Saturday, 28 September 2013

The West Fort cannons in Hout Bay

On the west side of Hout Bay what ever fort used to exist is long gone, I will assume the locals used the
stones as a supply for building the  homes close by? The cannons were removed some years back and recently came back with a nice refurbish and new wooden bases.

West Fort cannon, the East Fort was and still is to the right of the picture and on the far side of the bay.

Looking from West Fort, the East Fort is about center of that large rock in the foreground and on the other side of Hout Bay.

Click on the images to see in a larger size. The area is a Nature Conservation area, the No Take Zone means no poaching, not that anyone seems to care really?

You can see all the residential stands in the background, its that area which will have removed the original fort stone by stone, of course the cannons were too heavy to move, so lay where they fell, thats around 200 years or so.

I have to assume that a survey indicated just where the cannons were placed originally, perhaps a plan
of the old fort exists?

The car is my 1967 Singer Chamois, its engine is just 875cc and mainly to a sport specification, that engine size is just about standard now for most small cars

Today the forts are just history and all in the past but for sure both the West Fort and East Fort added valuable protection for Cape Town which was not that very far away in front of where the camera man was standing. Thats Cape Towns Table Mountain in the distance and to the left, Cape Town is the other side of there only.

All the cannons have been restored excepting this one, perhaps a reminder of how cast iron can last when left out in a marine coastal enviroment?


The markings VOC was Dutch,I assume this is also? ( no its Swedish)


Does this say 1732 or 1722?  either way to be within a decade of the cannons manufacture is quite
special.  Thats as much as 291 years old?

  West Fort commands the Southwestern approaches to the Bay. First established in 1781 it is located at “York Point”  named after the Duke of York, Frederick Augustus, the second son of Britain’s King George III. He was also Colonel in Chief of the Army.

Open this link for a fantastic picture and more on West Fort in Hout Bay.

 A nation that turns its back on its history, the lessons and experiences of the past, good or bad,  undermines the foundations of its future.

York Point, better known as West Fort. Both Hillman Imps are 1967 models.

Two members of The Imp Club met at the cannons for a photo shoot.

Two classic yachts on the Hout Bay Yacht Club marina

Seen yesterday, the larger yacht is (I think) a Holman and Pye design, her name was Tara, then changed by a new owner to Squire but I think another new owner re named her back to Tara?

Check the link for more pictures of that boat.

Two classics in their own right but what is that small white yacht?

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Ronnie Roos told me its a Berckemeyer designed  Flamenca with many changes.

The GRP hull has been played with, made longer and I think wider, the normal Flamenca deck, coach roof and cockpit is completely changed.

Check below to see what the Flamenca should look like, now how did they change that bow?


Friday, 27 September 2013

Hout Bays East Fort cannons

How many times have you driven past the East Fort ruins on the Hout Bay end of Chapmans Peak drive and never noticed the cannons below? I read that those cannons have lain there for 200 years and now they have been restored are once again firing on special occasions.

The Western Cape region of our country offers the discerning traveler a view into a fascinating and colourful history. The little coastal town of Hout Bay has its own incredible military story to tell.
Hout Bay reflects the history of not only the Cape, but of many world happenings dating back to Van Riebeeck’s arrival at the Cape in 1652.

Just after the colony was 100 years old, the military significance of Hout Bay, as well as Cape Town, became of global importance. Britain and France were at war and the American War of Independence was raging (1775-1783). Protection of the trade route to the East Indies was crucial. The Netherlands and Great Britain also declared war during this period.

Table Bay was considered adequately protected, but Hout Bay with its easy access from the beach was completely open to invasion – placing Cape Town in danger. It was therefore necessary to take urgent action.
On the first of May 1781, the Dutch Political Council decided in principle to build a twenty cannon battery at the western entrance to Hout Bay (Fort West as it is known today.) The fort was just a few months later put to use to protect four Dutch East Indiamen that took shelter in the bay to escape the British Naval Fleet, and successfully deterred an attack by a British Frigate.

The French, who virtually controlled the Netherlands, became involved and sent a French mercenary regiment to protect the Cape from British occupation. Indian Sepoys and Irish troops were part of the French contingent, which was welcomed by the Dutch authorities.

The regiment (the Pondicherry Regiment) then built the earthworks of the East Fort on the slopes of Constantiaberg to further protect the bay,
A further fort was built to protect the rear of both the East and West Forts, to repel a Hout Bay beach landing. This was called the Klein Gibraltar

My thanks to G Tours for the information above in small print.

There are two unique iconic places on earth that every schoolboy’s atlas prominently displays. They have no rivals and are the turning points of East and West. The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.
Cape Town has been blessed with outstanding natural beauty, but  It has also been  given an extraordinary place in World history which like a talent, could remain undiscovered or even be lost.
Hout Bay’s East Fort embodies the beauty and the mysteries of the past, both of which are fragile. The Fort’s buildings have deteriorated over the last few years and are collapsing due to the neglect of the authorities entrusted with their care.

