Adventures in Sailing

Monthly Archives: September 2016

SV MissChief is Launched!

Unfortunately we didn’t get in the water yesterday due to high winds and the fact that the crane company we hired turns out didn’t have a crane available cause the one they were gonna use broke down, but we delay no longer today is the day. Crane got here half an hour late which worried us a bit but it did finally make it, the winds were blowing in the right direction and seas were relatively calm. It took a good hour or two of preparation as the crane checked, and double checked many things to make sure nothing would go wrong and then after much deliberation we got strapped up and were lifted up and although it was quite spooky hearing the sounds of the ship groaning from being lifted up nothing broke and the boat was lowered into the water with both Tim and Len atop it. After an inspection of the interior Len and Tim found no leaks and the crane let go of Misschief and Misschief started its engines and it was off.

Brody, Nastya and I planned to use the dinghy to board the ship once it was in but instead they decided to go straight to our destination without us, so we made the decision to follow after them with the dinghy as opposed to deflating it and putting it in the car. We had some real troubles starting it because Tim was the only one who had practiced starting the engine and we had only briefly watched. Eventually some of the workers that helped get the boat in the water came over and walked us through it and thanks to them we got it going and we were off. We managed to catch up to MissChief at the Bluff Yacht Club as they were trying to find a place to moor. Unfortunately our planned spot to dock was being taken up by another vessel so we had to instead moor to two buoys for the day. Now we’re going to have some beers and some braii to celebrate finally being in the water.


Waiting to go in the Water at the Durban Waterfront

So its been a few days of waiting but we’ve got the crane guys scheduled to come early tomorrow morning to put us down in the water. We’re really hoping to get out of here soon and into the water as living at the waterfront sucks. It’s a bad area so you gotta always be worried about people stealing your stuff at night plus the security guards walking around the docks are actually more likely to steal stuff from you themselves then stop somebody. The security guards are usually quite rude and there’s really nothing to do around here and nobody to converse with. Hopefully this will be our last day here.

Sidenote: So much interference here has made trying to connect to any sort of wi-fi a nightmare hence these posts getting posted late

Pinsir’s of Durban Harbor


When we were living in the boat-builder’s yard there wasn’t anywhere to go to play Pokemon Go due to it being the countryside, so you could probably expect i was quite happy to see there was Pokemon around the dock. Seeing as there wasn’t much to do but wait for the crane to come and put our boat in the water i grabbed my dads phone(my Canadian phone would costs a fortune in data charges to use here) and headed down the street to see if I could find anything, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to go far to find my first South African Pokemon. Although it wasn’t anything fancy Ekans weren’t the most common sight in Ottawa and I still need an Arbok so I was happy with this being my first catch. Sadly the Ekans had other plans in mind and just instantly fled after one attempt. A little disappointed I put my phone in my pocket only to have it buzz nearly instantly and i took it right back up to see a Pinsir on the screen. Not having caught a Pinsir before I was quite excited and just went straight for the Ultra Ball & Razz Berry. Fortunately this guy wasn’t near as rude as the Ekans from earlier and stayed in the ball. And so my first Pokemon in South Africa was a Pinsir a result I’m quite happy with.


I kinda figured I had stumbled upon a rare pokemon but as I went out later that day I found not just another Pinsir but three all grouped together although none of them had 80%+
IVs like the first Pinsir, I did manage to catch all of them successfully. At the time of writing this I’ve caught 8 Pinsirs in the Durban area and that’s out of the 30 Pokemon I’ve caught total, so I’m willing to bet these guys are around as common in Durban as Drowzees are in Ottawa.

