Saturday, 8 October 2011

Hillmanator seen here at Oulton Park,England.

Bob Allan of the Imp Club Spares dept sent me this picture after the last Bank Hoilday weekend,great shot of a great car,which finished third overall.

Andy Jones at speed,Oulton Park,Cheshire.

This looks to be a Mk2 imp,so around 1967,not bad for a car now 44 years old! Imps are becoming sort after car now,their value has been climbing for some years.

From Bob Allan,the Imp Clubs spares man.

P.S. I updated the Web site after the Oulton Park Gold Cup:
see also the shows_2011.shtml page.

Andy Jones got a podium finish, 3rd place, first time ever!
Hope you like it - Bob

R Mc B

Sailing with Amateur Radio

Many of us have done just that,an SSB is a usfull tool when used correctly,daily networks exist around the globe plus we have things like Sailmail today as well.

This classic volume was found on Vigaro V and loaned to me by my good friend,Charles who owns the boat.Dated 1978,so its now 33 years old,it will have done some many miles by now.

Herb Johnson W6QK1

This is the books author,he also designed the Atlas range of amateur radios sets,my first contact with
ham radio was with an Atlas,great set it was too,some 10,000 sets were sold,has anyone got one for me?

left click this or any page for what should be a larger view,
The back cover,I have some great reading to do it seems!

How hard can this be.


My thanks to the books publishers Communications Technology,Inc.Greenville,New Hampshire,03048.

The D and W Boatworks

D stands for Dave and W stands for Wendy,a married couple in Arizona,USA.We sent Dave and Wendy a mark one Didi Mini Transat some years back,Dave has done the building in his spare time,also designing some new ideas which he has thought up and fitted.

A nice fit,van and boat.

We also supplied the two hot pour lead ballast halves.

Dave taught himself how to weld when he wanted a road trailer.

Inside the boat,there really is a lot of space in these boats.This one will have a canting keel,which are controlled by the lines and blocks.I  like the brite varnish finish,its easier to do than paint.

Good progress on the main frame of the trailer,did I hear the plans for this can be sourced at Dix Design?

This really looks good to me.

Thats a nice job you have made there Dave.Thanks for the pictures.


Friday, 7 October 2011

Cape Charles 32 news

Dudley Dix,the designer of the Cape Charles 32, told me this week that the plans have progressed to the point were a boat can be built by a profesional.We need to take it a little further to enable a CNC cut kit set but all it will take is your order.The base cost will be around R95,815 (U$11,829) only, plus the plans at U$900,so about R7290.Thats an attractive package for such a large boat kit set,being some 81 sheets of 12mm marine grade plys ready cut for assembly.

Wood to the boats stringers,building stocks and epoxies are an extra,we can supply those as part of the package if requested.Shipping cost on request,as the plys in a flat pack are only three cubic meters,we would expect the cost to be reasonable,say R8000 to the USA,thats about U$987 right now.

The layout as drawn can be changed to suit your needs,this is a large volume boat and will make a great cruising boat.

From our side we can offer the plans only or the plans and a kit,which can further be supplied as a built up hull and deck unit which you can fit out and finish yourself.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Figaro V a classic sailing yacht with heritage

An update of a previous entry due to a new picture coming to light,are there any more out there?


Hello Roy,
I came across your blog a day or so ago.

Your picture of Figaro under sail is of Figaro IV, designed by my dad and Bob Derecktor and built in D's Mamaroneck yard.

My dad died while V was still under construction, my older brother and I did some of the finishing work on her but she was never sailed by the family.

She looks to be in good hands now, and has managed to get herself pretty far from home waters.

THe main thing WTS did with Coke was design that curvy line logo they use now. They tweaked the bottle and some vending machine stuff too according to my bro. Lowey/Snaith also created the red stripes the Coast Guard uses ("everyone things we're the navy..." and came up with the name EXXON.

I think I've seen your kits in a shop in Anacortes WA.

all the best,  skip snaith

 A correction to which Figaro is the white boat has been made. Roy, thanks for your valued information Skip.

What a fine picture! thats Figaro IV on the left,check out how close the racing was,my thanks to George Wenman for finding the book the picture was published in and well done for recognising the boat. The picture was found in the book The Sailors World, Beiser/A Ridge Press Book/Hamlyn,my thanks to them. The photo is on pages 62 and 63,the other yacht is named Bay Bea. The picture was taken by Stanley Rosenfeld,the book is not dated but a mention to the 1970  Bermuda Race on page 13 exists (yacht Jubilee) so this picture pre dates then?

