Saturday, 14 November 2009

Sheer Tenacity,an entry from their Brasilian trip blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Battle of the Bulge nearly over, and a re-take on Bolero!

On 10th May 2004, I sat drinking a beer in the cockpit of a Gibsea 44, anchored exactly where we have just anchored Sheer Tenacity, up the Paraiba river , at Jacare, Cabedelo. At the time, I told Malcolm,( my host, who was delivering the Gibsea to Cape Town, on what was to be his 53rd Atlantic crossing), "'One day I am going to come back here and show Mary this place! " Well, here we are, and it is still rather special, although very much more development has taken place during the last 5 years. There are many more riverside restaurants and bars, all competing to play the loudest music in Brazil. There is a new private marina owned by a Frenchman, Captain Phillipe,and he has taken over the bulk of the yachting trade previously done by Brian Stevens, of Cabedelo Nautica.

On my last visit, I had been crewing for Chris Sutton, to sail Enigma, a Compass 47 from Fortaleza to Gibraltar. I had drawn the short straw, and was required to take a 900km bus trip down to Cabedelo, with only the mainsail as luggage, in order to have it repaired prior to our departure. The recommended sailmaker, was Claudio, a windsurfer sail maker in Cabo Branco. He did a fine job, and Brian Stevens was fantastically kind and helpful to me at the time, asking his wife Sylvia to feed me, and his daughter Pamela to take me and the sail back to the Rodovario in Joao Pessoa, in time to catch the bus back to Fortaleza, with seconds to spare!! Yesterday, I was able to visit Brian again, and give him 4 Pugs T-shirts for Sylvia and Pamela , by way of saying thank you for all he did for me in 2004! I also took the liberty of passing on Roy McBrides best wishes, as I know he would have expected this of me. Brian has got to be one of the best preserved 72 year olds around, and still looks as strong as an ox ! He is now building huge tourist River catamarans, and has by his reckoning now built over 100 of them during the last 6 years. There are about 6 of them in service here, and they are partly the reason why the Riverfront restauant businesses have grown so much.

But, getting to Cabedelo from Salvador, at this time of the year , can be tricky, as the prevailing winds are on the nose, as is a 1.5 to 2.0 knot current ! We first tried to leave Itaparica on Wednesday 28th October.We had just received an sms from Kate, saying that my Mom had been admitted to hospital with a gastric infection. At the time it did not seem too serious, and there was a rare easterly wind affording us a chance to leave. There are however bigger plans afoot, and for reasons best known to Fred ( The Autopilot), he went on strike again , with an entirely new set of symptoms. We were forced to turn back. When we got back, it was to learn, that Moms condition had deteriorated rapidly. Sadly she passed away in the early hours of the 2nd November. At least we were able to stay in touch with the family through these difficult days, and be "there" for each other.

That day too, the wind again went Easterly, and we took the gap, and beat our way up the 290nm to Maceio, arriving after of 65hours of tough motor sailing in pretty uncomfortable conditions. Once again, Sheer Tenacity proved her mettle, arriving a couple of hours ahead of our fellow cruisers who took the same gap. En route, the diesel transfer pump died, and I was forced to syphon my deck jerry's into the day tank. We were all very pleased to arrive safely in Maceio. When Estrella arrived on the Monday, they knew it was Moms funeral day, and they knew too how we were battling with all forms of communication to RSA. They arrived at our boat to deliver a special "Wake Cake",in her honour, which was delicious, and greatly appreciated. We then all rested, and waited for the next window ,which came on Saturday the 7th. We refilled the jerry cans with diesel, rigged up a manual transfer pump using a spare manual bilge pump, and left at

The first 6 or so hours were quite tough, but as the coast turns Northwards, the wind angle improved to the point where we could sail very efficiently into the current. The 214 nm took 35 hours, with Sheer Tenacity once again took pole position ( Not that we are racing of course!!)

