Saturday, 23 March 2013

Yacht Brer Terrapin, 1967 building starts

This boat was the boat that changed my life and this is the first part of the story about how she was built and those who had a hand in her building. The quality of the build was top draw, I have no idea as to just why this was possible, given her main builder was in fact a trainee doctor.

You can find a  number of my blogs on Brer Terrapin, this was the last one.

The man behind the idea and the builder was Pip Smith, his brother Mike Smith was also involved from the beginning. Pips wife, Ruth was of course there from day one and its thanks to Ruth and Mike that I now have all the info on the boats story, along with a large selection of personal photographs collected by  both of them.

Ruth with her baby son James on board Brer Terrapin.

Dear Roy,

 I have lots of pics  and slides of the building of the boat (took  9 years If I remember correctly. Pip and his Dad, Gerry Smith built it from scratch) and our trip from Johannesburg- Durban then from there  sailing down the coast.... a horrific trip with gales and a savage broaching... etc  to Cape Town, Dassen Island and then on to Saldahna, , St Helena ,Rio and the Islands South of Rio. (ilha grande)  I will have to delve around in my head.....  Opening some doors that I closed long ago. But lovely to know that Brer Terrapin did so well and that she was appreciated. She was a beautiful boat and meticulously  built with great dedication and I was very involved in her creation , one way or another. I think best one day to have a chat. Anyway   we have made contact so that is a start.
with best wishes.


Pip with his son James.

I could be wrong but that sure looks like a large South Atlantic swell in the background, I sailed across to Brasil on this very same boat.

To be continued later with lots more information and pictures.


Thursday, 21 March 2013

B&G Network Course computer ACP1 to ACP2?

I have featured this one before, its still a bit open ended and as I have an ACP1 but with the ACP2 dip switches I think I may be part way there?

The B&G manual says that the dip switches, 1,2,3, should be down and number 4 should be up, this sets it at 9volts.

Read about the story on the Forum above.

ACP 2 board, click on the pictures to enlarge.

With not having an ACP 2 to cross check with my ACP1, I could not see otherwise if there are additions or not on the ACP2?

An ACP 2 has the dip switches, they are top right in the picture, if they are not there it has to be the ACP1 only. My ACP1 has those dip switches. Note, the dip switches change voltages from 9v to 18v.

I eye balled the boards really closely, I see no changes in the parts layout unless the values are different?

The ACP2 circuit board, brand new and never used.

Now I find an ACP 2 for sale in the USA and its brand new, they supply pictures so I can now visually cross checked my boards with the ones in the ACP2.

I find one change only, check those small four yellow blocks to the lower right hand side, they are on other parts of the board also, well mine are black instead.

I bought a whole load of the newer Network stuff in from the USA about two years back. With it came an ACP1 Network pilot control box, I have no idea if it works, I see no external faults on either of the two boards.

The one I have is ok for the smaller boats and the ACP2 is for the larger boats, I found a forum that clearly say on the early units they just changed the lables!

I sent a picture of the boards to B&G technical, they said my board was the ACP1 only.

This is what you will find when you open the box up to make your connections, the other PC boards are under an alloy cover, you need to remove four small pan headed stainless machine screws to open further.

I wonder does my unit match the ACP2?

There is one difference other than those yellow components, my ACP1 is labled for 12 volt use only, the ACP2 in these pictures is labled 12v/24v, as I need only the 12v supply I do not see this as an issue in my case.


The Hout Bay YC development sailing program

The program has been running and working well for some years now, so much so that a fund raising competition was held recently to enable two more boats to be bought.

This was the scene yesterday afternoon, the end of the series racing and all the action related with big boat racing, calls for Protest, bumps with another boat and a required 360 turn for the skipper involved, this is the real thing!

The driving force behind the program is Sam, it started with a weekly event, then expanded to sailing Monday through to Thursday, such was the interest in sailing for the local children.

The season has now closed, I will post the results when they are given to me.


Oars and Paddles in Cape Town

South African made and each one by hand.

Hi Roy

Here is a pic of some oars. I can make any size up to 6 metres.

They are made from American Poplar, which has the same weight as Clear Oregon Pine, plus
it comes in nice long lengths. We supply the waterproof PVA glue that is used.
Contact me for your order.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Jordan Boats of Scotland

I first spoke to Alec Jordan last year, we were discussing him supplying the CNC cut files to a customers boat for us to cut here, in the end the order did not happen.

