Saturday, 23 February 2013

Model boat kits?

I am not sure what the marrket is on this one, we would need to get the designers backing on certain of his designs, one thats already been built is the Cape Henry 21, by Dudley Dix.

This is Freds, he is in Seattle, USA and made this to get the feel for what he would be doing on his full size boat kit we sold him.

I think we would have to cut, then build the boat and record each stage with words and pictures, then we can offer a kit and also a builders manual, need a number of firm orders and deposits before this was undertaken.

An enquiry this morning came in from Australia on the same boat design as a kit, my reply is below.

Hello Andrew,

Thanks on your mail.

We have discussed this idea and one builder of a Cape Henry 21 who was waiting for his kit we were cutting For him, asked Dudley Dix if he could produce a model from his plans.

This was allowed and the model turned out very well. I discussed the idea of making models with Dudley, he feels an owner can manage that ok, he has the plans but a scaled down kit without the plans would be hard to assemble, this Is where we are now on the idea.



Fred sent an email about his build, read it below:

I have found satisfaction and challenge - skills honed, and confidence improved as well, with the model construction over a scaled building frame. It will generate interest wether static display or RC.

I should have milled the stringers out of Mahogany or another dense wood, as the hardwood Balsa - while lighter and pliable - didn't take kindly to pressure when planks were attached, and I had several 'blow outs' to repair. =) In kit form, I suppose that ink marking where stringer notches belong could get around the cnc 'minimal cut' limitations?

A modeler could use a small square file to produce these. I cut the notches out with my bandsaw and a small file. For RC, I think such a kit would need a long metal fin with weighted lead bulb? Centreplate on mine is scaled to Dudley's plan, and of wood, which could be swapped out for such if removed from display stand to be sailed.

 I'll research 'best' model sail 'cloth' at some point, and suspect that those who sail such craft use a particular lightweight, waterproof material. Maybe ripstop nylon? Anyway, some thoughts...

So you want to go fishing!

Catch of the day - A blue Marlin weighing 1352 pounds on Ascension Island.

1352 pound Marlin Ascension islandOn Tuesday the Georgetown pier head was full of excitement as the crew of the sports fishing boat Hamattan bought their massive 1,320 pound blue marlin ashore.
Olaf  Grimkowski the skipper of the sports fishing boat Hamattan said he was overjoyed to bring the second biggest fish ashore on Ascension Island.
Olaf was fishing of the South West side of the Island with his clients when the monster took over around 13.30, after three hours of fighting the 1320 pound giant it was bought under control.Blue Marlin 1320lbs Ascension Island

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Hillman Imp Pneumatic throttle foot pump

You may not of heard of such a device, let alone ever seen one!

I used to own one once, it was on the floor of my Imp and the carburetor foot control on my first car a 1963 Hillman Imp, my start as a driver when still 17.

Brian my supplier, also sent me the two copper hot air pipes that heat the auto choke Solex carburetor. The Imp cylinder head in the picture is work in progress and has been shimmed and set up to fit an early Mk1 engine block.

Brian Baylis, a fellow Hillman Imp Club member in New Zealand, has kindly donated the pump to me for the rebuilt 1963 Mk1 Imp engine recently re built and now running. Eric Wells of Hout Bay had the  pump and the carburetor that fits at the other end at the engine.

I asked Brian about the R250 airmail postage charge and how to pay it back to him?
Brian told me to donate the money to Terence Tracey and the JoLon Imp adventure.

 That car will be driven from Johannesburg to London, then Coventry for the 50th anniversary events around May 3rd 2013.

Thanks Brian!


Check here to view one of the web sites on the intended run.

Further funds are still being sought, please remember that 15% of whatever you donate will be given to three major charities.

Building your home on sand?

This was of course one of the issues when Jean and I purchased a residential plot on a sand dune!

As my work has included building works since around 1963 or so, plus four years at the Liverpool College of Building, I had been taught the options to a degree. Normal soil well drained and safe from rivers and earth quakes will probably be the plot of choice, oddly enough sand may be the next on the list, while clay will be the last choice.

