Saturday, 7 November 2009

Huma - Huma racing in the 2009 Ontario 300

My thanks to the Jeff,the photograper who took the first two pics,

This picture was supplied by Sergey.

This great picture has just come in from Sergey,one of our Didi Mini Transat kit customers,we supplied lots of extras,including North Sails.We shipped his orders to New York,where he built his boat.

Friday, 6 November 2009

American Poplar wood

The widest plank,we tend to hold onto these for special orders,that wrapped bundle is poplar ready machined for a Dixi Dinghy kit to be collected tommorrow.

Thats a nice variation of widths available,we can machine to size.

A chest made from Poplar wood,its really nice to work with,we have long planks to 4.9mtrs long and 370mm wide x 25mm thick,its very stable and does not cup or twist.

American Poplar,also known as Cotton and Tulip wood.

Early spring leaf on the American Poplar, or Cottonwood - so called because of the lovely white tufts of seed that fall, giving the appearance of fallen snow it can sometimes be so thck. This shot also shows the bark of the tree. Planted as a popular shade tree on farms, growing to some 40m in height. exotic to NZ, arriving in the late 1800's. Waikato NZ.

Poplar / Tulipwood, American
Liriodendron tulipifera
AKA: American yellow poplar (UK), American whitewood, tulip tree (UK and USA), canary wood (UK), canary whitewood (UK)

Wood Type - Hardwood
Environmental - Not listed in CITES. Believed available from well-managed sources. Check certification status with suppliers.
Introduction - Note: the recommended name for this timber in the UK is American yellow poplar. There are other, unrelated species which are also called tulipwood.
Distribution - Eastern USA and Canada.
The Tree - A large tree attaining a height of 37m or more, and a diameter of 2m or more.
The Timber - The sapwood is white, and in second-growth trees, very wide; the heartwood is variable in colour, ranging from olive green to yellow or brown, and may be streaked with steel-blue. The annual growth terminates in a white band of parenchyma giving a subdued figure to longitudinal surfaces. The wood is' straight-grained. fine-textured, fairly soft and light in weight about 510 kg/m3 when dried.
Drying - Dries easily and well, with little degrade.
Strength - Similar to idigbo (Terminalia ivorensis) in general strength properties.
Working Qualities - Good.
Durability - Slightly Durable
Moisture Movement - Medium.
Density(mean,Kg/m3) - 510.
Texture - Fine.
Availability - Limited.
Price - Medium.
Use(s) - Interior joinery, Furniture
Colour(s) - Yellow Brown

We took in stocks of some of the best quality Poplar today,tests have shown that weight and strength wise it is a very similar wood to the clear oregon pine we use on our boats as an option,I say option,it will cost you three times more to have clear oregon.Another spin off is it looks nicer than a similar priced timber called meranti and is less lible to give splinters over clear oregon as well.For those who like the technical stuff,its a similar weight to Clear oregon and while it is less durable,as is ockume used in our marine plys,it is fine once coated with the saturation epoxies we supply with all our kits.

Bottom Line? its better to work with,looks nice and is known to be a very fast growing species that is not under any world threat of running out,no contest I think.


Andrews boat now painted

My,what a lot of progress in such a short time,it seems like a couple of weeks back when Andrew collected his International Paints from us but he took a week off work and got the epoxy sealer coats on,then the Intergard white epoxy primer,looks great!

Dassen Island,the pictures

Flying Cloud anchored in House Bay,Dassen Eiland for the night.

Dassen Island, looking south. Table Mountain can be seen on the horizon.

Dassen Island from the air.

Dassen Islands light house.

House Bay at sunset.

Sunset at Dassen eiland
Author: Foxyvos
Upload Date: 21 July 2009
Photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners

For some reason the selection of decent Dassen Island pictures is rather sparse,this is a collection of some that I found.Dassen is around 40 miles north of Cape Town,it is a sanctary and while anchoring in House Bay is allowed we are not allowed to go ashore.

Cruising with HBYC yacht Gilana

Yacht Gilana.

The sign says it all and no lies.


Lower,how low can you go?

About to land

Gilana must have left our marina in Hout Bay around 2000? she has done a lot of miles since then,they have a really (really) good web site of their extensive tour,check it out at this address these pictures were taken at Sint Maartens famous airport,or rather from the beach,I have stood there myself,its either impressive or just terrifiying!

