Mar 012015

While the rest of the world are rushing out and “investing” in generators for fear of how bad the rolling power outages may become we’ve taken a different tack.

For everything you acquire in life there is some logic in applying a return-on-investment thought process. Is it really worth the spend? Will one really use it? Is it worth the x hours of life I needed to spend shackled to the desk to earn the cash to buy it?

For that reason I’ve never got my head around the generator panic-purchase thing. It’s a fear-driven response to something, that while inconvenient, has never really effected me that badly. Sure, there have been the odd evenings when the power has gone just as we’ve fired up the oven, but they haven’t been so frequent as to prompt me to part with upwards of R8000 for a decently sized personal generation plant.

As Danger Dave once said “South Africans braai. We’re born ready for power cuts“.

Problem is the classic open-coal fire, while good for searing steaks, is pretty limited and very fuel-inefficient. One typically needs half a bag of charcoal briquettes to merely braai the chops for a family of 4. Do that every night and the charcoal costs start to approach the sticker price of a generator.

Enter a superb South African invention – The Cobb! Last night we grilled a 1.5kg beef roast on only 10 charcoal briquettes. Superb meal, totally off-grid and super fuel efficient. It’s small and portable and so, for us, doubles as a camping cooker as well as an easily portable oven for the yacht which, in winter, will double as a cabin heater. Money well spent.

Put your desired number of briquettes in the fire basket

Put your desired number of briquettes in the fire basket


Once the coals are well alight pop in the roast and close the lid. Crack a good bottle of red and relax!


After 2 hours of slow roasting we have a superbly done beef roast. Bon appetit.



Jan 132015

Everything you buy should have the ability to be put to multiple uses.

I’ve recently been intrigued by hammock camping and found myself the perfect small shelter. It keeps off the rain and weather and also provides shade. After use, it rolls up small enough to fit in my bug-out bag. It’s the perfect, easy overnight plan for use when travelling by bike or car. Quick and easy to set up it rolls away to a minimal size and weight for storage in your pack.

My new shelter, in use over the hammock

My new shelter, in use over the hammock

In keeping with the multi-purpose, multi-use theme, here it is, pressed into service on board O’Blue to keep the hot afternoon sun from baking the interior of the boat.

The new shelter, pressed into service for shade on O'Blue

The new shelter, pressed into service for shade on O’Blue

The fact that it perfectly matches the colour of the harbour water today is just an added bonus.