Hi! I’m Meme…
Having a mother who loved sailing, I really had no choice but to embrace the love of the high seas. She introduced me to sailing when I was just seven years old. We’d happily sail a dingy around the Mulungushi Dam in Zambia. I’d spend hours pretending I was cross between an ocean explorer and a mermaid.
At the age of 13, we moved as half a family, to South Africa, home to the big five, and numerous dams that I continued my imaginary journey and honed my sailing skills. Wanting to continue in this vein, I ran away and joined the navy, not realizing that it was a desperately old fashioned mans world. I was subjected to endless sexist remarks and cruelty and refused a skipper’s ticket. I resigned and afterwards sent a particularly blue letter that probably melted his inbox!
With my mermaid explorers’ hat on, I headed out on my own journey crossing the high seas in a variety of boats, skippering charters, deliveries and even chartering fishing vessels. I handled humongous seas and howling hurricanes.
Co-skippering an all-ladies team for the Beachcomber Race between Mauritius and Durban in South Africa, was an almighty adventure. We didn’t win physically, but mentally we conquered the world. We skipped and laughed all the way down the jetty upon completion. It was said that most crews wanted to kill each other at this point.
I’ve had some toe-curling adventures at sea, but they make for some great story telling! Climbing a mast of a 58’ catamaran in 40kn gales to free a stuck sail, going overboard into an ocean of beautiful phosphorescence 30nm off the South Africa coast at 01.30 in the morning to rescue a spinnaker and “stealing” a boat out of Dar es Salaam for a widow who had some unscrupulous characters try to take it from her.
I met Louis during the period that I ran my own sail training school, teaching people on their own boats and working for other sailing schools. I became the first licenced female Yacht Master Ocean for motor and sail boats in South Africa and was awarded the Class XII Unlimited Skipper’s Ticket from the South African Maritime Safety Authority, and the first female with an Instructor’s qualification from the South African Sailing body. I also became a diving instructor and was privileged to sail and dive in some of the most beautiful waters on the planet. I became one of the first RYA instructors and RYA examiners for South Africa up to ocean level for power and sail.
My husband Mike is a marine engineer was terrifyingly diagnosed with a melanoma. What do you do when you get the death sentence? Go sailing of course! We sailed to the UK, were strapped for cash, so took jobs which later led us to buy a house in the Azores.
I studied nutrition to keep Mike alive. The medical professionals did not have any safe options for treatment. He has been cancer free for five years now with a managed diet, some supplements and healthy lifestyle changes. We have swallowed the anchor and are busy with a permaculture project and starting an integrative cancer business online.
Upon learning that Louis and Chrisna were moving into the yachting business, we leapt at the chance to partner with them. “Louis has always walked the extra mile for his clients and is a pleasure to work with, combining our knowledge and expertise, we are delighted to be part of Draco Marine”.