Saturday, 30 March 2013

Hout Bays weather today

The date is Saturday 30th of March and we have a coastal low pushing down from Namibia. At such times we get strong winds in the Cape Town area and often at its stongest here in Hout Bay (wood bay).

This is the lower end of Northshore Drive, Hout Bay, South Africa.

The wind blown sand can be so thick at times, that its like driving in fog.

You need 50 knots of breeze to lift sand as much as this!

Down in the hatbour, the boats on the marina were showing which are the lighter ballasted ones.

Thats a lot of wind in those SE clouds but we have an Easterly where we are, so its coming from the left of the picture.
The old B&G Hornet windspeed meter, its in a window to my left, was showing gusts to 55 knots at times.

A view looking the otherway, thats the back of Table Mountain in the distance.

Normal weather at times, the marina stands up well to such winds too.


B&G Network fluxgate compass wiring

The ACP1 I have came with suitable remote compass, that had its pigtail plug as well but only about 50mm of wire came with it (why do folk cut wires so close to the plug end?)

The short wires left sticking out were just long enough to solder a test length of wire to, thats six wires. red, green, white, yellow and two orange with green bands on them.

I found the wire diagram after making the connections, in my case the wire added on dooes not have a screen or the two orange and green wires but will be fine to test an ACP1 computer for an autopilot.

Once the wires were made secure with solder I tested each wire to one or other pins and made my own diagram, one wire, the red one gave no reading. I closed the joints off with shrink tube, then checked the male to female ends.

The pin that would not show continuity was the center and red wire pin,
As you can see the center of this plug has no use for the center pin!

The five pins around the center pin do the work, the center pin does nothing.

I can now connect the compass and test the ACP 1 unit with the T2 hydraulic ram.


Author, Al Notman

Notty published his fist book last year, you can find it for sale on  buy a copy via this link.

You will find info on the book below.

This is Al Noteman's new Blog Site.
Al at sea in Hout Bay, Cape Town. by R. McBride.
After the Novel 'Stolen Time' was published as an eBook on Amazon Kindle, Al and his wife Sonia returned to South Africa for a holiday for the first time since sailing away from Cape Town in 1993 on their home built yacht Jacana. While there seeing family and friends Al met up with his long-time sailing buddy Roy McBride who offered Al the chance to do a spot of sailing on a Dix Design 43-footer built on the west system by CKDBoats. Roy is the founder and owner of CKD Boats, a company specialising in building and supplying Dix Designed kit boats and who have exported now to more than 33 countries. It was Roy who gave Al his first taste of Ocean Sailing when in 1985 he asked Al to fly over to Rio to help him deliver an Endurance 37 from Rio back to Cape Town after the boat had taken part in the Cape to Rio International Yacht race. Roy and Al made the non-stop voyage across the South Atlantic Ocean in just 32-days on what was a heavy cruising boat.

For Info on CKD Boats etc. see Roy's Blogsite, click here; -

Friday, 29 March 2013

B&G Type C mast head units are better?

Better than what?

Well I posted a blog in November 2011 about a wind speed instrument I donated to the HBYC marina section, really it was a trade with Chris, from yacht Faraway and for his old B&G Network instuments so that the club could have a winspeed indicator.

Not a bad trade, I supply the windspeed indicator and I get the gear he was replacing, well here we are two years plus later and guess what, its still working!

The old Type C  B&G mast head unit, it must be at least  twenty six years old but the grey control box that powers it was thirty six years old and that was two years ago!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

From the November 2011 blog.

HBYC Marina gets a 60 knot wind speed indicator

We often have members asking what our wind speed is recording,seems to me if its windy on the marina,its a sight more so out in Hout Bay,so to enable any member or visitor to see the wind speed,the club now has a B &G mast head unit in place,its the C type and with a matching 4" (100mm) gauge,which has a bonus in that it reads to 60 knots,as the later series Syncro types only read to 50 knots. (only?)

As I have seen two later and still the current 213 MHUs fail in three years and Chris supplied me with his two later 496 units, also not working, it stands to reason the older units are longer lasting?

Just how old is this, thirty years plus will be my guess!

They were released in 1972/73 and discontinued in 19886/87, so we can have an age as old as 41 years to 26 years old?
So their old mast head gear is better than the newer 213 and 496 mast head units, why is this?


