Passage Planning Part 1

The “When” of it all.

My last passage planning post was an admittedly premature textual discharge. Since then, I’ve taken some advice from Frankie Goes to Hollywood – – relaxed — slowed down — and just didn’t “do it” –again. (A dated joke for those old enough to remember the song.)

But now that the plans for the delivery of Wild Rumpus are firmed up, and we have estimated dates for the manufacturer-provided training, the shakedown cruise, and the passage itself, it is time to return to the topic. The adventure will begin just 14 months from now and the number of details to plan for is astonishing. So come on in, join my manic preparedness, and educate me with your comments.

The Boat

I’ve laid out the details of Wild Rumpus in prior posts and the manufacturer’s X5 webpage has plenty of info, so I won’t repeat it all here. But some additional detail about us and our plans for Wild Rumpus can be found on our super cool new webpage.

Suffice it to say, this is no standard charter catamaran designed to maximize the number of guests it can accommodate in a mooring field. Instead, Wild Rumpus is a seriously luxurious sailing catamaran that will accommodate fewer folks in a much higher standard of comfort — whether sailing between Virgin Islands or crossing oceans.

In this series of posts I’ll go through the planning already done, share checklists, and welcome advice from seasoned offshore passage-makers. (Yes, snarky comments are welcome too.)

Dates Are Set (ish)

COVID and general manufacturing issues could cause some delays, but the current schedule is that we take possession of Wild Rumpus in Cape Town on March 1, 2022. The manufacturer wants to spend 10-14 days doing onboard training for every system on the boat. And there are a lot of things to learn even for those who know how to sail. Wild Rumpus’s systems that we need to learn to use AND MAINTAIN while crossing an ocean include:

  • Mainsail and reefing system
  • Three headsails (self tacking jib, Genoa, spinnaker), all on electric furlers
  • Two 80 HP Diesel engines
  • Two sail drive units
  • A standard alternator and one high output alternator
  • Fuel transfer pump
  • Numerous bilge and water pumps
  • 24 volt windlass
  • Electric winches
  • Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Mastervolt Battery Charger
  • Fischer Panda variable load generator
  • Mastervolt inverter
  • C-Zone electrical switching
  • Garmin Navigation and Radar instruments
  • 40 gallon per hour watermaker (we definitely need to know how to fix this!!)

We have a Herculean task ahead of us. So, some of the ocean passage crew and I will take notes, videos, and practice virtually every step of maintenance and basic repairs. In advance of the this trip we will even take some classes, which I’ll discuss more below, including a week long hands-on diesel repair class. And, of course, we will practice sailing Wild Rumpus once we get to Cape Town.

Once done with training — roughly mid-March 2022 — Wild Rumpus will set out on a shakedown cruise. Generally, a shakedown cruise is an effort to test a boat before it is officially “in service” and ready for its intended use. The goal is to test all of the boat’s systems under realistic and even harsh conditions so that all of the many flaws and needed adjustments that could not be spotted at the dock or on easy daysails are revealed.

To really get a feel for the boat and give it a solid shakedown, the plan is to head east from Cape Town. The southern coast of Africa includes some beautiful scenery and small coastal towns including Knysna, which I’ve heard is a must-visit spot.

Tentatively, our goal is a trip around the Cape of Good Hope, with a stop at Kalk Bay and then on to Knysna.

This adventure would give us several hundred nautical miles of blue water cruising along a challenging coast to get the boat and crew prepared before an ocean crossing. As an added bonus we will get to see some cool South African towns before returning to Cape Town. Once back in Cape Town –around the end of March– the factory reps will make any repairs/adjustments needed.

The Gathering

In early April 2022 the rest of the crew will begin to arrive in South Africa and we’ll do some more sailing to familiarize them with Wild Rumpus. We will likely daysail a bunch and then start our passage prep, which will involve a lot of grocery shopping, cooking, and freezing, all of which I’ll describe in some detail later. Finally, sometime before the planned departure date of April 15, 2022, our paid professional captain will arrive– again, more details to follow.

To Be Continued

I’ll keep updating this over the next several weeks and months as plans develop and inevitably change. Feel free to shoot over questions and I’ll try to answer them in the comments or in future posts.

3 thoughts on “Passage Planning Part 1

  1. Wow Scott, you, guys are really going to be living a true adventure that sounds so exciting and terrifying to this land lubber since being to far out on open water freaks me out a little. I’m looking forward to reading about your travels!

    1. Russell

      Cool. Sounds like an amazing adventure for someone younger than me and who doesn’t need to nap 3x per day on a sleep number bed🙂

  2. Pingback: Passage Planning Part 3 - Wild Rumpus Sailing

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