The bottle design said to be created by yacht Figaro V owner William Snaith.

Coca Cola tray and bottle pictures.

Figaro V at her HBYC marina mooring.

Thats Figaro V with the all white hull and transom.The hull is moulded mahogany to 7/8" thick,the entire backbone of the boat from stem to stern is a stainless steel fabrication,the boat is massivly strong,now largly restored to a high standard by Charles her owner for the last ten years or so? Figaro V was built in 1969 by the English yard Souters.

This is the story about William Snaith,a man who sailed as an amature but was well up with the pros,he won most events he went into,all excepting the one,which he came second in,that was The Fastnet Race,to ensure he would eventually win this race he had Derecktor of USA design him a new fifty foot yacht,it was to be the fifth in the line called Figaro,so he named it Figaro V,the boat never did win the Fastnet for William Snaith as he died while it was still under construction at Souters in the UK,Figaro V is safe and on the marina at Hout Bay.I was told a rumour that William designed the Coca Cola bottle,such a distintive shape seen world wide,I have yet to find writen proof that he did actualy pen the design but given the fact he was the chief Designer/Partner from the company that produced the shape,its clear he had a hand in it,such is fame.

Park Avenue, New York City's most famous boulevard, is a changed place. The sidewalks where rich sports, dowagers and Pomeranians once walked are crowded with commerce. The glass-faced buildings lining the sidewalks stand tall, sterile and inhuman. There are scarcely enough baroque outcroppings left to accommodate the pigeons. The career women of Park Avenue are far better-looking than the dowagers of yore—their legs are trimmer and they carry their bosoms higher—but they are glass-faced like the buildings. In offices along the avenue the most eyecatching window display often is a portrait gallery of executives, each face grim enough to repel children and frozen sufficiently by Bachrach to qualify for a place in Madame Tussaud's waxworks.

But in one office on the east side of Park Avenue, nine floors up, there is one important executive whose face has not yet been frozen by Bachrach or anyone else. He is a Renaissance caveman named William Snaith. At age 58, Bill Snaith does not look like a Park Avenue man of distinction, nor does he act the part. He wears his hair longer than an executive should. His brindle moustache is shaggy and tends to wiggle recklessly around his face. At his desk Snaith` usually talks soberly, but when a matter at hand seems to be getting too serious he is apt to throw a leg over the arm of his chair and let go a freshet of Groucho Marxist nonsense.

Despite the burdens of his position, Snaith's ego is still full-blown; the panting animal in him has not yet succumbed. He is equally comfortable among high-and lowbrows, for his interests run the gamut. When Beethoven's Pastoral is done right, he applauds; when Rob Gardner of the Mets wins a 10-hitter, he cheers; when he notices ladies' hemlines inching upward, he rejoices openly. Given the right breaks in life, Snaith might have capitalized on his broad tastes and gregariousness by becoming a bartender. By the fate of things, he became instead an architect, decorator, designer, consumer analyst, painter, critic, writer, raconteur, casual musician, popular after-dinner speaker and ocean sailor. More specifically, he became managing partner in the firm of Raymond Loewy/William Snaith Inc.—a company that deals largely in industrial design but has more sidelines than a hock shop.

A company name like Raymond Loewy/William Snaith Inc., of course, sticks in the throat more easily than in the mind. Although most people are barely aware of the company, its impact is considerable. When a housewife spends money at spiffy marts like Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor, she is doing so in a seductive environment conceived by Loewy/Snaith. If a husband quits his job at a corrugated-box factory, it may be because he is tired of operating a cutter-creaser-stripper machine designed by Loewy/Snaith. In the near future if you, gentle reader, are mugged while riding on the New York City transit system, you will probably regain consciousness in a pool of your own blood, staring up at the new subway coachwork and backlit advertising panels designed by Loewy/Snaith. If you have ever consumed Shreddies or Oysterettes, Old Forester or Early Times, if you have used aureomycin hog cholera vaccine, or if you have ever bought a water-jet massager for your gums, you have been under the influence of Loewy/Snaith. One way to get away from Loewy/Snaith might be to cast yourself adrift on the sea, but even then you could not be certain. Indeed, if in a mid-Atlantic gale you should hear above the wind song and hiss of the sea a voice bawling out succinctly, "Goddam-it," it is a good bet that just beyond the next swell you would find Bill Snaith at the helm of his yawl Figaro IV.

