Thursday 27 February 2014

Frans remembers his arrival to the coast of South Africa

This is nothing to do with our CNC cut boat kits but does have a great deal to do with South African sailing and our nasty weather systems, plus the use of a Barlow Wadley radio as an RDF, please read on about a true real life yachting story that happened thirty two (32) years ago.


That actual Barlow Wadley and its still working today!

Morning Roy,

The BW radio which I have is a XCR30. It also has FM.

Regarding the question about using it as a direction finder.

It was April 1982 and I was on a solo passage from Punta Del Este in Uruguay, heading for Port Elizabeth, our home port.

At the time I was some 40 miles South of Cape Point. I had been about 4 days without a sextant sight because of low cloud and was lying a-hull for the best part of a day in a South Easterly gale. My plan was to stay far south and head straight up the coast to Port Elizabeth.

I was unsure about my position relative to Cape Point and was getting concerned about being blown onto a lee shore. Earlier I had thrown toilet paper into the water to determine the direction and speed of my drift. The toilet paper was rather appropriate as at one stage a massive whale had breeched right next to the boat.

I was receiving Radio Good Hope very faintly, so I simply took the radio off its bracket and turned the pull-out aerial until I got the best reception. And that relative bearing was taken to the ship's compass. Over such a great distance the bearing was very useful. (if you have no bearing, even a vague bearing is good). Later that night the wind dropped and I resumed sailing. At one stage I came up on deck to find a vessel approaching from the South. It was a trawler the Southern Maid. By the time I got to the radio the master was already calling me for a chat. My first question was "can you give me a fix please?". He gave me Lat and Long which put Cape Point 39 miles North West of me. My dead reckoning was out by 17 miles! Not bad for pre-satnav or gps?

Late the following evening just when I had Cape Agulhas off the bows, the South Easter returned. When it peaked at 50kts I threw in the towel and ran for the protection of False Bay and secured in Gordon's Bay harbour.
The boat I sailed was a Petersen 33 called Checkers Hyper. Four of us had earlier raced it to 3rd in Class Three in the 1982 South Atlantic Race to Punta del Este. The others had to get straight home so I used the opportunity to do a solo passage across the Atlantic.

To this day the adventure brings back great memories.


Note, Frans took his Barlow Wadley on a second South Atlantic race and on the boat Wings, proving that they really are tough sets and fit for purpose!