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Join us as we sail around the world - share our joy, experiences, trials and tribulations as we proceed.
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APR
05
0

Company update

We are making progress with getting the company back on track. It has been a difficult time, escpecially during the last three months of 2015. The company was dangerously short staffed and with the looming December holidays and the length of time it takes to train new staff, it was the wrong time of the year to recruit new employees. So we had to limp along until January this year at which time we embarked on a agrressive recruitment campaign. We extensively trained during the months of February and March (2016), whilst making further fundamental changes to the company. During the past 4 months, we fought like crazy to get proper business discipline back into the company and get everybody to follow the company policies, systems and procedures.

Our new employees are now fully trained and stepped into their respective job functions. We made big changes in customer service delivery and jobs are now getting completed in a proper professional manner. Sales are now coming in again, customers are satisfied with the products and services they bought and money is now once again flowing through our bank account. The situation is now much improved and getter better by the day. Our factory is starting to work at fair production capacity and there is a new mood of optimism throughout the company. Hopefully we can soon get back to our world cruise! Thank you LORD - you are answering our prayers.

  1074 Hits
1074 Hits
APR
05
0

Adding more green energy

A huge problem we encountered lying at anchor was keeping the batteries charged. We have a big battery bank consisting of 12 x LifeLine GPL-31XT 125 amp AGM batteries - giving us a total of 1500 amps. To charge the batteries, we have 2 x 180 watt solar panels, 1 x 13 kva diesel generator and 2 Yanmar engines with 35 amp Balmar alternators each. At the time of constructing the yacht, we thought that we had ample charging capacity and indeed we never encounter any problems on the short sailing stints we did whilst we were still in Houtbay, Cape Town, South Africa. We would often go sailing for a couple of days, drop the anchor at some remote locations and thereafter we would return to our mooring in Houtbay. The solar panels and the odd running of the generator kept the batteries at full charge and we assumed that this would be sufficient for our world cruise.

But then we added another 2 deep freezers and never thought to revisit our charging capacity. Fully loaded when we left Cape Town on our world cruise, fridges and 3 deep freezer fully stocked with food, we soon started noticing that we had a problem with our battery charging capacity. We managed by switching off the freezers as they became empty. The problem again surfaced when we arrived in Brazil, restocked the yacht with food and then anchoring for extended periods of time. In particular, when we arrived in French Guyana, we found that we had to run the generator for hours every day. We also have a Mastervolt charging system on board which manages the charge going into the batteries. When starting the generator, the full charge would go into the batteries but Mastervolt reduces this as the minutes/hours ticks away. After running the generator for 4 hours, to protect the batteries, Mastervolt only allowed a tiny fraction of the amps generated to go into the batteries. This is uneconomical and it makes no sense to run a 13 KVA generator whilst only 1 or 2 amps are allowed to go into the batteries.

To overcome this problem, we will now be adding another 3 x 145 watt Kyocera KD145SX-UFU solar panels and 2 x Air Breeze Marine 24 VDC wind generators to our charging capacity. Our calculations show that this will give us between 180 and 300 amps of charging capacity - and the beauty is that it is green energy. A custom made stainless steel structure will be manufactured and fitted to the back of Revelations to accommodate all this equipment.

KYOCERA-KD145SX-UFU Specifications
Air Breeze Specifications

GreenEnergy

  1082 Hits
1082 Hits
APR
03
0

Justice served

Pursuant to the mindless half dead who drove his car on the wrong side of the road, then smashed into our BMW M6 during November 2014 in Cape Town;

At the time, we reported the matter to the authorities, prepared and delivered extensive documents to the insurance company of this half dead. They responded with a ridiculous settlement offer covering about 40% of the cost to repair the damage. They refused to budge during attempted negotiations which followed and it became apparent that they tried to rip us off.

We then instituted legal action against this "half dead" driver and issued summons for him to appear in Court. Typical of a brain dead idiot, he did not respond and did not appear in Court on the required day. The Court then issued us with a default judgement awarding us the full damages amount. Armed with this Court order, the Sheriff soon there after arrived at his house to repossess assets to cover this amount.

This clearly woke up the half dead and what followed within days, was a full settlement offer by his insurance company in addition to paying all our legal fees. It took a while, caused some delays and frustrations - but in the end, justice was served.

  926 Hits
926 Hits
APR
02
0

They don't learn do they?

Clinton

We speak so equivalently, we are so righteous, so politically correct, we sound so glib and experienced, the words flow smoothly and ooze with honey, we have the answers for all the world's aches and pains .... really!?

