Saturday, 20 October 2012

The fishing boat Otterdam gets a repair job

Otterdam is one of the once many wooden vessels we had in the cape, such boats were built in many yards and right up as far as Namibia, known as the south west. One such boat was (still is) the South West Seahawk, German built and to a very high standard, she and her sister boats were known to be both fast and stong. South West Seahawk was to be a sail training ship, the rigging plans are with me now but it never found the funding, the boat is still in Hout Bay Harbour?

Below is the Otterdam.

She has a L 1234 code on her side, plus a CTA number 301 TP, so she is a Cape Town boat. The work is being done in Hout Bay, I do not think the slip time required  can be found in Cape Town these days?

Re planking, the wood will be Keruing, a heavy hardwood from the Philipines.Known for its long lengths and stability, it steams very well too.

More pics just now, the morning tea is ready! Five Roses tea bags of course, one bag makes two cups of tea with ease,so two bags to a warmed porcelain pot makes five cups!


This is a very big job, the cost to the wood alone will set the owners back plenty.

 Looks like they have steel bands bolted through at the stem.

The other end, thats quite a small rudder for such a large and heavy vessel.

This is the heat exchanger for the engines fresh water cooling fluids, note the zinc anode to protect against corrosion.

All pictures  taken by R McBride

Click the link to see what may have been the last large fishing boat built in Cape Town by Louw and Halvorsen?


Friday, 19 October 2012

Aerogen 4 service ideas, tips and tricks

The Aerogen 4 12 volts DC wind charger I have came off another boat, the previous owner  wanted a more powerfull type and sold his on to help fund the new ones. His boats system was on 24 volts, so I needed a new 12 volt stator ( 24v stator for sale!) The bearings needed replacing and the 316 stainless main shaft was frozen solid to the alloy hub. I had to make a special wooden jig to support the main body, we then used a friends hydraulic press to free the 15mm diameter shaft.

That was ten years back, time moves on and parts age, I decided on a new set of blades plus the center hub they fit into, parts were ex stock from the agents. With new bearings (four) fitted the Aerogen was refitted but it would not work, why? read on.

For some reason the blades did not turn as fast as they should, finding they were fitted the wrong way around (anything is possible) and even when fitted the right way, thats with the hollow side of the blade facing forwards, it still made little difference.

Note, those new blades have location marks on both sides!

I waited for an eventual gale, then checked the blades spinning, around 40 knots and they went quite well! I then checked for heat on the main body, it was as I suspected warm.
Note, during this test the wires to the battery were not connected, this was so I could use a voltage meter to check the output, there was none but there was load, why?

I removed the unit and took it back to the workshop, on the bench and with a copy of the service manual I could do the job much better. The manual gives all the checks possible step by step, I suspected the voltage rectifier which changes AC to DC.

Left click on the meter, you will see the needle shows an output.

What I found was with the meter on the disconnected terminals I was seeing an output on the meter but when they were reconnected to the rectifier no power came out of the two wires which would connect to the ships batteries. there was something else too, with the three center terminals off, the center shaft was quite free but when they were refitted the shaft loaded up, again, why?

What I found is not in the service manual!

Check the copper slip rings and the marks from the two brushes, the left hand brush was only just sitting on the left hand slip ring and the right hand brush was doing the same!

This of course was a dead short, I had found my problem but could not understand why or how it had happened?

The drawing in the manual shows the slip rings sitting higher up the shaft, if that was the case they would then sit correct to the carbon brushes, I could not get the center shaft to move higher, so had to do a total strip down to see what I could do with the slip rings when removed from the main unit. I found that the slip rings are supported in a plastic housing, using a vice,so some proper support, I was then able to use a steel drift on the 316 stainless shaft and knock the slip rings higher up the shaft, I saw no locking device such as a grub screw, it seems the assembly is an interference fit?

This is the Stator when removed.

Re assembly needs care, the stator is a loose fit but not by much, I used a little Fluid Film as
 a lubricant ( just a smear)

There are four washers and screws to hold the stator in place, I used silicone to cover them and ensure they do not come loose.

Now fully assembled and this time bench tested for a 12 volt output, with one hand spinning the shaft I see around 5 volts, with a friction pad and an electric drill, I see 15 volts, so we are free to go again!

Note, use a 20 amp fuse when you connect one of these chargers.