As we entered the river mouth, we saw for the first time, signs that the dreaded current was diminishing. The point of sail from here on , together with the reduced current, should enable us to get around the Bulge ok. Mary and I are not sure whether we feel like going to Fortaleza, where we would have to pay $1 per foot per day ( R360per day!), for mooring. We are inclined to rest up here, and then prepare for the long haul straight to the Caribean, stopping perhaps at Illle de Salut, and Surinam, before making for Tobago. Whatever we decide, this could be the last stop over where Constante , Estrella, and Sheer Tenacity will be together, before heading our different ways. We have decided therefore to have a Battle of the Bulge Party shortly, to celebrate our voyage up from Ilha Grande, where we all met up in the first place!

A new fuel transfer pump is on order, and should be here in a few days. Brian is quoting on a bit of stainless steel work we want done, to beef up our bimini, and Yes Chris, it will make the boat a bit heavier, but we think she can handle it!

We decided to brave the loud music, and visit one of the riverside restaurants for a beer, and to watch the sun go down from land, for a change! We rowed down the frontage, to select the venue with the least offensive volume of music. Each of the restuarants has it own live music, and dance area. While we were commenting on how much like similar the music in our venue was to the "Boom -Chick" Boeremusik back home, a sudden hush came over all the restaurants, as one by one, they stopped the music. We then noticed a gondola, drifting down the river, transporting a Demis Roussos type figure, dressed in a white Kaftan, with an orange sash, and a saxaphone held to his mouth. It was about 10 minutes before sunset, and slowly one became aware of the haunting, rythmic melody of Ravel's Bolero, emanating from all the restaurants sound systems. I was first introduced to Bolero. in Musical Appreciation at school, but I must confess, that my lasting impression of the piece was indelibly etched in my brain, by Bo Derek, in the movie "Perfect 10", as she achieves orgasmic ecstacy , as Bolero ends with the grand crescendo! Now there's nothing wrong with holding on to that image all these years, and I'm sure I'm not alone ! But the simple beauty of hearing it being played live, over the water, as the sun went down, was very, very special.! The last notes coincided with the sun dropping below the horizon, and the hundreds of patrons emerging from their trance like state, to burst into raptuous applause. We saw it as a fitting requiem for Mom.

HBYC Marina,another view

Left click on the picture to open it up to a full screen size and see the remarkable detail!

Taken with a Canon G11 digital,this unusual shot shows how the brains in a G11 can handle light.

Our first Toylander Series Two build

Left click the pictures to view in a larger size.

I was wondering what success I would have with assembly of the many panels we had cut to make our first Toylander body with,having never attempted this before,I dont even have the plans yet,I was a real beginer.I found that we had not cut the finger joint grooves wide enough,so I had to plane some material off,that and cut the 3mm corner radius left by our CNC machine,I still only took three and a half hours to assemble though.

The car body as in the pictures is dry assembled,there are some screws in it but our kits will be easy to assemble without screws,you will need screws to hold the joints tight when your at the gluing stage,I suggest making the car dry first is a good idea,as while we will supply an assembly guide,stage by stage,you my find it easier to do it your own way on the day.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday 13th

a Roy McBride photo,using a Canon FT and Ecktachrome slide film.
I went to start my Ford 1600i truck this morning,flat battery,totally dead,as I had left the side lights on all night,we make our own luck it seems,strange it would be today.Making your own luck may also mean how you name your yacht,Vendredi 13
(friday thirteenth) is an odd way to go about naming your boat,whats the story behind this,I saw the boat in Martinique some years back,I can just imagine sailing the trades in this monster.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Charly's Cakes (bakery)

Charly's Bakery,Canterbury street,Cape Town.

Cape Talk 567 talk radio (am modulation) in Cape Town are running a competition with Nedbank,you phone in and suggest what small business is your favorite,this one was really starting the phone lines ringing!

From their web site:

