Buying our first sailing yacht – post #1

This is the post excerpt.


This is my very first post.  I am completely new to all of this, so please bear with me.  A little bit of history.

My husband, Emil, and I have been married for 32 years, have 3 children (1 daughter & 2 sons) and a granddaughter, 11 years old.  We are finally moving towards our long time dream of sailing and cruising on our own yacht.  Two years ago, almost to the day, our son purchased a 40ft Samson Ferro Cement Ketch yacht.  We live in a small town, Umkomaas, in the Kwazulu Natal Province of South Africa.  The yacht was moored in a different Province.  So we took a road trip to East London in the Eastern Cape.  We had no idea what condition she was in, we had only seen the pictures that were posted in the advert.  We arrived at the Buffalo River Yacht Club ready to meet the current owner and eager to get an up close look at her.  Our main concern, being a ferro cement boat, was whether there was any corrosion coming through in the hull. Thankfully there was not.  The interior was just as was shown in the pictures.  As we walked down the companionway steps we felt at home, she had a peacefulness about her.  It’s difficult to explain, she was so inviting.  From the outside she did not look like too much as the owner had removed all the masts and rigging.  Apparently he had been trying to sell her for so long.  The advert our son found was actually an expired advert!

He told us unfortunately his wife was not interested in sailing so he decided, with a heavy heart, to sell.  We went over the whole boat, looking at all the possible things that could possibly make the decision on our behalf not to buy.   We decided to “sleep on it” and so took the long trip back home to Umkomaas.  As you can imagine the whole journey home was spent talking about the pros and cons of buying this particular boat. Fortunately Emil knows plenty about boats, he grew up fishing and building boats with his family.  He has built plenty fiberglass boats and RIB’s but not had too much to do with ferro cement boats.  He has always wanted to buy or build a steel yacht, so yes, a ferro boat was not our first choice.  Joshua our youngest son is the researcher, so on our return he was onto the internet researching everything he could on ferro cement yachts. We knew that this particular one was a factory built one, which is a huge plus.

So fast forward a couple of days and we contact the owner to say we will take her.  We pay the deposit and then plan our next trip down to East London to take ownership of the boat.  The owner had told us that all the equipment and rigging etc was at his house, we were definitely not prepared for everything that came with the boat!  There was double of all the sail configurations, except the spinnaker.

The balance of the money was paid over, the paperwork sorted and we made our way back home.  There was plenty excitement on the journey home, Joshua had just bought a yacht!  Emil and I have a scuba diving charter in Umkomaas and we needed to get back to prepare for the annual sardine run that happens every year on the Wild Coast.  The plan was to finish up with the sardine run and then go back to East London to put all the rigging and equipment back on the boat.  As newbies to yachting we had no idea how the rigging needed to go back, nothing was labelled!, so Joshua spent a lot of time on YouTube to see how it was done.

Post #2 to follow soon


Buying our first sailing yacht – post #5

Joshua and Juley fetched Emil and I from the bus stop. I was so excited to see Salty Cow with the sails on. Finally she looked like a sailing yacht should. We had no idea though how she would handle on the sail from East London to Durban. There was no one we could chat to that had sailed on her either. We checked the weather forecast for the coming days, we knew it should take us around 3 or 4 days, depending on weather.

While Emil and Joshua got busy with the final prep work, changing the oil in the main engine etc., Juley and I started doing fuel runs. There isn’t a fuel dock at the Buffalo River Yacht Club so we had to go into town with fuel cans and fill at the local truck stop. The diesel is cheaper there. We hit a bonus also because the truck stop has a laundromat. The guys there were amazing, while we were running from the boat and back they checked on our clothes and put them into the tumble drier for us. It was super cheap also.

Our boat has a 400l fuel tank so yes it took us awhile to fill it. Emil and Joshua filled the 400l water tank. Then it was time to get provisions so off to the local supermarket went Juley and I. Now we have been on plenty camping trips that we had to provision for, but this was rather daunting knowing that if we ran out of anything really important it would be a big problem as we can’t just pop into the local town and replenish stocks. I don’t think I have ever taken this long to shop, and I had a list!!

Right so the boat was packed, we were preparing ourselves mentally for what lay ahead. We had enjoyed our stay at the Buffalo River Yacht Club, the people were awesome. While we were in Umkomaas during the time that the boat was moored there we dragged in a heavy storm, they were quick to get out to her and put on extra ropes etc.

Emil caught fish right off the back of the boat and we had an awesome fish braai (barbecue) at the yacht club. All in all it was great meeting everyone. We were very excited to leave though and get to Durban.

Post #6 coming soon!

