Friday, 26 June 2009

A mini Mini Transat 6.5

This craftmanship was made by Dave in Arizona,USA,he bought one of of Didi Mini Transat kits and bought his plans from Dudley Dix,while he was waiting for his order to arrive from Cape Town,he made this!
In the past we have discussed doing an eight scale version of some of our designs,in real terms this would make a Didi mini transat just 762mm long,thats a handy size to work with and build,if enough interest in this idea was about we could have another look at the idea?

A Birdsmouth Spinnaker pole

We had a visit from Alan,a friend and customer,he saw this spinnaker pole and enquired about it? I suggested he lifted one end while I lift the other,his comment was 'Who needs carbon?'

This one is 5.5 meters long x 90mm diameter,it has a hollow inside section and is made from eight oregon pine staves we machine with end tapers,when weighed against a similar length pole made from alloy tube,the wood pole is actually lighter,its a heck of a lot cheaper too! We can supply these as self assembly pre-machined kits or laminated and ready to varnish and paint.

Johns Didi mini cruise build pictures,the next stage.

These pictures came in from John just yesterday,June 25th 2009,the series of pictures below this blog page were dated May 5th 2009,so proof enough of the ease of building and the speed that our kits can be assembled.

This kind of progress just prooves time and again how easy these designs by Dudley Dix can be to build,he supplies some very detailed plans with a builders book also,this takes the builder through each stage of the process,we also supply information and lots of building pictures of our own builds,we supply these on a CD.

A Didi Mini Transat build in England

This looks like a nice building space,in practice we can use a space sized seven meters by four meters.

Setting up of Johns bulkheads.

Johns bulkheads assembly table.

A nice way to clamp stringers that John has scarphed a joint on.

This build by John in Salisbury,England, is from one of the three similar kits we shipped off in March this year,one other went to Fremantle,Australia,while the third went to Natal,which is on our East Coast up near Durban.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The capes winter storms

They do not call this the Cape of Storms for nothing?

The barge MARGARET aground near Jacobsbaai on the west coast yesterday. Picture courtesy Colin Clegg.

The barge on a tandem tow near Knysna,Eastern Cape, that broke its two and was lost.

It has been a couple of days of drama along the Cape coast as a series of cold fronts moved across South Africa, bringing high seas reaching 9 metres and strong gale force winds. Two barges have gone aground and three ships narrowly missed the same fate.

The unmanned barge MARGARET which is loaded with a cargo of 13 river barge hulls built in China and destined for Rotterdam, has gone aground in heavy seas along a rocky shore at Jacobs Baai north of Saldanha Bay.

The barge was being towed by the tug SALVALIANT when the tow was lost. Despite efforts by the tug to reconnect the tow the barge went aground in the early hours of yesterday morning (Wednesday).

Earlier in June the Salvaliant and Margaret put into Durban harbour for repairs and supplies. The combination sailed and then later returned to port before heading off on the next leg to Europe, which has ended so prematurely on the west coast.

In a second incident on South Africa’s south-east coast another barge, GTO XVIV has run aground at Three Sisters Rocks, west of the Knysna Heads. According to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Singapore registered tug Hako 18 was on passage from Maputo to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, towing the barges GTO XXIX and GTO XXIV when heavy weather was encountered. The barges are owned by a Dutch company.

The barges are carrying construction equipment and were unmanned. There are no pollutants onboard.

At approximately 02h30 on 24 June the tow wire to the barge GTO XXIV parted. The Smit Amandla Marine tug Pentow Skua had been mobilized from Mossel Bay to assist the Hako 18 some eight hours earlier. Despite the best efforts of the Master of the Pentow Skua to connect to the drifting barge this was not possible due to the adverse weather conditions.

The barge subsequently grounded near Three Sisters Rocks to the west of the Knysna Heads in the vicinity of Brenton. Photographic evidence reveals the barge as having broken its back against the rocks.

A senior SAMSA surveyor is currently at the scene.

The owners of the barge have been instructed, in terms of the Wreck and Salvage Act, to remove the wreck. The wreck removal plan will have to be approved by SAMSA who will also monitor progress and adherence to the requirements of the plan.

In yesterday’s News Bulletin we reported on the near miss for the capesize bulker KIRAN, which lost engine power shortly after sailing from Saldanha Bay with a full load of iron ore. In danger of going aground near Slangkop on the Cape Peninsular the ship was rescued by the timely arrival of the salvage tug SMIT AMANDLA which took her in tow to a safe position away from the coast.