Here is the woman who together with Obama almost single handedly created the vacuum for ISIS to exist. "We must get rid of Muammar Gaddafi!", "Support the ARAB spring!", "al-Assad from Syria must go!", "Arm the rebels to fight Assad!". Obama and Clinton may as well be called the "founding members" of ISIS. I spoke out about this madness some time ago on this blog. I knew at the time that this would cause problems worldwide. But never in my wildest imagination did I foresee the complexity and depth of the problems and dangers we now have.

Millions of people have been displaced! Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives! Entire cities have been destroyed and reduced to rubble! Europe have massive problems with refugees - millions of them! ISIS took advantage of the power vacuum and created their own caliphate - brutally killing thousands of people! Cruelty and brutally which makes Stalin look mild and meek. Training terrorists to bomb places and kill innocent people around the world! Unbelievable!!!

I sometimes wonder what the world and America (US) would say and how they would re-act if all these things happened in the United States of America. How loud would they scream when millions of Americans are displaced? When entire cities and towns are reduced to absolute rubble. How loud would the noise be if tens of thousands of Americans are killed? Let me guess. It will without doubt be the start of World War III. But because it is not happening right there in the heart land of America, nobody seems to be overly concerned with this. Nobody seems to realize that this is what Obama and his Clinton surrogate has done. How twisted and sick can things be!?

So, here we are once again. Clinton is running for the US Presidency. Her millions of supporters are dedicated and hope to see her in office. Certainly a woman with many faces, many double standards and scandals throughout the years. Instead of running for President and supporting her in this, they should lock her up for crimes against humanity. She has blood on her hands and she is not fit for Presidency. But instead of this, some people are singing her praises! Let us not forget that she leads this chorus.

Oh yes, before I forget! She has huge moral problems using waterboarding as it is considered to be torture. But, she has no problem killing thousands of people (guilty and innocents) around the world with their drone bombing programs! What hypocrisy!? A wolf in sheep clothes! No wonder people are sick of these twisted psycho politicians! Lock her up! Lock her up for life!

  1052 Hits
1052 Hits
APR
02
0

Two Tone Colour Scheme

With most of the balsa core repairs behind us, Revelations needs to be re-sprayed and made beautiful again. Instead of painting the yacht the usual white again, we decided to paint her in a two tone colour scheme. The hulls and deck will be done in Awlgrip's Anthracite Grey and the saloon/upper structure will be done in Awlgrip's Snow White. Here is how she will look once done - we hope you also like this.

TwoToneA

TwoToneB

  1396 Hits
1396 Hits
APR
02
0

Bad workmanship

Revelations was fitted out by Wayne Robertson and a team of workers in Cape Town, South Africa. Not only did they fit out the interior of the yacht, they also fitted all the hardware and deck fittings. Wayne Robertson was the Project Manager in charge of all the workers and the numerous subcontractors who worked on the yacht. When drilling holes in a balsa core yacht, one has to take great care that the balsa is not exposed to any water due to leakages or seepage. Several years later, I started getting concerned that due care was not taken, that the holes drilled into the yacht was never sealed as there were a couple of places where the balsa core started getting soft. This happens when water penetrates the balsa core and effectively destroy the cellular structure of the wood, weakening it in the process and the balsa then get soggy from saturating water.

Now concerned about this problem, Jacque Basson, Cape Town, South Africa who worked on the yacht from 2012 to end of 2014 was instructed to remove all skin fittings and and seal the holes to prevent water getting to the balsa core. There were numerous discussions in this regard and Jacque assured me again and again that he took care of the problem. It now proves that he was lying and did not do the work any of this work.

This is what happens when you trust people and when you are not around on a daily basis to check on them! It says a lot about who they are, their character and  credibility. Quite willing to take their monthly salary but not deliver what they are suppose to do. SAD!

Arriving in Trinidad several months after leaving Cape Town, the problem became more apparent and a couple of spongy areas (wet balsa core) was discovered around the yacht. Garth Walker in Chaguaramas, Trinidad was appointed to open up these areas and do the required repairs. At first, it seemed a simple and a quick job for a couple of weeks - but the problem soon escalated. Many more (small and large areas) of wet balsa was found all over the yacht and it became a formidable job costing many hundreds of thousands of Rands to repair. The repair work is now almost done and the bill exceeds R600,000 to date. After this, the entire yacht must be resprayed with expensive Awlgrip marine paint.

Repairs1

Repairs2

Repairs3

Repairs4

  1324 Hits
1324 Hits
APR
02
0

Which colour spinnaker?

