Our second trip to Africa had all the same excitement of the first. We were building a boat again and it was time to go and see it. This time during the mid-point of construction, so that was a change…. but lucky for us the hull before ours (hull #2 in the Kinetic 54) was just launched, and the new owners invited Lennie and I to spend lots of time with them touring and test sailing their boat while the yard was completing some final touches. It was fun to meet this couple. They are from Holland and had a similar background to us. They are selling a cruising cat and switching to a performance cat. There aren’t a lot to go around so building one is special, and so were our newfound friends.
It’s not around the corner
Just getting there is a bit tough. We flew from Palm Beach to Newark and boarded a flight that went 14.5 hours to Cape Town. Although we had spent a lot of time there on the last trip in 2019, we decided to get used to the time change in Cape Town. We spent a few days unwinding before flying to Knysna which is along the coast a few hundred miles to the East. Cape Town has a rollicking seaport and waterfront and reminds us a bit of San Francisco. We had planned this time to meet the designers of the Kinetic, Alex Simonis and Maarten Voogd of Simonis-Voogd Architecture as they were coming to the factory as well. Alex has been a dear friend for a while but this was our first visit with Maarten so that was great. Over a 3-hour dinner we were able to ask all the questions you could imagine of what the design brief on this boat was in concept and what they thought about what they had created. What a treat. It was like sitting with Frank Lloyd Wright and saying, “so tell us about this modern thing”.
I had a farm in Africa
Okay I don’t but neither did Meryl Streep and she used that line at the intro to “out of Africa”. Whenever we are there, I just keep saying it over and over to Lennie😊 We flew to Knysna on day 3 and although it was a Saturday, we texted Leon, who is the Managing Director of the Kinetic yard. We said we could wait until Monday so as not to bother his weekend. He said “Rubbish” and said meet me at the yard in 15 minutes. Sure enough, we had rented a car and drove straight to the factory and Leon pressed a button to open a large warehouse door and there she was! Happy Together (#16 I think). Although we have been receiving build reports, the boat was further along than we thought. We spent an hour with Leon taking videos and doing a walk through and it was kind of cool to finally be there standing on our future sailing machine. Seeing Leon in person was great compared to Zoom calls and we really connected. He is a gem of a person and everything is “possible and not a problem” to Leon. That’s literally the answer to every question or change.
After seeing our boat, the rest of the week was filled with yard meetings to go over all the interior decisions and spending time sailing hull #2 which had just splashed and belongs to an awesome Dutch couple, Jeroen and Conny. It was fun to spend time with like-minded people, and their boat just screamed to windward on the test sail and was 30 degrees apparent and double-digit boat speeds. The wind was light and fluky in the lagoon in Knysna, but light air is really where performance cats shine. On either of our previous cats you would have had to motor in these light winds but not on a carbon fiber sled like this Kinetic 54. It’s just amazing. Oh, we asked them the genesis of their boat name Kealoha and it was a long and winding road how they got there which is for another story.
Again…lights camera action
We have really enjoyed these 3 years since stopping our YouTube channel although we knew we would be producing some videos about this new boat. It’s strange how much we had forgotten about camera angles, sound, settings, etc. We literally went cold turkey, and it was a challenge to bring the gear and get some good filming of this trip. Check out our channel soon for some new videos of our boat and the test sail on Kealoha
Since we were across the pond anyway…
I forgot to mention…after finishing at the yard in Knysna we left SA and flew to London and then to Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos (basically the Greek starter kit). Call it a scouting trip for future cruising grounds but whatever you call it Greece was amazing.
Total travel 16 days
2 Cape Town
2 overnight flights
1 loonnggg day back
Total miles flown 22,780
Total hours flown 53.5
Plus 12 miles each way in the car to the airport in West Palm
For reference the earth is 24,900 miles around the equator. Yeah, it was a long trip!