Please open the link to read more,thank you to the local Heritage Trust for their invaluable work.


In 1781 Hout Bay was included in the new defences.
The garrison consisted of Khoi troops quartered at Kronendal reinforced by the French Pondicherry Regiment composed mainly of Indian Sepoys under the command of Irish Expatriate, Count de Conway. West Fort was built adjacent to the present day harbour. It's guns were able to protect three laden ships of the returning East India fleet sheltering from marauding Admiral Johnson of the Royal Navy who had partially destroyed the rest of the fleet in Saldanha bay. The taking of prizes and privateering were rife in war conditions.

After this episode East Fort battery was built with earthworks and canon of large calibre on gun emplacements adjacents to the present day Chapmans Peak Drive. Some of the guns with the V.O.C. mark can still be seen and cannon balls that would have been heated in ovens before firing have been retrieved by archaeological digs.
The East Fort guns have been fired in anger only once. Admiral Elphinstone sent a flotilla inshore to examine the seaward fortifications of the Cape on the 15th September 1795.

"The Echo' put into Hout Bay and, remaining out of range, drew fire from both East and West Forts enabling her commander to report back details of range and fire power to his Admiral. The following day the Dutch surrendered and the British then occupied the castle and other fortifications including the Hout Bay forts.

Note, the West Fort cannons were removed some years back but were recently put back in place, I will post a picture later today.


Mail asking for information is below.

Nice blog on the cannons Roy! Two questions – was it the East Fort cannons recently put back into service, or West Fort? I saw the note below saying West Fort as well, and separately, but thought East Fort had been going all the while? Second one – the “Echo” – a ship? I always wondered why the False bay local news rag – equivalent  of Hout Bay’s Sentinel, is called “the Echo”? There is also an Echo Road south of Fishhoek on the mountain towards Glencairn. Connected with this boat? Do you know?

Later I will post a picture of the boat that was the Echo and for the day on the 200th anniversary of the event.
I was the helmsman that day and that was eighteen years ago!

The Arthur Robb designed Halloween, it was the Echo for the one day!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

A new product, Deluxe Light Ply

This was a product we had made up for boat builders some time back, part of an on going
process of development. The product has just been through another phase and now meets some very high standards.

Its a five veneer layup on the 6mm, making it a stiff but light panel, the glue line is phenolic, so fully waterproof, boiling tests for 10 hours show no defects. The manufacturing factory meets very high emmision standards and their panels are CE approoved, the wood species used is also from a renewable source.

The picture shows a 6mm and 12mm panel, weight wise its about half the weight of okoume marine ply and while not as light as balsa wood its very much stronger.

Click on the pictures to enlarge the image.

Check the layup, balanced veneers and the 6mm panel is also a five ply, so very strong for its weight.


That old Seagull engine you have, can it be fixed when its seized solid ?

This was one of two requests for Seagull information and on the same day.

Dear Roy, Stubbornly I cling to this old British Seagull Motor I have which does not work.  The most likely explanation is that the magnets for generating a spark are too worn.  But we don't know that.  I could not figure out how to take the top off in order to get at the magnet. 

 Is there any kind of manual or other instructions for disassembling the motor?

 All the best,

Cort Wrotnowski
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
Here is my reply and as yet not replied to.

Thanks on your mail!

Please do not take the flywheel off, this is not recomended, you can take the top cover to service the points though.

The points and spark plug gaps are important of course, so start with them, if there is no spark at all, try a power drill to the

Flywheel and spin it up, this will normally re generate a magnet and thats it done?

May I have a picture of your motor  and the engine number please.
Johns site will date your motor by the way.

Cape Town

The other Seagull engine was brought to me for a look over, all in all it was a very good buy and with just one part missing, which was the plastic bracket that holds the rear drive tube in place, this needs to be there!

I advised the new owner to take the parts of like fuel pipe and carb, clean them and the fuel tank, plus the two in line filters before trying to start it. The engine is now a runner and we got a phone call asking how to stop it!

That is easy, just place your hand over the air intake.

 The engine number dates this as a 1975 forty plus motor and with a 2 to 3 HP output.

This motor is in fine condition for its age. The forty plus will run on a 20:1 fuel petrol mix, you may need a new carburettor needle to be able to do this.

How do you stop a Seagull?  just place your hand over the air intake.

How easy is that!


Andrew in the UK sent me this link and info today , many thanks.

Have uploaded a video showing how to free up a seized seagull 40 motor, along with stripping down and replacing other parts. Hope this is of use to someone. Please feel free to share it as I am sure it will encourage more people to buy more spares and save a few more from the scrap heap.

