Monday, 31 December 2012

Frans Loots Barlow Wadley, RDF

Mails have been coming and going about a radio my mate Notty once owned, he seems to have misplaced it these days but it does bring up a memory or two.

This was my first real intro to amateur  radio and when Dennis on Brer Terrapin bought an Atlas X12 ham radio, plus the Yeasu FRG7 receiver, that had the Wadley Loop in it, said to give a stable reception from start up so you do not have to re tune when the sets warm. Wadley was a doctor from Durban.

 From Wikepedia
In a traditional superheterodyne radio receiver, most oscillator drift and instability occurs in the first frequency converter stage, because it is tunable and operating at a high frequency. In theory, if one can eliminate this drift, the receiver will be stable.
Unlike other drift-reducing techniques (such as crystal control or frequency synthesis), the Wadley Loop does not attempt to stabilize the oscillator. Instead, it cancels the drift mathematically.


The Barlow Wadley radio


 There is a connection with the St Helena race winner, well will be in a day or so?

 Check the fleets progress here:

Banjo has just 400 nm to go and is creaming along at plus 10 knots right now, Banjo was built by one Frans Loots,its a Farrier tri

As I mentioned, he built the boat himself and won the same race two years back in it.

 Frans is from PE and either runs or owns Penny Pinchers up there, maybe both? He is ex Navy and Simonstown, also one of my

Blog readers and saw an entry on the Barlow Wadley radio last year (2012) it reminded him of a single handed trip back as a delivery from Rio

After one Cape to Rio races.
He did nav with a sextant and checked position with passing ships when he could (remember those days?) he had his Barlow Wadley for time signals but also used it as an RDF when he was near CPT and found Radio Good Hope, that signal was decent enough for him to check on Cape Towns postion!

 Frans has emailed me on the subject, he had also given the radio to his son to try out but was going to claim it back when he realised just what a great radio it was!

I never did find myself a set, who has one at a sensible price!


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Hillman Imp and engine numbers

Most will know that the engine number and also the Imps chassis number are the same, odd but thats the way they did it.

An engine number in 1963 looked like this  B41/1/501572 WSO , which means that the engine was the 1572 made  the WSO means for export.

Click the picture to enlarge it.

In this case, this is that engine and we know it will date onwards and from May 3rd 1963 when the Imp was released by Rootes Scotland.

I asked Colin, an Imp specialist in the UK if he knew if the engine number had the WSO (export) or HSO ( home saloon) stamped when it was made, or were the letters added when the destination  of the car was known/

To my surprise I find that Colin worked in one of the Rootes factories down south of Scotland!

I don't know when the engine numbers were punched onto the block.

If they matched the Body number then it would be on the Assembly Line in Scotland.

Otherwise it would be on the engine Assembly Line in Stoke Plant Coventry.

I never saw the Imp Assembly line, although I did visit Linwood a couple of times on various projects.

I worked as a Management Electrician in Stoke Plant during an Electricians Strike in 1973, ans saw the IMP Engine Line, but never got to see it working.

There was only the one Line, so I think engine would be assembled in batches, as required and when components became available.

So it would be something like 500 UK Spec engines, then 500 export.

Separate runs for Sport engines, and again separate runs for Low Compression Vans, and maybe some Export markets where fuel quality demanded low Compression etc.

My job was Systems Analyst for "Export Systems".

The Specification for each Country had to be Fixed and recorded on the Computer System and this would determine what engine Spec was required for each Car. So batches of engines would be built at Stoke and shipped to Linwood for Assembly into the Cars.

A stock of engines would be held to allow "economic batches" to be built. As there is a "down time" when swapping from one Spec to another. Some of the Assembly machinery and tooling migth need re setting between batches of different Engine Specs.

Remember that the Plant was probably producing 400 cars a day. But in the later years it didn't run everyday.

So the workforce might do 3 days on the Hunter Assembly and 2 days on the IMP Line.

Many thanks on this info Colin, it may help others sort out what they have and where it came from?



