Saturday, November 8, 2008

Annapolis 2008 Demo day

I have just added the write up on the Annapolis 2008 Demo day, where Lesley and I demo and sailed the Lagoon 380, the Leopard 40 and the Lagoon 420. All three yachts are fantastic, but we can only buy one. Below is a short clip from the page, happy reading.

Immediately I could feel the difference, this yacht is faster and lighter, better, maybe and maybe not, but it is so hard to tell in such light conditions. The Leopard 40 was essentially built for the Caribbean charter market so she is geared towards the tourist, as a result she has tons of storage and the aft deck area and saloon are designed around sunset dinners on the deck with family and friends. There is little or no separation between the the saloon and aft section of the boat. It is however designed with the aft deck closed off with a walkway that can be closed off to stop the toddlers wondering off. Well to a point, young ones have a way of getting over, under or around things, but we don't have any but this was still pointed out to us. Anyway about half way into the sail the skipper says to me to furl the jib, center the traveler and tack through the wind. So we furl the jib and so on and tack through the wind on the main in 5 knots of wind and I will be damned if the yacht deals with this without a problem at all. Really easy, and no motors, now I am impressed. We sail along and sail past the Lagoon 420 which tacks away and we have a royal time in 5 knots or less of wind. Still not great conditions for sailing but the yacht handled the conditions better than the Lagoon did. Why, well as mentioned she is lighter, and has less beam than the Lagoon 380 and thus does not need all that additional weight. I ask well how does she handle big seas and heavy winds, and the skipper says that he sailed her over from South Africa dodging Hurricanes, Gustav, Hannah and Ike. Great story but I wasn't there so I have to believe him. We thank him for his time ...

Gavin & Lesley Slabbert
Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Domain name of BlueWaterCruising.com



Our Domain name has changed to BlueWaterCruising.com ...

We are excited to announce that we have obtained the domain name of BlueWaterCruising.com. This domain better reflects our website and that we will be spending most of our time sailing and diving in the deep blue yonder. It also does not have any of the stereotypes attached to it that our previous domain name had.

We have also finally completed the Announcements page which has more information on why we changed our domain name, how and why we chose the name of our yacht, and lastly we have some very cool T-Shirts for sale with a custom designed Sailor-dog logo on it.

Lastly we have finally figured out how to make our RSS feed work correctly so go to the website and subscribe to RSS feeds and be notified of any updates and postings to our website.

Take a look at Recent Announcements

Enjoy ...

Gavin & Lesley Slabbert
Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Annapolis Boat show 2008


I have posted the Annapolis Boat show 2008 page which can be viewed at Blue Water Cruising Annapolis 2008 page ....

You will find the link to the page on the left side of the index page and there are tons of photos of catamarans to be seen.

Here is an excerpt from that page...

Well the 2008 Annapolis boat show has come and gone, and much to my surprise there were throngs of people all weekend. Boat sales from what I can gather from the salesman were brisk but down from last year, if the sales people are to be believed. I seriously doubt that there were a lot of sales but I do personally know of 1 as I happened to be present while the negotiations were going on. During the dealings I hear some serious concessions were made by the sellers as they too are feeling this market.
We arrived at the Show on the Sunday, went and confirmed our demo sails on the Lagoon 380, the Lagoon 420 Diesel and the Leopard 40. Though we have been leaning toward the ...

Enjoy ...

Gavin & Lesley Slabbert
Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Cango Caves Page now Available ...



I have finally completed the Cango caves page which can be viewed at Blue Water Cruising.

You will find the page under the "Where in the World - South Africa - Cango Caves" tab.



Here is an except from that page ...

Thousands of years ago, an intrepid tribe of Khoi San people which are divided into the hunter gatherer San commonly known as Bushmen and the farmer Khoi known as Hottentots (which today is considered offensive) wandered through the arid plains of the Little Karoo region, taking shelter in a large cave entrance which later became known as the "Cango Caves"

Many centuries later, in 1780, a colonial farmer named Van Zyl, dared to venture past the cave entrance, lowering himself into the unknown darkness.

From the muffled echo of his uneasy voice he sensed a cavern of breathtaking proportions, and by the dim light of a burning torch saw glistening shapes ...

Enjoy ...

Gavin & Lesley Slabbert

Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Addo Elephant Park page now Available



Go to my website and read about our elephant encounter at Addo Elephant Park, which is about 50 miles north east of Port Elizabeth South Africa.

The link is ...
Addo Elephant page


Enjoy ...