On a Highway to Durban

Last night it finally happened, the permits were there, the route was set, the police were ready and the journey began. At exactly 6pm we rolled out and started to leave Pietermaritzburg  in a convoy of two police cruisers and four blocker cars. The first leg of the journey was the most difficult as this involved getting out of the town and onto the highway, which proved difficult as police from Pietermaritzburg didn’t block off the road ahead of time and we had to deal with oncoming traffic trying to get by our boat, police escort and all. We even ended have a large truck literally just run off us the road as instead of stopping for the police or all the people yelling he just tried to barrel through us and we narrowly avoided him, fortunately we didn’t take any damage and we didn’t get stuck, it just delayed us a bit to straighten back out and get going again. After slowly moving through town at 10-20 km/h for over half an hour we managed to make it onto the highway and thus the road-rage began as the highway was too skinny at this point for anybody to pass, so the the entirety of the traffic was slowed down to our ~30 km/h pace and people were not amused. We had many people try to drive around us by driving on the dirt beside the highway but most fell back as soon as they saw the police lights but a couple just slammed the pedal down and flew by us and it wasn’t worth the cops time to chase them down.

After an hour and a half of this we pulled off to our rally point where we would switch our Pietermaritzburg police escort for a Durban police escort. We looked at the highway we just got off and saw the many lights of the bumper to bumper traffic that we had caused. We had some food while we waited and when the Durban police arrived they were much more professional about everything and set us up in a more optimal formation for the worsening weather conditions. Was much more smooth sailing with them in charge and the highway got wider as we closed in on the city allowing traffic to start passing us. Then we reached the toll bridge which was the most dreaded part of the trip, the measurements were made ahead of time that we should fit but only barely. We managed to squeeze thru but only just and we got lost a good scrape of paint on one side from it grinding past the concrete. After that the weather started to clear up and things become a lot easier and at around midnight we made it! We were finally at the docks we got taken off the truck and back on our supports and now its only a matter of waiting for a crane to put us in, which hopefully should take us no more then a few days.

Out of the Yard and Ready to Go

Yesterday afternoon we moved out of the yard and to the side of a nearby road to prepare for the move day. Maybe a simple sounding task but with such a massive boat this proved a much harder task then anticipated. We started moving early in the morning and quickly ran into many problems. First off the truck cab was running into the side of the boat whenever it turned, so we had to remove the truck panels on the side of the cab. Then we had the whole mud problem making turning a nightmare as the wheels would turn but the truck would just slide forward regardless, pushed by the weight of the boat weighing it down. Then we ran into the retainer wall of the koi pond and with how heavy the truck is you cant turn around so the workers had to smash the corner of the retainer wall to not damage the boat. With many obstacles we managed to eventually make it out of the yard and as it moved along the dirt road a nearby neighbor let out his dogs to see us and it was quite nice petting all the dogs.

As we finally parked we got up on the boat and got ready to make dinner as it was past 5. Then we were interrupted before we could start making anything by a group of people wanting to take a look at the boat, and then another group of people after that! We were happy to show them around the boat as they were quite friendly people and when they saw our food out they apologized for interrupting our dinner and invited us over for a Braii their family was having in a bit. We gladly accepted this offer so me and Brody headed over nearly immediately with some beer to go socialize with these folks. They were very great hosts and it was quite a fun time talking to them.

The next morning I was quite groggy from staying up most of the night on guard duty(we no longer had the luxury of an electric fence surrounding us) and Grant, the host of the Braii from yesterday invited us to come to church with him. Although we aren’t religious folk Brody and I were happy to come along and experience a South African church. It ended up being a pretty good time and many people there wanted to hear about Canada and about our plans of sailing across the Atlantic. Past two days have been exciting and hopefully tonight will be no different as we will begin our journey to Durban harbor.

Boat Finally Moving to the Port

Today we finally found out for certain that the boat is going to be transported to the harbor this Sunday night! We got the boat all strapped up today and we had the truck driver come in and slide himself underneath us so we’re ready to move when the big day comes.It took all day but we’re finally all saddled up, although its a little nauseating walking around the boat right now cause its on a slight slant and whenever you move you feel the boat moving a bit. Overall though today was a good day.