Arch Tutu’s 75th Birthday cake
16 Oct 2007 | 11:27 am | Category: Events, Celebs, Chocolate cake So I’m backtracking a bit, but you will soon see why. Last year we were asked by Fiona of King’s college in London to make a cake for Archbishop Tutu’s 75th birthday- our reaction- of course. Anytime you want me to make a cake for one of my personal heroes- I’m there like a shot- and Zelda-PA to Madiba- this is a big hint about a certain big 90th coming. I want to make Madiba the greatest most Mucking Afazing cake ever for the Greatest most Mucking Afazing Man of South Africa, next year in July when the BIG MAN turns 90. I am willing to change our annual holiday dates to make Madiba’s cake!
But I digress, so lots of planning went into the Arch’s cake as he is a man of many talents, and we chose words which symbolise him for the one tier- Love, Truth and Peace . And then the next tier had to have the Rainbow for the famous “rainbow nation” name of our country, and then the top tier has an Africa with a little gold cross in the place of South Africa, and of course the big gold 75 on top.
Well you can see from the photo, his delight when they brought his cake out, and we couldn’t stop smiling! But it got even better… as we were invited to the Birthday Party at the British High Commissioner’s residence, and we got all dressed up and went to party-yes we couldn’t believe ourselves at this amazing event, and of course we sat at a table right up front next to the Dutch Royal family, and FW De Klerk. What an event! We brought along our Charly’s Bakery song- “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, by Israel Kamakawi’ole and they played it when they brought out the cake. A very proud moment for us Proudly South African Charly’s Chicks!

Five weeks to our Christmas Holliday closure

Now building,we assemble our demonstrator Toylander Series Two,starting tommorrow,a trailer will follow that build.

Just checked my callender,I reckon we are shutting down for the year 2009 on December 18th which is a friday but if things have slowed down by then a day or two before? so if you have any ideas to shopping for your chlidren,or grand children and are one of the many asking about our new Toylander kits,now is the time to order.

I have lifted this off a site called Twelve weeks before christmas,it says it all for me.


The Little Ones Toy Series is designed to help parents and grandparents make smart choices by featuring outstanding/award winning "toys that teach," accompanied by reviews which highlight and explain the educational benefits and specific skills children receive from these types of toys.

Children love things that move! Setting vehicles in motion is a thrilling way for children to experiment with the some of the basic laws of Physics. Vehicles and transportation sets continue to remain a top choice on children’s wish lists. These sets convey that adventure is just down the road, as far as your imagination will take you! This selection of popular products is just a sample of the many toys available to give your child hours upon hours of fun and excitement.

Black 25 liter containers

Used but clean.

These are used but clean inside,they come in as a special from time to time,we can offer them to yachties at a cost of R16,thats a great price,about half that Plastics for Africa will be charging you? Use black or pigmented containers when you thinking of deck stowage for diesel or water,if you use clear containers the UV from the Sun will knock them out by the time you reach St Helena.

Toylander sanding,

Roy sanding a Toylander body panel on our vertical bobbin sander,if you do not have one,a normal belt sander laid down on its side in a jig works almost as well,my thanks to Andrew for taking the picture.

This is Mike,he is hand sanding all the edges our vertical bobbin sander will not reach.

The nice thing with me building our first Toylander Series Two (1958 era) is that its as new to me as you,I have never built one,so I am on a learning curve that I can pass on build information to our customers,watch this space as they say.We can build to any level,just the plywood body to a complete turn key drive away car.

Henrys Guillemot Kayak,glue scarphs,setting out,cutting panels

Left click any picture to view full size and see whats going on.

A picture says a thousand words,if so here are nine thousand words! Henry came here for all his kayak build materials,sort of a one stop shop,if we do not stock what you want,please ask,we can source most materials.

De Ja Vue and Scorpions

Food to go,this monster is on offer in China.

I have just been changing my shoes to a pair of old ones I use at work,as usual I turned them up side down and knocked them on the floor to check for Scorpions? this has been my practise for the past 31 years,ever since working on a contract in the Sudan,Scorpions were a part of life there,pick things up with out care at your peril!I am told they can grow up to one foot long (310mm) in the deserts of North Africa,they best way to find a Scorpion at night is with a 'black' ultraviolet light,they then glow in the dark.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Toylander kit cutting out

The beginning,with a toy Toylander kit too.

This is where we got to after just a half hour and little bit more,next we clean up the edeges and start our assembly.

Second sheet,that large offcut we can cut as part of a trailer?

Sheet two.

All thats left of that sheet,check all the setting out you do not have to do when you buy our kit!

