Saturday, 21 April 2012

Kenwood TS-450S revival of sound

Sometimes I like to think I can repair radios and similar electronics, probably born from the few successes I have had in the past? In truth I am not a technical radio man but when a part is clearly broke, a fuse has gone or a memory battery is dead I will attempt that kind of fix.

This set has become a creature of total silence, can I change this the way the Yaesu FRG7700 lack of audio was fixed?

Looking inside shows you the way the Kenwood engineers thought out a service program.

My last yacht had a Yaesu GX757 gx 100 watt set. In Venezuela I decided to see if the tuner fault could be solved, the local Icom agents refused to even look at it. From Devils Island,French Guiana, it would tune down but not up, what a bother, I discovered a crack in the board related to the tuner, a short bit of match stick fixed that and it lasted all the way back to Cape Town!

Check how this set has been designed to open out, there is even a slot type hinge which allows you to pull the sets front face out from the main body and fold it open. This is great, as the set is stable and can be inspected. The Yaesu 757gx was not like this at all!

Carefull inspection with a magnifying glass, soon showed me a break where this Siemans capacitor was installed. Its not a genuine part? its number is Siemens 470up (T) 40v 85209 85c  the case is further marked V6.

The capacitor prooved to require re soldering on both terminals, note, use a low power soldering iron, the one I used was just 16 watt, probably still on the high side. The soon to be repaired, Philips SBC 320 rechargeable soldering irons 5 watts is probably a better choice?

Sound? no not yet but with the Siemens capacitor repair, the speaker is now live and there is a low scratching sound from the speaker but no broadcast or marine band reception. At least I now know that the squelch and audio knobs do at least still work, I used a dash of very light spray oil on them and I am not sure this is a good idea but it worked on the FRG7700!

How hard can this be.


November 2017

The story has a happy ending as some time later a marine instrument tech guy saw the radio and his eyes lit up.

I asked him did he want to try and fix it? he said yes and some weeks later I was asked to collect it.

Full audio now and the signal booms in, its now for sale.

I can ship World wide.

The Philps SBC 320 Rechargable Soldering Iron to live again

Jean bought this for me a very long while back,say thirty years or so? It was a great tool to have on board and just recently I have been trying to fix an old SSB. I need a low power soldering iron, the lowest value one the local store has was 45 watts, thats way too powerfull for what I need to do.

This really is a neat bit of kit, I used it many times but over the years the nicad batteries have lost all signs of power.

The case is really neat, the tool itself very slimline and not at all heavy, just the job for fine soldering work on delicate PCBs, there is a light too!

There are two nicads inside, with the voltage on the charger being 5.3 volts I expect the actual voltage to be 5.0 volts?

I know exactly where to get a new set, the store will install too.

The soldering iron and charger are in good shape.

The new batteries match the power of the old ones exactly. I have used the soldering iron a number of times since the re pack, its a very handy tool when its a small quick job.

Now re packed and back in use, the cost was R112, thats about U$13.00 only.


The cutting edge of the Cape Henry 21 kit set

Seen here is a sheet of French made ockume marine ply to BS1088 grade, it is being cut to one of the many panels required to make the Cape Henry 21 kit set from.

The spiral solid tungsten cutter is hidden under the circular brush, thats there to clean and allow the vacume suction to work. click the link to access the design at Dix Design.

The Cape Henry 21 we are cutting in French made marine ply.

Still available in Cape Town but only while stocks last!


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Ultrastar camper van for sale

This would make a great site office, when your contract is done, you pack up and go on holiday in it untill the next contract begins!

The principal dimensions look like this will fit on a forty foot flat rack, so it can ship world wide.
At this time its in the center of England so can be driven any place in the UK or to the EU.

