Knowing very little of boats, he and a friend built a 50ft ferro - cement yacht in the garden, slowly, bit by bit, while they were both starting their new flying careers. With great perseverance, and enormous difficulty – as Rhodesia was suffering from world sanctions at the time – they finished building it over five years, and called it Nyaminyami, after the Zambezi River God.
In 1980 they moved it by road to Durban in South Africa, from where they set sail on a three month voyage, first to Cape Town, then via St. Helena, Ascension islands and the Azores, to England, and finally Mallorca, where Nyaminyami stayed for three years, before Richard moved to Hong Kong in 1983 to fly for Cathay Pacific. The sextant he used to navigate on that long voyage, is now on the mast base in Shangani’s saloon.
Richard, now a senior Check and Training Captain with Cathay Pacific, has since owned and lived on many different boats over the years, and he started the design and building of Shangani five years ago. The hull was built in Australia, but was fitted out by Thai craftsmen in Phuket, where Richard is now living with his wife and two children. Shangani was finally finished in December 2008.
Moo, Shangani’s Captain, who has been with Richard on his last three boats, over fifteen years, had a large part in the design and building of Shangani.
The name Shangani is taken from a famous river in Richard’s homeland, now Zimbabwe. The names of the cabins also reflect Shangani’s African roots, and many of the fixtures and fittings are from Zimbabwe. The bar on the Pool Deck, for instance, is made from 100 year old Rhodesian railway sleepers, and before being shipped over from Zimbabwe, was part of Richard’s last home there.
The name of Richard’s company – Tiger Marine Charter, is taken from the name of Richard’s first son, Tiger.