her, as well as no one would be working on her until 10h00. We decided to head back to our accommodation, warm up with a hot shower and go grab some breakfast. For those inquisitive, we decided to go to what appears to be South Africa’s national breakfast hangout WIMPY. The place was packed and the food was not half bad… explaining the high occupancy rates of the restaurant.
After breakfast, it was straight back down to the Yacht Club where we were met with our mast, rigging and boom all sitting on this massive trailer system. On our mast, most of our gear had already been installed such as the security cameras, mounting brackets for the Garmin Radar and our spreader lights. Our mast kind of resembled a Christmas tree with all the ornaments neatly arranged. At about 10h00 the real work began, our static dissipater for our lightning system went on, as well as the antennas for our range extender. While this was all happening, someone brought over a flimsy rusted ladder and placed it under the sugar scoop. I decided to risk it and climb up to see what was going on inside. Out in the daylight, the interior really came to life. While it was still quite dusty, most of the interior was already clean. You can only really appreciate the woodwork when you have good lighting conditions these were perfect. I admire how the Knysna Yacht Company has such a good attention to detail. For example, on our helm seat we have a lifting cushioned armrest for those long days on watch. When the armrest isn’t being used, it’s stowed upright. Knysna realised that the underside of the armrest would always be visible when stowed upright and decided to add a stunning wooden finish to the polished stainless steel.
Returning down to the ground I strolled around the car park turned worksite getting footage of the yacht. As you can imagine, tourists, boat workers and the public were walking past us. The yacht was in the heart of the tourist spot, as well as in an operational marina. My favourite thing to do was to stand back and pretend to be one of the media crew that Knysna Yacht Co hired and to listen to these strangers’ opinions on the yacht. The comments I overheard just brought a smile to my face. People commented on the style, size, height and even our Flexofold propellers with rope cutters. Every single comment was positive; I never overheard a single negative comment that entire day.