Breakfast Then Launch: The Launch of SV Catching Up! Part 2

Previously – Journey to The Ocean: The Launch of SV Catching Up! Part 1

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.

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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.

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Journey To The Ocean: Launching SV Catching Up! Part 1

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.

Solar Panel Updated
The new solar panel covers that blend the coachroof perfectly.
Cockpit Refined
SV Catching Up! with her lights on.

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.

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Love at First Sight: Meeting SV Catching Up for The First Time.

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.

 

First Look
Beam side view of the Port Hull.

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