In three years, this design a has sold over 90 kits for the St Ayles Skiff in the UK, USA, and Netherlands. Now the St Ayles is joined by the Wemyss Skiff.

Rowed here by designer Iain Oughtred and Alec Jordan

This design looks perfect for a development sailing/boating program!

We now have another Jordan Boats design enquiry and have spoken to Alec about that, watch this space for progress.

View Jordan Boats at the link above then contact either Alec Jordan or myself to enquire about kits to their designs for South Africa.


Monday, 18 March 2013

Annapolis to Southport, Virginia, USA

This was a memorable trip down the Chesapeak Bay one October day and night, the trip was to deliver a brand new yacht to its new owners home port.

The Alueala 38

Map showing the lower portion of the Chesapeak Bay.
The route was the full length of this chart, plus about the same again on the next chart. Annapolis is off this chart and on the left, while Southport and Norfolk are near the bottom,also on the left side and before the very long road traffic bridge which is at the entrance to the sea.

Charlie was the owners friend and ran a boat yard near the marina they would keep the boat at. Thats the owners wife trying to warm up in the weak October morning sun. Charlies card says C.A.Bartlet, Lees Yacht Harbour, 3101 West Norfolk Road, Portsmouth, VA. 23703. (does that exist now?)

Arrival early morning, thats Norfolk and Southport ahead.

Norfolk, Virginia, USA, in 1977 thats where they mothballed ships, mainly US Navy but also the SS United States , the sailing ship Atlantic was also to be found and as a hulk if you knew where to look, Charlie did!

Cheers, this dram of whiskey went down really well that morning, we had done some 125 miles in around 24 hours.

The guy with the black cap is the new owner, a local doctor who had a home on a beach front. Next to him in the red/brown coat is Chris of Sarno Associates, the selling broker. The guy in the woolie cap was a friend of the owner, it was he who gave me a room for the next week and also loaned me a BMW to drive during that week.

How nice was that!



Sunday, 17 March 2013

Mast building glues

This is the basis for a thread on a subject that needs discussion from time to time.
There are lots of pictures that I will load in the next day or so but this is the start.

Do it yourself has always appealed to me, just ensure you study the various processes well. Dudley Dix is still designing masts and spars in wood, some of his designs such as the Didi 38 and Didi 26 include the mast design as part of his plans package. He may
be able to do you a design for your own boat?

A story I wrote on mast building can be found in the link below.

Below is the link to a story I did on the subject.

This is a sister ship to the design we are talking about a mast for. The place was the Annapolis Boat Show and in October 1977.

Alajuela 38

Picture by R McBride using a Canon FT film camera.

I will add the brokers name in the morning when I have found his card!

His name was/is Christopher Vaile, broker and of Sarno Associates .Marblehead, Massachusetts, 01945.

Chris told me that the boat was his and bought in as a dealer buy in some time back, he was keen to sell it on and worked hard to ensure it stayed in the perfect condition I saw the boat in. My interest in this boat was the fact that she was a sister ship to the Ingrid 38 I had sailed across the South Atlantic a few months before.

With this boat being in GRP the internal space was a whole lot more than Brer Terrapin, the yacht I had sailed on, built in wood, Sapele Mahogany on Amrican Oak frames, she was smaller inside by as much as 250mm?

I will also post a picture showing the delivery crew after arrival in Portsmouth, it was a 24 hour trip and about 125 miles in all.

The place is the Annapolis Boat Show, October 1977, I was asked by the boats broker to act as a watch captain on the delivery down the Chesapeak Bay and to the boats new owners home port in Portsmouth, just opposite Norfolk in Virgina, USA.

Hi Roy ,

I have read your page on mast building with interest. We have tried to research for our project but have only found yourself, the ‘Pardeys’, a local ship wright and Collars in england who seem to discuss the subject much. We are about to embark on building a 60’ mast for our Alajuela 38, a Colin Archer inspired hull.

We are building it in the states and have been able to source Sitka Spruce. we have not sourced any glue yet but were intending to use resorcinol, aerodux 500 if possible. We’re not sure of whether to trust the american resorcinols such as the Dap product, wondered what suggestions you might have, it also comes in 2 parts, resin and powder.

