Adventures in Sailing


Two Hours

“Two hours, that’s all it will take for me to assemble the mast” -Graham, the mast rigger

We’re now on day 3 and Graham’s still finishing things up…

Well where do I begin, we woke up bright and early at 6am on Tim’s birthday, we had some pancakes and looked out the window to see that the fishing trawler we were waiting to move had not yet moved. With that we had no choice but to either tell everybody to cancel today or find a new area to set up the mast, being Tim’s birthday and the numerous delays we had already suffered we did not want to give up that easily. So we saw a space that we might just barely fit in farther down the harbor and went to go contact who was in charge of that spot and he told us that a fishing vessel was occupying that spot but he’d be gone till later in the day so we were free to use it till then. So Tim dropped me and Brody off at the harbor to catch the ropes when he brought the boat in but as soon as Tim left the fishing vessel rolled up into its spot as its job for today got cancelled due to bad weather.

So Tim came back to pick us up and we tried to figure out something else, then we asked the Kevin the manager of the crane company if he could put the mast on us down at Dormac’s harbor (where we launched the boat), he told us that he couldn’t because in order to get the crane close enough to raise the mast properly he would need to be able to bring the crane onto the concrete jetty which he wasn’t allowed to by Dormac. So know we went to Dormac to ask for permission to bring the crane on their jetty and fortunately enough the guy we talked to was nice enough to give us permission for no charge.

So now that we finally had a location it was off to notify everyone where it was going down and then we hopped on the boat, removed the mooring and we were off to back where we began. It was a little difficult to moor on the high dock of Dormac as it was meant for large commercial ships but eventually we managed to secure ourselves. As we docked everyone was waiting for us, crane, the mast rigger and Len, the crane quickly hooked onto the mast and lifted it up onto the shore so the mast rigger could start assembling what was left to finish on the mast. We helped the mast rigger with anything he wanted us to help with and still the two hours he claimed this would take quickly passed and soon it was nearly dinner. The crane driver was tired of waiting around and finally left and this was when we knew we were staying the against the concrete wall of Dormac for the night.

The next day Graham and the crane operator arrived again and Graham got to work on the mast some more and before we knew it, it was 2pm and Graham still didn’t look ready to hoist the sail. This is when Kevin the owner of the crane company came down and asked what was taking us so long and that the crane was going to have to go do a different job soon. So Graham being rushed by Kevin tried his best to rush his process and by 3 we were hoisting the sail! So we hoisted the 18 meter behemoth and it took a good hour to fasten everything down so the crane could finally let go and leave (an hour late for its next job). We finally started to look like an actual sailboat even though the mast was only fastened in place and not actually finished. It was getting dark and quite windy so we decided it was best to not travel back to Bluff that night and so we stayed another night at Dormac.

Today Graham came down and started at it again setting up the mast and soon ran into issues as due to the rushed job the day before some of the ropes were tangled, some we were able to fix from the ground but some we’re gonna need to send someone up the 18 meters to fix the rest. Graham finished what he could today and we headed over to Bluff, we docked without any hiccups and now we’re having some beers to celebrate the mast being hoisted and being out of Dormac (again). Here’s hoping Graham can finish up on Monday so the sails can be measured on Tuesday.

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.