For the past 20 years, in one or another of his four Figaros, Snaith has spent much of his time at sea, cruising and racing. He has been dismasted off Montauk and dis-keeled in the Gulf Stream. He has ghosted past Diamond Head and has slid on the scend of mid-Atlantic seas at better than 12 knots. He has often been hung up on Bahama shoals and has sat for hours in the windless languor of Long Island Sound. He has suffered in the slap-chop of the shallow North Sea, and he has wandered lost north of Scotland in The Bore off Mull Head. He came close to breaking his back once in the English Channel and nearly broke an arm trying to harpoon a mola mola in the waters off—of all exotic places—Greenwich, Conn. Thinking over his misadventures, Snaith says, "I have one motto which I keep repeating to the irritation of my loved ones: 'Any man who does not cross a starting line early at least once a season and who does not go aground while cruising at least once a year isn't really trying.' "

Between misadventures like these, Snaith has sailed many a pleasant mile through days of sun and wind, with everything shipshape, his socks dry and his position known, but when it comes to remembering anything about such revoltingly normal and untrying times his sense of recall is about even with that of a newt. But he has total recall about the miseries, humiliations and near disasters he has suffered at sea.

For once in his life Bill Snaith was not among the skippers dropping anchor in Bermuda's Hamilton Harbor two weeks ago. He was under doctor's orders to take it easy for a while. But if you ask him about other Bermuda races, in which he has competed seven times, offhand he is likely to say: "I think I have been second, and fourth, and seventh, and lousy." He took first place in the Transatlantic Race to Sweden in '60, he was captain of the winning American Admiral's Cup team in '61 and first overall on the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit last year. Beyond these major victories, he is hard put to remember just what he was up to in any given year or how he fared as a racing skipper.

Too often a man who goes to sea for the love of it becomes in time a very dull fellow. Indeed, one of the easiest ways to plumb the depths of boredom is to ask a well-soaked skipper whether he has ever sailed in the tide race off New London or in the gut between Scylla and Charybdis. The mere mention of these classical names will release a flood of unintriguing episodes. "Oh, by God," the skipper will exclaim. "Indeed I know the Race and the gut off Scylla. I was stemming the tide once in the Race—or was it off Scylla? I forget. But anyway, the wind was force 7, and the crew had just split the last grunion on board. And, even with the grunion gone, we still made it through. You could never guess how. We simply riff-raffed a spud to the countertop. Then we pleated a weevil through the stallion, routed it around the stamen and fleeced it to the mullion just forward of the parboil. We had a time, but it was nothing compared to the year before off Scylla. Or was it the Race? Anyway,..."

After laboring as a deckhand for years and being force-fed sailing talk in her off-hours, the wife of one skipper said recently and wearily, "I was living with my so-called husband Jack before he married his first boat. He has married two more since, but he still remembers his first love. He says she had the damndest spreaders he ever saw on anything her size."

In some extraordinary way, in a short period of 20 years, Bill Snaith has become a very fine amateur skipper without alienating his family or friends or boring casual acquaintances. The sea game remains merely one of the major ingredients in the mess of enthusiasms that are stewing within him. He can talk boat talk, but it is not his only tongue. Half a year ago Snaith packaged the day-by-day logs of two of his transoceanic trips—one cruise and one race—in book form for public consumption. The book, Across the Western Ocean, has been well received by sailors but, more significantly, it has even been read for pleasure by nonsailors.What a fine picture! thats Figaro V on the left,check out how close the racing was,my thanks to George Wenman for finding the book the picture was published in and well done for recognising the boat. The picture was found in the book The Sailors World, Beiser/A Ridge Press Book/Hamlyn,my thanks to them. The photo is on pages 62 and 63,the other yacht is nmaed Bay Bea,

Figaro yacht racing

Figaro yacht racing? William Snaith had five yachts called Figaro,in one Fastnet Race in Britain,he came second in Figaro IV (four) but the race he dearly wanted to win,never came his way,as he died as Figaro V (five) was being built.Figaro V is now some thirty nine (39) years old and she is here in the Cape,was Figaro V the yacht that would have won the Fastnet Race for William?more on her restoration and William Snaith to follow later.