Gavin
Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Admiral Yachts Factory visit

As planned I contacted David Bird of Admiral Yachts to discuss the possible purchase of an Admiral 50. When I arrived, David, the owner and managing Director was there and available to talk. David took us up to the board room where we were asked how we intended to use the yacht and what sort of plans we had. There was no sales pitch, and no pressure. David listened intently and after about 30 minutes of us describing our possible uses and everything in mind, David set to work straightening us out. He suggested that we look at the 38 ft or the 40 footer as he felt that the 50ft would be too large for our needs even though we intended to charter the boat after our 4 year cruise. He felt that we needed to look at a yacht that took care of our current needs rather than trying to find something that performed a task that we may or may not use. (In our case a chartering business). We then discussed the pros and cons of a 38 footer, vs a 40 footer, vs a 44 footer, vs a 50 footer. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each size yacht, how they sailed, the ease of sailing, speed, maintenance and upkeep. Lastly we discussed electric versus Diesel and put to rest our desire to buy a boat with electric motors.

Once David had answered all our questions, he personally took us up onto a 40 foot that was partly completed and pointed out the differences between the 38 and the 40. He showed us the basic layout. Let me preface this with the fact that Lesley and I had been to the Annapolis show and had been on board the Admiral 40 footer that was there. We did not like the layout and it turns out that the layout was custom for the owners of that boat and was quite different to the spec layout. Not only did David say that it the layout was different he showed us most of the differences.

Once we stepped up onto the 40 is was apparent that this design was very different to the version we saw in Annapolis. It was far more open, it had a larger galley and a larger lounge area. In fact it was really nice.

Once we were done with the 40 we climbed onboard the 38, where David proceeded to point out the differences between this hull and the 40 and why he thought that the 38 footer was the way to go for us, not the 40 or the 50.

David was honest and forthright, not at all forceful and did not perform any kind of sales pitch on us. In fact we walked in fully expecting to be told about what we asked and what we thought our needs were. What we found was someone who was not interested in selling us the most expensive boat he could, but rather finding a boat that meets our needs. Many times we were told that it was very possible that an Admiral Yacht may not meet our needs.

The important question is, will I buy an Admiral, right now the answer is a very definite YES. Am I doing to buy one, probably not, only because the man is so busy that he is taking orders and deposits for boats into 2010, with a completion date of late 2010 or early 2011. We intend to start this circumnavigation in November 2009 and there is no way for the boat to be ready for us in time to meet that timeframe.

Enjoy ...

Gavin
Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

South African Boat Review Trip

Lesley and I will be leaving for South Africa in the middle of January for 3 weeks to meet with at least 2 yacht manufacturers. We plan on spending time in each of the factories, interviewing the owner and taking photos of the manufacturing process where we can.

The first meeting we have scheduled is with David Bird of Admiral Yachts in Capetown and we will be going through his factory and sailing the bay on the new 40ft Admiral. I saw the first of the new 40 footers at the boat show in Annapolis at the beginning of October and the yacht is really nice. Unfortunately Admiral has a waiting list on the 40 footers until 2009. Besides we want to buy used and I doubt very much there will be many used for sale by the end of 2008 when we plan to start our cruise.

After that we are going to travel up the Garden Route and stop over in Knysna and see Dries van Rooyen of Knysna yachts. They bought the molds for the 44 St. Francis which has been a very good boat. I have not seen what the Knysna looks like but Dries tells me that they have made modifications to the saloon, deck and cabin layout. The Knysna is not well known and the pricing reflects that.

I am going to attempt to go to Leopard and look at the 40 and 43 footers. Robertson Caine yachts are well known and the Charter fleets are full of Leopards and there primary market seems to be to "The Moorings" so I do not know how accessible they will be, but they have a great reputation, so I would be remiss if I did not at least make an effort to talk to the guys over there.

After the fiasco with Wildcat and Jaguar yachts, and their lack of support and finally their closure or bankrupcy, and the closure of Island Spirit, I was very wary of South African product, but the surviving companies appear to be more than reputable with the long term in mind, so I am going to go down there with an open mind.

On a side note, about the Island Spirit, David Bird of Admiral Yachts has bought the molds and the last I heard was that he had no plans to start manufacturing them. Why buy the molds?

I have always believed that if I could get a yacht designed by the South Africans and built by the French it would be just about the best of 2 worlds. South Africa has huge seas most all the time so they are designed 2 work in those conditions, and the French, well they have perfected the manufacturing process.

In our spare time we are going to do the South African winelands and I will be posting photos about that as well.

If any of you would like me to visit any other manufacturers let me know who they are are I will see if I can arrange a factory tour and an interview. Look forward to my reports while I am in South Africa.

Enjoy ...

Gavin
Blue Water Cruising
(Sail the seven Seas)

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