Another bulker, the DOCERIVER (79,184-gt, built 1986) also had a narrow escape when she dragged her anchors in Table Bay. Shortly before going onto the beach her crew managed to get the engines running and the ship slowly made her way back into Table Bay, where she was joined by the tug INDOMITABLE which had sailed from Cape Town harbour to assist.

According to news reports a third ship, VIKING EAGLE (18,327-gt, built 2006) was also in difficulty off the Cape Town coast in the wild seas battering the Cape coast. No details of this incident are available and the ship obviously made her way to safety.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Reliant started to build sports cars for an overseas market in the 1960's. These were the Sabra motor car for the Israeli market. Capitalising on their success, Reliant then started to build cars for other markets, including the UK. The sporting pedigree of the early cars produced by the factory was recognised by a few, some of whom ahd bought Sabres, others had Coupés, and then there were the early GTE SE5 models. By 1972 a small band of enthusiasts were meeting to share their interests in several of the Reliant Models. There is a photograph of the group's first meeting in our archives, showing members with their Sabres, Coupés and Scimitars. The meeting happened as a direct result of Reliant Motor's sponsorship and support for the Club. A strong relationship with the factory helped the Club in our formative years. There is more of this in our Brief History of the Marque in another part of our Web site.

At this point we can stop to look at the various models that Reliant produced, and that are part of the history of the Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owner's Club. In addition to a wide range of what might be termed "economy cars" - the ubiquitous "Del Boy" Three Wheeler is one of them, Reliant produced several sports cars. Our Club caters for these fine sports cars, from their first true sports car - the Reliant Sabre - a rather gawky 2-seater open topped and later GT style - through to the later Scimitar Sabre produced towards the end of Reliant's history. Although there were fewer than 400 of the early cars built and few exist today, the Sabre was the prime reason for the existence of the Club in 1972. There were a considerable number of enthusiasts with these cars.

In 1965 Reliant introduced a very popular GT Coupé, and logically named it the Scimitar. The Coupé production line ran for five years, being joined by the acclaimed Scimitar GTE model in 1968.

The founders of our Club had been meeting for some years before the Club was actually formed. Much of the purpose of meeting was to do with competition, as the Sabres had been campaigned by the factory in the Monte Carlo Rally in the sixties, and by owners in sprints and hillclimbs throughout the country. It took Reliant's help to get us off the ground for our first Club meeting at Silverstone.

So our Club had started. Very soon, the Club had proven to be just what was wanted by the owners of the new style of fibreglass car, and a thriving economy developed around the models. There were many dealers around the country, all known to the Club, generally receiving our approval. Indeed, the Club became the focus of attention as trade and private owners alike looked to us for support for insurance, valuations, maintenance and parts.

A garage find,1970 Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5

This was a rare find that came by way of a phone call from a friend,he had seen an advert on the local Cape Argus newspaper,it was for a Reliant Scimitar GTE sports car.My daughter Janet and I made the trip to Constantia to find a restored car in parts,the purchase deal was done over the next day or so,this was due to the actual owner still being out at sea on the ship he worked on,his brother was renting his home and wanted the car out of the garage,as the owner was unaware of the attempt to sell his car by his brother,agreement was first required.

We already owned a later model 1975 Reliant Scimitar SE5a GTE,we then had one of each model,Princess Anne of the British Royal Family had owned a silver 1970 GTE model,that had been painted silver,imagine my thoughts when I took this blue car home to discover that this car I had just bought had also been silver,I wonder?

We owned Reliant Scimitars for fourteen years (14) and as members of the Reliant Scimitar Club in the UK we became South African conatacts,seems we still are,as from time to time I still recieve requests for information and asked for cars for sale.

The original design came from a car penned by Tom Karen,a car that had a lot of roof glass,Triplex Glass had it designed and made and gave it to HRH Prince Philip,it was from that forward thinking design that the Reliant Group made the Scimitar,with its 3liter Ford V6 engine and front suspension from Triumphs TR range,with a solid chassis,it was a great car to drive and service work was easy too.