Johns Didi Mini Transat in England

John has now reached the stage where he has no more work to do on his new hull build,his jast job being the boot topping at the water line,he will paint the hull topsides when he has turned the boat over,thats a fine finish he has right now!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Cocacabana Beach,Rio de Janerio,Brasil

And you thought your local beach was busy!

The worlds smallest counrty is?

Hmmm, can you guess? I thought it was the Vatican City with about 500 inhabitants. Do you know?
Did you know about the Pitcairn Islands? This British protectorate (colony) has about 50 people!! It is a group of four islands, with only one of these inhabited by the 50 people. You can read more about them here.

Some interesting facts:

•Have one school
•The first child born in the island in the last 17 yrs was born in 2003
•Most of them are SDAs (seventh day adventists)

•Their governor is the British High Commissioner to New Zealand
•There are 50 people!! In 2003, there were about 237 people, most of them immigrated to New Zealand.

•One school
•The country has a history of men sexually abusing young girls (as young as 7) perverts!
•The above has resulted in the investment of the islands only prison which is inhabited by the 6 men acquitted of rape and other sex crimes!
•The mayor, Steven Christian was one of the rapists. He was also the country's chief engineer, mechanic, dentist and X-ray technician. "He used his power and remoteness of the island to coerse the women into silence. " GaSp!

•They have one police officer, Brenda Christian

Labels: Pitcairn Islands

Posted by Majonzi

Jessica Watson passes the 2000 mile mark.

Jessica had a mishap BEFORE she installed an AIS from Watchmate and Vesper Marine.

Jessica Watson

Taken from Jessicas log,day nineteen and fair progress being made.

Wet Bouncy and Cupcakes
With a good bouncy sea and water going everywhere today everything's starting to feel pretty salty. Every time I come in from being on deck I seem to bring a lot of water with me. Also, despite all the effort we put into tracking them down before leaving, a few small leaks have made themselves known. The leaks aren't at all dangerous, just aren't much of a help in the war against salt and damp. So I've been playing around with a tube of sealer and (fingers crossed), looks like I might have put a stop to some of them!

Tristan da Cunha

I have visted a number islands in the South Atlantic,Dassen Island,twice (not landed) Robbin Island,twice,St Helena Island,twice,Ascension Island,Twice,Fenando do Noranha and Athol das Rocas,both once but I never quite saw Tristan da Cunha,my fault really,we were only 90 miles away from it on Ocean Planet (tal gal)when my friend and crew mate Notty,thought droping that far south was an idea but the time it would take was on my mind,it was to be a 32 day crossing from Ilaha Grand,Brasil to Cape Town as it turned out.

Tristan da Cunha (37.08°S, 12.28°W) is even more remote than its sister islands of St. Helena and Ascension. Tristan lies 1,900 km SSW of St. Helena and 2,400 km from Cape Town. The island is almost circular with an area of 98 sq. km, rises to a central peak of just over 2,000 m, and is surrounded by sheer 300- to 600-m-high cliffs (topographic map). The only habitable part of Tristan is a small plateau at the foot of the cliffs on the northwest side of the island. Tristan lies in the Roaring Forties, and the weather is liable to sudden drastic changes, and is often violent.
There are five islands in the Tristan group; Tristan itself, and the smaller uninhabited islands of Nightingale, Inaccessible, Middle, and Stoltenhoff. Tristan, like St. Helena and Ascension, is volcanic in origin, as illustrated by the eruption in 1961.

Tristan was discovered by the Portuguese in 1506, and is named after it's discoverer, Tristao da Cunha. Tristan was seldom visited during the following centuries, but, as with Ascension, it became strategically important with the exile of Napoleon to St. Helena and the British formally annexed Tristan in August 1816. A small garrison was established on the island, and when it was withdrawn in 1817 one of the soldiers, William Glass, elected to remain on Tristan with his family. Over the following 75 years a number of settlers and shipwreck survivors joined Glass, but only a few stayed the course, adding the surnames Green (Dutch), Swain (English), Hagan (American), Rogers (American), and Repetto and Lavarello (Italian). An eighth surname, Patterson, was added only recently when an Englishman married to a Tristanian returned to settle on Tristan.

The most significant event in Tristan's recent history was the 1961 volcanic eruption and the resulting evacuation of the entire population to the UK. The eruption was of modest size, but occurred from a small cone immediately adjacent to the settlement of Edinburgh. After two years in England almost all of the 264 evacuated Tristanians elected to return to their island.

Watchmate AIS in Sailing magazine,November 2009

Left click the image to view full size and read the text.

