The story of Zamani


Zamani, the Black Pearl

For Kevin & I, it was a done deal! It was a matter of the heart and we instantly knew that the Knysna locals will fall in love with Zamani...  She belonged to Knysna


We are an adventure loving couple that have been living in Knysna since 1998. We recently sold our yacht building business and decided to start a charter business from the Knysna Waterfront. We had the opportunity to operate a ferry operation for a few years in 2002 and loved it! We wanted to do something similar but also different – something that will “add” fun for both adults and kids on the water for the locals henceforward the “birth” of the Pirate Ship operation at the Knysna Quays.

The 1st challenge was to find the right boat, we searched the entire country to find “THE ONE”. Kevin is a boatbuilder and a passionate sailor, he specifically was looking for a sailing yacht – one with its own aesthetic, something that distinguishes her from all the other yachts and ferry operators in the Knysna Lagoon & beyond.

With determination we finally found her – Zamani, a wooden Ketch designed by William Gooden.

Zamani was ideal with all the perfect features – sailing fun, easy to handle, performs in every wind plus has beautiful wood finishes inside. Zamani is a simple boat offering the bare essentials without sacrificing comfort… and that is what we wanted to convey to the tourist and local markets in Knysna.  Simple moments with your loved ones.

For Kevin & I, it was a done deal! It was a matter of the heart and we instantly knew that the Knysna locals will fall in love with Zamani…  She belonged to Knysna, as her two previous owners were from the beautiful town,  next to the Indian Ocean!


The story is that Zamani was built in St Anne, Praslin Island by yacht builder, Rodney Pavpinneau –  a “under the palms” shipyard in 1968 and eventually launched in 1972.  This beautiful tropical forest island attracts birds such as the Seychelles Black Parrot, and is also known for the UNIQUE Coco De Mer fruits from a palm tree that is endemic to the island.

General Charles Gordon was convinced that the “Vallee de Mai” was the Biblical “Garden of Eden”.

Zamani’s original owners were Dr Robin & Joan Markham. When it was time to launch the boat, they could not get it off the beach as it was to heavy. Story has it, that it took a 50+ of the locals to push her into the sea. Dr Markham wanted to use her for his consulting rooms while sailing the islands to heal people. She was to be his “floating” hospital and he loved her.

He sailed her to the eastern coast of Africa and was aiming to arrive in the Port of Dar es Salaam, as this was the principal port serving Tanzania. He was attacked by Pirates off the coast and stabbed in the chest. He and the crew managed to escape and after a few months, he sailed the boat to Durban, South-Africa, where he fell and injured his back. He could no longer sail and the boat was up for sale and stored on the hard at the Bluff Yacht Club.

Couple, Chauncey from Knysna purchased the boat from him in 1990 and they did some repairs to Zamani. The couple asked a friend to sail the boat to Knysna for them and they lived aboard for a year before selling to Yachtsman, Chris Edwards and his lovely lady, Anouk in 1991. Chris was the commodore of the Knysna Yacht Club at the time, as well as the former Mayor of Knysna. He worked as part of a core group of parents starting the independent Oakhill School years ago.

The couple spent many years sailing, and Zamani carried them safely on her back across the Atlantic Ocean, the Straits of Gibraltar to the Med and Turkey, where they spent many happy summers with their kids, family and friends.

Sadly Chris became ill and after his death, his wife appointed Captain Colin Forster (he is still on Zamani to this day and do daily charters in the lagoon), to return Zamani home.

Colin sailed her to Brazilia and another skipper was appointed to sail her against the trade winds and currents from Brazilia to Cape Town.

Kevin and Rika contacted Anouk and drove to Cape Town to go and view her. They appointed Colin Forster and Dudley Isaacs (well known yachts men from Knysna), to sail her home to Knysna where she was happily received by all the sailors from the Knysna Yacht Club.

She will continue turning heads wherever she sails with her beautiful “brown” sails.

Zamani’s original colour was white with brown keels, she was purposely painted with dark marine paint to give her the effect of a “Pirate Ship”, after all she deserves a worthy story!