Guest Interview Johann & Henriette Scholtz – Scolamanzi N60

Johann & Henriette Scholtz

So, Johann, tell us a little something about your cruising to date and where you have been so far?

Since our marriage in the early 80’s we have owned various power and sailing yachts to satisfy our need to be on the water. The southern African coast and later the east coast of Australia provided us with plenty of mostly good experiences.

Work commitments confined our boating to mainly weekends and holidays. Over the years we have charted and cruised in the Seychelles, Caribbean, Tonga and the Mediterranean.

Since 2009 we were in the position to reduce our work commitments and cruise for 6-8 months of the year. We decided to have a Leopard 4600 sailing catamaran built and commissioned her in Cape Town during 2009. Our cruising started with a passage to the Caribbean at the end of that year.

After 2 seasons in the Caribbean we double handed via Bermuda and the Azores to Portugal. We had 2 fantastic years of cruising throughout the Med and ended up selling the catamaran in Turkey, in Oct 2013.

Our dream has always been to cruise the Pacific North West from Puget Sound to Alaska and therefore we needed a suitable boat. At the end of 2013 we signed the LOI to have a Nordhavn 60 built in Xiamen, for delivery in Seattle early 2015.

Scolamanzi anchored infront of the waterfalls in Takere Arm in Desolation Sound, BC

So here we are now in SE Alaska, heading back to Seattle after two great seasons of exploring as far as Kodiak and the Katmai NP.

Scolamanzi N60 at anchor in Neliie’s Rest, Prince William Sound, Alaska

Why did you choose Nordhavn?

For us it was a matter of “horses for courses”. Nordhavn built the ideal boat to cruise the PNW plus it has a reputation as a safe and reliable passage maker. Plus, in my view they are good value for money and are always in demand when the time comes to pass her on to the next owner to enjoy.

Yes another glacier

The massive Columbia Glacier from a different angle

What has been your cruising highlight so far?

Having cruised the Caribbean, the Med and other cruising hot spots we both agree that visiting Prince William Sound and the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska were for us the highlights of our cruising to date.

Harvard Glacier in College Fiord, Prince William Sound

Harriman and Surprise Glaciers on a calm sunny day

Stern tied in Princess Louisa Inlet, BC

Geographic Harbour, Alaska with Scolamanzi in the background

Heading down Tracy Arm, Alaska

How many nautical miles have you done?

Between 2009 and the end of this cruising season we would have logged close to 25,000 Nm.

 Do you travel with an animal/s on board?

Depends on who you ask.


Misty Fiords, Alaska

In your past life what did you and Henriette do?

We both qualified in South Africa – Johann as a family physician and Henriette as a pharmacist. We got married in 1984, worked and lived near Cape Town, South Africa with our two sons until we immigrated to Australia in 1997.

Although we are cruising part time, we are both still practicing in rural Queensland, Australia.

Johann, if there is one thing Henriette does that irritates you while underway what would that be?

Henriette is terrible with names. Especially places we have been to and the sequence of events. So, when she writes her blogs, I have to deal with the same question repeatedly.

…and it’s only fair I ask Henriette the same question, so Henriette, if there was one thing Johann does that irritates you what would that be?

Irritate is a harsh word. Nothing he does irritates me but a few things annoys me endlessly! I assume this is boating related.

In our sailing days, I hated it when Johann used to speak to me in this massive voice as if I am miles away (only a 46 footer), up wind in a storm and half deaf. I guess that stems from him being in the navy where orders and communications needed to be very “loud and clear”. I once walked away from the anchor position after what sounded to me like yelling more than gentle talking. It never happened again. We ever since have adopted the No-talking-while-anchoring policy and a very handy sign language or finger signing which is well understood on both sides.

Now that we are NOT sailing, the one thing that gets to me is when he calls me. Typically I will answer and if I don’t get any reply on that, I will leave whatever I was doing e.g. take of my gloves, my boots or wash and dry my hands and scoot up to the pilot house/ engine room or the deck … just to hear the words:” It all right. Don’t worry”. I am pretty sure he just needs to know that the call button is still working in case he needs me.

Onto irritating things, have you ever run out of something while at sea that has caused problems?

Yes…Water! We once had a guest on board who forgot to close the tap in his heads and proceeded to dump about a 1000L of fresh water back into the ocean. Luckily the toilets on the Leopard used seawater for flushing and my kettle is always filled.

Would you describe yourselves as more hunters or more gathers?

Our whole life was spent on gathering things but since we have started cruising we have consciously tried to unclutter our lives and become more hunters of experiences through our travels.

Calving at Dawes Glacier, Endicott Arm, Alaska

Endicott Arm, Alaska

View of Seattle from Eagle Harbour

Why did you name your vessel Scolamanzi?

With our surname being Scholtz (pronounced Skoltz), and “scol” (the Danish “skål”) meaning cheers, we used it in combination with Amanzi, the Zulu word for water.

Scolamanzi, Cruising the BVI

Scolamanzi under way in Seymour Narrows

Scolamanzi reaching downwind in the Caribbean

What other names did you consider?