Aerogen 4 and the birds, left click the pictures for a larger view.

24 hours later and we have a south west gale brewing, some poor town in the Eastern Cape has seen 237mm of rain in the period! The Aerogen 4 looks to be doing its job, the batteries being at 12.8 volts, thats ok when a small DC fridge works 24/7 as well.

Note, we can service your wind charger if your prepared to handle the collection and delivery fees, plus the parts and labour. We are also hoping to offer a well established wind charger range in the near future.

Ask for details or keep watching this blog!

The blades are tied off in this picture so I can service it.

The news now is that the Aerogen 4 wind charger is back in service, the SE winds are strong and with a 60 watt solar panel as well, we have power to spare! The regulator is dumping power into the heat sink very nicely and even with lights and systems switched on we have fully charged batteries.

With power to spare the regulator and dump resistor is required.

There is a small trim pot at the rear of the black regulator,set from 11.5 volts to 17 volts, on mine and factory set, I see around 14 volts from the red output wires, one re output wire is for a single battery (two together are seen as one) or two output wires for duel battery banks. The regulator sees both banks differently and will allow charge to either until they are fully charged.

When this happens the green dump resistor takes the extra load and gets warm, then hot, it will start to make a small squeal, so you now when this is happening, you may as well stop the Aerogen then?

Wind power, its the way to go!

Reversed Polarity? a special feature blog on this subject is to follow, what it is and how to handle it.


I still have the 24 volt Aerogen 4 stator for sale, I can ship Worldwide.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Cape Henry 21 kit arrives in Seattle,USA.

Fred has just received his Cape Henry 21 kit, I have asked that he inspects the crate and carton for any damage prior to opening them, we place marine insurance on all such kits and while we have yet to make a claim we need to have proof of the condition of the order on arrival. I asked Fred to take some pictures for me.

The delivery truck, fully enclosed, note the tail gate can be lowered.

Thanks Roy:  Will do!  A very strong box you made.  I had to use tractor bucket this morning to 'cut across'/ widen drive turns in two places ahead of truck arrival.  A scramble!  Finished just in time.  28' van with lift gate.  Shouldn't be a problem trailering the CH in and out, me thinks.


Fred using a front end lifter to move his main crate, there is 36 sheets of plys in it,most CNC cut to make his new boat with, plus the drop keel, which we packed on top of the plys.

The carton with Freds 316 stainless steel fittings in, the strapping we did pulled the corners down, it has not been damaged at all.

As packed in South Africa.

The parcel being collected by one of our couriers.
More pictures to follow when Fred opens this carton and his crate!


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Lucas CAV diesel filter mistake?

I had a phone call today from a blog viewer of mine asking if what he saw in my earlier blog about the correct direction of the CAV fuel filter was correct?

I have today taken some new pictures but the facts are still the same.

You can come to your own conclusions about this one but a supplier of another well known filter brand told me about this error on the CAV filter casting.

As you may expect, the diesel fuel comes in via the Delphi filter then through the electric pump, this protects the pumps internals (found in a trash can)

Click on the picture and check the direction of the arrows, you will see that the right hand pipe, which is the fuel tank supply, enters against the direction of the arrow and the feed to the day tank is also against the direction of the arrow but why?

To work properly the diesel fuel must first enter the lower glass bowl, there any water or dirt should settle and only the clean and filtered diesel fuel will exit the top of the filter and into the day tank or the engine.

If the filter housing was connected as per the arrow, the water may pass down the filter paper but the crap will remain on the top of the filter and where you can not see it at all, thats a very small space I may add!

Check yours out if you do not believe me.

This link takes you to a more detailed blog on the same subject.

Didi mini cruise builders space?

So how much yard space do you need to build one of Dudley Dix Designs boat kits?

Daves build near Freemantle, Australia, was done at the side of his home.
We shipped him a kit a while back and he is now ready to launch.

I would say a meter all around is handy, if your tight on space you can often make a plan, such as pulling the boat out to turn it over, then take it back inside to finish it.

Dave sure made a great job of this build!


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Some hard dodger detail pictures

We have done these as a kit, the idea being we can make them larger and smaller and from our standard cut file program. With the first one being here in Cape Town and another down in New Zealand, we now have an order to send one to the USA.

This canopy replaced an old and worn canvas one, it was falling apart after six or seven years in the sunlight. Note the space and clean light airy feeling it gives.