Its all about expansion and then contraction, a decent earth plot is stable and will not shrink or move much, the sand will not move either and as long as its safe from wash aways and floods is super stable. Clay is liable to shrink and crack in hot summer months, the cracks will also crack the building it supports?

Jean with Janet who will have been around nine months old then.

Once the McBride residence plot was cleared, we left it to settle some while, it also rained more of less none stop for forty days (honest) that helped the issue of course and the sand settled rather well.

The sale of the land included a Beacon Certificate from H.M Shaw,Robinson & Case, the cost was R300, they did not check the becon positions, only that they were in place, my own survey with a hand bearing compass prooved three were in the correct place and that one was out by 1.5 meters, so its worth the effort to check them yourself.

With the foundations cast, the next phase was laying of the brickwork.

In May 1983 I did the house design and drew the plans myself, they went through council ok but there was an ask that a structural engineer do stablity tests on the sand. In August 1983 Kantey and Templer were hired to do the test ( R168.90 back then) this was done at four points on the sand, inwards of each corner. The test rig dropped a weight or pile into the sand, readings of penetration were recorded and the readings were close enough to each other to get a pass mark.

Yes, we can walk to the harbour, we have our own sandy beach too!

Sand of course does have a nice feature, its very easy to dig out and the foundations were marked and dug out very quickly, the concrete was cast, the size was 750mm x 250mm and Pier, the master builder, who also constructed the North outer wall at the Hout Bay Harbour, placed some R12 reinforcing steel at the bottom of the concrete to add strength (placed up 75mm I think)

The ground floor is complete, the ceiling/floor has been placed onto laminated pine beams, note the roof trusses in the top deck.

We now have a house, I just had to finish it, all works to this stage had been carried out by contractors.

The brickwork was by todays standards 'Green' as the bricks were made from recycled ash left over from the burning of coal at the now demolished Cape Town Power Station near Paarden Eiland, green was not an issue back then but by todays standards we would get an award for such use?

The garage was the last to be built, today I would do that first! Note piles of bricks and Builders Sand, you can not use the local dune sand, it must be sharp river sand.

House painting was done by John, Jeans nephew, he needed a dress blazer for the Camps Bay High annual dance, the painting paid for that.

Note that peg or post near the road, thats the survey peg that was positioned wrongly, it should be 1.5 meters further out, so in the road!

Building on sand was fine, it just would be nice to have  some nice green grass.

Burnt ash when mixed with cement is also very stable and while some 30 plus years later we did see some cracks in the brickwork, it was never a structural thing and I was able to fix them with great success using our 816 epoxy, 3M micro balloons and fumed silica, mixed together they make a perfect filler paste thats easy to use, it does not slump or shrink either.

You can see that while Janet has grown from the time we cleared the plot, she is still quite small, we took only a few months from start to finish before we moved in, Lorna too.

The grass arrived with a large truck and was then rolled out on the sand, its still growing but does take a lot of water to keep it alive in the summer heat.

Building on sand, why not?

We did!


Time moved on, we stayed, did our maintainance, the girls married and moved out, we did more maintainance and still do so.

Yes, the same home built on sand thirty years back, the house is sound and the sands still there! The council planted the trees, named New Zealand Christmas Trees as they flower at that time each December, red flowers everywhere.

The home has been upgraded over the years, note the solar panels, last years addition when the six year old geyser started to leak. Eskom paid us a very nice rebate for the installation.

Druma our dog looks very content on what is a green lawn, the pavers went down some years back when a summer drought killed of the grass.

Landrover leaf spring for sale

One only, about 700mm between the shackle pins, I can check if your interested?

The spring is new old stock (n.o.s) some surface rust but has never been on a Landrover (or anything else) I have no idea what model its off.

Yes its too large for the series 2 Toylander! Offers taken on that as it is, no 12v electric motor fitted but we do have one an its 40:1 reduction gearbox in stock.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

How to survey your own land

An unusual topic but one that most yachtsmen with navigational skills will understand?

This subject came up when a discussion was in place on GPS and how to place your position on land? in my case its specific to the Western Cape and South Africa, heritage here dates to the rule of Great Britain, so I expect its the same over there now also?