Friday, 28 December 2012

Will sets up the first hull skin panels to his i550 kit

One thing with kits  is they do save lots of time, Will cut all panels free in one and a half hours, I assume this was all sixteen sheets of 6mm marine ply we cut for him.

Hi Roy,

Merry Christmas and thanks for the mentions on your blog - I can see some clicks coming through from there.

Here are the latest shots of the boat as of yesterday evening. I was able to stitch the sides to the bottom single handed without much drama, the full cradle really has helped here (not many builders use them). Note that the centre seam is completely closed now (I had to lift the panels into a 'V' shape and pull very hard on the cable ties). I also had to add some lead ballast to get the forward section to deform to fit the cradle. I am also going to re-do the Stem fitting, hence the temporary looking nature of the bow.

The Ply panels I have used so far are cut millimetre perfect. They line-up and fit like a dream which means two things, a big time saver and an improvement in quality over what I could have done myself.

A fast build of an evenfaster  boat!


Thursday, 27 December 2012

Patin Catalan boat kits

I met with a person who has seen Patin Catalan sailing in Spain, he asked did I know of the boat class? I had to admit that I did not.

It was then explained to me that this class design has neither dagger boards or indeed rudders, I asked how you steer the boat? the reply was with body weight only!

The beach sailing here looks similar to South African conditions, just we have cleaner water.

Given there are very few fittings on this boat, it just has to be a whole lot less costly to build and having just posted a set of Oppikat bulkheads to a customer by SA and USA postal services, it possible we can do the same with this design?


Taken from a Wooden Boat magazine:

Sailing without a rudder means that the boat is constantly in balance. For small path deviations, the trim of the sail is used. When bigger manoeuvres are needed, the sailor has to shift his body weight. The inclination of the mast can be adjusted to the front or to the back during sailing.

I read that no plans are available and that only fully built craft are available, this certainally may open a way for kits and owner/home building.

The Patin is maintenance-friendly, quick, light and easy to rig up. One man takes the boat from the trailer to the water line in only ten minutes! It resists the hard beach life, it is resistant to sand, salt and sun. It is the most appropriate vessel to conquer the breakers!

Hout Bay from up high

How high I have no idea but a local HBYC member who is also a pilot took the picture, he told me I may have heard his plane as he flew over head the other morning?

Picture taken and supplied by Tojan (code name Scotty Dog) many thanks. Click on the picture to open it and see more detail.

Flying from the south and looking north, the plane was over Noordhoek at the time, with Chapmans Peak just in the sunlight. Hout Bay is then next and further on is Table Bay with Robben Island just visible to the right.


The pilot replies to my question on his height:

At 7500 feet. Regards T

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

i550, Dont mention White Elephants!

Will is building South Africas very first i550 sail boat, he has to find out for himself what goes where and why?

There is a very informative web site set up to show you progress and what Will is discovering about building the i550 from  one of our plywood kits.


A Christmas Message from Dix Design in the USA.

This one does seem to have a little more Christmas feel to it than my humble attempts!

Bill Connors Didi 40cr waiting for spring!


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Christmas message to Imp Club members world wide.

Its  Christmas 2012, my greetings and best wishes to all Imp Club members world wide go out to you today.

Not any old Imp engine but one of the very first made.

This is one of two early Mk1 Imp engines I have  rebuilt recently, the engine number on this one is B / 41 / 1 / 501572 WSO, the wso means an export engine and the last four digits are the engines series number.

This engine was 875cc, its now fitted with 0.030" pistons, so a little larger in capacity.

The cylinder head is an early and quite rare one in that it does not have a valley in the top of the head below the tappet cover landing.

This engine is now 49 years old and will soon be ready to run for the Imps 50th anniversary next year, May 3rd 2013 celebrations in Coventry.

The Imp Club may be found at  we have members world wide!
All members recieve a monthly printed magazine by post, much of the content is now in full colour.


