August 5 was the big day. ‘Waratah’ was skidded out of the shed, and loaded onto the big special truck from Murray Transport in Durban. Unfortunately we suffered a bit of damage to the hull during the process, which had to be taken care of in Durban. No structural damage luckily, but some cosmetic work was in order.
At first light on August 6 we left Welkom for Durban. Big transports like this are only allowed to travel during daylight, and we hoped to cover the 600 km to Durban before dark. We also needed two escort cars with flashing lights and warning signs, one ahead and one behind the truck. With little traffic on the road the trip went smoothly, and we arrived at the Marina Yacht Lift facility in Bayhead around 16:00. There ‘Waratah’ was lifted off the truck, and was secured and supported on land. The travel lift of Marina Yacht lift has a maximum capacity of 60 tons, and the manager Enock and his crew did a great job.
The boat builder Wynand, his staff of 4, and myself slept on the boat that night. The next morning Wynand had to go back to Welkom for urgent business, and left 3 of his staff (Roedie, Karl, and Riaan) with me to help me finish up.
After that, unfortunately things started to go very wrong. It’s a long story, and I will not elaborate in detail, because we are still in the process of finding a solution. The bottom line is that I was literally high and dry in Durban, with an unfinished boat, a lot of rework and modifications to be completed, and some essential equipment still missing.
Roedie stayed with me for another 10 days to secure everything on the boat, so it could be stored for a longer period of time. The plan is to come back early next year, probably around Chinese New Year, to finish everything. I was running out of time. I had to go back to work in Shanghai, and also prepare for moving house again before the end of September.
All in all very frustrating. The good thing was, that I had the chance to meet a lot of very friendly and helpful people in the maritime and boating community. They gave me great advice, helped me to make ‘Waratah’ watertight (there were still leaking windows and hatches), and cover her with a tarp to shield her from sun and dust.