I came across an article on Sailnet this morning that looks at the boatbuilding industry in South Africa, mostly in the Western Cape of course. You can read the full article here. This really reminded me of a couple of things. Firstly, what a great place in the world to live. Sure, we have our challenges, but on the whole, sunny South Africa still affords most of us cruising yachties the opportunity to live like kings. Sure, the Rand is not as strong as we’d like and the cruising opportunities are limited, but I think South Africans are naturally disposed toward finding solutions and working around obstacles.
As anyone familiar with the country will know, the economy is largely based on MMM – Mining, Minerals and to a lesser extent Manufacturing and the hub of the economy sits in Johanesburg about as far from the sea as you can get. As a result, many yachties keep their boats inland, either at Hartbeespoor or the Vaal. The former is really small and crowded and doesn’t really lend itself to great cruising. The latter however is the cruisers choice.
Round the world cruisers, coastal cruisers and others who sail the coasts of the world may scoff at the hardy little band of cruisers who sail the Vaal. Yet, back to my initial point – South Africans will make a plan and enjoy their cruising no matter what. AND we sail all year round!