Turner Climax, circa 1960

We have been asked to supply some Coventry Climax stickers to complete a Turner Climax sports car, I must say the car looks great, seen here at Brands Hatch race circuit.

The Coventry Climax engine is 1220cc with a class limit overbore.  In 2013 the car will be campained as a race car. How alike the Austin Heally this car is!

From Alan:

Engine size? Well, I have to be a bit circumspect here (Homolgation and race specs may be an issue!). The Turner originally had a Coventry Climax FWA engine (1198cc?) but when they were holmogated in 1962 - after getting Class wins in the Sebring 12 hour of that year - or so I am told, the owners had upgraded the engines to ones out of the Lotus Elite., That would be the FWE engine of 1220cc.

But my engineer pal, who has always loved the Climax engines, has taken an FWA and after working his magic, we have an FWA bored out to 1298cc. That would be the 1220 limit plus an allowable overbore. I don't have any current pictures as the car is being re-fettled down at his place, but some early pictures are attached.




We have seven units left from this batch, at R20 each, plus postage they are well priced.

The Coventry Climax logo and seen here on a I967 Singer Chamois.

Mail from Alan, the owner:

Here's a couple of pictures of my little Turner Climax. Top one is at brands Hatch where we are shaking down the car (blew the engine up on that day and we've only just got it re-built!! Hope to start Historic Racing in 2013! and the second one is in my driveway.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Seasons Greetings from Cape Town!

On the worlds news I am seeing folk  around the world freezing or flooding, how about a nice picture of Cape Towns inner harbour to warm your hearts!

Picture at a V & A Waterfront TBA Easter Regatta,taken by R McBride.

All the best for Christmas and New Year!

Roy and Jean

Hout Bay
South Africa

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The first SA i550 hull assembly has started

Seen here and with pictures from Wills own web pages is the kit we cut last week.
Our CNC cut kit makes boat number 471 in the class the very first ever for South Africa, we now look to expand the i550 class and Wills lead will help others as the questions start to be asked on what follows what?

Words by i550 builder Will.

Posted on December 22, 2012 by sailskkf


Well the CKD boats plywood kit finally arrived today and my boatshed suddenly looks full. Plenty to do ths Christmas weekend as I also picked up the Oregon pine for the keel, rudder, stem and compression post.

I cut the kit out ths evening with a jigsaw and had the whole thing done inside 1.5 hours. Now i have got to tidy up and get ready for my first ever attempt at glassing seams. I think I will practice a bit first!

It looks to me as though Will is making progress and working the night shifts!


The Didi 38, Black Cat races to St Helena Island

Dudley Dix designed and built this boat for himself and in his back garden, I was there to help him turn the hull over, nice party later on!

Picture supplied by Dudley Dix and taken by Clive Dick.

Here she is as of yesterday and with Adrian Pearson as the owner/skipper at the start of the Governors Cup Race .

Dudley comments that given the boat is sailed well she can take both the handicap and first over the line.

We can do this Didi 38 as a kit set of course, P.O.A.


Saturday, 22 December 2012

Teak and Holly flooring

Not the usual thin veneer on ply thats mainly sanded away, nor is it printed paper on a plastic backer, this is real wood veneer on a phenolic backer you can use just like Formica.

The quality is tops a well known european yacht builder has just ordered 100 sheets, our stocks will come in early in 2013, please contact me for details.



The Governors Cup Race starts today!

The race has been one of the SA ocean races success stories. A 1750 dash across the South Atlantic race and to St Helena Island.

First thought of a  single handed race named the Southstar and named the late Ian Cochrane, a good friend of mine. The race was run a number of times but then grew into the larger event it is today.

The Endurance 37 Ocean Cloud will be one of the nineteen starters, I have a very special interest in this boat!

Sent today to one of my own crew on our trip to St Helena Island:

Captain Notty,

Is it 22 years back that we headed off to St Helena on this same boat?

She is in the Governors Cup Race and it starts today!

Pity we have a North, still two years back they had a very hard SE and some boats

pulled into Saldahna, Zeeslang was one such boat and with a broken boom.

