The list of repairs and replacements for Nine of Cups is long, as you well know, but I have to say we are very impressed with the efficiency and responses from the Durban trade community. Our experience in most ports is that after chatting with other yachties and talking to local people around the marina, we finally get the name and number of someone who “might” be able to help us. We call. We wait and sometimes, just sometimes, the person shows up, perhaps offers a quote with no guarantee of delivery or quality and then might never be heard from again. Or perhaps the quote is five times what we'd expected or, as in Mauritius, there is no quote, but we're assured of a “cheap, don't worry price” … which we know will be the blue-eyed yachtie special and we're just not game for that. To our delighted surprise, the Durban Marina has answered many of our questions. Mobile phone service? Supermarkets? Laundry? They also have a display of tradesmen' cards offering all sorts of yacht services. We picked up another card with the possibility of getting our bimini and dodger replaced. We called and, son of a gun, if someone didn't show up within a couple of hours, take measurements and give us a quote and a delivery time on the spot. What? We placed the order for delivery in early January.
David needs a new whisker pole toggle fabricated and chatted with Rob, the go-to guy here at the marina. No problem, he can have it done in a few days and took the piece with him. What about drilling and tapping the new larger holes in the steering quadrant rudder arm? “Well, David, we have a machine shop here on site. Bring your own bit and you can do it yourself. No charge.” Oh, my!
Is there a chandlery nearby? Well, yes, of course, there's Seaport Supply, but it's a lengthy walk. Just give them a call and they'll come collect you and bring you back. Don't have what we need in stock? No worries. They'll research it for us and get back with pricing and delivery. No charge … no obligation. Really? And there's another branch of Seaport Supply in Cape Town, too. No time to get a part in here? They'll ship it to Cape Town for pick-up.
What about a sail repair? They'll be down this afternoon to give us a quote. And they actually showed up!
Our lives have gotten considerably easier and more efficient. All that AND Durban prices are reasonable and within the budget. We might even have a shot at getting all our work done and seeing more of South Africa than the marina dock. We're liking Durban more and more each day.