I was in no rush but quite keen to know how long it takes to cut the two 12mm ply sheets out,it was 17 mins for the sheet with the wheel arches in and the same again for the other sheet,so just 34 mins, for both,its this kind of fast track to the building stage I always promote.One Didi 26 yacht I built here was ready cut to assembly stage in just a few hours,an architecht in Sweden was building the same boat,it took him nine days to get to the same point! Next I clean up the edges and see how it all fits together.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Hout Bay Yacht Club,a picture

I seem not to have seen a picture of the HBYC,this puts that one right,its at the head of the harbour pier which leads down to the marina.Refreshments are available on any day excepting Christmas Day when the club is closed,food is available some days.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Hillman Imp full race and large bore exhaust manifolds

High quality CNC cut base plates,the top one is the large bore exhaust and the lower one the full race inlet and exhaust,all our exhausts are cut to the same high standard.

This is our building jig,all manifolds we make come from this basic tool,we can make specials too.

The end result as below starts with what is above.

These are popular but we need time to make them,from the lazer cutting of the face plate to the hot bending of each individual pipe bend,followed by high quality welding,hand finish and a final coat of hi temprature paint,its not a product thats done in a day or so.We have three being made right now as stock,two full race inlet and exhaust to twin choke Weber carbs and one large bore exhaust.

Hout Bay Yacht Clubs marina,ten years ago

This picture was taken from the web site of Gilana,thats her beam on with the white painted hull,she is a fifty foot long steel construction.Since sailing off,she has crossed the South Atlantic once,then the North Atlantic three times,with a long trip around the Caribean and the Med, too,now based in Mallorca,Spain I think.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Barcardi Gold in South Africa,where?

BACARDI Gold is a blend of light distilled rum spirit that has been allowed to rest for up to two years in carefully selected, charred oak barrels. The longer ageing process allows BACARDI Gold to develop a smooth flavor and a pleasing amber color. BACARDI Gold is filtered only once, before ageing but not after, resulting in a product with a fuller body and subtle, woody flavor.

The taste is mellow and slightly aromatic with a balance of walnuts, spices and tropical fruits on a subtle background of oak. The finish is woody and soft.

Bacardi Rum is made in Puerto Rico.

Barcardi Gold is a favourite drink of mine,a good friend has just returned from a trip to the UK and brought me a bottle back with him (note,I need more friends like this)the reason being that for some reason Bacardi Gold is not sold in South Africa but the lable on this bottle says 'Not for resale outside Southern Africa'.Did you know there are sixteen types of Barcardi?

Hot News,I am now told that Bacardi Gold can be bought at Makro in Ottery,Cape Town,great news,we have joined the real world at last!


Bacardi Gold
distilled by Bacardi - Puerto Rico

Light brown rum distilled from fermented molasses. Aged at least 1 year.
A good light-bodied, mixing rum. A good example of the lighter Puerto Rican rums.

Bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.
Other Bacardi Gold reviews
184 Ministry of Rum forum members have selected Bacardi Gold as one of their favorites.

Some history,I spent a very nice afternoon at the Bacardi Distillery in Puerto Rico,recomended!

Don Facundo Bacardi Masso emigrated to Cuba from Spain in 1830. Arriving as a wine merchant he set up as a grocer in the 1840s and was experimenting with distillation by 1852 trying to improve the quality of the local rum by trying various technical experiments in distillation and ageing.

As a result of these experiments Facundo decided to use charcoal filtration to remove the rum’s impurities, and he also employed oak-ageing to smooth the raw edges of the spirit and produce a mellow clear white rum.

There is no doubting Don Facundo’s drive and business acumen. He bought a distillery and in 1862, with his brother Jose, he established Bacardi & Co. in order to properly distribute and market his product. In 1872 he turned the management of his business over to two of his sons, Emilio and Facundo Bacardi Moreau.

There followed one of the political upheavals that were to have a direct bearing on the destiny of the company. In the 1890s Emilio Bacardi was exiled from Cuba by the controlling Spanish government after fighting for the Cuban rebels in the Cuban War of independence. The company was steered through this politically messy period by Emilio’s brothers, while the family’s women went into exile in Jamaica. However, in a triumphant reversal of fortune following the Spanish defeat by US forces and the brief subsequent American occupation of Cuba, Emilio Bacardi was made mayor of Santiago de Cuba in 1899. It was also at around this time that the Daiquiri was invented.

