Saturday, 15 March 2014

The first CNC cut Mirror Dinghy

Here it is, cutting went well, so did assembly.

How easy was this to assemble?

Peter says " Its the easiest boat kit to put together that I have ever done"

Peter did all his setting out in pencil on the inside of the 6mm plywood sheets first, that's the bulkheads, blocks and stringers etc,

The panel fit is perfect, my thanks to Martin of the Mirror Association in the UK for doing the work that produced the paper and digital files.

We have been asked to enlarge the drain holes and make them longer to use as a hand hole?

Panel fit again is perfect, the copper wire (supplied) pulled the plys together easily.

So here it is a  world first, a CNC cut Mirror Dinghy and it was cut and assembled here in the Cape Town, South Africa. The fitting out will follow next week.

The pricing is ready, the base kit of CNC cut plywood, ISAF plaque and Mirror RSA licence will cost R10,347 (plus vat in SA) which is GBP575 only, shipping is possible.

Checking around I find we look to be the lower priced kit between the UK, Canada, and Australia and by some margin, more than 40% lower ? we will hold this offer until the end of April or unless our raw materials change price.

The lower price has nothing to do with a lack of quality, we are quoting on the best French grade of okoume marine ply, the saving comes from the fact we use a CNC machine to cut the plywood panels, others cut with a hand held electric jigsaw?

 Contact me for the various options please, once the first build has been measured,  orders will be processed in the order we receive them.


Friday, 14 March 2014

Mirror Mirror ( dinghy kits)

Mirror Mirror? well once we have the first kit assembled and we proove it will measure to the class rules, we can start producing Mirrors to order, thats a base kit of plys with further materials options and right on to
a sail away boat.

Peter Randle, a professional boat builder has built our first kit. He will be available for orders once the first kit is completed, kits will be from CKD Boats cc, part or completed boats will be direct from Peter.
Peter told me that this kit is the best he has ever assembled, the panel fits are perfect!

We were asked what the boat will weigh, this is due to the fact that the Mirror 2013 plans now allow for a 6mm hull and a 4mm deck layout, here the boat is on the scales. On the production boats and while stocks last we will use imported French made okoume plywood made and stamped to the BS1088 marine grade.

Prices start with the CNC cut plywoods, ISAF plaque and licence to build one boat.

We find that the dry assembled hull weighs just 18kgs.

The rest of the boats panels weigh 10kgs so we have a dry weight with copper wire laces at 28ks, the copper wire will be removed later.

The panels line up exactly as they should do, this eases the build time for the builder.

We are hoping to have the rest of the kit assembled by this time next week, contact me for more information.

As the new licence holder for the Mirror design in South Africa, we will be able to supply you with single repair panels (2013 rules) and also the Rudder and Dagger Board, blanks for these items should be ex stock once we are up and running.


British Seagull spares for Africa

Well sort of, this small part of Africa for sure.

We do have a small stock of British Seagull parts but as there have been so many different types and models
its normal to import the exact part for each engine rebuild, we need the engine number if you want parts or info?

Parts arrived this week to enable the restoration of a British Seagull 5hp outboard for an owner in Pretoria, included are more parts for the 2hp outboard that was bought in and will be for resale soon.

The parts are genuine British Seagull, most are new but we also accept quality used parts when new ones are no longer available.

Contact me if you have spares or part or for service and a rebuild of your own British Seagull.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Jaguar XK 3.8 liter standard size pistons for sale

We have a set of four available, no piston rings or pins, which can be made locally.

Dated 1965/66 they are re usable for someone doing a rebuild.

They are now rather rare, I know this as I could not find any myself and had to buy a new set!

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Bead blasted clean so you can see the genuine condition.

If you click on the picture you will note that the rings grooves are really very sound.

Priced at R750 each piston which is around U$70 right now.

Postage world wide is extra, surface and air our via our courier which means you will have them in a few days.

Payment can be made by Pay-Pal using your normal credit card.


Rubbish in Hout Bay

We have our fair share, its a problem made worse by some of the café vendors and their fish and chip cartons?

This rubbish is quite different though, for one he is an African Grey parrot and his name is Rubbish.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Rubbish is special, he has just turned 18 and has also just sailed around the world on a 40ft yacht, he was only 4 last time we met, welcome home Rubbish!



Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Toylander series 2 re priced and now at a lower price

With the decline of the value of the Rand currency we have had to re look at some designs and change our ideas on some materials we have used in the past.

One such kit is the Mk2 Toylander, all have been CNC cut to date using imported okoume marine ply, which has probably doubled in price since we started offering the Toylander as a kit?

