Selected by The Greenwood Guide to South Africa, 2nd edition
Text written by Simon Greenwood
As I took the helm on board the Outeniqua, fifty feet of shimmering beauty somehow under my command, and took her across Knysna lagoon at a leisurely six knots, I felt very special indeed. I was discombobulated no doubt by a heady combination of the yacht, the setting and my own skipperly delusions. The Outeniqua is owned and sailed (often out at sea, weather permitting) every day by Stephan and Evelyn Peplar, a young couple who clearly love what they do and it’s not hard to see why. The coastline around Knysna is beautiful and the vessel truly exceptional, and I’m not just saying that because Stephan spent four and a half years building and fitting her out!
Every immaculate thing on board, bar the hull, is his own work. The day starts with a call through to the harbourmaster to raise the bridge by the moorings, and you head off across the lagoon to the Heads, a narrow, steep-sided channel that leads out to the open sea and a whole world of excitement. But don’t worry Stephan will always go at your pace, even if the dolphins swimming past you are not. Evenings are spent moored at Featherbed, the calmest part of the lagoon, where Evelyn conjures a quite magnificent dinner from the galley. A wonderful experience.