The skipper told me later it was pitch black and they were doing 15 knots, they should

have shortened sail sooner he told me. The same boat sails today again.

You can find it on the FBYC web site.

Ocean Cloud0.860Burger, MicahMicah BurgerFBYC

The start will be at precisely 12:00 BRAVO

Morning Programme:

09h00 – Welcome Speeches

09h15 – Introduction of Each Crew & handing over of plaques

10h15 – Blessing of the Fleet

10h30 – Closing & Thanks

10h45 – Crews retire to their boats for final preparations for departure.


i550 kit packing in South Africa

This is a first for South Africa, boat # 471 has been cut, packed and shipped to Will near Johannesburg, thats a 1000 miles away from Cape Town.

The list of materials asked for 19 sheets of 6mm ockume marine plys but with clever setting out and nesting we used just 16 sheets, thats a large saving on both materials and CNC charges.

This is quite a large boat kit, the shape looks ultra fast and easy to build.

The hull skins and decks are also cut, saving time over setting out and cutting by hand.

We shipped this by local courier, the packing ply on the top is waste from another project, its not a part of the i550 sail boat! Note the steel straps, we secure orders this way for maximum security.

Click on any picture to enlarge.

In this case Will asked us to source and buy in the 85kgs of lead needed for the ballast keel, we found that locally and its packed in the small crate under his i550 sail boat kit.

Wills order has arrived with him as of yesterday, thats a three day turn around over the 1000 miles trip, rather good service!


Friday, 21 December 2012

How to restore a Hillman Imp timing chain tensioner

An update, two years on and we have a visual test on the original repair as below. The parts looked good and having been test run in an engine for many hours we thought the job was done but after inspection find that the glue line bond could be broken.

Please do not use the products we show below.

With the Imps last first production being in 1963 and an end of production in 1974 original parts are now becoming hard to source. This idea may well be a first and it uses South African invented and made products, they should be available world wide, if not you can get them from me?

The tensioner has a plastic rub strip glued on to it, what the plastic is and the glue was we have no idea but two South African products will make good replacements.

The tensioner blade on the spare top one is a new Rootes made product, I was told early this year it was one of the last in stock. Bought from a specialist in the UK, landed it cost me a whopping R910 (U$95)  thats only the blade, not the whole assembly.

I have spoken to the technical department at Pratley, they agree that their Wondafix is highly oil resistant and given that it is flexible, should work well. It will take heat to 100c so will be fine in an engine running around 80c?

Vesconite supplied me with a promotional rule some time back, its perfect to try as a rub strip on the Rootes tensioner blade.

This is the  Vesconite when cut down to size, we need 210mm long x 18mm wide and 3mm thick.

A test glue up was done the day before, Wondafix bonds well to the Vesconite but not to a strip of nylon, which was the other part tested. Here the Vesconite has been machine belt sanded to add grip to the glue, the spring steel blade has been bead blasted and washed clean with tap water.

This clamping method allows the Vesconite to be held in place, the weight of the right hand clamp pulls the blade and Vesconite strip down and into place.

Will it work?

I say yes!

There are a number of options should you want to do this repair.

We send you the materials ready to fit, or you send your timing chain tensioner here and we do the restoration here, we will always need to do this on an exchange basis.

Wondafix will take a full 24 hours to cure but after just a few hours the Pratley glue had set enough to un clamp it and fit in the engine.

Without the chain tensioner this 49 year old Hillman Imp engine could not be fully re assembled, Wondafix and Vesconite saved the day.

The Vesconite rub strip looks just like the real thing! Vesconite will never wear out like the plastic used by Rootes.

The cylinder head can be fitted next.

The epoxy in this trial did not work past the few months the engine was bench tested, it did not actually fail but a stronger glue line is now in use.


Duram DTM paint

This is a once off for those who need to paint metal, new or old and some that may have rust on as well.
Note, read the lable, there is a lot of info to understand before you use this new product from Duram.