Hi Roy,

Built in 1992, the motor is a Cummins straight 6 and its 5.9-litre real diesel that does not require glow plugs meaning it is a full compression job. It is 34 feet long X 7ft-10" wide and is around 7500-kg. It has a built-in LPG gas tank that lasts about a year for us, a 120-litre fresh water tank, a 65-litre black water and a 65-litre grey water tank with a 92 US Gallon diesel tank that would now cost around £550.00 to fill in the UK it does 15-mpg and is for sale. Sleeps 4 adults in three beds, main fixed double and a Rock-n-Roll settee bed as well as the dinning area bed. Or two adults and four small kids. It has seperate shower, toilet and wash basin. Full LPG blow air heating, LPG + Electric hot water boiler and three way fridge with seperate freezer. Motorbike rack at rear. Solar panel on roof charges 800 AH set of 12V batteries. On board Onan Genset etc.

Champion Ultrastar in the camp wash bay.

At the camp site, fully serviced.

Side view, what a camper!

Showing the right side jacks.

Vanity unit in the Loo, lots of space I note.

Inside view, kitchen and table area, looking back.

Inside looking forward, note the quality of the wood finish.

The double bed, just check the space!

Available in Englands midlands today, buy this for your summer holidays.

Bicycle rack on the back of the camper. The transfer of this  rare personel style number plate can be discussed by the buyer and seller.

How hard can that be.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Who started the Traditional Boat Association?

This is a question we have been asked many times, the years are passing and the memory may be fading, best we put this one out on my blog.

Picture by Roy McBride, using a Canon FT film camera.

The yacht the man  is helming is an Endurance 37 named Ocean Cloud. Jean McBride is in the cockpit to starboard, my dad, Rob McBride is to port, nearly out of sight,where is mother? (she is 87 years old today)

Who is the helmsman?

This is the man, its Alan Craxton of Ankon Yachts (boats?) who with the Paul Johnston designed Venus steel yachts being built in Alans factory (lease of floor space) by some really good boiler makers, Alan saw the interest in things traditional.

It was a number of steps by Alan and using the then SA Yachting magazine, that lead to the start of what became the TBA.

How nice is that!


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The 1985 Cape to Uruguay Ocean Race

That year the wind was light, some of the fleet never made it past Rio do Janerio, Tal Gal and Elangani were two of them. We found ourselves down at Ilha Grand for a bit of a break before the long return leg home.

The Lavranos designed Elangaini, a picture taken from the cockpit of Tal Gal (ocean planet) an Endurance 37. Elangani at least had a crew but had to sail 1000 miles further than ourselves being a Durban boat.

Correction: News just in from one of the race competitors, Franz Loots follows:

Elangeni, the Lavranos One Tonner.

I must correct you on that one. They did indeed finish the race and got a 4th on handicap. They had some real hot Durban sailors onboard under Terry Clarence. After the race they headed North aiming for the USA.

Thank you Franz.

The bay is what I named Peters Place, Ilha das Palmas, the bay can be found to port when you enter the channel to Ilha Grand on the way down from Rio.

Elangani and Tal Gal taken from Peters front garden.

All pictures by R Mc Bride using a Canon FT film camera and Kodaks Ektachrome slide film. Click on the pictures for a larger view.

Peter had a pet monkey, it was very tame and was left to run around during the day, in the evening it was tied to the house on a long line but I expect she could have untied the knot if she wanted?

The girl is one of the Elangani crew, she had done the race leg and was now heading home with the three guys who made up the rest of the crew, does anyone have a name for her? I remember she told me she was also a girl who liked to jump out of planes with a parachute!

How hard can that be.


The 1985 edition of the race proved to be a real test of fortitude because of unfavourable light winds, which made for an extremely slow 4 500-mile journey. It meant many crews had to deal with depleted water and food supplies. Many of the entrants had to ask for their leave from work to be extended.

The 35-boat fleet generally made good time to Ilha de Trinidade, the point at which they would turn down the South American coast, but once there they struggled.

Apple Macintosh, Momentum Life and 3CR12 were the yachts in contention for line honours, but they didn't threaten the record for the route, despite making it to Ilha de Trinidade ahead of the pace Rampant II had set three years earlier.