Justin, your own survey work has just reminded me of when we took title of this plot Erf 3++9 we  were actually shown and sold the one next door by the sales agent, thats to the left when looking at the house.

The start of the site leveling, we were 'sold' the plot to the left of the green service box.
The plots then were all were covered by mountains of sand, similar to those at the old HBYC now
and to the seaward side of the plots, I wanted to use a John Deer front end loader to move the sand and then level the plot, that took two days on a plot of less than 900 square meters.

High up on what was actually some other persons plot, we were pulling that sand back to our plot to raise our own. All Plant Hire did a good job, the invoice being for R500.00.

One of the nicer hand bearing compasses to use, at the time the magnetic variation was 23 degrees west, that had to be deducted from the reading on the compass card to find the actual true reading which was on the survey map.

We booked the machine but before it arrived I decided to check the survey map, I needed a long steel tape, 50 mtrs type, then looking at all the numbers on the survey I realised I was looking a compass bearings! I then used my hand bearing compass from the boat, deducted the variation and soon found out where my corner pegs should be.

This was a big job, it took two days and Jean and I got our monies worth!

I then discovered that we were about to clear the wrong plot and when I did survey the right one, I found our corner peg where the side lane is was at the road and not 1.5 meters further back!

August 1983

Jean with baby Janet at the end of the clearing work. Janet was six months old then, she is now thirty and has just produced her second son to husband Nigel. They are planing on building their own home this year but bought a nice level plot!

I assume todays surveys are all GPS driven, whats on your plot survey?

Your mail re GPS survey message is below.

I have also used the averaging techniques he mentions for surveying, albeit in recent times with far greater accuracy – but I got readings down to about 30cm

A second mail on the same topic and very good advice!

Hi Roy,

That’s a great story. No todays surveys are not GPS driven at all. They still use the standard reference beacons, sights and bearings, although there are lots of nice tools that make it easier – especially laser sights etc etc, and things that can do. GPS is just for informal stuff….and certainly should not be used for altitudes under any circumstances.


Thinking about the option to move to a GPS position maping of land made me realise the total (absolute) folly of such an idea, the old method with compass bearings is as secure as navigation has been untill the GPS came along but what happens when the GPS signals fail, or indeed if the USA decides to switch the signals off, then what!

No, surveyors still have a good future, I guess the compass bearings and an added GPS position make sense but the compass card will always have the first choice.

Another blog by Roy McBride ( own land surveyor)

Building on sand, is it a good idea?

More on the subject will follow in another edition of this blog.

Hout Bay Harbour view today

Not only today but taken a half hour ago this morning, 10.40am near enough.

Picture by R McBride, all rights reserved.

Hout Bay Harbour from the road next to Mariners Wharf, the beach is just a few meters to the left of the picture.

Building Stuarts Optimist kit

Stuart works overseas but when he is back home he works on his Optimist kit again, I must say the build looks really good.

Did Stuart also take up a shares option with Record, just look at all those G clamps!

Note, you can make a decent clamp with a scrap of ply a wedge.

Our Optimist kit comes with the measuring dimensions, plus a fourteen page builders guide, which includes pictures of the various build stages. One tip is not to remove the internal and temporary ply spacers which fit fore and aft, across the width of the boat and midway of the dagger board slot. They are missing in this picture, so there is a danger that the curve of the laminated meranti may make the boat a tad narrow midships, so please leave the spacers we supply in place until both hull rails are glued in place and the glue has set.



Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The HBYC hosts the BOC sailing race?

This is the story of the HBYC and their attempt to host the 1994/5 BOC yacht race.

Hout Bay from the South side of the bay.

The HBYC hosts the BOC sailing race?

Note the addition of that question mark? it was certainally a very close thing at the time.
The next race on the cards will have been for the 1994/5 season, in past years another Cape Town yacht club had been the race host.

They were expected to do so again but came up with some financial demands on the race director Mark Shrader, that just did not go down well at all.

Mark then contacted the HBYC and asked if we would make a proposal to host the next race?

Mark Schrader

Captain and Project Director.

