Thandiwe was launched in December 2013 and spent early 2014 undergoing sea trials along the Knysna coastline and being used for demonstration purposes as I was back home in the UK for most of the year. Then in October 2014, Thandiwe was sailed down to Cape Town for its final handover, and the first Knysna 500SE was launched to the public at the Cape Town Boat Show, where it was hailed as the “most beautiful” and “sexiest boat in the show”.
Immediately after the show, Thandiwe was delivered to the Miami Boat Show in February 2015, where its sleek lines where greatly admired and again she was hailed a great success. Even the non-sailing wives and partners of seasoned sailors where taken by the styling and in particular the finishes and facilities in the galley and cabins, plus that all important air conditioning. No creaks and groans of the infrastructure when she’s on the move either. Each Knysna 500SE is individually handcrafted, and not built in a modular form of construction adopted by the high volume competition!
I have now been the proud owner of Thandiwe for the past four years, sailing in South Africa, the Caribbean, and now the Med. And, if I had a pound for every time a passerby on land or sea shouted to us “nice boat” I’d be a very rich man! Only 3-4 500SEs are hand built by local craftsmen each year, so they have become a real ‘head turner’ when seen sailing in different parts of the world.