From Bowman to King Farmer
“I would be wary of a person who does not drink coffee!!” said Michael Pammenter to me, and I knew that the interview would be ok. Armed with 2 frothy cappuccinos in my cupholder I headed off onto familiar cycling territory, along the very neat “farm” roads of Mount Verde Estate in Hilton on the look out for a “drop dead gorgeous, yachtie type person, wearing gumboots and farming Proteas” . That was the brief from the PR …
I found him, and Mike Pammenter is all of the above, with the Meander Chronicle plus-factor of choosing to settle in Hilton in the KZN Midlands, and make a living off the land.
Pammenter who has two Volvo Ocean Round the World Races under his belt, hasn’t set foot on a boat for two years prior to this month’s Vasco da Gama Ocean Race, after injuring his lower back. He used this race to test the waters to see if his body will handle the demands of blue water sailing, and, in the future to continue racing overseas. Considered the unofficial best sailor in KwaZulu Natal, Pammenter and his team on Gumption were favourites for both the handicap and line honours in this year’s gruelling 389 nautical mile race that started offshore of Durban on the 2nd of May. The final outcome was a first place, and a second on handicap.
The 32 year old bowman has an impressive list of accolades, including being the youngest sailor in the 2008/2009 Volvo race, and has sailed on a range of big boats and holds several records including smashing the round the Isle of Wight record at Cowes Week aboard a 98ft super maxi Maximus. He was also crew onboard the Groupama Volvo 70 setting a new Round Britain and Ireland Course and Race record in 2010.
Currently concentrating on getting the Protea farm productive, Pammenter says that “it’s not too radical a change for me. Farming is something new to me but some focused time on Protea farms in the Western Cape gave me fantastic grounding. It’s technical, and every day has a curveball or two, but the challenge is inspiring me, and I look forward to the day that we send off our first export load of King Proteas. Much of my life has revolved around life on water, now, it revolves around the land. My expansive daily views are comparable!”
Pammenter is a KZN Midlands newbie, but with his zest for life, love of the outdoors and obvious hunger for a challenge, he will settle in well! He’s got the MTB, has enjoyed Mathew Mole at The Knoll and raves about the pizza at Artisan …
(And yes, he IS currently single, but like all good things I can’t see that lasting!)