Arrival of the Mast

Sunday evening Len arrived back at his workshop with our mast on the back of his truck, which he had been gone for several days going down to pick it up from the mast builders in Cape Town. Today Len got seven guys to move the pieces of the mast of his truck and into his workshop where tomorrow morning a specialist in putting together masts is going to assemble it for us. The mast is alot larger then I expected, but for a big boat I guess it’s gotta have a big mast and big sails.

Originally we thought we’d have to have it assembled out by the harbor after the boat was in the water because the fully built mast would be too big to fit on anything without overhanging but we managed to find a way to transport it, which is great because now we don’t have to worry about waiting for someone to assemble it after we’re in the water. We also are have heard that we should be good to go in the water very soon(hopefully Sunday at the latest), will keep you updated on that.

Our New Braai

Here in South Africa the word “Braai” is used for BBQ, both as a noun and an verb.  Here in Durban, South Africa we found it very difficult to source an all stainless steel BBQ for the boat.  We did find a nice one but it was intended for an outside patio and was HUGE!  I did think about it for awhile then decided I needed something large for a boat, not large for a house.

Finally Stephen at SkiPort Supply was able to get one from Cape Town for us.  It is a very nice Chef camper BBQ with the optional yacht rail mounting.  At first glance everything looks very sturdy and well made. Upon closer inspection there are a couple things I don’t like about it.  First of all it comes with chrome grills.  I mean what were they thinking?  I will get them replaced when I get a chance.  Second there is no latch to keep it closed when under way.  Okay that to I can probably fix later.  The third thing was that there is no thermometer on top.  I think I can get one of those later as well.  But if you look at the price we paid, it is an insane amount for something not having all those options already.  Oh and it probably needs a cover as well.

Everyone was looking forward to a BBQ tonight so I had to make sure I had everything required to hook it up.  We picked up a 5 kg fiberglass tank.  Now the tank has one fitting and the BBQ has another.  So I picked up a new hose and fitting to put on.  Also filled up the propane tank (the guy had never seen a fiberglass one before and took a long time to actually fill it).  We hooked everything up and had a successful test light of the BBQ.  It was going to be a good night 🙂

We picked up some very nice steaks at the Pick n Pay (local grocery chain).  We sparked up the braai and waited a few minutes for it to warm up.  Now it didn’t seem to warm up very fast.  We played with it awhile turning it off and on, making sure both burners were lit and decided to put the steaks on anyway.  We didn’t actually time it, but nobody felt that the inside of the bbq was very hot (although the top was).  Eventually, the test cuts revealed a nicely done steak.  They were very thick (3.5 cm) so they did take awhile.  We sat down to enjoy the steak as the rest of the meal had already been finished long ago.  Wow these steaks were very juicy and flavourful.  We don’t actually have steak knives yet and regular table knives were sufficient to cut through them.  So maybe this Braai was awesome after all.  We will have to try it again before making a final decision.


Len’s Workshop

It’s been over a week now since Brody and I arrived and it’s been interesting so far living in the boat beside Len’s workshop. It’s a nice expanse of land which he works on various boats and side projects. Here’s a quick look at the place.




As I adjust to life on the boat (boat still on land) I am having to realize that internet as I knew it is gone. 🙁

At home in Ottawa I had 150 Megabytes / second down and no limits …. we easily reached 2 Terabytes / month of downloads during the summer with everyone home.  Now this is more than some cities have in the remoter parts of the world.  I am now happy if I have 5 Megabytes / second download but that doesn’t happen very often.  Sigh

I did purchase a wifi and cellphone range extender called the Wirie (  It claims a range of 14 km for wifi for connecting unlocked wifi on shore.  I haven’t tried out the cellphone extender bit for it yet.  It definitely extends the range of the wifi a lot on land.  I have temporarily connected it to one of the railings but it is recommended to be mounted 1.2 meter above the roof.  I will figure out a permanent mounting once the back rack (with solar panels) and the mast are installed.

The Wirie Pro

The Wirie Pro