This is the first one we cut and is in okoume marine plywood, its for sale should you want one right away?

The kit has been re costed using 12mm pine ply made locally, this slashes the cost and still makes a good body, they use MDF in the UK and pine plywood will be lighter than MDF anyway

Prices now are R2960 for the kit with CNC work and glues, fillers etc, then an option to have the front wing corners and bonnet moulded from 3mm Superform bending plywood at a cost of just R600 extra, Vat is not included.

Plans can be purchased from    Prices, we do the Mk2 version only.

Its nice to see prices falling for a change!


A Hout Bay Dragon?

This one is not a fire breathing one!

Click on the picture to view full size, taken by R McBride using a Canon G11 digital camera.
This boat came third in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

It was restored here in Hout Bay by a local craftsman and does show what the standard of boat building and restoration is here in Cape Town, South Africa.

Much of the materials used were sourced and supplied by

27 21 (021) 7903859 phone and fax line.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mirror Dinghy UK, front page news!


The first Mirror dinghy kit ever cut by Computer Numerical Control (CNC) has been produced by CKD Boats CC of Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa. The original hand drawn plans were digitized a few years ago and these digital plans were used as input. CKD Boats are applying to ISAF to become licenced builders and this kit will be used to build their 1st off boat which is part of the licence process. The build will be carried out by Peter Randle Boats. You can follow progress on the CKD Boats blog.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 March 2014 15:56

Open the link to view the full page.
Boat number one is now under construction.

My thanks  to the Mirror UK folks for the pics,

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Howmet Turbine race car

I was looking for stuff to load onto the Classic Car Racers Forum, thats run by people from the WPMC here in Cape Town.

I then remembered a trip to Oulton Park, a very (really) nice race car circuit in Cheshire, England in 1968, the same year I emigrated to South Africa. Seems I made the right choice that day, the Howmet Turbine was new and to me very exciting, it was fast, the engine turned at 57,500 rpm but weighed just 170 pounds, thats about  70kgs only, to give you an idea what that means, the Hillman Imps alloy engine and transaxle weighs 76 kgs!

Now what would a V6 or V8 pushing out around 360bhp weigh?

I wonder how many viewers of this blog ever saw or heard this car?

Try this and you will soon know

You knew when it was about to arrive by the sound of its motor as it can be heard from at least three corners away! It is now 46 years since I saw it racing, looks rather good I think.

More on this car can be found here

What a car, I am so pleased that it still exists after all these years.


Click on the picture to enlarge it. My thanks to Wikipedia for the pictures and the information below.

Interest in the use of gas turbines as an alternative to the piston engine had been gaining support in the automobile industry during the 1960s. Chrysler had begun testing in the 1950s and began leasing their Turbine Car to the public in 1963,[3] while British manufacturer Rover and racing team BRM combined to build a racing car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963 and 1965.[4] Both cars showed reliability but were unable to win over the public or to win at Le Mans respectively.[5] By 1967, team owner and car developer Andy Granatelli had created the STP-Paxton Turbocar for the Indianapolis 500. The car nearly won the race driven by Parnelli Jones, but suffered a mechanical failure after leading over two-thirds of the event.[6] A similar attempt with a Lotus 56 in 1968 also led to retirement after showing winning potential.[5]

The Howmet TX was built on the McKee Mk.9 chassis. This is the first example of two built in period.
At the same time as Granatelli's turbine debut at Indy, racer Ray Heppenstall began to conceive a design for his own sports car to make use of a gas turbine, improving in some areas where the Rover-BRM had failed several years before. Heppenstall felt that a more simplified design for the chassis could make a turbine-powered car more competitive. Heppenstall originally proposed the car to Allison Engine Company and later to Williams Research.[7] He eventually turned to fellow racer Tom Fleming for aid. Fleming was at the time vice-president of Howmet Corporation, which provided castings for turbines in the aerospace industry. Heppenstall and Fleming were able to convince Howmet that their backing of a competitive and unique sports car could promote public awareness of the company. Howmet agreed to fund the project, lending their name to the car.[1]


Heppenstall began the project by purchasing a Cooper Monaco sports car, but later decided it was not the best choice for a turbine and the car was sold off.[7] Bob McKee, owner of McKee Engineering, was then contracted by Heppenstall to build two cars brand new. The first space frame chassis was actually built from an older McKee car initially built for the Can Am series in 1966, but adapted to house the turbine engine.[5][8] The second car #GTP2 was built from scratch, allowing it to be purposely designed around the use of a turbine engine, including a chassis 2.25 inches (57 mm) longer.[1] The chassis were known as the Mk.9 to McKee, but only ever raced as turbines under the Howmet TX guise.[8]