Also we are getting alot of bemused criticisms from people dumbfounded as to why we’re not using epoxy, hoped you might expand on your reasons, ours so far are the lack of penetration, uv resistance wonder about it’s flexibility? We don’t know how much glue we are likely to use so would really appreciate a pointer for this. We intend to construct the mast as follows: front and back pieces will be 5 1/2 “ wide by 1 7/8 “ deep sides 6 1/4 “ by 1 1/4 “ there will be a small channel protruding from the sides in to the front and back pieces to stop movement on the gluing stage. scarfs will be 1 / 12 so near enough 2 ft long, there will be 4 scarfs on each of the four parts of the mast. Our friends here worry about the staining of the glue, as we intend to varnish the mast, also we worry about the lack of gap filling capability of resorcinol, though we want to use it we’re going to have to make our joints very accurate and clamp it all up quite quickly.

The wood is clear Sitka Spruce, know for its light weight, the sections need to be larger than would be used when using clear Douglas Fir / Oregan Pine due to the latter being stronger.

We’d really appreciate any indications or insights you might have for our project.

We have your phone number and may phone you if that is ok.

Thanks for your attention,

Duncan and Ruth

PS, if you’re interested you can google earth 3911 Liggio st dickinson texas you can see our boat before we started restoring her!

My thanks to Ruth and Duncan for the use of their mast building pictures.


A reply from Dudley Dix on the subject came back by return.

From: Dudley Dix []
Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:47 PM

To: Roy; 'Ruth Evans, Duncan Fagg'

Subject: Re: CKD_website_enquiry

Read up on the subject of glues and plywoods in Dudleys own blog.
Hi Ruth,

I have intended to write about glues on my amateur boatbuilder tips blog but have not yet had the time to do so. I covered it a bit when discussing plywood at .

I have used Aerodux 500 and the resin/powder varieties. Although I haven't used the DAP version, I don't expect it to be much different from the one that I used in South Africa. Sorry, the name escapes me although I clearly remember the smell and the look of the can. I had equal success with both types and would have no reservations about the DAP version. The Aerodux version uses the same chemicals but the hardener powder is mixed into a resin instead of being in dry form.

I think that the proper curing of the glue is more certain with the resin/powder version than the resin/resin version. I found that the resin hardener separates out no-matter how diligently you stir it up before measuring, with the filler settling to the bottom. The result is that toward the end of the cans you are getting progressively more of the filler in the mix. In balance, the powdered version is more difficulty to quickly measure out quantities like one can with two liquids. Accuracy needs measurement with an electronic scale. Despite that, I have never heard of a resorcinol failure and have myself had numerous epoxy failures.

Resorcinol is described as having low gap-filling properties but I have not found it to be bad. The main difference is that it penetrates into the wood better than epoxy so you must be liberal when applying it, particularly if the joint will be open for awhile. For a mast, apply it thick with a brush. It also starts to develop a skin on the surface, whereas epoxy starts to cure without forming a skin. The skin is not a problem because it will dissolve as you bring the two glue-covered surfaces together but you need to be aware of it and don't let it become more than a very light skin before closing the joint. A mast is the sort of project where it is useful to have a few friends to help with the assembly of the mast, for the primary reason of getting it clamped up fast while the glue is wet on the bonding surfaces. Don't take a shortcut and apply the glue only to one surface, it must be on both surfaces.

As for the dark glue lines showing on your clear-finished mast, I ask so what? It is more important to have a structurally sound mast than to have one built from the wrong glue just to hide the glue lines. You are not trying to make a blemish-free air-brushed faux-wood mast that is actually carbon fibre under the wood look. You are making a wooden mast, with all of the joints that method implies. Embrace the look of the mast and the fact that you can see how it was constructed. It becomes part of the character of your traditional boat and something to show off and talk about. Don't try to hide what it is. I suspect that the friends whose opinions worry you are mostly owners of boats that are much more modern and faceless in their image. Their opinions are not important, you are the ones who need to be happy what you are doing.


Dudley Dix

Dudley Dix Yacht Design
1340-1272 N Great Neck Rd #343
Virginia Beach, VA 23454, USA
Tel (757)962-9273 Fax (888)505-6820


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