None – all our boats have been called Scolamanzi

What is the one lesson every boater should learn?

Lesson 1. Gentlemen never sail to windward.

Lesson 2. Any fool can be uncomfortable.

What is your favourite anchorage and why?

Johann: Taz cove on Kenai Peninsula : It took kahunas to get in there with a 60ft boat.

Drone view of Taz Cove, Kenai Peninsula

Henriette: South East Bay on Nisida Kastos in the Ionian islands of Greece where we had to go stern to in a bay just big enough for one boat.

Secluded bay in the Ionian Islands of Greece

Rudyerd Bay, Misty Fiords, Alaska

The Corinth Canal

The Almalphi Coast, Italy

Old town Dubrovnik, Croatia

What is your favorite Marina and why?

Johann’s preference is Marina in Palma Mallorca under the majestic Palma Cathedral. The view, the history and the vibe of the place – awesome!

What is your favourite quote and why?

As quoted on our business card:

 “Life is about the journey … and not the destination.”

A calm day in Prince William Sound

Barbuda, Coco Point

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while at sea?

Henriette: We have just bought two brand new prawn traps, each with 200 ft of floating line, weights and floats. The first catch was so successful that Johann by now was eager to show our guests how easy it is to get a whole lot of prawns with little effort. The two men went out with the tender (which has a plotter/echo sounder) to set the prawn traps. The next morning nobody mention anything about the traps. As we got to where they were set, I realised that they never picked it up. Then only did they reveal the truth. The water was too deep or the line too short. Miscalculation has never been funnier!

Johann: Early one morning half way across the North Atlantic, I got a frantic call from the helm station. “Johann! There is a big ship dead ahead of us.”

I raced up only to find the full moon rising just above the horizon, creating the panic.

What’s the biggest mistake you have ever made on the water?

Anchoring in the Caribbean on a steep slope with too little scope. Wind came up, dragged the boat two miles down the inlet, where mercifully the water got shallower and the anchor grabbed again. Just in time before hitting the reef. It was a huge shock to return at 11pm from a good night ashore to find no boat where we had anchored.

Barbuda, Coco Point, Caribbean….contemplating life

I have to ask, I assume you went through Malibu Rapids at slack water? Was there any current at all at the time you entered Princess Louisiana Inlet?

Fortunately, a small powerboat went through before us and we noticed the effect the current had on him. So I decided to wait until dead slack.

What is your most hated boat job?

Johann – As I am quite anal about clean cars, motorbikes and boats, I would say washing the boat.

Henriette – Nothing I can think of. I suppose shopping is my least favourite thing to do for the boat!

Hvar, Croatia at night

Tell us a little something about Scolamanzi?

This Scolamanzi is a Nordhavn 60. She has the new extended boat deck and forward guest cabin and has all the options available. We also added a shore power converter to accept any shore power and convert it to 60Hz 120/240V. Her fly bridge is covered with a hard top to complete her profile. The cockpit has a nice sturdy enclosure making this a favourite spot during rainy windy weather.

In the pilot house I installed a complete set of Raymarine navigation equipment including three G-series displays, two autopilots and radios, FLIR night vision etc. She also has a state of the art entertainment system with Intellian satellite TV plus KVH V-sat for phone and data. As for the rest of her – she is pure Nordhavn quality.

Before the launch in Xiamen

Scolamanzi and Samba(N52) anchored in Hidden Harbour on the Alaskan Peninsula

What is the one thing you are most afraid of?

Johann – On passage in the open ocean and the stabilisers fail. Have no backup for that.

Henriette – Losing my captain.

 What’s your favourite photo ever taken while at sea and why?

Henriette: A photo taken half way between Africa and Brazil on a dead flat calm Atlantic Ocean, relaxing on deck chairs at sunset.

Calm seas between Africa and South America before sunset

Johann: Trapped in ice heading to North West Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Ice bound near North West Glacier

What would you never leave behind (besides each other) when heading out to sea?

Dry salty crackers (they work best for sea sickness) and Marmite.

My hat and sunscreen. Johann’s comment: his admiral!

Henriette tell us something about yourselves that nobody knows?

I had a very short lived but most satisfying political life in South Africa. I was working as campaign manager for one of the candidates of the Democratic Party to bring about change and the end of Apartheid in the 1994 election. The year Nelson Mandela was elected to the presidency of South Africa. In that time, I have met a few very interesting political and public figures, under which the famous Dr. Chris Barnard (who performed the first heart transplant).

Hvar, Croatia ..beautiful blue water surrounds the old town

And finally, where to next?

After 6 years cruising most of the year we would like to spend more time with the kids and especially now that there is one grandchild for grandma to spoil. So maybe doing more land based travel to the places on our long wish list.

**NEWS FLASH** After much angst, Scolamanzi has been put up for sale as the good doctor needs to get back back to his patients. There is no doubt that Scolamanzi has been superbly looked after and is just like new. To see some on this click HERE.

Thank you very much for your time, will be watching this year’s progress closely.

Good luck with your travels!

Johann & Henriette’s blog can be found at: SCOLAMANZI, well worth a read!

Proudly bought to you by: Pendanablog


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