Kind regards    Andrew

 Please be careful using a blow lamp, lump hammer and an impact tool!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Frans Loots has the answer

This was my last hope, Frans was in the South African Navy and in Simonstown, could he show
some light on the mainsail with the SA1 on it I wondered?

Morning Roy,
Thanks for the e-mail.
Yep, I saw your blog.
The sail in question comes from a boat which was built by Fred Raas on Vaaldam way back in the early 1970's. The design is a Waarschip, a Dutch design. Fred Raas called it a Trident to give it a South African feel. The SA 1 was obviously it's class sail number. It was a 7.25 meter plywood boat. There is a picture and a design spec on the boat In "Yachting in Southern Africa". I recall seeing the boat in Port Elizabeth when I was still at school there. Fred Raas was the designer of the Mistral keelboat.

The person who has this sail was asking was this off the SA Navy yacht Voortrekker? was it from the mizzen she asked?

Her thinking made sense to me excepting this class logo, what was it from and why would it be on Voortrekker? Thanks to Frans we now know that The design logo is from a Waarschip, not only that but from the very first boat!
Of course that logo is the Greek letter “Psi” so perhaps the Class was called PSI ?  Angelo Lavranos.

This was indeed Voortrekkers number SA1 but in this case Frans suggests its the  Waarschip class number only.

 The sails dimensions are Luff 6.70 mtrs and Foot 2.30 mtrs. there are three quite long batten pockets and
what look like 3/4" sail slides on the Luff. There is no sail makers logo but we know that Fred Raas was building the boat and its possible his wife also made the sail?

Regarding the mizzen of Voortrekker.
I did my national service in Simonstown and Bertie Reed was then my Chief Petty Officer at the boatshed.
The entire mizzen rig of Voortrekker was hanging in the loft. When the Navy got a little Flamenca we took the old mizzen sail as a heavy weather sail to use on the Flammy if it was blowing a South Easterly gale (always) in False Bay. Let me tell you, that mizzen was TINY. It was smaller than a reefed Flamenca mainsail. And yes, it had no number on it.
Bertie told me that the original mast of Voortrekker ( from the ketch rig) was given to General Botha Accademy and was stepped as a mizzen for the Howard Davies sailtraining yacht. Trekker was converted to a sloop and stepped a much taller rig than when Dalling sailed her. Bertie always told me that Bruce Dalling was given a under canvassed boat.
The John Goodwin Anna Woolf refers to is THE John Goodwin. He was on the short list for skippering Voortrekker in the 1968 OSTAR. Like Bruce Dalling he had done many miles solo with  a Vertue called Speedwell of Honkong. He later built Speedwell of Goodhope and set off to circumnavigate. I bumped into them at St Helena and many months later in Gibraltar. Happy days way back in 1986.


South African boat builder history on Fred Rass,  what a fascinating story!

Open the link below, then scroll down to page 19 and 21 some great history on the Mistral class here by Lex Raas. you will find a mention to the Waarschip and also to the fact they were making sails themselves.
My thanks to Sail Power SA.

News in from Angelo Lavranos.

Hello Roy,

The Waarschip was a great little boat designed by  Dick Zaal ( long time employee of Van Der Stadt and later designer in his own right) . ¼ tonner in strip ply or “clinker ply”. There were later half and mini ton versions. They were popular “home build” kits.   Very ingenious since it had all the advantages of traditional clinker (a light way to build) without the worst disadvantages which were traditionally  the strakes would fail along the line of (copper rivet fastenings).  With plywood the laminated opposing grains avoided that, and the laps were glued.  Really a great old tech/ new tech for the early sixties.   Viva waterproof glue !



Lavranos Marine Design Ltd
40A Seaview Ave, Northcote
Auckland 0627 New Zealand
Ph + 64 9 4802232
Mob 0226059735


Hout Bay, South Africa, B&B accomodation and places to stay

This was suggested to me by a regular reader in the UK, what do I know about the bed and breakfast industry you may ask?

Why not I thought, its that time of the year when seasonal holidays are being planed, I will expand this thread over the next few days. It will highlight what Hout Bay and the places near it are like.

It just happens that a fellow classic car restorer and local B&B association chairman who lives close by knows lots, so if you want advice and some help to make a booking, send me a mail and I will see what can be done?

Its whale watching season in the cape right now,this will continue for some months and we spotted one on our way back to harbour.

Cape Point and not that many miles south of where I took the picture above from, we live in one of the 
worlds favorite tourist destinations.


