making a home : Refit der TWIGA


Since beginning of May we are now in South Africa. In December last year we bought in Langebaan a Dean 365 Catamaran, 16 years old, a sound and solid hull, but in a poor state of maintenance. We bought it to start a live- aboard way of life for the next years to come, dreaming of going to Brazil and then…. Well, we don`t know jet and there is no hurry for us to plan a far ahead future.

By now it is getting winterly cold and windy in South Africa; today a north-westerly storm is blasting, pouring loads of cold water over our new home, which still stands on the hard standing area of the Myconos Marina.

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Hey, Myconos Marina? Yes, that`s right! There is a club called Myconos at the South African Langebaan lagoon with a very well protected marina. Water, electricity, showers, shops, internet, just all the things for your daily needs you`ll find here. But if you need something special boat equipment, sails, tools, special paints, etc., it means a ride to Cape Town, being 100 Km to the south.

Langebaan lagoon is 15 Km long, stretching from the North, where you can find the small and industrial city of Saldanha to the South , an area protected as a national park. The bays waters are mainly shallow, as soon as the sun shines it is heating up fast. The south end is a well known kindergarten for lots of fishes and strictly protected. Sailing is quite popular here, the lagoon being one of the very few protected waters in South Africa. In addition they do have tidal currents here as well which are needed to match the examination conditions of the Royal Yacht Club. It is because of this special situation why three yachting schools are operating here all the year round.

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In the background our cat on the hard, still white, still named “Coincidence”

When coming into Cape Town we already bought some tools, cleaning materials and, very important, a high pressure cleaner (Kärcher); we love it by now!

On our arrival the ship smelled foul, water in bilges, dirt, genua molded, damp wall to wall carpets, oil in the engine rooms, wet spots under the windows, and and …

We stared cleaning up; it took more than a week! The engines and saildrives had to be removed and overhauled, we needed help. Clive from Southern Marine came with his crew, getting out the engines was hard work and done in a half day;

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a rusty engine!


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getting the engines out and in via ladder

working in a confined space

But to get the spare parts from Sweden proofed to be a matter of exercising patience, we are still waiting for some parts. In the end the overhaul of both engines will cost us round about ten thousand €, which sets pretty close limits to other investments we`d like to do, like a watermaker or a parasailor.

The ship must be painted a new because the gelcoat has innumerous tiny cracks, polishing wouldn`t help any

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more. Some windows were leaking, all the screws, nuts and bolts had to be checked and tightened, most of them being loose. The water tanks are leaking too, two water - outlets are corroded, and I`m sure this will not be end to it.

One real challenge is finding out where to get which supplies: we found  most of the useful addresses to be located in the industrial area of Paarden Island, Cape Town, a list of them we`ll publish on our website.Now we have been working for more than a month on our boat, and have accomplished quite a lot, we even have the realistic chance to launch our “TWIGA” within the next two weeks!

tl_files/twiga_inhalt/bilder/Twiga 2 Katamaran/refit mykonos/report reftit firt month/7 Twiga mit neuem Grosssegel.jpgAfter finishing the painting of the hull she got her new name and logo as well, which was very important to us, because from now on she is “our” ship!

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We had new sails ordered at North Sails in Paarden Island, the old ones taking into the locker as spare parts, they are in a good working condition but look shabby.


The deck still needs painting, the bathing platform some carpenter`s work, in the inside we started to renovate our living space, just like in an old house! Scratching of plastic sheets, glued to the bathrooms wall, was a most dirty work; in the end Helga had a soiled her body and clothes,

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I confined the dirt to me, but masked like a bloody terrorist!

Until we`ll be through with all the work that has to be done it will take at least another two months, partly because some items are hard to come by. For example: we are still trying to get a good low energy consuming fridge with a freezer department included for 12V /230V. We didn`t find one on stock, it has to be ordered from overseas, which takes a lot of time.

Some help we`ll need with checking the electronics as well, still discussing how much we`ll need. There is so much on the market, all crying:”you need me!”If we follow these outburst of advertisement we`ll never leave the shoreline, every year something better, newer, indispensible! And then I remember the times back in the 70th, when we were sailing in the Baltic and the North Sea with our charts, pencil, ruler, compass and glasses; we went everywhere and nobody was wondering. But honestly, we will get ourselves an AIS, cruising long distances, risking to be run over by big ships who`s bridge is manned by just one tired man, shows that not only technology but even more seamanship has changed – not always to the better!

Our touristic program is meager so far. Cape town is drowned by soccer fever, an infection that has no danger tl_files/twiga_inhalt/bilder/Twiga 2 Katamaran/refit mykonos/report
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Some hikes at the coast in beautiful South African`s autumn weather were recreational; long beaches, more or less deserted, dunes populated by birds ostriches and zebras.

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A visit to Paternoster showed us the fishing village, now being populated mainly by people from Cape Town looking for recreation, but still busy fishing.

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The people we met have all been very kind and helpful, either by trying to meet our wishes or looking for the information who might be the right person or institution to help.

wenn rechte Winkel fehlen...

Bootsbau. Es gibt den rechten Winkel nur am Geodreieck! Vergeblich ist die Fahndung nach der Waagerechten, Senkrechten oder ähnlich pedantischen Phantasien. Jedes Werkstück gerät zur Maßschneiderei, Schablonen schneiden und dennoch passt es auch danach nur annäherungsweise. Rundungen verweigern den definierten Radius, Ecken sind rundlich.

Termine wabern im Ungefähren, die Koordination verschiedener Bauaufgaben sollte man dem Zufallsgenerator überlassen. Auch die Verlängerung unserer Visa benötigte drei Monate, und dann hatte man in Pretoria nur meinen Pass verlängert aber nicht Helgas, ein provisorisches Schreiben der lokalen Behörde muss bestätigen, dass sie legal im Lande ist.

Aber freundlich und hilfsbereit sind sie alle; vier Monate währte der Kampf um die Reparatur der beiden Volvo Penta Motoren, mal fehlten Ersatzteile, dann wurden die falschen geschickt, einige Bolzen vergessen zu sichern, auch dies hat sein Gutes, denn die schon fast lächerlich kleinliche Kontrolle aller Details führt zu intensiver Kenntnis dieser Maschinen.

Die landesweite Streikerei lähmt Behörden, Krankenhäuser und Gewerbe, der Stainless- steel Bauer ist vier Wochen mit seiner Arbeit im Rückstand... nur gut dass wir uns Zeit genommen haben für die Neugestaltung unseres neuen schwimmenden Heimes.

Einige Male sind wir-allerdings nur auf der Lagune- draußen gewesen und haben erfreut gemerkt, dass dieses schwere Schiff doch recht zügig unter Segeln in Fahrt kommt und auch an der Kreuz ordentliche Leistungen zeigt.

Die gelegentlichen Ausflüge werden zu Frühlingsanfang ein Eintauchen in eine landesweite Blütenpracht, ein grünes Land, überzogen mit allen Farben die der Malkasten hergeben kann.

Die folgende Galerie enthält einige Eindrücke dieser Wochen.