Haul out time – on our way to Cape Town.

Haul out – a necessary evil when planning to sail around the world!

Considering that we have had a “plug” under the kitchen sink for too many months to remember, it was definitely time to haul out SV Marty Alessa and get all the thru-hulls checked.

This was planned for May, however, life as we all know, got in the way. Michael considered selling Waggis, his steel boat after weeks of indecision, he found it really hard to let go as he has sailed solo across oceans on her! There were no real takers so he decided to fix her up and get her fit and ready to cross another ocean if need be.
This turned out to be a lengthy process as the local boatyard was pretty busy. Eventually got her there and hauled out and wow! – she was literally held together by barnacles underneath!

Major welding is done, the engine was taken out and overhauled, anti-fouling and heaven knows what else has been done on her.

As I am writing this, Michael is back in Port Owen (West coast of South Africa) supervising the last few bits and pieces that need to be done to get Waggis back in the water. The deck still needs to be painted, new winches put on and then she is back on the market. Or back in her mooring in the river until we decide if we should sail her into the Indian ocean as she is far stronger than Marty Alessa and her fibreglass hull.

So, today we are doing exactly this! ! 1 September 2019.

I have a few cracked ribs (don’t ask, happened 2 weeks ago), Mike has strep throat but we decided a while back that today was the day and nothing is going to delay us!
After a lot of turmoil over the past 3 years, death, (my husband, my dad, his mom), guilt, the usual ups and downs life throws your way, learning to live together in an insanely tiny space while trying to find our happy rhythm, we know for sure that we are finally ready to go it alone with just each other for company and support. With an absolute trust that, at sea and in life, we have each others back. We are beginning the journey of a lifetime together.

Farewell to our beautiful river and my birds. Farewell to this wonderful fishing village.

We are now spending 2 weeks out at sea in the middle of nowhere, checking the boat, equipment and provisioning (see how long the wine and woffie lasts). Then into Royal Cape Yacht Club for a face-lift (the boat, not me) and maintenance check.
Much trepidation, butterflies, and oh so very grateful that we get to fulfil our dream.
Day 4 out in the bay. Heavy South Easter wind today, rocking slightly more than normal but very comfortable. Michael had a serious bout of pollen allergy, throat closed up a bit, was scary but we coped. Medical supplies need to cover as many situations as you can think of. On the plus side, he couldn’t eat or drink so our supplies are looking good !! (Still managed his woffie of course!)
Strange, isolated feeling being so cut off from land (even though we can still see it), surrounded by gentle waves trickling past the boat 24/7……very tranquil and soothing.

Spent a few nights at Dassen Island but the wind turned and we decided not to be uncomfortable but to head to Cape Town albeit 2 days early.

Arriving in the harbour in Cape Town.

It’s hard to describe how I felt seeing my beautiful Table Mountain slowly appear in the distance. I am a Cape Town girl, lived here most of my life, never ever in my wildest dreams did I imagine sailing into the harbour on a boat I have loved and lived on for 3 years! For once I was speechless and in utter awe of what I am doing. Following my dream. Big lump in my throat, this is getting real.

As we were early the only available mooring they had was on the outskirts, the Immigration berth. Mike nearly took their sign out coming in but we were soon safely tucked in with our little braai going! (BBQ!).
2 days later was D Day. Great excitement, nerves of course but all went semi smoothly. The bolt in the prop decided that would be a good time to pop out so we had no forward thrust. Fortunately, my smart captain had arranged a dinghy to help.

Before, looking a tad sad.
Shiny and gorgeous again!


Don’t want to bore you all but just a bit of info regarding the haul-out. We found some osmosis, according to the captain: steel boats rust, wooden boats rot and apparently fibre-glass boats get the pox. We had blisters on the hull which leaked a sour vinegary liquid when pierced. Ground out the osmosis, as deep as necessary and epoxied closed afterwards.

Hull sanded to make her smooth (actually that was done first and then the osmosis started appearing), applied an epoxy primer, a barrier coat and 3 coats of anti-fouling paint.
The white part of the hull was sprayed hence the nice finish – cost an” f-load “says the captain but worth it. All thru-hulls replaced and piping and plumbing replaced on all of them (engine cooling, shaft cooling, galley drain/saltwater intake as well as the toilet intake and outlet. Prop changed for another one (fancy folding one where the bolt continuously falls off is now history), dropped the rudder, replaced the stabilizer pillar block bearing (massive mission to remove the old rusted one),
Quite a bit of fibreglassing done on the hull in general and especially on the bow where we had bad storm damage at Club Mykonos.

We learned a lot, quite an experience to haul out 15 tonnes of boat! I have a list of haul out tips that helped us, hope it helps!

All in all, a bloody marvelous job!
Now to start on the deck……

Captain Mike and Nikki.

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