3CR12 fell out of contention by heading too far west early on, and then heading too far north after that, admitted her skipper Alan Tucker.

It was left to Apple Macintosh and Momentum Life to fight it out for line honours, and their battle became extremely close. "It was like a cross-ocean match race, except that we were never really close enough to sail in the same wind," said Momentum Life's Ludde Ingvall.

Apple Macintosh went on to reach Punte del Este first, but only after a great challenge from Momentum Life. She made it into port a day and four hours ahead of her rival, but on corrected time her advantage was reduced to 16 hours.

Bertie Reed, the skipper of Interflora Retrans, echoed the thoughts of many when he said: "I really think the course should be re-examined, and we should try to get Rio back as the finishing point."

Spirit of CIW III finished over a week later, but she edged out Apple by just three hours to take the handicap win. (ernst vd laan as skipper)

The race report was taken from this web site, many thanks.

An update on my incorrect assumption that Elanagni did not finish the race was sent in by Frans Loots.

Elangeni, the Lavranos One Tonner.

I must correct you on that one. They did indeed finish the race and got a 4th on handicap. They had some real hot Durban sailors onboard under Terry Clarence. After the race they headed North aiming for the USA.

Thanks Frans.


Monday, 16 April 2012

We are the TBA

Well three of those who are left, we used to get around forty boats per Easter Regatta, so we were many at one stage. The classic and traditional boats are still quite plentifull, so where did the people go?

 Colin is busy writing the history of the TBA, Gill is the secretary ,she even does shorthand notes! I am about to expand Colins first TBA History publication and if the interest was there, may even move the volume to Amazon, or similar, so it can be purchased on line.

Colin will have fifty (50) A4 sized bound copies published, thats a one off, I hope he has them numbered, when they are distributed there will be no more, contact me to book your copy. The issue will be packed with the story and pictures of members, plus the famous cartoons.

TBA burgees are still in stock, not many so book yours now!

The start of the Traditional Boat Association, came about when Alan Craxton of Ankon Boats, thought up the idea of a traditional club for those thinking the same way.

The idea was supported by SA Yachting and a drawing of one of Paul Johnstons Venus designs was published. The amount of favourable letters to the then editor Niel Rusch, soon had he and Alan proposing a trial meeting at the V & A Waterfronts Maritime Museum. Tom Graham, the Curator was the Chair, we soon had a meeting of around 120 people arrive. I became a founder member and also the first Editor,later on I also took on the role of Treasurer and  handled the regalia for the TBA at the same time.

The year was 1991,at the time we were told by doubters at the RCYC that it would never work, maybe they were correct, as now some twenty one years (21) later the TBA is about to be wound up.

Colin, Gill and Roy ( with Joey on my shoulder)

How hard that is (very)


Phil Nankin talk at the TBA

To be a little more precise, it was actually the V and A Maritime Museum, the factual birthplace of the TBA and our home for many years.

Sketch by Shorter

Click on the picture, it should enlarge.

We have a huge selection of Shorter sketches, many in full colour too, with the winding down of the once popular TBA, now may be a good time to revisit the wonderfull events and meetings we had most of the year.


The Commodore accepts his flag

Seen here on the left is to incoming OCC Commodore,John Franklin accepting his flag of office from Bill McLaren, the outgoing Commodore.

 Photo by Anne Hammick

Looks like a fun event!

Roy, OCC Port Officer for Cape Town and Hout Bay

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Building an Argie 10, the beginning

I suppose the beginning is when you cut the CNC shapes we supply free from the main sheet of marine ply, then the joining of the flats near the bow but soon enough the hull is wired together.

Pictures from Guy, to whom we supplied a set of plans and the CNC cut plys too.

Guy is doing a great job and contacts we when he needs advice.

How hard can this be!


