In all our travels back to FL for family time, this was the roughest in terms of delays and missed flights; 60 hours total transit time! On the positive side, we did get a hotel room and meals comped at our last stop at Dulles airport in Washington. Suffice it to say, we wouldn’t choose Qatar Airlines again. Thankfully, our four checked-in bags did arrive with us in Tampa. Coming from the mild winter weather in Richards Bay and arriving to the summer heat and humidity of Florida, we know our time here will go way too fast!
It’s been a busy week both on and off the boat. Our sails were returned from Ullman Sails, Durban but we’ll forego putting them on as we’ll be departing soon for our visit to the USA. We’ve walked over to Tuzi Gazi Marina a few times (a 15 min walk) to see friends, as well as welcome Stuart & Sheila (and crew, Curtis) of sv Imagine into Richards Bay (from Madagascar). Anne, Lawrence and Lorecan are leaving for Jo’berg as their son, Ryaan, is getting married in about a week. We had a surprise birthday party for Anne, and actually managed to get everyone aboard without her knowing about it; more good times! Aboard, Jacques installed our salon table supports and is repairing a paint area on the topsides. We’re really cramped and crowded down below, as our packing begins both for a trip to the game parks as well as our visit home. All the aforementioned sails had to be brought down below as we're expecting very strong winds and rain to arrive during our weekend excursions. There’s hardly room to move around; getting anything, especially if it’s below any berth, is quite the exercise. Of note, we ate bunny chow for the first time at KNK Curries. For those of us who’ve never heard of bunny chow (that be us…), it’s curry (lamb, chicken or beef) placed into a hollowed-out ¼, ½, or God forbid, an entire loaf of bread. Not knowing any better, I ordered the ½ loaf; Sue showed admirable restraint ordering the ¼ loaf; OMG; it’s not for the faint of heart. Delicious, and we’ll be returning to KNK again (it’s at Tuzi Gazi). There’s usually some activity going on at the Yacht Club, and we’ve been to several braai’s (BBQ – remember?), another surprise birthday party, and just to hang out. We’ve arranged our rental car and accommodations for the weekend; more on that next.
Pic: Fleur, Sue, M, Gaye; a cloudy day at the Umhlanga Pier, near Durban. Ships in the background are anchored, waiting to enter Durban harbor.
We've rarely flown our code zero as the attachment point was aft of the headstay. Please don't ask how that happened. The sailmaker missed it, and what's worse, I missed it. So, flying the sail meant probable chafe on the halyard as it went across the headstay and we weren't willing to risk it. For a couple of years I've tried to come up with a means to allow the tack and drum of the sail to be attached; most schemes involved the use of a removable stainless pipe, secured thru a captive stainless upside down u-shaped welded flat bar forward and a large bolt aft going down to the deck. Uggh. When we got here to the ZYC, I put forward to the team we worked with (Morgan 0832369564 and his partner Jacques 072 609 5741) my dilemma to see what ideas we collectively could come up with. The chosen solution is an elegant one, in my opinion. We had 1 1/2", sched 40, 316 SS pipe shaped to follow the curve of the bowsprit, which is 2" SS pipe, and extended it forward of the bow pulpit enough to avoid chafe of the sail when hoisted. Down the middle of the pipe going fore and aft was fitted a 7/16" thick 316 SS plate, welded to the 1 1/2" pipe forward, the existing bow pulpit, and also the existing plate top and bottom that our headstay and bobstay attach to. The entire structure weighs less than 8-10 kg, and there are holes drilled which allow the attachment of shackles, etc. The finished unit looks like an extension of the bow pulpit, and polished, appears quite natural. The workmanship is beautiful, it's massively strong, and the code zero will be able to be flown without concern for chafe. A job well done.