Mark was a member of the First Team in 1982. He has two single-handed circumnavigations of the world and was the first American to singled-handedly circumnavigate the world via the five Southern Capes in 1982-3. He has lived in Washington State for over 35 years and is an avid marine conservationsist and wildlife advocate.

Alan Batley, the HBYC Commodore at that time, called the clubs various committee heads in and asked us could we contemplate this offer and if so, what would we offer and how fast can we commit and place our offer on the table?
Time was as ever was very short, the phones and faxes were busy daily (no emails then)  my own involvment was how to berth the race fleet on the marina and for those Open 60 yachts with very deep keels ( around 4.5mtrs) where to berth those?

The battle plan was put in place and we all then had to work towards a common club offer to the BOC, we had been told that certain monies may be available to assist us but not how much, we decided to go it alone and see what we could manage, any funds that came in later were then a bonus. Part of the plan we were forming was to involve the whole business community in Hout Bay, the spin off to them should then allow a donation from them and help with our funding.

Some race history:

The BOC Challenge race was established in 1982, with main sponsorship from BOC Gases. The race was inspired by the Golden Globe Race, which was the first single-handed round-the-world yacht race. Although the Golden Globe was a non-stop race, the BOC Challenge concept was for a single-handed round-the-world race, to be run in stages (in contrast to the Vendée Globe, which is non-stop). As the longest single-handed event in the world, it is regarded as one of sailing's ultimate challenges.[1]

The race is run every four years. The first edition was won by Philippe Jeantot, who won all four legs of the race with an overall elapsed time of just over 159 days. In 1990, the race was renamed the Around Alone; for 2006, it is known as the VELUX 5 OCEANS Race

The fleet line up for the 1994/5 looked like this:

Class 1 50 to 60 feet long

Christophe Auguin Sceta-Calberson France

Steve Pettengill, Hunters Child, United States

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, Vendee Enterprises, France 

David Scully, Coyote, United States

JJ Provoyeur Novell S.Africa South Africa 

Arnet Taylor,Thursday's Child, United States 

Josh Hall Gartmore, United Kingdom

Mark Gatehouse QAB, United Kingdom

Isabelle Autissier , PRB, France

Class 2 40 to 50 feet long.

Dave Adams, True Blue, Australia

Giovanni Soldini, Kodak, Italy
Niah Vaughan, Jimroda II, United Kingdom

Alan Nebauer, Newcastle Australia, Australia

Robin Davie, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Minoru Saito, Shuten Dohji II, Japan 

Floyd Romak, Cardac 88, United States

Neal Petersen, Protect our Sealife, South Africa

Simone Bianchetti, Town of Cervia, Italy

Nigel Rowe, Skycatcher, United Kingdom

Harry Mitchell, Double Cross , United Kingdom

This makes for some twenty entries and to be berthed and serviced in Hout Bay Harbour, can we do it?

I think the size of the task was just accepted, we all made our plans in our own sections, some were as follows:

Alan Batley was well aware that our presentation had to be slick and well managed, he made no bones about this and really underlined we were to be in top form, from the start to the end.

Alan had information that the Race Director had provided, one was that an appartment or hotel suite should be available for the duration of the event and that this accomodation must have a sea view so that the boats could be seen arriving. There are very few spaces in Hout Bay that fill the requirement more that Chapmans Peak Drive number 1, its an apparment block on the South side of the bay. How Alan sourced a suitable vacant appartment as the clubs offer I never found out, he just did!

Another requirement was a room that the press could use for the period of the race, the old clubs upstairs Function Room was made available for that, Telkom would install extra phone lines etc. The Function Room has its own entrance and wash rooms, so it could run 24 hrs if required?

Alan also sourced a video tape of a flight over Table Mountain to Hout Bay, this was to show just how accesable the HBYC can be from Cape Town.

The marina side was going to be hard pressed to berth all the fleet, for sure the marina would never take the big boats, those to 50ft and with a resonable keel depth could be found a space though.

The marina sits in water around 4 to 6 meters deep, a high tide is 1.9 meters, so you can see what the big boats had to be fitted in the harbour on their own. I made contact with Nature Conservations Dr Johann Neethling and bounced some ideas off him.