The company fared rather better at the beginning of the new century, expanding into the US and Spain and completing a new distillery in Santiago shortly before the death of Emilio in 1922, an event which occasioned the shops of Santiago to close for two days in mourning. With Emilio’s brother Facundo at the reigns of the newly-incorporated company, Bacardi was well-placed to take advantage of the Prohibition-inspired American tourist boom of the 1920s and ‘30s, often using specifically US-targeted ad campaigns.

Further growth followed in the 1930s, with the company opening a new bottling plant in Mexico and a new distillery in Puerto Rico. This latter resulted in Bacardi becoming embroiled in the first of many significant legal battles over copyright - in this case to win the right to put the Bacardi name on the rum produced in Puerto Rico.

During WWII, Bacardi was headed by Jose Pepin Bosch, a member of the extended family who would eventually become Cuba’s Minister of the Treasury in 1949. In the period before the Cuban Revolution of 1959 Bacardi switched their international trademarks out of Cuba to the Bahamas. The year after the revolution, the family were forced to flee when their Cuban distillery was nationalised by Castro. Bacardi refused any settlement from Castro and today the head offices are in Puerto Rico, Bermuda and Miami.

AIS does yours pick up Channel 21? (Aids to Navigation).

AISWatchMate®RX Two Channel Receiver and Display
The AISWatchMate is now available with an integrated two channel AIS receiver.
Excellent receiver sensitivity for maximum range.
Designed especially for highest AIS performance.
Easy to install. No external "black boxes".
Winner of two international innovation awards.

Left click to view full size and read the text.

My good wife Jean was reading Yachting Monthly,October 2009 issue,page 15 and spotted a report by a sailor off Ireland,I sent this information to Jeff of Vesper Marine,makers of the Watchmate AIS,asking if he was aware of this possible sitution,below is his reply just in.

Hi Roy,

No worries. The WatchMate has full support for message type 21 (Aids to Navigation). It has complete support for all aids, including virtual and off-position indicators and has always had it in every unit including the very first unit we shipped!

Be aware that there are a number of other AIS products out there that do not enjoy the complete coverage that the WatchMate does. The WatchMate-RX also has full support for meteo/hydro messages and as far as I know is the only product that can do that.

Also, there was just a very detailed independent review done by a journalist in Australia for a magazine which concludes that the WatchMate-RX has the most sensitive AIS receiver, with a 100% score of number of messages received compared to other products that range from 23% to 54%. I'll send you a copy of the article once it comes out.


Jessica Watson sails on

Jessica has a Watchmate AIS by Vesper Marine.

Jessica Watsons boat,Ella.

Satcom picture of Jessica.

Nice conditions,thats the moon you can see.

Ella sailing herself.

News from Jessicas blog as of saturday 7th November 2009 reads as below,she has got into her stride now,some 2000 miles are under her keel and she knows what the boat is capable of now.

Saturday, November 7, 2009
Trade Wind Sailing

Really loving the way Ella's been chewing away the miles over the last few days. With the wind sitting on 20-25knots from the south east its good trade wind sailing, even if the sun hasn't been doing too much of that shining business lately.
We're also really starting to make some good progress north. The GPS readout now puts our latitude well into the teens.
The temperature is just starting to get a little warm in the cabin, but with so much water over the deck, having the hatches open is completely out of the question. But I'm sure this is nothing compared to how warm it will get over the over the next few weeks!
With a bit of a headache, plenty of sea room and Ella's Pink Lady not needing much attention from me today, I pretty much just spent the day wedged into a comfy position working away at a book and staying dry. Apart from the odd flying fish and bird there's not really been a lot of wild life around lately and still no luck catching any fish. Then again we have just passed over the Tongan Trench one of the deepest places on earth. I'm not much of a fisherman but maybe it hasn't exactly been the greatest place to catch fish? I'll just have to keep trying!The overcast skies have been making for some dark nights out here.
The sky and sea are completely black with no way of telling them apart. It's completely pot luck whether or not I get a face full of spray when I stick my head out above the dodger for a look around. But even if I do get un-lucky and cop a wave, I can't say it really bothers me. Normally I'll just laugh or squeal, even if I'm half asleep!
So it's all going well and at this pace, we'll be passing Samoa in the next few days and from there it really is a clear run to the equator.