Mail just in from a regular blog reader:

Good Day Roy,

Like many ex-Cape Town residents, I have been reading your blog for many years as even after 19 years of living in the UK we still get very homesick for Cape Town, the best place we ever lived.
After leaving the UK for a better life in 1966 we as a family spent over 27 years in South Africa, most of these in Cape Town where we brought up three children, two of them made in SA and one made in England, all three are still living there. Foolishly, we decided to go looking for a better place to live on our yacht Jacana but I have to be honest after cruising for over 16000-miles we never did find it, though the grass is certainly greener in the UK it comes at a very high price, in the form of lots of rain and snow.
I see that you have now entered the holidays section and we wish you all the best in this new venture and feel sure that with your knowledge of the sea around the Cape as well as the best places to visit  and contact with the local B&B association, you could certainly offer a wealth of tourist information to anyone who wants the holiday of a life time that is not going to cost the earth.
I wonder if your readers will know that you also have some amazing contacts for sailing around the Cape.
Good luck.
Al & Soni Noteman.

Al is a sailor and navigator, also an author.

The view from East Fort and looking towards The Sentinal on the far side, below and on the seaward side the Seal Island (duiker island) boat trips run daily and around every hour.

Just one of the places to stay, the sea views and sunsets can be quite something, contact me for the
phone number and to place a booking.

Its overcast today but once the cold front moves through this bay will be bathed in sunshine.

The bronze statue of a Leopard  has watched out over Hout Bay for decades, come and see it for yourself. Check the story and a really fine picture here.

The statue was made by Ivan Milton-Barberton.  I think it was stolen once?

The surf is rarely large and suitable for body boarding and surf board training.

With the school holidays now on this is a popular spot for the kids to try to learn surfing.

You may wonder what we have close by and near enough to take a short drive to?

The Kirstenbosch Garden is certainally one of those places, its just 12 kilometres from the center of Hout bay and should take around 15 minutes to drive there.

The roads are good and its an interesting drive through some forests.

If you need some B&B booking contacts send me an email.

roy@ckdboats(dot)com   remove the word dot and replace with a real dot!


There is some history about Hout Bay in this link

The best venue for a sundowner will be the Hout Bay Yacht Club, which is open to non members.

Try for full details and a map of the bay.

Check the link to see the club house and on a day when flea market is hosted.

For snacks, breakfast and lunch, plus ice creams try Murials Munchies, its right next to the yacht club and a short walk from the beach.

 Yes we are still having a little winter rain here but it will be gone in a week or so!

What else can Hout Bay offer you,  well how about a boat trip in the bay?

Where to buy gifts and food?

Lots and lots of such places and one that is well worth a look is the Bay Harbour Market.


The Market’s ideal of “Local is Lekker” finds perfect solace in Bokke & Blomme; a business quite literally inspired by words. 

Janet Ormond's beautifully-rendered text carvings in a variety of fonts are perfect for every mood and environment and serve as a fantastic wooden wordsfor every room.

Patriotic South Africans find colloquial slang a particular darling, with “Howzit” being a favourite for entrance halls and bar walls alike. 

Whether “Dream” finds a place above your bed, or “Yummy” adjacent to the fridge, all and sundry will have a perfect setting to incorporate the written word into daily life.

Both functional and fun, Bokke & Blomme can do custom designs, or simply browse the locally produced array on offer. 

The English language has so many gems that have such an uplifting impact, even Mother Theresa said “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly

Hout Bay Heritage Day bay trip

This seemed like a good idea and so it was but why were we the only sailing boat out that day?
With a very light NW breeze, sailing would have been slow progress going out, I guess having a Dix Designed yacht we would have sailed back in ok of course.

Not that we carried any sail ourselves, it was on a rising tide and the SW swell was lifting, a mile or so out and the waves were a little confused.

As you can see, it was not so warm out there yesterday but what the heck,we had a nice time.

 Was the presence of a large whale an attraction?

Jean later asked me what type it was, she got my standard reply.

It was a large black one.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Captain Flea bakes some bread

September 24th is our national Heritage Day in South Africa, so I thought this posting may be suitable?


Not only did our Captain Flea bake some bread on Sunday, he was trying out his cut down and converted 030 Taylors stove oven for the very first time.

The cut down 030 Taylors paraffin stove, which was a hand me down has been converted to LPG (gas)
The top burners  will be installed later.

This is quite an early stove? If you send the stoves number to the retailers in the UK they should be able to give you the date of manufacture as they did for the 030 L Taylors stove I have for sale. You can do a gas conversion on it also?

Click on the picture and check the gas burner at the bottom of the oven. I would suggest fitting flame safe types which turn off when the gas fails?

Captain Flea ( Lourens) shows off his very first bread bake!

Wow! this looks good ( and it was)

We were invited for a tasting session , Anna does the bread slicing.

 Now this looks just perfect, note the raisins, there were nuts too.

Cooked for some 40 minutes it was thought that possibly a shorter time would be better.
The crust was really nice, as was the center of the loaf, it was eaten in no time at all!