The Staysail V the Roller Furler headsail

This is/was a sail used more often in the years before the advance of the roller furling headsail. We need also to consider a hanked on head sail of the correct size for the conditions.

Any decent cruising boat of a size over say 32 feet should have the ability to set a smaller head sail well inside the normal tack position of the genoa, the boat is then called a Cutter.

I mention this as I have just seen a yacht about 43ft sailing out of our bay, its a well designed and locally built one, good for offshore sailing for sure. Its a little breezy out there today, I guess about 20 to 25 knots and two meter swells and rising,white caps on the waves etc.

Telefonica at speed and under a staysail.

The boat leaving our bay had a large roller reef in the genoa, the size of the head sail was down to around one third of its normal 135% size or so but the shape of that sail was really bad.

Setting very full and with a deep pocket due to sail cloth stretching, that boat is not going to perform any place needing to go up wind.

It would be easier just to use an inner forestay and hank on a nice staysail that will sheet flat as required, the question is do they have an inner forestay and do they have the sail to hank on to it?

One Endurance 37  I had was fitted out with two staysails, one was the Peter Ibold design from his standard sail plan, the other was larger and more like a small 110% Genoa, that sail with a full main or just one reef worked the boat across waves really well, plus all the sail effort on the foredeck was kept low down.

Do you!


Thursday, 28 March 2013

The JoLon Imp heads out for London

Terence Tracey has just phoned me, they are driving along the highway and to Pretoria, doing 80 he told me, all systems in the Imp are working just fine.

This is Terences daughter Caitlin, adding some glamour to the JoLon Imp a few weeks back.

The car and two drivers will stay in Botswana to night, then head off up Africa and on to Egypt before the next long stage to London. Terence will keep me posted as they drive, contact will depend on when and where they find an Internet Cafe?

Sent from his BlackBerry today

Hi Roy, let me know if u get this mail . We are now bombing along the Pietersburg hiway with millions of ZCC worshippers driving to their Easter service. All going well with the little Jolon Imp.

I then wished them a great trip.

Great thanks Roy, I will pass hr best regards to all at Imp 50. I will send photos soon.

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Check the web pages to see how this idea was planned and became true.

Great news!


Why is Easter in March this year?

I asked a few and got the same response, I have no idea was the reply.

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Here's the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!).

And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

My thanks to Yahoo for supply of the answer.


But is any of what Yahoo has posted, they have already got the date as the 23rd of march for Easter when its the 29th of march!

Thanks to reader Notty for sending me this :

Hi Roy,

I read it full size on the laptop. Its the line that says, 'The next time Easter will be this early (23-March) will be in 2228.' That to me reads that you are saying that Easter this year will be on March 23 which as you know has past. I don't know how else you can read that?

B&G 213 MHU unit removal

I was wondering if anyone was wanting to know how to remove the B&G 213 mast head unit?

I have seen use for two of these in only three years, the adverts say they are suitable for Antarctic weather and for 80 mph winds. In my case two news ones have failed in less than a year each, one was replaced but the second one was not.

B&G Service or self service, thats where I am at now.

So I happen to have and old one that the long arm was broken off, the screw in end will make a fine plug to blank off the mast head wire socket with when I remove the existing MHU for service, in this case the windspeed does not work (again) The fittings in the picture show the six pin socket and screw in cap.

There will also be an over center locking clip wire that further ensures the MHU does not come free.


HBYC gets the Laser Pico dinghy

This was yesterday and a number of Laser Picos were being taken down to the HBYC marina for the guys to learn how to sail them.

The guys were really excited to see what their next sailing challenge is to be.

There are a number of these boat, on loan for now.

Used but very acceptable, they will make a good step up from the O'9r class dingies the guys have been training on so far.

Those that do well and suceed in mastring the Lazer Pico can expect to be invited to next sail on JML3, which is the Lavranos L26, the class of boat used to challenge for the Lipton Cup each year!


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Jordan Boats rowing boat

This really is the real thing, seen donkeys years back in places like Windermere in the Lake District in England.

Now available as a design from Jordan Boats, Scotland or from CKD Boats cc in Cape Town under special licence to Jordan Boats.

Hello Roy

Herewith picture of a 15'5" T/N. Std LOA is 13'"


T/N stands for Tammi Norri the name of the design.

Words from Alec Jordan on the design, check out the link to view pictures on the construction method.

