Jan 012017

Those who know me will vouch, I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy. There’s no difference between the 31st and the 1st in my book, no reason not to make decisions and take action when you think of them no matter the time of year.

That said, time off life and work that is typical this time of the year does lend itself to more contemplation and introspection ……

2016 has been a watershed year for for myself and my sailing. This was the year I finally bit the bullet and moved Ocean Blue down to the coast. A very good year in that regard. Somewhat less good because I’m still stuck up here in Jo’burg slaving away to pay the bills.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time reflecting on when and how to move the rest of life down to the beach to join the boat. As with all things in life, it’s rarely simple, rarely just as easy as saying “Sell up everything and go”. Well at least for me it’s not that easy even though I know it’s possible and been done a thousand times by a thousand sailors.

Several more years of ‘varsity commitments remain. Those are best dealt with while the corporate salary trickles in.

Sandy, although she’s slowly getting into the Table Bay sailing, is not of the same “sell up all to sail” school. She likes her house by the beach and if she had to choose it would be that rather than the boat. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d like to only have the boat. The land base by the beach also appeals to me. (Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone)

Lastly, South African legislation imposes prohibitive penalties on early withdrawals of retirement funds and annuities before the age of 55. That means that whatever I decide to do I need to make the greatest effort to keep up the payments for at least the next 7 years. Whether I stick it out at the Jo’burg job, find another in Cape Town or find a way to make sipping martinis from the hammock pay, either way I need to generate enough cashflow each month to keep the investments going. Anything else just doesn’t make financial sense.

People looking in on the dream from afar may well believe it’s not happening. It might appear that it’s stalled and we’ll never get it right. But that’s not true. Yes it’s slow. Much slower than I would ideally like. But it’s happening. Most definitely.

The most very hard and difficult thing though is I miss the boat and I miss sailing her. Living an hour away when she was on the Vaal is nothing compared to the gulf of time and space that now separates us. No longer can I just pop in for the weekend to check the lines, see if the bilges are dry. No longer an easy weekend escape from the rat race and a leisurely overnight anchorage in Bunny Brook to take the edge off a hard week in the office.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. But I’d be lying if I said that the current transition is easy.

I harbour ambitions to cruise the West Coast, see St Helena, perhaps cruise Ilha Grande and further south. To do this, there are a thousand-and-one things to do on board. Repairs, improvements, upgrades. With me in Jo’burg and ‘Blue in Cape Town, that preparation phase is very, very difficult. Almost impossible.

And that’s the thing I’m finding most difficult. This period between moving the boat and moving myself. It wasn’t easy in 2016 and it wont be easy in 2017.

As usual, life is all about finding balance and so, if ever there was a resolution made, it’s to try and keep the dream moving forward while keeping the stash growing and future finances healthy. The moral of the story though is “Don’t bury your dreams.” Find a way to make them happen. After all, what will you achieve if you spend all your living days working, saving, hoping one day to find the time to live and youtr time runs out? Many people gamble that way and for some it works out. For many others the gamble fails due to accident, ill health or other circumstances.

Tomorrow may never come. Build your dream today. Take action and make it happen no matter how slowly.

Happy New Year to you all and may 2017 be good to you and your dreams!

Nov 132016

I arrived to a filthy, sooty ‘Blue yesterday. Caz mentioned a fire in the Port some weeks back but I never put two and two together. Everything covered in a filthy black grime. Even the halyards and topping lift now the same colour.

Cazza was sweet enough to collect me from the airport and we made a stop at S.P. to collect some parts for the planned repairs. As seems usual with chandlers they didn’t have what we wanted or we didn’t have a clear idea or set of measurements. We left under the misguided hope that A.Y. in the marina would fill the gap.

Back on board the bilges were damp but not flooded. I noticed for the first time a “fault line” (similar to the keel stub crack) in the aft bilge compartment. Is it a structural crack or just the glass which holds the thwartships “bulkhead” in place? [Note to self – Keep an eye on that one!] The mop handle broke, rusted through, and so I had to sponge out the bilges by hand. Add yet another item on the shopping list.

After pondering the reefing block problem, I think I’ ll just need to return to S.P. and take the larger cheek-blocks that they do have. That, together with a webbing strap to hold the cringle down to the boom should suffice?

The stanchion job also didn’t go as planned. Quite obvious when you’re in front of the job but very easy to forget when you’re contemplating a purchase in the stone → You can’t replace stanchions without redoing the entire guard wire system! So, out with the Pratley Putty and some kind of attempt to stick the stupid plastic top piece back on starboard stanchion #3. Note to self and all others – “Don’t trust the life lines”

The most well-executed job was the chart-plotter install, but even that wasn’t without its’ problems. The cable img-20161112-wa0023routing went ok and the plotter powers up with its new “Africa to Middle East” charts. ‘ Blue was eventually found by the satellites and now sits in RCYC instead of on the hard at Mantens but there are two problems. It’s not ideal having to crouch in the cockpit trying to enter waypoints and routes. I’m going to have to source a secondary power cable and run it to the chart table ! An added bugger up is the “all-inclusive” chart doesn’t have St Helena. Damn!!

Oh, and don’t forget the scrubbing of the mould, adding 60 litres to the fresh water tank and an all-round general cleanup.

Anyhow, a day of mixed successes and roadblocks.

Since it looked as if the club galley was taken over by some function, we decided to spend the night in Glencairn, travelling by way of Camps Bay and Chapmans. I wouldn’t have stopped but it seems Caz has really grasped what this “living in Cape Town” thing means. No real plan but a stop at the first easy and not too crowded stop has us scrambling down a somewhat littered path opening up to a tiny secluded beach surrounded by the biggest boulder garden imaginable.

And there, the biggest blessing of the day → tapped on the leg by a Cape Clawless Otter!!

Cape Clawless Otter

Cape Clawless Otter

Mar 142016

Looking at Lloyd each day, at AofH, it’s easy to feel they live the life but not me.

Remember this?

All the views without the earthquakes

All the views without the earthquakes

Maybe they have more time than me but no matter. I’m still getting to do the things that matter on a regular basis.


Feb 222016

The risk of swimming with dolphins……….drowning, being swept out to sea, shark attack.

So don’t do it dude. Stay on the couch in your little padded cell and live out your years.

Us, we did the swim, survived the sharks (yes they were there) and look back with fondness on a once-in-a-lifetime moment !

Jun 132015

sunrise 2015.06.13

A panorama of False Bay With Glencairn Beach and Elsies Peak on the left to Glencairn Tidal Pool and in the distance Simons Town on the right. There’s sure not as much daylight here in the winter. This shot was around 8am and the sun currently sets at 6pm. Only an hour more light than Jhb in the winter.

Apr 022015
What does a man need — really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in — and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all — in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice.
Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?” – STERLING HAYDEN
“What will you do if you quit the corporate gig?” is a question I’m often asked. The sentiment is that without “work” one will be bored to tears. The world doesn’t understand and classifies work very narrowly, as sitting behind a desk being paid with money. That’s only one form of work. There are plenty of other useful, challenging things one can turn to [paid or not] that very easily replace the world of “work”. Mr Hayden cracks the nut with his “some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment.
Anyhow, as a start I’ll spend more time visiting the beach for sunrise !
Glencairn Beach, 2 Apr 2015

Glencairn Beach, 2 Apr 2015

Feb 072015

Imagine being able to do this every Friday evening after work – or indeed every evening after any work day. Best way to leave the work-week tension behind !! No maintenance or pool chemicals necessary!

Maintenance Free Pool

Maintenance Free Pool