This shot is really about the support cleat in the corner, it is fastened to a vertical cleat and adds a lot of strength to the structure, we can also supply the teak grab rail as an extra.

You may want some ventilation, a shop bought hatch is costly, so we cut the base and lift frame froom a window offcut as part of the kit, the teak hatch trim is hand made and an extra.

Various hinges can be made to work, the underside of the wood/epoxy frame is fitted with 6mm foam tape, three years on and it still does not leak. The plastic glaze panel and handle needs to be sourced, we can probably do this too.

The timber to laminate the back edge lip seen here is part of the kit, it stiffens the roof and makes a great hand hold but also stops water dropping into the cockpit.

The kit does include the materials to the sides and in 15mm marine plywood, the roof as a laminate in two sheets of 4mm marine plys and one sheet of 8mm bending ply for the core. The epoxy to coat the surfaces are included, so are the glass tapes , which are later filled over with a mix of micro balloons and fumed silica, thats supplied too.

We include meranti wood cleats and the mount blocks, plus the shaped corners as well.

The glass windows are heat treated toughened and have an SABS approoval stamp on them, we also include the Dow Corning 813 silicone to fit the windows with. The roof has a 16mm MDF jig to mould the three sheets of plys over, we even supply the plastic sheeting to cover it with and stop the roof laminate sticking to the jig.

How good is that!


Note, this size hard dodger when scaled down by around 28%, fits an Erickson 35 mk2 quite well, we should have those cut files ready next week. We have been asked to look at doing a Nicholson 35 as well, that should be able to use the same sizes as the Erickson 35 mks?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Dix Designed Didi Mini Cruise

We have exported these, Dave in Australia, has just sent me some pictures of his Didi Mini Cruise, I must say its looking great!

Daves boat and ready to move.

The building space was a covered in lane down the side of Daves home.

Thats a neat looking road trailer, I think Dave made that himself too.

At this stage the boat is still quite light so a small mobile crane is all that is rquired to do the lifting.

Well done Dave!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

NSRI station 8 takes control in a real disaster situation

I think I picked up on this just after it happened, the boats VHF was as normal switched on and to channel 16, the radio was very busy from just after 2pm when the charter boat that works from Hout Bay Harbour was overturned. It is not known how or why but they were very close in according to one boat on the scene a little while later. file picture from many thanks.

This was a mail I sent to a friend in the UK about the disaster.

Hello Notty,

It was the HBYC opening cruise yesterday, as they started and in a brisk SE (I was putting head liners back) the capsize of a small charter boat happened.

I had heard Cape Town  Radio say “who called Mayday” I never heard the reply, the NSRI station 8 were fantastic and soon had three boats and at least two others on the scene.
Later a passing fishing boat picked up and empty life raft, the one guy who had been in it had been taken off by NSRI.

The accident happened just before the cut where the Boss 400 crane wreck is, later the upturned floating wreck was drifting towards the rock named De Perd, then  into Maori Bay and with two NSRI boats standing by ( one with a line to the upturned wreck)  as a team of divers were heading for them. Later the Navy and SAPs took divers and floats out, as I left the harbour at 5pm, one female had been rescued from the wreck, she was underneath, two others were still inside? Imagine the cold.

It’s a fact that this boat does the same trip on a regular basis, the weather yesterday was a rising swell and a rising wind, 30 knots at times, the inquiry will be interesting.

Note, the NSRI took control of the harbour, plus the road and traffic on the road outside, it was a remarkable possible crowd control, police, medics and helicopters on the scene, I doubt anyone will better station 8 NSRI?


A news report by Malungelo Booi (many thanks)

HOUT BAY - The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) on Saturday confirmed that an adult man drowned in a boat accident in Cape Town’s Hout Bay suburb.

The accident happened when a charter boat capsized on Duiker Island earlier today.
Rescue workers recovered a second person from the water, but would not confirm whether they were dead or alive.
The unknown person was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.

Police divers were still at the scene at 7pm, searching for two passengers that went missing.
Emergency personnel managed to rescue 31 more people from the troubled boat.
There were also unconfirmed reports that children were on board the Marashka boat.
Officials could not confirm exactly what caused the boat, believed to have been carrying tourists, to capsize.
The nationalities of the victims have yet to be revealed, but police said the French embassy had been in contact with them to ask about a French citizen.