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Sailing Gromit
With Friends from s/v Goody

The best of both worlds!
When you live on land, but can still have your boat ready to go!

11//11/2014 | Cindy Thomson
For a quick stop down in the west coast, feel free to pop in at Yachtport SA.
10//11/2014, Richards Bay, South Africa

Lunch at the home of our friends from s/v Goody.

10//11/2014, Richards Bay, South Africa

On Sunday (October 2, 2014), we had a superb lunch with our dear friends, Jacolette and Joop and their three kids, Johannes, Dirk and Lelei. We meet them in Bali in 2012, sailed to Borneo together and shared a river boat on an overnight trip to see the orang-utans. Since then we have kept in touch and promised to see them again when we would eventually arrive in South Africa. They returned from their circumnavigation in 2013.
It was wonderful see how their kids had grown and to finally meet Lelei, who was born while they were in Asia. It was a relaxing and delicious afternoon spent with a great family!

Haul-Out at Zululand Yacht Club
10//11/2014, Richards Bay, South Africa


Haul-Out at Zululand Yacht Club
10//11/2014, Richards Bay, South Africa

Haul Out at Zululand Yacht Club

On Monday (Nov. 3), we hauled Gromit out at high tide around mid-afternoon. By the time we got ourselves organized with power and water, it was time for dinner. And at the Zululand Yacht Club, Monday is 'braai' day. What is a braai, you ask? It is a BBQ. The club supplies the charcoal and we bring our food. As it had been a busy day, we just pulled some sausages out of the freezer, grabbed a loaf of bread, prepared some toppings; tomatoes and onions, packed the ketchup and mustard and headed to the BBQ area.

It was great to meet old friends like Mike, Susan and their visiting son, Matt from s/v Infini. The last time we'd seen them was two years ago in Thailand. We also met new cruisers which is always fun, as cruisers are full of stories, sailing and otherwise.

On Tuesday (Nov. 4), the work began. We were doing some routine maintenance and checking all systems below the water level, so that we would feel confident that all was in order for when we do our last long passage which will be crossing the Atlantic Ocean beginning early next year.

Everything looked find and we took advantage of the fact that we were out of the water to add a fresh coat of anti-fouling to the hull. We'd heard that the water temperature around Cape Town is 5-6 degrees C and didn't want to be scrubbing the hull in that, so this fresh coat of anti-fouling should keep us clean until we reach Brazil or, if we are lucky, the Caribbean.

On Thursday (Nov. 6), we were put back in the water and were able to come back to our slip at the end of the pier....yeah!

A quick word here for fellow cruisers who need to haul-out. We strongly advise you to not use the travel lift. It would be better to use the yacht club's dolly lift. The price is about a fifth of what you pay for the travel lift. For our weight and length of boat, we paid roughly $600 and that was one way. Fortunately, we were able to finish our work within 3 days, or we would have had to pay another $600 to be put back in the water! This is not the policy of the Yacht Club (they run the much cheaper dolly lift), as the travel lift is privately owned. Please feel free to contact us for more information. We can give you details regarding some of the other issues we had with the owner of the lift.

On Friday and Saturday (Nov. 7-8), mostly we cleaned below and scrubbed the decks and cockpit. They were filthy from the yard; sand and pine tree debris, as well as coal dust that settles everywhere from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. The terminal is the single largest export coal terminal in the world. In Sri Lanka it was grey cement dust and here it is black coal dust! Of course, after the work was done, there was pool time for the kids!

On Sunday (Nov. 8), I slipped away to the mall before the kids even got up. OK, so they slept in. I'd have never have gotten away alone if they'd been awake! Yes, I did do a little Christmas shopping, but mostly, I was able to focus on seeing what stores had what products, because before we leave South Africa in mid-January, I'm going to have to do a big re-provisioning. We are very low on many basic food items and with a very long ocean passage ahead and 6 mouths to feed, I need to get our stores replenished. South Africa is a great place to do this, as the prices are very reasonable and most anything is available.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Nov. 11,12,13), we will be visiting 3 games reserves -Hluhluwe, iMfolozi Game Reserves and iSimangaliso Wetland Park) to hopefully spot the famed South African 'Big 5'; the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the buffalo and the rhino and many more. I've got the camera charging!

Safe Arrival
07//11/2014, Richards Bay, South Africa

Our wind-vane; US made: Mark II. Built by M-Company in 1977.

We lovingly call our wind-vane a dinosaur. Compared to today's slick models, it is big and bulky. It came with Gromit and, at the time, we didn't know what to think of such a large mechanical contraption. Since then, we've learned to love it and count it in our top 5 necessary tools for cruising. It steers as well as our auto-pilot and works impecably in high winds.

Richards Bay, South Africa

We are in South Africa!!! How often have we talked about this day!

We arrived more than a week ago and the whirlwind has not stopped.
Our 360 nautical mile passage from Ponta da Barra, Mozambique to Richards Bay was energetic. The winds were from the east/north-east and then the north, starting moderately and then finishing with a flourish around 30-35 knots as we came into the harbour at Richards Bay.

We were directed by Port Control to go to the check-in dock at Tuzi Gazi Marina. David on s/v Rhythm and Dave on s/v Leu Cat, heard us call in and radioed us with the docking options while we were still in the channel outside the marina enclosure and couldn't see inside. When I asked if there was much turning room they said that there was not. This presented a problem because, although I can turn Gromit on a dime, I can't do it with our wind-vane on.

After a lot of back and forth on the radio, I realized that there was only one way to do this and that was to remove the wind-vane before going in! I asked Michael if we could do that, (we've never taken the vane off while underway!) and he said yes. With the help of Liam and Maia, once I'd slowed Gromit to idle speed, they slipped it out of its support and stowed it safely on deck! Whew, big relief!

Gromit in gear, low revs, we slowly motored into the marina enclosure and were greeted by a crowd of people on the dock where we were to go to. They were there to take our lines and it was a fantastic welcome to Richards Bay, South Africa!

26//11/2014 | Julie Perry
Yahay! love that you had a welcoming committee!

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