Andrews progress,

We have posted info and pictures on Andrews yacht hull build before,since he bought all his Ockume marine hull skin plys and epoxies from us late last year,he has moved at a remarkable pace when its all down to part time labour (he took time off to fix friends house too)this is where he is at now.Roy

Things are progressing well at the moment and planning and preparation for the turning are already afoot. Filling and finishing of all the joints and holes should be completed by the end of next week, and I have already started stripping and removing parts of the building stocks, some of which will be used to make the cradle and also skids for the turning. All that then remains after the filling is completed is to fit the packing blocks for the keel and skeg and then seal the hull.

Roy and his trainee managers in the Sudan

I spent an eventfull year in the bush,it was a new farm in the center of no place,I went out to train local college graduates the required skills of building construction,my twelve months tour of duty was cut short when I fell off the 200cc Agg Bike,a Yamaha,you can just see to the right of the picture,I was found knocked out cold and with a broken coller bone, I was sent back to Cape Town to have,it reset and return later.

Fire in the Sudan

This was the kind of instant breakaway fire we used to see in the summer at the camp on a farm I was a building manager on.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Frank Brooks as a school boy

Many thanks to Frank for the many hours he worked on Brer Terrapin,he was our 'boat boy'and a very fine one too,we are still great friends all these years after the event and final departure for St Helena and Ascension islands,then Salvador,Bahia,Brasil.

Brer Terrapin,the leaving of Cape Town

It is said that the departure and the arrival are the best part of any voyage,while I can understand the feelings behind this thought,its probably true that as long as when your leaving,its because you want to,the entire voyage is just as important as the rest,its been this way for myself anyway.

In this picture taken by myself in 1977 and at the RCYC,in Cape Town,Frank with the red hair and the Sea Point High School top,is being said goodbye to by Clair,I suspect Frank was a little upset to see us depart,as it was Frank who cycled from his Green Point home on most days after school to help us prepare the boat for our coming atlantic crossing.

Watching on is the boats skipper/owner Dennis,he is holding his son Ryan,with fellow crewmember Trixi and her dad watching on,it was a moving experiance.
Picture the property of Roy McBride

Monday, 22 June 2009

1966 Jaguar 3.8S type 3.8 rear coil springs correct colour codes

when ever original car parts are stripped,we mark each correct colour code (if it exists) for later re application when the parts are bead blasted and re painted,while it will not add to the cars performance it will add to points when any decent concours judge has a look under your car!

Salvador,a village on the river,early morning

Left click on the picture to view in a larger size.

This was taken on a trip up the river from Salvador,Bahia,Brasil one early morning,we had anchored close in to the river bank for the night,then gone in to the local village on our Avon Redcrest rubber dinghy,the village was just waking up?
Picture was taken with a Canon FT film camera and is copyright to Roy McBride.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Paramaribo,Surinam,a little lad at the door

A picture I took when cruising,copyright,Roy McBride

Racer, a 1877 Thames Barge number LO 262

This is a picture I can credit to my good friend the late Rob Johnson,being a picture scanned from one of his negatives he left in my care.The boat carries no visible name but a web site named 'Mariners' lists a whole load of boats and LO262 is named as Racer and from London,the boat has an NRT of 54 (net registered tonnage) the picture has never been published before and is copyright and to Rob Johnson,please contact me for permission to use it.

The Optimist is revisited

This is a series of pictures taken of a 'in house' build of one of our Optimist kits,boat number fourteen (14)at that time,the boat was built by Janet and Nigel in our garage at home,the idea being to replicate a self built kit boat by a customer,when the basic tub was glued together,I then took it to the CKD Boats factory and finished the trims and painting,the picture below shows a thin saturation epoxy coating being applied,prior to epoxy paint primers and polyurethane top coats.

Unlike some kit suppliers,our base kit includes all materials to make the boat up to the stage of the painting,its an all inclusive price and the materials list includes,plywoods CNC cut to size,wood to the class dimensions with shaping of the bow and transom stiffeners,rub rails and mast step block,all of which will require special tools otherwise.We also include the epoxy,glass tapes and screws.The required builders jig shown is sold seperatley,it can be used to build more than one boat,so try and find others to share the cost?

We again have export orders for more Optimists,two for this order,the more we ship the cheaper it costs for shipping due to a minimum charge hitting smaller loads,so bulking up the order,either with a second or more boat,that or adding the mast,sail,deck package,floats,bailer etc,makes it a far better value over all.Our kits are complete with a fourteen page illustrated assembly guide,we also supply a free CD for International Paints guide on paint application.At the end of the day,our pictures are the most help?