The first one was would the department allow the HBYC permission to move some of the marinas 11 meter fingers over to the inside of the North Harbour Wall? I thought this would be six or seven fingers? We were given permission.

I then asked if the department had any movable Porta Cabin type rooms we could set up on the North wall as offices and administration, we were offered two that were used as class rooms in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. It was also expected that lectures for students would then take place in the harbour and be run by Nature Conservation. You can imagine the input the twenty race skippers could have put into those lectures.

The next ask was a big one, do you have a crane?  again the answer was yes, it was I think in Saldahana or on the West Coast but they would make it available, all of this was at no charge, the education side would serve as payment enough. We would need a crane 24/7 to service the fleet, the cost to hire one would not be affordable.

The marina and club section was now more than part the way there, we could offer all this to the BOC and we fixed a date for Marks visit. The meeting was to discuss and show all we had arranged, we spent some five hours with Mark and his colleague
taking them around the HBYC club house, the appartment on Chapmans Peak Drive, the visit to the marina and harbour went down very well and we then hosted our guests  to lunch at the Mariners Wharf . We took a private cabin, we were about eight or nine in all, the food was good and so were the refreshments.

From memory those present at the lunch meeting were, Alan Batley, Commodore, Dudley Turner, HBYC President, Janet Liversy, Roy McBride, Marina Committee, Dr Johann Neethling, Chief Director of Nature Conservation, Mark Schrader and colleague (who's name escapes me) for the BOC. Thats seven recorded, who were the others, I have asked the club to see if we still have a BOC file, we may find out then.

We certainally parted friends and had to wait untill Mark had met with Nigel Rowe in England, then the decision would be made on our offer.

History does of course record that that we were turned down but we were informed that the presentation made by the HBYC to the BOC was the best made by any club world wide, plus what we offered was in line with their requirements and no other club had offered a Press Room like we had.

Why did we fail?

The reason given for the failure in our being chosen was the fact that access from the city for spectaors and service crews was seen to be just too far away.

You can not blame us for trying!


Off the beach in Hout Bay

We had a strong NW yesterday, by evening it was gone and cool but the bay was quiet flat, this large cat stayed all night and is still there this morning, not very often we see this!

Size matters, I have just spoken to one of the crew, this boat is 82 feet long!
The boats name is On Verra.

This morning we have rain, the catamaran is safe enough in these conditions, be aware that in most conditions and that means any winds from the East, South East and South West, its safer to enter the harbour close by and take a berth on the HBYC marina.

VHF radio is not normally replied to, you may get a reply if I happen to be on a boat and with channel 16 on.

CKD Boats cc can offer catamaran kit from 35ft to 55ft in designs by Angelo Lavranos and Dudley Dix, build it yourself and live your dream!


Monday, 18 February 2013

The old & new HBYC club house?

This story starts about twenty years back  in 1993 when Alan Batley was the HBYC commodore and I was the Marina Officer, things were moving in the right direction as far as the move to the harbour from the beach site where the old club now stands, Its just about taken over by sand dunes now!

Picture taken in January 2013, all pictures by R McBride

When its time to move, its time to move!

The proposal to use the 17mtr GRP catamaran design by Bob Van Niekerk was seen to have many drawbacks, sewerage and  the water space it would take up being just two of them.

I then asked a well known architech to do a draft proposal based on a structure to be built in front of the hard standing site we now had the lease to.

A Revel Fox Architects proposal on Lot 86.

I had been able to secure the boat park space from the Nature Conservation Departments chief director, Dr Johan Neethling, who suggested we share the site with the ABC (atlantic boat club) after discussion it was seen they did not want a joint venture, so the HBYC Marina section took on the entire site as a boat park.

Revel Fox drew up plans for the building to be done  in three stages, the idea was to start the ground floor, then grow the building to the upper floors.Looking at the HBYC club house as it stands today, its clear to see we would have made a good job of it.

Note the water space, that was to be the length of the building and outwards nine meters, which is then deep enough for a keel boat.