Buying our first sailing yacht – post #4

When we returned to Umkomaas we brought a few things with us from the boat, there was a few things that needed to be painted.  Boy did we have a lot to research! We have registered and surveyed plenty boats for our fishing and scuba diving businesses but never a yacht.  We had to make sure we were getting all the right paperwork and safety gear together to get our yacht listed and surveyed.  

The lady at the SA Sailing Durban office was fantastic, I could phone or email her with all my questions and she was only to happy to help.  She arranged for a surveyor to meet us in East London.  We did the listing before we left, registering all the radios Etc also. Things were getting really exciting for us, we had a name for our boat and she was registered in our name. 

We named her Salty Cow.  How did we come to that name you may wonder 😊. Well, we have a dog named Cow, no it’s not a female dog either, it’s a male!  When he was born his coloring looked like a jersey cow so he was named Cow 😂.  

During the months of June and July we have clients out to dive on the sardines for the annual Sardine Run along the South African Wild Coast.  Emil was in Mbotyi with the clients so Joshua, Juley and I did all the painting and prep work on the safety gear that needed to go back to the boat.  The plan was for them to be driven down to East London one last time to finish off the last bit of work on the boat before the surveyor arrived.  Emil and I would then catch the bus from Durban to East London and we would then sail her up to Durban.  

Things were finally getting real for our first time sailing her 😁⛵️. The bus trip was pretty uneventful except for the building excitement.  Joshua had been watching the weather, we had the perfect weather window coming up. We met up with the surveyor, everything was in order.

Yay, we could make the final preparations to leave.

Buying our first sailing yacht – post #3

Sorry for the delay in posts, I will really try to get them up more consistently.

We waited for the tide to go out.  It was a long and very noisy night.  We had the mast hoisted up to the bridge with all the rigging attached, so as you can imagine the noise of the clanging rigging was very loud, especially since we are not used to this kind of noise.  It was quite an awakening knowing that these were some of the noises we were going to have to get used to.

The mast was finally stepped once the tide had gone out sufficiently.  It was quite a feat, but we did really well, much to the surprise of the yacht club members.  One thing is for sure the men in our family do not back down that easily.

I am trying to locate the photos that were taken, but seem to only find video footage.  I will keep searching.

Finally she was looking more like a yacht, just without the sails. That was going to be Joshua and Juley’s job, to get the sails up and the rigging and halyards sorted out.  They had 2 weeks or so there on their own, Joshua wired up some lighting etc.  Juley’s dad and step-mom went down for a visit and stayed with Joshua and Juley on the boat.

Emil and I returned with our granddaughter to Umkomaas.  We had decided that we needed to get the yacht up to Durban as soon as possible because it was costing quite a bit in travelling, both time and money.  Also it was a bit of a mission each time to make sure we were taking everything we may or may not need for the boat.

I approached SA Sailing in Durban about registering the boat and doing the survey in East London so we could sail it up to Durban.  The lady at SA Sailing was so helpful.

The next trip down to East London would be to fetch Joshua and Juley and get the registration and survey paperwork done.

Post 4 coming soon!

Buying our first sailing yacht – post #2


So this is what our yacht looked like when we bought her.  No masts or rigging. At least the motor worked so we could move her from where she was moored to the jetty so we could have easy access to her.

After all the paperwork was done we returned to Umkomaas.  Lots of research was done by Joshua on how to put all the rigging back.  We knew we had plenty work ahead of us when we returned to East London, firstly we had to get the masts and rigging, all the sails and electronics from the previous owner’s house down to the yacht club.  Everyone was telling us the only way was to hire a crane truck to transport the masts and then a crane to install them.  Nope, not this family, we did not want to spend unnecessary money on stuff that we could possibly do ourselves, so Emil, being a genius at figuring these sorts of things out had other ideas!

As usual with anything boating the plans changed slightly, we decided to “quickly” take a weekend and go down to East London and get the masts and rigging onto the boat, as the previous owner’s wife wanted her house back and we needed to get everything out a.s.a.p.  We loaded up our trusty VW Jetta and a trailer with everything we thought we would need.

Emil rigged the mast behind the Jetta so we could tow it to the yacht club. Everything that came with the yacht was loaded into the Jetta and trailer.  We must have looked a sight 🙂

The next morning we needed to get the masts up, the main mast is 20m and the mizzen around 12m.  DSC_4110.JPG

Just up from the yacht club is a bridge.  Emil and Joshua decided to rig a pulley system to hoist the masts up and drive the yacht under the bridge to place the masts.  We did the mizzen first so we could use it to help with the main mast. Everything was worked out, even though the yacht club members doubted we would get it right.  Everything was going to plan until we attempted to place the main mast and the bridge height was too short!!  We forgot about the tidal change with the Buffalo River!!  We had to wait until the tide went out!

Post #3 to follow soon