DTM stands for ' Direct to Metal ' its a new product and made here in South Africa as a replacement for another well known brand of metal paint from the UK, would it do the same I asked myself?

Click on the picture to enlarge. The engine is a 1963 Hillman Imp Mk1 block, now restored it will be a runner when I get the cylinder head fitted again.

I used the Smooth Black, this small tin did three Imp oil fiter canisters, the crank pully, an oil sump, a British Seagull Forty Plus petrol tank , also a wheel nut spider and half the can is still left!

I used a spray gun on a low pressure, the thinner required is Xylene which is what International Paints 220 thinner is made from so I had it ex stock.

The coverage and finish is better than the imported product, it drys faster , I was told by the salesman its half the price too!

Proudly made in South Africa!


More from the makers web site:

DTM (Direct-to-Metal)

Duram DTM (Direct To Metal) is a premium quality, all-in-1 metal paint that offers an elegant finish with excellent protection. This enamel paint can be applied on a variety of metal and galvanized surfaces and acts as a primer, undercoat, anti-rust coating and topcoat. DTM is available in an attractive hammered or smooth finish. Its quick drying formula makes application easy. DTM provides a long-lasting UV and weather resistant barrier for new or rusted metal.
  • Duram DTM can be applied directly to mild steel, wrought iron, galvanized iron, stainless steel and aluminium surfaces
  • Anti-rust coating for new or rusted metal
  • Protection and decoration of interior and exterior metal surfaces
  • Available in two attractive finishes: a fine metallic lustre with hammered appearance and a smooth, silky surface with high sheen finish

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Dow-Corning 813 silicone back in stock!

We needed some for the order to send to the USA so have bought in a carton, it has a shelf life of just six months so buy it now if you need some.

Totally weather proof, UV will not touch this silicone, bond in your glass or Lexan windows and use no fastners or window trims.

We have seven tubes left and in black, its a hard to find product due to the specialist nature of its use.


Whats in our boat kits?

It can change from kit to kit but as a rule its based on whats in the box we have packed for a kit order in the USA.

We only supply quality brands, such as AR600 epoxy, Dow-Corning 813 silicone sealant, Kleberite PVA waterproof glue,3M micro balloons, fumed silca, woven glass tapes and always a copy of International Paint guide to using their paints.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A boats hard spray dodger as a mini kit

We will pack a full sized boat kit off to Miles in the USA tomorrow, his boat is an Erikson Mk2 35, the old canvas spray dodger has seen its last it seems.

This is CNC cut in 3mm thick MDF,each panel is about 150mm across only.

We have prepared a mini kit set to assemble and show Miles just how we put the parts together, more pictures to follow on this as it happens.

The kit comes with the mould to make the curved and laminated roof, plus all epoxies, glues, meranti wood, glass tapes, tempered glass, Dow-Corning 813 glass sealant etc. You can fit the hard dodger on a sail or power boat.

The full sized hard dodger was around 2250mm wide at the back, this one was down sized some 28% to fit the Erickson Mk2 35.


Wills i550 boat number 471 has been started.

We have packed the i550 kit number one today and it will be off to the Johannesburg area in the morning.

Will Goodlet is the customer and builder, he will get a class going next year we hope.

Hi Roy,

Some more progress pics for you - the first steps in making the bulb mould.

This is a 'beaver tail' bulb designed by Chad McNeely in the US and not the normal i550 profile. End weight should be just under 80kg.

It was surprisingly easy to complete the framework and I was quite pleased with the result.


With Wills help we will offer this as a kit set also.

Looks easy to assemble, CNC work here will really speed up the process.

All pictures by Will.

We also sourced and shipped the required 85kgs of lead required for this keel bulb. It is packed and boxed in a specialy made wooden box.

Will has his own blog set up and running here

We use sixteen sheets of a five ply ockume veneer 6mm thick marine ply on each kit we cut, we can ship country wide if you can not collect. I think the lead bulb mould sections can be a part of the standard kit and will cost you no more.