Saturday, 13 December 2008

Andante,a Pipedream sloop,by Francis S Kinney


Andante,sailing off the East African coast,picture supplied by the owner.


My copy of Francis S Kinney's updated version ( 8th edition) Skenes Elements of Yacht Design




This is the repair dock I used at RCYC and where the boats sails were removed from (stolen)it will have been around 1979?
Note,the picture quality is very poor due to the age and condition of the photos I still have.

This boat I know more about than most may? when designing my own boat the Bahia 34, which I later built the hull of on an island on the river Thames near Waybridege,London,I bought a book writen by Francis S Kinney,he had writen what became a reference book for many boat designers,in the book is his design 'Pipedream' with many construction drawings and photographs of a boat to this design being built.

My eventual decision to sell the Bahia 34 hull,after finding work in the Sudan,saw me end up back in Cape Town,a yacht broker Mel Bosman had just sold Andante to a scots guy from Durban,being scots his name was of course Angus.The boat needed some remeadial work,was I interested in it? Looking at what was a nice boat but in need of stripping and a refurb,it was as good a contract as any at the time.

The boat was to be repainted,inside and out,plus the mast and boom removed and to be revarnished also,we are talking about a lot of work here,it was at least two months for me,with my wife Jean, helping with the mast preperation work as well,Angus paid on time,always a happy part of any job,we finally got the boat back together,fitted new hatch Lexans,port hole windows,painted inside and out,seven coats of International Paints clear varnish on the mast aand boom,Angus thought it should have a brigther gloss I remember,it was gleaming as far as I was concerned! One matter that involved the police was when I had removed hatch covers,the boat was 'entered' and items removed (stolen) it seems the previous owner was not fully satisfied with the selling price,so he came one night and removed some of the boats value,he removed sails I remember.

On completion Angus decided he wanted to do an over night trip to Saldahna Bay,thats some 62 miles north of Cape Town,Mel was to be skipper,Angus and his wife,Jean and I went as crew,it was around July,winter in the cape,I remember the seas were calm enough but with little wind we motored through the long night and it was really COLD!
The old Volvo twin cylinder engine kept overheating,Mel kept the revs down,so we then went slower,then Angus would push them back up so we would go faster,we made it eventually,going inside Juten Island in sea frommel (foam) so thick that the water was not to be seen,I was really worried we may pile upon the rocks,Mel was quite happy with our position though,I have done that trip many times since but never seen frommel like that since.

Andante was one of two such boats built locally,the other was named Allegra,she had done the Cape to Rio Race but I dont think Andante had? Allegra and Andante were built by the same boat builder,was his name Misplon,he built them over towards False Bay near what is now called Marina Da Gama,Andante was built after Alegra and I suspect some issue was happening near her final completion,or one builder took over after another left the job,this seems likely as half the boats 'Floors' were missing,I mentioned this to Mel when I had the boat on the RCYC slip,I suspect he never informed Angus? Floors are what are used to tie a wooden boats lower frame ends together,they are not floors we walk on,they are called Soles,we walk on those.In this case I had the designers book which showed the construction details of the boat and it was easy to work out that given the missing timbers,the hull to keel joint was going to be weak and given bad weather,leak badley?

Later the boat attempted a trip to Durban,Angus had appointed a delivery skipper,some really bad weather developed right at the start of the trip and the man pumped the boat all the way to Hout Bay,which in normal terms is about three hours away,in this case he took all night.I was never involved in the boat again but did see it on the hard at what is now the car parkat the RCYC,one of the original boat builders was fitting the missing floors I was told.

The boat was to surface in my life some years later,by then (i assume) Angus had the boat delivery to Durban completed,then later he sold the boat on to a chap working or living further up on Africas east coast,was it in Dar ES Salaam,Tanzania? The new owner was doing research on his boat,he found out about its sister ship,Allegra and somehow found out about myself doing Andantes original restoration (cosmetic) he wrote to me (email?) and asked me to supply what ever information on the two boats I had? I regret to tell you that I have forgotton the mans name but it may surface,or come back to me in the future.We had a number of mails and he supplied a picture,which I have included in this blog,thats the owner in the cockpit.That was the last I heard from the man,as some months later his daughter put out a request for information on her father and Andante,they were both missing at sea,Cruising World magazine published the request, this entry in Cruising World was the last I heard of Andante and her owner,did the keel joint fail,or was it pirates?

My last mail from the last owner,Peter Bowman:

Hi Roy,
Thanks for your e-mail. I know what you mean when you talk about computers
crashing...........disastarous!!
Yes, I would like to join the "Traditional Boat Association" so if you can
tell me what information is required by them it will be most appreciated. My
postal address is:
Peter Bowman,
P.O.Box 10532,
DUBAI.
United Arab Emirates.

While living in Durban I was a member of Point Yacht Club since, hell it
seems like many ages but must be about 20 years.
If you can give me the bank account details of the Traditional Boat
Association I can arrange to transfer the neccessary fees from here. I will
also appreciate it, if possible, for some back copies of their monthly
newsletter to be posted to me.
Hope you are able to help with all this.
Best regards,
Peter.

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