Sailing to Trinidad & Tobago, during the lighting strike some 50 nautical miles offshore from French Guiana, South America, our spinnaker shattered and was extensively torn. We had to cut large sections of the sail away as it fouled and tangled underneath the yacht. We then limped along, actually at fairly good boat speed, just with our jib all the way to Trinidad. We already have a problem with the mainsail as a halyard broke, fell back into the mast and jammed pulling the main sail up the mast. Despite this handicap, we managed an average of around 5 knots just with the jib - but this was down from the usual 8 to 12 knots we did up to this moment. Anyway, it is time to order a new asymmetrical spinnaker and we are debating which colour would be best.

Spinnaker

Black
During the day, the black spinnaker offers nice shadows on the boat and far less glare on the eyes. This is a big issue in the harsh sunlight in the tropics where the strain on one's eyes can be extensive. Another aspect is that a black sail can be seen from miles away which depending on your situation, might be a good or a bad thing. It's good if you want other boats to notice your presence - especially cargo ships. Bad if you happen to be in the vicinity of pirates. A disadvantage would be during night time sailing, shining a torch onto the black sail will not create sufficient luminance so that other boats can be aware of your presence. Another problem we anticipate is that the black colour will quickly fade and appear wash out in a couple of months. Although we really like the black, faded and washout looking sails do not look cool, shining a torch at night onto the sail to increase visibility at times are also important. So black might not be a good idea.

White
It's traditional and the vast majority of boats have white sails. During the day with strong sunlight the glare from this sail is extensive and you always need to wear sunglasses. Another problem is that in stormy seas with lots of white water, a white sail does not help much to make the boat highly visible and it is much more difficult to be seen by other boats. The upside is that white does not really fade nor does it look washed out after months of use. A big plus of a white sail is that one can shine a torch onto the sail at night and thereby increase the chances that other boats will notice your presence - quite important with cargo ships. But is is boring.

Red
Our previous spinnaker was red and it actually looked pretty good when it was new, but this changed after a couple of months of use - the red started fading and started looking washout out. It does lessen the strain on the eyes in the hectic tropical sun and offers some of the advantages which the black and the white sail offers. Not as much as the black sail, a red sail is also quite visible from afar - more so than a white sail. In addition, a red sail will also be quite visible in stormy seas with lots of white water. Whilst flying our red spinnaker at night and when in the vicinity of cargo ships, we did shine a torch onto the sail and were noticed. But the fading certainly did not work for us.

The perfect solution would be to have all the advantages of the black, red and white sail wrapped up into one colour - but no such luck. Will later let you know what we will choose.

  1961 Hits
1961 Hits
FEB
17
1

A lot has happened

A lot of things happened since we decided to postpone our world cruise. In fact, our lives has been turned upside down and we are struggling to fit in with life on the hard.

After a High Court case we lodged against the people who bought our company in 2014 and with the judge deciding in our favour, we returned to South Africa in October 2015. We soon found ourselves in the thick of things and getting lumbered with problems almost beyond belief. When we sold our business in 2014, we handed a healthy, vibrant and profitable company to the new owners. When we again took control of the company a mere 12 months later and the changes were astounding, the attitudes and problems sickening and endless - the company incurred huge losses and could not pay it's way.

We found the company in total disarray, financially plundered, no longer profitable, incurring huge losses every month and most of the staff pulling in all different directions. Most played the blame game whilst almost nobody accepted responsibility for their own actions, the company no longer worked as a unit to a common goal - indeed, it was a matter of "every man for himself" - self enrichment at the expense of the company. Several key staff members lost all meaning of hard work, expected extra ordinary success and financial reward whilst doing as little as possible. Then, the bit of work they did do, was fraught with mistakes, non profitable and completely out of sync with company systems and procedures.

We had to inject a pile of money to kill all the outstanding debt, grab the rampant bull by the horns and hang on for dear life. We lost experienced staff members in the process, the timing was all wrong to recruit new employees and we had to limp along, struggling to keep the boat from sinking. Each day presented new problems, revealed further flaws inflicting mortal damage to a now struggling company. With ever more formidable problems emerging out of the woodwork, at times it felt like we were fighting a losing battle, we were stretched to the limit and were forced to consider possible closure.

With huge amounts of money flowing down the drain and with no end in sight or effective solutions, the entire situation started wearing us down. We seriously contemplated closing the company down on several occasions as the pressure kept climbing and became intolerable. Since returning to South Africa, we have been working at least 16 hours a day and with the help of some committed employees, we started fixing, shaping and steering the company in the correct direction. Whilst we are still not out of the woods, we have made some good progress and the changes will soon start bearing fruits. It will still be another couple of months before the company returns to profits and solid ground - but for now, the worst seems to be behind us.