We will be bringing in the class B AIS to order,both receive type WMR750 and transmit type WM650-TX units,with an AIS antenna splitter type SRVHF for the AIS recive only set and type AISSPL for the transmit and receive set for those who want to use their existing VHF antenna.

Note,without an antenna splitter you will require another VHF antenna.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Series Drouge, the real information, set as a drama story

I say story but in fact its true, Notty just wrote this as a drama and as its that time of the year when yachts go offshore its as good a time as any to post this tale.

Parachutes Save a Yacht
A true story By Al. Noteman - East Midlands, England

The Southeast trades should blow from the Cape of Good Hope, to St. Helena, Ascension, over to Brazil then down the East Coast of South America, creating a toll-free highway for sailing vessels. Sometimes these winds fail! Then, winds from the opposite direction can prevail.

Jacana, a 37-ft. Cutter and her crew of three, bound from Cape Town to the Caribbean was on the first leg to St. Helena. This should have been a downwind run had those trades been reliable. However, Jacana had battled northwesterly gales for the past week.

“I’m sick of beating in these electric storms. It’s been on the nose for a week now,” Al said, jumping as he received another electric shock from the steelwork. The crew was tired and miserable, unable to sleep with the constant pounding.

“I thought this was supposed to be fun?” Sonia shouted above the banshee wind. She had battled for days with her own demons including a wildly swinging stove as she prepared the hot meals that would maintain the energy levels in her men.

“Can’t be far now love. We’ll soon be in those trades then it will be warm winds and plain sailing all the way to the Islands.” Al soothed.

“What’s the glass doing Dion?” Al asked his son, more to break the misery than to learn the barometric pressure. Dion went below and was back in an instant with a smile on his face.

“It’s rising, up quite a bit since this morning!” Al looked up at the sky, it was still black but there was a hint of blue ahead.

“Yes!” he shouted. “Tomorrow we’ll be sailing without a care in the world. Put that bubbly in the ice box love.”

The northwester continued but they sensed that it had lost its power, becoming calmer by the hour. Dawn broke with a clear blue sky and not a breath of wind. The sea was all over the place so Al started the motor. By noon the trades arrived and the confused sea became more orderly so the motor was cut. Dion set the big cruising chute and main for downwind sailing. Now, with a warm following wind pushing them along at over six knots, it seemed that life couldn’t get much better. Spirits lifted as the warm air dried-out the boat and to add to the good feeling, they watched their first dolphin show, the lovely creatures squeaking their delight as they rode the bow wave.

“This is more like it,” Al said, “how about a glass of that bubbly now?” Sonia filled three plastic flutes with South African Champagne and handed them through the hatch then joined the men in a toast to the weather Gods.

“Cheers everyone, we’re on the milk run at last and the dream has started to come true,” she toasted. The wind held steady all that day but by morning it had strengthened to over thirty knots. Dion put a reef in the main, lowered the flimsy chute and hoisted a No. 2 Jib. The speed fell to 5 knots but the chute would live to see another day.

By dusk the wind was over thirty-five knots so Al put another reef in the main then centred the boom to dampen the rolling, ready for the night shift. By morning it was blowing over forty knots and the sea had built up considerably. White spray filled the air and the boat was becoming difficult to steer as it zoomed into the turbulent valleys.

“We’ll have to hand-steer from now on, the auto-pilot just can’t handle this, we’ll have to do three hour shifts Dion, better get that No.2 down and hoist the storm jib I think we’re in for a battering.” Dion carried out this wet and dangerous fore-deck job, then went to get his head down while his Dad did the first watch.

“What do you want me to do?” Sonia asked.

“Better try to get some rest as well love, we’re going to need you to keep us going with hot drinks if this gets any worse. It did, all that day and right through the night there was a steady increase in the wind speed and size of the swells.

“Al, Al! Wake up, Dion’s battling up there.” It was Sonia shaking him from a troubled sleep.

“What’s up?” he answered groggily.

“It’s over forty five now and not safe, you’ll have to do something.” On deck Al couldn’t believe his eyes. A wall of white streaked water appeared at the stern, lifting the yacht like a toy as it rushed forward throwing spray and solid water into the cockpit.

“We’re running too fast.” Al screamed over the howling wind. “Dee, you’re going to have to drop that main, OK?”

Dion nodded and handed over the helm then snapping his harness on he crawled bravely forward.

“Give me a luff,” he shouted from the mast.

