Saturday, 7 May 2011

Refuge and Strength

We may all need a little of both in our lives,the small booklet was lying in a draw at home I have no idea whos it was,its published by James E Hawkins,New York.

The book is all religious stuff,lines from the bible,it may have been from one of my aunts or uncles?

The date is May 19th 1890,or is that 98? who was Janice,or is it Janie?

Yes,its a very different addition to my blog but its a nice collectors item I think,click on the pictures for more details.


English camping,the early years,we start with a ridge tent

This was about 1955 or so,we have the tent and just about nothing else,no money for sure,the car we used to travel in was my grandads,tents and other gear were ex army and from the Army & Navy stores,what a mind boggling place to wander around in,being ex defence force gear,it was all good quality.

The Ford behind was not ours,we had the loan of black Morris Oxford.Thats my mother in the picture.

Photo by RH McBride and its a self portrait too,click on the picture and see my dad in that mirror at the back of the tent awning! The picture is now around 56 years old,I wonder did my dad ever know he was in the frame?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Wylo a boat belonging to Frank Wightman

Frank was way before my time,his claim to fame was to drop out long before dropping out was fashionable,Frank did this on a very simple boat called Wylo,the original one is still in existance,its here in Hout Bay,a chap called Henry owns it,this is an extract from the TBA magazine:

Frank Wightman’s classics “The Wind is free” (1949?), and “Wylo Sails Again”, are in the National Library. Frank spent 20 years working alone in far-flung telegraph offices in order to spend the next 20 living as a recluse aboard “Wylo” at Kraal Bay, Saldanha. Lawrence Green’s last, evocative book “A Giant in Hiding” about Frank is a masterpiece. Such books will become Africana. Amazingly, “Wylo” has been found and is undergoing restoration in Hout Bay.

me again,

Wylo as a design was recognised as the classic it is,it may have a constuction design similar to Slocums boat,Spray,basically wide flat planks held together to keep the water out,its a simple single chined hull,yes its a box,nothing more really,just a lift each end,then we can call it a boat.

Then along comes Nick Skeates,he builds one too,he also calls it Wylo off
Nick sails,only to loose it on a reef on some pacific ocean island,Nick being who he is,decides to strip the boat,then build another but in steel, so along comes Wylo 2 but its really Wylo 3 if you follow? Here is a picture of it on the Hout Bay Yacht Clubs marina.Did I hear that Nick is on his fifth circumnavigation? I asked Nick if he was interested in a CKD kit to his design,he was far too busy and told me he has a large pile of unanswered mail from others wanting to build his Wylo copies,I believe some yards have been doing so? We could easily 'Kit Set' this design,in a more correct wood/epoxy if Nelson will allow me to take off the original boats lines?

This came in May 5th 2011,thanks John for the update.

Hi Roy

I just read your blog about the restoration of Wylo, Frank Wightman's boat which he built as a copy of Harry Pidgeon's boat, Islander, which I believe was built from plans printed in a magazine, probably the Rudder, since it is very similar to Thomas Flemming Day's designs, who was one of the Rudder's editors.

I went aboard Frank's Wylo when she was in Simonstown years ago as I grew up there and am very familiar with the Cape Peninsula. I also have what is to my knowledge the only copy in existence of Frank Wightman's second book, My Way Leads Me Seaward. All other references to that book, covering his voyage from Trinidad to New York, where Wylo was loaded aboard the Morgenster for the return to Cape Town, refer to it by a different title. Sadly my copy of The Wind is Free was never returned from a loan, but we're all guilty of such transgressions and one can only hope that it's gone to inspire a few other wannabees.

By strange fate, I also know Nick Skeates. Your comment that it is easy to see where he took the ideas for his design from Frank's Wylo couldn't be further from the truth, however unwittingly. Even the name didn't come from here, but was instead derived from Nick's first long distance boat, already called Wylo when he bought her, that was wrecked half way around his first circumnavigation (accompanied by his wife), which lead to him designing and building the Wylo 2 which he has now in New Zealand before continuing on his voyage. The full width cabin was, around that time, a trademark of Maurice Griffith's designs, from which, along with the UK east coaster's addiction to shoal draft, Nick drew inspiration. Copied might be a underestimating Nick's input into the process, for however offhand and laidback he might appear to be when one first encounters him, don't be fooled since he is extremely intelligent and, having just set off into his fourth circumnavigation, has a better idea than most of just exactly what is required of both vessel and crew to voyage on a ridiculously small income. Would that we could alter time and be present at a meeting of Frank and Nick to hear them comparing notes. Strange how such similar reasons for going to sea can draw such apparently different men.

Sadly,although I've got as far as living aboard, I'm still stuck in the UK by, as usual, shortage of sufficient funds. Wish I had a useful skill, instead of being an IT idiot, that could get some small employment on the way.

Please don't take the above as criticism of your excellent and very interesting site, as it is very easy to reach the same conclusion as you did. It would be great if you could post some of the restoration photos on your site.


John Dickinson

My mail to Justin Philips who is doing a blog on SA yachts:

Hello Justin,
Its great when these mails come in and John is correct,and long before Nicks Wylo,the original Wylo being a square rigger as far as I remember,still the Wylo that Ian and Cathy had here,which was built from Nicks plans, sure looked very similar above the water line,thats where my own assumption came from.There are pictures of Ian and Cathy,also Nick on my blog.

The Wylo is South Africas oldest sailing boat and its still here in Hout Bay,the Maritime Museum wanted me to to get it from owner Henry Nelson for them but nothing ever came of that,its up the valley past Custom Feeds if you want to view it,yet another boat for your blog!



Henry gets ahead

Thats  no ordinary head either,its a Sunbeam Sport Wills Ringed and ported alloy cylinder head,due to be fitted to a 998cc Hillman Imp block.

We are finding out that at around 12 weeks old,Henry or pidgeon likes company,he will follow Jean about the garden as she does her work and when I am in the garage,fly in and check out what I am doing in the same way.

Not exactly a great idea when your fitting a brand new camshaft carrier (thanks Bob) which I sourced while back in the UK a while ago,the camshaft and followers were brand new already,so things are good in this department,Henry agrees.

The Hillman Imp cylinder head was just way ahead of the field on a small family car when it came out in May 1963,its easy to work on and when the shims are set up correctly,stays set for a very long while,no push rods to clatter about either.

Henry says,Ok Roy you can re fit the R20 race camshaft now?

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Arundel Castle Mailship

With so much stuff in the way of pictures and memorabilia lying around right now,I find this old postcard in a photo album,its a well known ship and looks very fast to me,did they do the Southampton to Cape Town run in eleven days?

Why we have the card still I have no idea,I also do not know who it was posted by or to whom,dated in Southampton (stamp removed) 30th of January 1958,it may just be a card given to me when I was stamp collecting?

Left click either image to view in a larger size,Fazakerly is just out side Liverpool City.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Roy and Chris on the old battery,Devils Peak (table mountain)

Cape Town was a very different place when this picture was taken,that me on the left and Chris Van Gass next to me,he was and still is a newpaper jounelist,last I heard he was an editor for Business Day and based here in Cape Town,with a B&B in the Agulas area.

Also around the 1969 date,the picture may have been a timed exposure? Not the lack of any container base as noted by a good friend Colin Hancock the other day.

We met Chris again,some 33 years later we had a reunion braai at our Hout Bay home,this is one of the pictures,dated 05 03 2003 its now some eight years back,time flies when we are having fun!