  1126 Hits
Recent comment in this post
I hope you guys will soon get back to sailing.
Saturday, 20 February 2016 10:48
1126 Hits
OCT
14
0

World cruise delayed

We have to postpone and delay our world cruise indefinitely for another day as I have to return to South Africa once again. Due to Britsie's ill health and recent developments with our previous company, I have to return and see what can be done to manage the company. Flights are already booked and I will land in Johannesburg this coming Monday morning. We will then meet the people who bought the business from us and discuss the way forward.

Quite frankly, we do not have any desire to become landlubbers nor business owners again and will surely miss our life on the water. Revelations will go into long term storage here in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and hopefully it will not be too long before we can return and resume our world cruise.

  1312 Hits
1312 Hits
OCT
14
0

Epoxy work - replacing wet balsa. Episode 3

The work continues to open up the outside skin laminate and remove the wet balsa. The port transom bottom step is now completely redone, sporting new balsa core and epoxy skins, it has been faired - now awaiting primer paint coats. The starboard aft transom was opened up even more as Garth discovered more and more wet balsa. They are now into dry balsa and the repair work can commence. Whilst Garth was checking for other bits of damage to the hull, he found a section of laminate near the starboard transom which did not bond to the balsa. This laminate has since been removed, new epoxy skin was laminated applied and a fairing compound was applied - waiting to dry and be faired within the next day or so. The work done is thorough and much faster than experienced in South Africa.

Repair10

Repair10

Repair10

Repair10

  1272 Hits
1272 Hits
OCT
13
0

Batchelor style

With Sue back in South Africa, all the comforts stripped to a bare minimum, I am living like a typical bachelor here on board Revelations in Chaguaramas, Trinidad. Gone are the little perks I have been used too and enjoyed when she is around, no more great food, the yacht quickly becomes a mess and the dirty laundry and dishes are piling up. Living in isolation, detached and almost cut off from the world, the days and long nights disappears into oblivion. Whilst I'm coping and mostly enjoying the isolation, I do miss her in so many different ways and cannot wait for us to get together again.

  1218 Hits
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1218 Hits
OCT
13
0

Epoxy work - replacing wet balsa. Episode 2

It is day two of replacing the wet balsa core on Revelations and Garth is making good progress. He already replaced all the balsa on the port transom which he opened on day one, inserted new balsa core and solid glass where the fittings will be bolted on and closed everything up again with a new epoxy skin, this will now be faired (made smooth) in the next day or so - ready for painting. In addition, he started work on the starboard hull, cut the outside skin and dug out the wet balsa core. This starboard wet area is larger than shown in the picture and will be opened up even more. Besides these two areas, there are other places around the yacht with wet balsa and which will also be opened up and repaired in the coming days.

Garth Walker really knows about glass and epoxy work, has a easy going manner about him and gets the job done. But these guys all talk in "Trini" which is a superfast dialect of English without the restrictions of the formal English language. So one have to listen very carefully as they talk this machine gun version of Trinidad English and they have to repeat things a couple of times for me to catch what is actually said.

BalsaCore2

BalsaCore1

  2096 Hits
2096 Hits
OCT
10
0

Epoxy work - replacing wet balsa. Episode 1

Revelations is a balsa and epoxy construction and there are a number of places on the yacht where the balsa got wet and spongy. This is due to holes drilled into the deck for fittings and the people who did the work never plugged the drilled holes with solid epoxy resin. Over time, water seeped through the holes and the balsa then got wet. The result are "spongy decks" - extensive damage, lots of hassles and money to get everything repair. Despite paying people to do the work properly and later instructing Jacque Basson and Johnathan in Cape Town to once again make sure that it is done correctly - it was never done.

Here is Garth Walker from Trinidad starting to repair the damage. He seem to know what he is talking about and comes highly recommended. He opened the soggy areas in no time and will replace all the wet balsa.

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20151010 161329

  1335 Hits
1335 Hits
OCT
07
0

Insurance - Further delays

Pursuant to a lighting strike on Revelations, we started getting quotes for all the repair work to be done. The list was long as most of the electronic and some of the electrical equipment was rendered useless. These quotes were submitted to the insurance company and they duly appointed a assessor to assist in this matter. I was hoping that the insurance claim would all be done and dusted at the end of our one month trip back home. But not so fast; the assessor now wants more other suppliers to look at the work and give their opinions. This will now cause further delays in getting the ball rolling and repairing all the damage.

  1465 Hits
1465 Hits
OCT
07
0

Good News

I received some good news when I spoke to Sue earlier today - Britsie, her father survived his lung operation. Although still in ICU, in pain and sedated, the prognosis is that he will recover and is no longer in immediate danger. This is a relief for both of us as the stress about his illness was starting to take a heavy toll.

  1190 Hits
1190 Hits

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