I cannot immediately think of any pic's of a TN13 or 15 in build. shows the build of the 10ft version of this line of boats, the Puffin.  This is effectively the manual for building my CP kits.  The only real difference apart from the obvious one of size is that the TN has a wineglass transom which makes cutting the bevels on the tuck a little more difficult, but should be no problem for a professional boat builder.

I think given the fact that the kit includes the moulds to build over and all the hull planks are pre cut, anyone with the will to build this boat will succeed.

The easy to set up building jig ensures you start well and can see the shape of the boat right away.

Applying the hull planks, its best to do one or two per side, then move to the other side to balance any loads caused by the ply strips.

Row or Scull, this is a nice design and will be far lighter than the traditionally solid wood planked boats that it resembles.

We have asked a local boat builder to supply a price to build this craft, either fully painted and finished, or as a bare hull you can paint out yourself.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A John Welsford Navigator in South Africa

There is something very special about building your own boat and then seeing it launched, will it float, will it sit to its lines, time will tell!

All pictures supplied by Wilhelm.

This Navigator was built from materials and CNC work that CKD Boats cc supplied. In this picture the side decks are still to be fitted, I guess this was done so that the painting could be done better.

Ready to sail. I remember we had those thin slats of teak in stock, just looking for a transom like this to cover, we still have some left too.

This electric  trolling motor will be nice and quiet.

Gordons Bay Harbour and light breezes to start with. Conditions picked up later to 20 knots but the Navigator handled that and a two meter swell ok, they topped ot at 8.1 knots of speed too!


Monday, 25 March 2013

B&G Network MHU 496 wire and pin changes

They may look the same but the wiring inside is changed.

Read below.

MHU 496 to B&G Network Wind repeater March 25, 2013
Having two B&G 496 mast head units in stock but with one having a broken lower
Thread where the wind speed cups fit and the other in as new condition, I had decided
To build one decent MHU from the two, excepting when the 213 PC board was changed over

Fuzzy logic often works for me, this is my sketch of each wire to connections, yours may of course be different again?

It would not work on the better mast head stalk housing, why?
Early mast head units # 496 had a different pin arrangement and a change of wire
Colour on one wire, this means you cannot take a 496 PC board from the early units
And fit in the later units.


Early 496-00-001-N175018 this has six wires servicing the wind speed and wind Angle
Purple,blue,green,black,red, orange.

Note the 213 code on the main PCB, this is from the earlier 213 mast head unit but the 496 MHU has a second board soldered in, so they are not a direct swop.

I decided to do a circuit test and see if the wires were connected end to end, with a meter Set to alarm, I started my test. There are six pins, where the sender fits, I used the center one as the number one, then working clockwise I checked off the other five pins, noting their colour and if the continuity was fine.

The red and yellow wires needed changing over.

I then did a sketch of each end and drew as I checked marking the number and colour, I soon had the test proven and to my surprise both units checked out fine. What was changed was one unit had a yellow wire, while the other an orange wire, which in itself is no big deal but what was also changed was that pin five had been changed to six. I was able to change these over, testing the unit when assembled gave me both wind angle and wind speed, success!

The part number on this assembly is

Now re assembled I have a decent 496 MHU, when tested on a spare Network Wind instument , I found the fix worked.

Maybe this simple fix will work for others?

Try this link to see what the B&G 213 MHU looks like inside


Pictures will follow.

Wilhelms Navigator build

The Navigator was one of the very first boats kits that were cut when Nigels large CNC machine arrived,

Hi Roy

Herewith some pictures of my Navigator, Jacqui.

I recently went for my first sail and launched her at Gordons Bay. We had a lovely day with light winds at first, but increasing to just over 20 knots. The boat proved very seaworthy. She handles the wind, choppy seas with white horses and a two meter swell with ease. Our maximum boat speed was 8,03 knots and we covered 31,3 km in the 4 hours 52 minutes at sea. We sailed 4,2 nautical miles into the bay.



More pic's on this super built boat tomorrow!


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Brer Terrapin, Mike takes up the story

Ruth and Mike contacted me recently about the yacht Brer Terrapin, which was the boat that introduced me to keelboat sailing back in 1976. My first transatlantic voyage was on this boat.

A picture I took as we sailed Brer Terrapin into Rupert Bay, Jamestown, St Helena, circa 1977, this will have been the boats third visit there by then.

Hi Roy

To clarify: I am Mike Smith, Pip Smith's brother.