“It’s going to get wet and bumpy so get it into the lazy-jacks as fast as you can,” Al yelled back. Trimming the mainsheet he started to turn into the wind and the huge swells while Dion fought with the main, lowering the halyard and shoving the flogging sail into the lazy-jacks. The boat almost stood on its tail as the oncoming swells threatened to turn her bow over stern, as all way was lost. Dion managed to get the sail under control and lashed in no time, allowing Al to turn slowly back down wind to avoid the next threatening swell.

Under storm jib alone they were still rocketing along at over nine knots, while Sonia passed up the umpteenth cup of whisky laced coffee. Sipping the sweet liquid, deep in thought, Al wondered how much more of this they could take.

It was a massive effort to control the boat in daylight when the sea-features could be seen, ‘God knows how we will manage during the night if it keeps this up’ Al thought.

As dusk fell, Al ordered his son to get some sleep. “It’s going to be a tough night,” he warned. He was right, Sonia got no sleep at all as she passed coffee and hot soup to Al and then Dion, as they continued to wrestle the wheel during their three on and three off shifts. It was the worst night yet and by dawn there was no let-up despite a clear blue sky. As the sun rose, so did the wind, it was now pumping over fifty knots. As each breaking swell was crested the view from its summit was awesome. White capped hills and spume filled valleys, moving at the speed and with the sound of an express train. Like rows of terraced houses, goose stepping to some rousing fascist march for as far as the eye could see. A feeling of utter helplessness crept over Al, as he feared for his family.

“I won’t be able to hold her for much longer down in these troughs,” he told his son. “One slip now and it would be all over, we would lose the rig for sure if this sea rolled us.” To emphasise Al’s words, a huge wave broke over the coach-roof, filling the cockpit and causing the whole yacht to shudder.

“What do you suggest?” Dion asked.

“Better drop that storm jib as well, we’re just travelling too damn fast, we’ll have to run under bare poles,” Al confirmed.

With harness attached to the lifeline, Dion made his way to the bow again and dropped the small jib, packing it into its bag then lashing it to the pull-pit. Speed fell to eight knots for a while then began to climb again slowly as the wind continued to increase. Broaching was still a big danger but now with no sail to act as a damper, the motion became violent.

“God, we’re still doing over nine and a half knots, that’s more than our hull speed’s supposed to be, I just don’t know what else we can do,” Al said in despair.

“What about that series drogue we made-up just before leaving Cape Town?” Dion asked.

“Bloody hell, I’d forgotten all about that, do you think it will help?”

“Well, anything’s worth a try now, what have we to lose,” Dion replied, “it was designed for this sort of condition so let’s try it!”

“Right, take the helm I’ll find it.” All rummaged away in the Lazarette then pulled out a bag with rope and coloured sailcloth spilling out of it.

“We’re going to need some sort of weight to sink the end into still water,” Al said. Dion went below and found the dinghy anchor and lashed it to the end of the drogue rope. As he was busy Sonia screamed and pointed up to the radar arch. They watched in horror as the big Ampair wind-charger came crashing down as if in slow motion. Its once sturdy bracket torn off by the violent motion. In total shock they watched as it toppled forward, doing a thousand revs and eating its way through the little wind vane with its carbon fibre blades.

“Keep clear!” Al shouted, “It’ll take your bloody head off.” Dion reacted fast as only the young can do. He managed to lasso it with a length of line to stop its whirling blades, before they chewed their way through the backstay as well. The whole thing hung by a strip of metal so it was lashed in place until they could attend to it later in port.

“Sonia, take the wheel please while Dee and I rig this drogue, just keep steering dead ahead. She gripped the wheel with white knuckles and managed to keep the boat on track while the men rigged the drogue. Al had the line around a sheet winch while Dion fed the anchor end of the line through the stern fairlead. They watched as the little parachutes, attached at two-metre intervals, floated to the surface then vanished below as the dinghy anchor pulled them under.

“What’s our speed now,” Al asked when half the line was out.

“It’s dropped to five knots, it’s working!”

“Great, let’s get it all out then, I just hope we put enough chutes on to do the job right,” Al said, then wondered if the twenty chutes they had managed to splice on just before leaving would do the job. He need not have worried.

With the line now fully deployed, they watched fascinated by the little chutes they could see streaming aft for a hundred metres, drawing a line in the turbulent water. The affect was instant and dramatic, speed bled off the hull and within minutes the speed had fallen to just three knots. The steering became lighter and the vessel tracked in a straight line with no attempt at broaching.