We first had to develop the new club boat park and hard standing lot. The site was  open space in the front, a wire side fence to the left and a concrete slab fence to the right, with a rear boundary wire fence on the line near the main road outside.

 We had a front fence with seven meter wide gates installed (maximum catamaran width being built here then, Richard Berties idea) plus installed water, power, a container as a lock up store (a Robin Reid gift) plus a new Marina Managers office on top of the container, with access steps, the Marina section spent some R34,000 on the site.

At the time of the discussion over the hard standing site, I asked could we also have  the area known as Lot 86 which was in front of the new boat park, that area was 34mtrs long x 15 meters deep and with waterfront access, a perfect site for the much needed new HBYC club house.

This was taken under consideration at the time but we were granted the water space where Muirels Munchies is now to build a Travel Lift haulout structure. Added to that we were granted the use of the drying sand spit inside the end of the North wall, this later disapeared when the space under the wall was filled in with concrete.

We also had written  permission to move delinquent boats/owners to the outside of the North pier, plus place moorings for larger yachts inside the South East wall, this was granted but never used.

The period was 1993 and just before the elections which South Africa held with great success, however those which had been without the vote up untill the general elections,
were already making demands and even a non political post such as the Department of Nature Conservation were themselves feeling some political pressure, the signing of long leases was then becoming an issue.

In the end  the lease for Lot 86 was granted for just ten years, the Marina section wanted to fence it and place portable toilets on it and at their cost, however the main club felt we should not do so and as it was the HBYC that held the lease, nothing in the end was done to upgrade that site, we may have held on to it had they done so?

This would be part of the view from the clubs floating dock in front of the proposed new club house.

The eventual loss of the lease to another fish processing company now wanting our Lot 86 site became a court case, which ended in the Supreme Court, the lease was overturned and against the HBYC.

The committee then had little choice than to take over the boat park space from the Marina Section, a longer lease was required and that fell to the club to apply for, this will have been around 1999 or thereabouts. By then my time as marina officer had passed, Dr Johan Neething of the Department of Nature Conservation had taken an early retirement but his right hand man, Dr Van Zyl was still working  at the department.

The boat park was a large site, left unused for decades, our use was the first of any importance since I had moved to Hout Bay twenty years before. With the formal application of the HBYC to have an extended lease drawn up for the clubs new club house, another application was received as well.

This was for the second empty plot and next to what was by then our boat park, a company processing fish needed space to develop a new factory, they needed a larger plot than was the case with the vacant plot next to us.

Dr Van Zyl phoned me and proposed that the HBYC agree to loosing 25% of our boat park and as a part of the main clubs new extended lease agreement? While I was by then off committee I did agree that the offer made sense and the lease was made and signed on that basis.

The rear of the new HBYC club house, the high building  with the green roof is the unused fish factory process plant, thats two fish process plants in such a small harbour, the other and first one is in the building to the right of my picture.

The three story factory then built to process fish was later a failed venture and now stands mainly unused and in front of the HBYC club house, effectively blocking the clubs view of the 122 berth marina that we have developed in the harbour.

The so called new HBYC, one of a few attempts to replace the old one on the beach. The club works well, its friendly and is very comfortable inside.

The fabrics and finishes in the new HBYC are far better than those at the old club premises.

Captain Notty, a visiting long distance sailor tests out a pint of his favourite Windhoek draft lager.


The Hout Bay Yacht Club as it is now, February 18th 2013.

                   As they say, the rest is just history as to what might have been?


Steel v GRP or Wood Epoxy

Some weeks back I did a blog on Wood/Epoxy v GRP it seems that subject has its attractions and to date some 185 have  viewed the topic.

Find the topic here

I find that Dudleys book, Shaped by wind and wave compares steel with wood and grp, the differences are large, the weight penalty for steel is huge.

Words and pictuure are by Justin and taken from his SA Boats blog.

Try there are some great South African boats to be found in that site.