A letter from the new OCC Commodore

Thats the OCC (ocean cruising club) read the letter if you have the time, it highlights some important issues.


OCC Port Officer for Hout Bay and Cape Town

 The Commodores boat, Al Shaheen.

Dear Roy

At the AGM last week Bill McLaren stepped down as Commodore of the OCC, and I was elected to serve in his place. For those of you who don’t know me, I attach some relevant information separately at

so as not to distract you from the more serious content of this message.

Bill McLaren ably steered the Club through a difficult period and succeeded in restoring the OCC to a sound financial footing. I am honoured to be taking over from him and will do my utmost to build upon his work to ensure the Club’s future. To that end, I have launched a strategy review to determine how the OCC can best serve its members in this, the second fifty years of its existence. In view of the importance of this to the Club’s future, I am taking the liberty of contacting you directly to apprise you of this work and, in due course, to ask you for your assistance.

As Tony Vasey’s history of the Club so eloquently describes, membership of the OCC has always been based on sailing accomplishments and on a willingness to share hard won knowledge with others who hope to realise their own cruising dreams. Humphrey Barton and the other founding members envisaged a Club without clubhouse, where dues were low, camaraderie was high, and most members were offshore. In an age before Internet and onboard communications, the flying fish served as the link between vessels and the promise of an evening’s entertainment with newfound friends. Those values have served the OCC well and helped us to grow into an international organization of more than 1,800 members with more than half of our membership home-ported outside the UK.

As we move into the second half of the Club’s first century, we find ourselves in a very different world. Cruising information on the most remote destination is often only a click away on the Internet. A variety of other sailing clubs offer similar services to those out cruising and to those who hope to go. Our own membership appears to have aged and many cruise local waters or have retired from cruising altogether, but do not want to lose touch with the cruising life and the extraordinary people who live it. Cruising rallies and onshore gatherings have become as important as cocktails in the cockpit under the flying fish burgee.

Many of our members are still actively “out there” cruising, and we remain a strong and vital organization with broadly shared values, but the original mission of the Club—“to foster and encourage ocean cruising in small craft and the practice of seamanship and navigation in all branches”—may no longer translate into a clear mandate to guide the Committee in the management of the Club.

I have launched the strategy review in order to try to understand how best the OCC can serve our existing and future members, like you, going forward and have formed a working group consisting of Mark Holbrook, Sally Currin, Eric Vischer, Gus Wilson, Doug Bruce, Beth Leonard and David Blackburn. This group (including myself) represents the diversity of the OCC membership and includes four Brits, one South African, two Americans; six men and two women; three current or recent long-term liveaboards; one Port Officer; one Regional Rear Commodore who also served as a Port Officer and a former Vice Commodore.

This is very much a group effort. Mark Holbrook assisted by Eric Vischer will look at “Trends”; Sally Currin our Treasurer will cover “Finances”; Doug Bruce, now assisted by Daria Blackwell will look at “Members” and Gus Wilson at “Competition”. Beth Leonard will direct strategy and compile and collate the results.

The survey many of you completed last year will form a starting point for our work. In the coming months, we need additional feedback to make this project a success. The working group will be gathering data from members through small group discussions and via email and phone contacts. For those who feel comfortable participating electronically, we will also be launching a strategy category on the OCC Forum

( and discussions are already underway on the OCC Facebook page. You are invited to contact any of the working group members directly if you would like to participate in the project or have suggestions you want to share. We will be reporting back to you through the Newsletter, the Email Bulletin, Facebook and the website. The working group plans to submit its final report at the November Committee meeting.

The OCC is our Club. Our members share strong values and are proud to be part of this unique community. I hope that you will be willing to help the Club leadership determine how best to serve you, the members, so that the OCC’s second fifty years can be just as successful and exciting as the first fifty.

Kind regards,

John Franklin


Note, membership of the OCC is rather simple, you need to have done an ocean passge of at least 1000 sea miles without stopping.

How hard can this be.