I understand you were in touch with Ruth very recently in connection with her past and the ketch Brer Terrapin. I would be very happy to shed whatever light I can on the building of the yacht and hopefully to send you a few pictures, if we can find any that are suitable. Obviously in the 60's there was no such thing as digital photography, with the result that what I have - and it's not much - is on slides and if I remember correctly, they were not particularly good pics. Ruth says she has a number of photos which have been in a drawer for the last 34 years, so maybe they could be scanned.

Pip Smith, I think he is steering Brer Terrapin with his foot, we did the same!
Very briefly, Pip and I started building the yacht together in the garden of our Johannesburg home. Soon after that I got married, moved to Pretoria and ceased to take an active part in the planning and construction. My father took over and was very involved for a number of years. In the end it took almost seven years for the boat to reach the stage where all it still needed were the masts and sails. Pip was doing his medical degree and then an internship during this time so only had limited opportunities to build. It was then transported to Durban, the masts and sails ordered and fitted and he and Ruth with their one-year-old son, James lived on it for about a year. Pip then persuaded his father to join him on the trip from Durban to Cape Town where the boat remained in the Royal Yacht club until Pip, Ruth and the kid set sail for Rio.

Mikes story is below:

Brer Terrapin: 

In about 1967 my brother Pip decided that rather than spend the weekends in Johannesburg doing arbitrary things, he would like to embark on a project and have something solid to show for it. The first step was to find a suitable boat to build: With this in mind he and I went down to Durban and in the harbour saw the ketch "Ingwe", which was based on the design of a Norwegian lifeboat. We bought the plans from the owner who had himself constructed "Ingwe". We paid the princely sum of R200! Worth a lot more then of course.

The plans were drawn, most of them full size, on our sitting room floor. First to arrive was a large and very heavy chunk of Kari which was shaped, using an adze into the wooden keel. A mould was then made out of cheap wood to the shape of the metal keel. While this was being cast, the ribs at the different stations were drawn full size.

The ribs were of American white oak and the hull of planks of Sapele Mahogany three centimetres thick. The strakes were attached to the ribs with copper nails. The bow consisted of about eight layers of white oak, steamed in a homemade steam box into which steam from a boiling drum of water was fed, bent to shape and laminated.

The decking was teak, as were aspects of the cabin interior. Pip, who was studying medicine at Wits University, heard that the old medical laboratories at the university were being dismantled and refitted. He managed to pick up some really amazing teak counters for next to nothing, and with these he constructed the seating in the well where the compass was fixed and where the helmsman would sit and operate the tiller.
An exciting delivery was a large crate from the UK containing all the navigational equipment, the portholes, winches and other metalwork. Together with our father, Pip commissioned the making of two stainless steel water tanks and two fuel tanks which were placed under the seats in the cabin.

After seven years in the making and Pip's medical degree completed, Brer Terrapin was loaded onto a low loader and transported to Durban harbour. At one point on the trip, the load would not fit under a bridge on the old road to Natal. Letting the tyres down on the truck permitted the yacht to just scrape under the bridge and continue on its way. Pip, his wife Ruth and their new-born  son James spent nearly a year living on the yacht in Durban harbour while the masts were sourced and fitted and the sails made. Joined by his father and a friend, they sailed around the coast to Cape Town, a notoriously rough trip. Some time later the couple with 9 month old James set sail for Rio, stopping in at St Helena on the way.

The experience proved too much for Ruth with the responsibility of a baby aboard. Brer Terrapin was sailed back to Cape Town by another couple and it was put up for sale and after some time, sold to a Cape Town resident. Pip and family moved to Pietermaritzburg where he took a position on the staff of Edendale Hospital and bought a timber farm just outside Greytown. A few years later he died tragically.

Since then reports have surfaced of the yacht being spotted in Mauritius, California and various other locations. I understand from another blog on this site that it sank in an American port, was refloated and refitted. At the base of the main mast is a gold half sovereign.

Mike Sith.

Pip Smith with his baby son James on deck and I presume in Durban Harbour?

This is a cockpit I remember very well!

Yacht Brer Terrapin under full sail, being a ketch she also carried a Mizzen Staysail, a wonderful sail to fly if the breeze was in the right quarter.

My thanks to Ruth and Mike for supplying the words and photos but also to Justin, blog master for the HBYC as it was he who extracted many of the pictures from a zipped file for me.