A book by John Kretschmer

One of the best books of its genre, March 25, 2001

This review is from: Flirting With Mermaids: The Unpredictable Life of a Sailboat Delivery Skipper (Hardcover)

This book reminds me of William Snaith's book "On the Wind's Way", written 35 years ago. The vehicle is sailing, but the subject is really existential philosophy and the story of how one young man from a very early age decided to lead a life of individual freedom, independence, self-sufficiency, honesty and responsibility. Don't be misled by the stupid and misleading title (probably suggested by some marketing genius at Sheridan House), this book has an important message for today's disaffected, disenchanted thirty-something generation. The message is that time is an individual's only asset and doesn't have to be wasted in jobs or activities we don't like doing. Although not quite in Camus' league (despite the flattery of Mme. Richardson), Kretschmer is a very good writer who doesn't let the underlying philosophy lesson get in the way of the yacht delivery stories, all of which are related with a sardonic humor and just the right amount of technical detail. And "Mom Kretschmer"--what a gal she must be! But that's another story which I hope her son will decide to write some day. Kretschmer the writer deserves a better publisher who can give much wider distribution and better editing than Sheridan House.

A manual antenna tuner from Yaesu,the 902 model.

This is old stuff but when matched to a long wire antenna off the back of the boat to the mast head,it works a real treat.

When the SWR is down (standing wave ratio) your ready to broadcast,it can be used on amature or marine band sets and should take a full 150 watts from the marine sets.

The Yaesu FC-902 is an antenna tuner with inline watt meter and SWR meter. Bands covered include: 160 (L & H), 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 meters. It also features a three position antenna input switch. It is designed to match the FT-902DM and works well with the FT-901DM.

Used on a boat I was crossing the South Atlantic on with an Icom 720a set using the A and B channels set to duplex bands and Cape Town Radio,we could easily work them and get land line links to our families.

How hard can this be?


Figaro V on the travel lift

What a nice day to be lifted from three years in the water.

Figaro V has taken the choice to come out of the water at the HBBY (hout bay boat yard) this time,the staff are friendly and well trained,its also clean and safe.

Now basicaly restored,the boats in fine condition .

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Cape Henry 21 building order

We have been asked to supply a plywood package to build a Cape Henry 21 to a finished hull and deck stage,The kit will be profesionally built here in Cape Town. The order now opens a door to do more and other Dix Design yachts to special order.We can now do costings against the boat as a finished sail away yacht. Below is a news item taken from Dudlleys own blog.


Cape Henry 21
I was surprised a few weeks ago to hear that a photo of a Cape Henry 21 is on the front cover of the June issue of Sailing magazine. It was another week before I had a copy in my hands to see for myself . It really is a beautiful Billy Black photo of "Mehala" in drifting conditions on Long Island Sound. It was taken while we were waiting for some breeze to do a sail test for Wooden Boat magazine in June 2009.

I contacted the staff of Sailing to thank them and have also sent them all that is needed for a design review. Watch for that in an upcoming issue.

"Mehala" was owner-built by South African Mike Smith, who lives in Darien, Connecticut. He berths her at Norwalk Yacht Club on Long Island Sound, where he is a past commodore.

Mike did a very nice job of building "Mehala". She is very pretty and sails well (not that I was able to experience her sailing ability, the breeze never did excede about 2 knots).

I was on "Mehala" with Dan Segal, who was commissioned by Wooden Boat to author their sail test. He gave her an excellent review, which covers 6 full pages of the July/August issue of Wooden Boat, currently on the shelves. My thanks go to Dan Segal and the staff at Wooden Boat for such a wonderful review and to Mike Smith for allowing us the use of "Mehala".

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Daves Hillman Imp is a driver now

As far as I remember David who lives in Cullinan, has owned his Mark 1 Hillman Imp since new,he contacted me some years back about an engine rebuild? I made him an offer that he pay for the parts,plus supply a few more engines and Imp  tuning parts he had collected,I would then do the rebuild at cost plus parts.

Dave and his son out for a drive,all window glass has been removed pending new rubbers from the Imp Clubs spares man Bob Allan. The engine was rebuilt for Dave in November 2003,so around eight years back,I started the parts rebuild in May of that year though.

Dave and his son trying the car out again,the age of the car is unknown but it will be around a 1964 model,so forty seven (47) years old now,Dave tells me the engine I rebuilt for him  started first time once it had petrol in it.

Vigletti Motors did a lot of work on the cylinder head for me,they skimmed the head,ground the valves,set the tappets,did a vacume test,chemical clean blast and honed the block I seem to remember.
We now have many Imp related car parts in stock,even some body parts,suspensions and many engine parts too.