Boats and boat-design have fascinated me for quite some time. There simply is no more interesting mix of art and science in existence. Nothing more likely to generate a good discussion about form and function, all mixed up with adventure, adrenalin, tradition and good living! I was therefore very happy to receive a copy of Dudley Dix's new book - in which he explains his personal perspectives on design priorities, and how they have been formed through his own experiences of living, sailing, and boat building in the "Cape of Good Hope", a.k.a. Cape of Storms!

In my copy of the same book, its US$30 only by the way, find it at you can buy your own copy on line, its worth the money!

Page 70/71 tells us that for equal weight, a steel hull skin must be about 20% of the thickness of that for a GRP hull and 7% for that of timber. So while the steel is strong the weight penalty can be very large.
Page 95 and section 12. Plywood as a Boat Construction Material.
Paragraph seven:
Steel has a density 5 x that of GRP and 13 x that of of good plywood, so a 4mm steel plate is equal to but weaker than 20mm of GRP and 52mm of plywood.
The fact that plywood/epoxy boats are strong, is quite clear!


Sunday, 17 February 2013

DART the real GSM story

I have just had the pleasure of reading the above book, writen by Sandy Brunette, number 0423 of just 1000 copies published and  loaned to me be Eric (thanks pal) it is a limited edition publication that blows much of the myth about car and man (men) its a long story and one worth reading if you can find yourself a copy.

I say man, that was Bob Van Neikerk, there were others, Willie Meissener was one of them, Bob was the designer, Willie the motor engineer, what a partnership!

Van Niekerk in a Lotus 18 at Killarney Raceway, Cape Town.

Bob was able to switch from cars to boats and all in between, read the story below, my thanks to the Sunday Times, dated September 2nd 2012 for this story.

Greg Mills

Jacob van Reenen ‘Bob’ van Niekerk passed away peacefully in his Hout Bay home on 23 August 2012, aged 84. During his lifetime he produced South Africa’s own sports-car, more than 170 boat designs and a few other mind-stretching inventions.

He has been lauded internationally as a ‘genius’. He has spawned boat-building enterprises from the UK to New Zealand. Yet little is known of him at home.

At the time of receiving this sad notice, I was en route to Lake Kariba. In the back of my mind was to keep an eye out for the famous Meteor III racing catamaran powered by two 450bhp Nascar Holman-Moody V8 engines, which Bob designed and built and which in his and Kenny Stephens’ capable hands had won the SA offshore powerboat championship in 1969 and finished fourth in that year’s Isle of Wight race, the World Championship of the time.

The Meteor had reputedly ended up on the Lake in the early 1970s, though its ply-construction is unlikely to have survived the ravages of time and Robert Mugabe. Stephens, my godfather, and something of a likeable rogue, had taken me for a spin in the cat in Simon’s Town aged just six. I remember being terrified by the buffeting and banging of the waves even in the relative calm of the harbour when doing just 40mph.

They were brave men. And in the person of Bob van Niekerk, an undoubtedly great one.

What many may not know was that when I asked Bob to design a proposed new and floating Hout Bay Yacht Club based on his 17 meter long GRP power catamaran he designed for the SA Navy, he was pleased to do so.

Where are those plans, I may still have them. Bob handed over his proposal for free, I am pleased to tell you that the HBYC committee then saw fit to write out a reasonable payment queque for Bobs services, Bob was delighted!



Garmin 120 GPS antenna revisited

I had a recent mail about a blog posted last year.

The stick antenna on the Garmin GPS 120 I have should work it seems?

I tried it on a Garmin GPS 192C plotter with an internal antenna, that unit is a 12
channel recieve set, with the GPS 120 inside the boat I saw no fix.

But what will the result be when connected to my Garmin GPS Plus 2? that set is an 8 channel receiver,  in this case the 120 antenna worked.

The satelites are all there but only three are being worked at this time.

The signal was not that great, three bars only but as a back up and a decent way to recycle old electronics, the old Garmin 120 antenna may well be worth having on board?

Note, for this test the required BNC co-ax plus was not fitted, the center core pin only was fitted to the Garmin GPS, the signal could improove with the correct plug fitted?

With the (old) Garmin GPS 2 plus 8 channel fitted with its folding short stick antenna we do see a stronger signal and it also is working an extra satelite.

Nice when things work!