In the early hours of the morning Dad woke me up and we quietly raised the anchor on Catching Up. We carefully navigated around the yachts in Bequia and rounded the corner to make way to St Lucia. We already decided to skip the island of St Vincent due to time constraints. What I noticed about these passages that if you stay on the leeward side of the islands (the Western side), you get a much smoother passage.
Shortly after helping dad get going, I went back to sleep for the duration of his shift. 3 hours later I took helm as we were in line with St Vincent. I watched for hours at the isolated spots of lights on the island imagining what it would have looked like during the day. I returned to sleep for 3 more hours as dad came back up.
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.