A few minutes ago, they were riding a bucking bronco, but now the yacht was docile and controllable. It made such a difference that Al was able to re-engage the autopilot and watched as the sea passed harmlessly below the hull, with only the odd splash coming aboard. Compared to just an hour ago this was sheer bliss.

“I’ll put the kettle on,” Sonia said, relief showing on her face and in her voice, "I thought we were all going to die so this calls for a celebration.

The boat was safe for now. The crew could relax for the first time in two weeks, but the last few days had been a living nightmare, there was a real danger that they could have lost the boat and their lives, but that little series drogue had saved the day.

“Reading that article on drogues, in Practical Boating may have saved our lives and making that drogue up just before we left, definitely saved severe damage to Jacana,” Al admitted


Jacana is a Fortuna 37, cutter-rigged mono-hull, fitted out for long distance ocean cruising. The events in this short story occurred in an area about 300 nautical miles West of the Orange River Mouth- off Namibia.

In this case a 100-metre 13-mm-Diam. Nylon line was used, however, larger vessels would need a larger line. Onto this we spliced 20 small parachutes but you are supposed to use one every two-metres or so. We used the 10-lb. dinghy anchor as a weight to keep the drogue in still water but being an odd shape, this caused the rope to spin and unwind. Therefore, the weight should be more like a 10-lb length of lead pipe so it does not spin and damage the line. A heavy spinner should also be fitted on the line close to the lead weight at the end to help protect the line. It may be a good idea to fit a second spinner at the vessel end as well.

click image above for larger view

Your local sail maker could make up the parachutes. We had some made by North Sails and some by B Canvas. They are fixed onto the line via three nylon tape-straps spliced into the nylon line. It is very important that before the drogue is deployed, the inboard end is tied securely off to something sound or you could lose the lot over the stern. Also, once it’s been deployed it is best to rig a bridle so that the load is shared by two stern fairleads so as to centre the aft steaming line to keep the yacht running true.

The main advantage of the series drogue over the sea anchor is its ease of deployment and recovery and the fact that you can adjust your speed by allowing more or less of the little chutes to enter the water. However, there are not many reports of this type of drogue being used in anger so this true-story illustrates how it helped one family to survive what could have been a disaster.

We can definitely recommend carrying one, especially, if you intend to venture out into the South Atlantic. We carried it for over 16000 miles and never needed it again, but it was nice to know it was there in the lazarette, just in case.

Alex, Sonia and Dion Notman now live in England, Jacana, is still berthed in Falmouth after surviving many a lesser storm in her 16000-mile voyage from Cape Town via Brazil, the Caribbean and the western Med. to England.

1954 D Type Jaguar model kit

Offers circa £2500
This is a „One Off‟ special two seat electrically powered car designed for small children from about 4 years to whenever they get too big to fit in. I was not able to obtain the correct drawings of the Jaguar so this is a fair representation of the „D‟ Type based on photographs and a 43rd scale model. It runs best on a metalled surface [up to around 5 MPH] but any reasonably flat surface will do although it is definitely not an all-terrain vehicle. It has a ¾ ins thick MDF chassis strengthened with a length of steel angle. The centre section is made of plywood formers covered with aero modellers ply and the front and rear sections are largely made of blue foam shaped and sanded to the right profile and covered with resin.
 Twin 12V electric motors are fitted driving their respective wheels to give the same effect as a differential.
 Twin 12V batteries are used of the “leisure” type, GEL, sealed and un-spillable. A 24V charger is supplied and this plugs into a socket in the car so that recharging is simple.
 The motors are electronically controlled with variable speed (accelerator) and forward/reverse. This is designed that neither reverse nor forward can be selected until the accelerator is fully released.
 The front wheels are independently sprung (IFS)
 Working lights are fitted although as the front ones are probably good enough for night driving they should be used very sparingly to avoid battery drain. The indicator lights are inoperative as they drain a battery very quickly.
 There is also a horn, although mercifully not a very loud one!
 There is a foot brake but no hand brake

Henrys Guillemot 5.2mtr kayak build

This is not Henrys finished boat but the same style and make.

Henry recently visited us and purchased materials,he has been building a kayak from some plans he found on the internet,he has just arrived for more materials and has driven in from Swellendam,a farming community far outside Cape Town where our factory is.He brought a Flashdrive stick full of his build pictures,I will start with the basics and add a page every few days,he is on the water already!
While Henry set his own boat out and then cut it himself with a hand held power jig saw,if you buy the plans,we can do that for you.