Thursday, 31 December 2015

An Endurance 37 back from Brasil

I have been fortunate enough to own not one but two Endurance 37 yachts. Both went transatlantic and with myself as an owner/ builder / skipper status.

I was fortunate to have some of the best crew possible on each trip.

On Ocean Planet the trip  was back from Rio Do Janerio to Cape Town and with my good friend Alex Notman (notty) as the only crew, we came back in thirty two days, not bad really, twenty nine was very possible until we had a South Easter gale, we ended up in Saldahna on that trip.

Ocean Planet started with a bare hull and at a cost of R4500, the cockpit cost another R920 and both options were worth every cent.

Then some years later and after we had sold Ocean Planet, I bought another Endurance 37 and for a similar amount of money, being R5000, that purchase had a catch though.

Gulliver of Knysna was wrecked off the coast near Slangkop lighthouse, on its way to Cape Town and from Knysna.

I bought the wreck, stripped by another who bought her from the yachts insurance company, all I got this time was the hull and deck with a big hole in it.

The yacht was bought at a place further out and in the surf than it is in my picture, the risk to me  was great and as I now owned the wreck, the liability to move it had become mine.

I hired a man named Dennis Gentry of Tandem Rigging, he and his crew camped on the high ground and near where I was standing to take the picture. Dennis was there about five days and almost gave up but in the end he managed to drag the wreck up the rocks and load it onto a large low bed trailer.

We then took the trailer and wreck up and over Chapmans Peak Drive, that is no longer possible and even back then it was tight on the many corners.

Ocean Cloud as I renamed the boat and back from Trinidad and Brasil, Simone and her then boy friend Nigel sailed her back double handed.

The trailer and boat were directed to my home in Hout Bay, there the cradle and boat were set down in our front garden. We then had quite a good party, the guys from Tandem Rigging  had really earned their drinks and snacks.

Some fifty one weeks later I re launched the boat and in Hout Bay Harbour, a year or so later we sailed off to Brasil, my friend Notty was again with me, so was his daughter Simone and anther good friend John Holmes.

View the one on Oil Changes.

That was quite an adventure!


Looking back on the HBYC marina

The date is 31st December 2015 and as good a day as any to look back a little, how far back is a good question?

My picture gives many clues, the HBYC marina extension looks brand new, many berths are still vacant, the Endurance 37 had just returned from Trinidad by way of Brasil and the young girl pictured was probably only six then?

She is now thirty three, so twenty seven years back!

All the very best for the year of 2016 !


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A lightweight rowing tender

This was a subject raised in the West Indies, we were at the TTYA in Trinidad, discussion about the quality of our yachts tender design was quite normal.

This tender was taken from a cold moulded dinghy which I was told one of Cape Towns senior yachtsmen made.

In GRP it is still quite light but if is was cold molded in okoume marine ply or even strip planked it would probably be some 20% lighter?

We would need some forward orders to develop the files from this dinghy.

It will carry two adults and two children safely, it will row and sail, it also only needs a 2hp outboard to move it quickly when fully loaded.

There is also an option to fit inflation tubes around the outside of the hull, this means it makes a good fender for when going along side another yacht, it becomes very stable with the float tubes there if you ever dip a rail of course.

Contact me for plans and a kit which can include the alloy bolt rope track, fastener's and the inflatable floats.


The information highway

In this case the information is what I have learned over many decades and since I signed my deeds of apprenticeship,  which in my case clearly stated that I would not divulge any of the trade secrets I was about to learn.

Selling materials and boat kits comes after having already sold many species of wood, types of plywoods, veneers , epoxy and all the related stuff we use when building a boat.

Given that I have just sold a customer  some of the above I find it only fair to then pass on some of the skills I have learned while using similar products?

There are exceptions  when I am asked to explain how to use a product, epoxy is one such product.

It goes like this:

Imagine  I am visited and asked for the information on mixing and using laminating epoxy, then when I have explained at some length the process involved, I ask '  How much do you want to buy? ' , the reply is sometimes quite a shocker ' No I dont want to buy any as  I have already bought what I need from ABC but they have no idea how to use it, so I came to you to find out '  This has happened to me more than once.

Recently I was asked while I was standing next to my own wood/epoxy boat. The question was how to use the micro balloons and fumed silica? These products  I had listed in a quote I had given to a local guy for a Hard Spray Dodger we sell as a CNC cut kit.

It was easy for me to explain by indicating the various parts of my own boat, then I was told that the person had found my quote to be too expensive, so the guy went out and purchased the list of items in my quote from another company, they will have cost him more per item anyway?

This guy was now asking me how to use what he had bought !

There must be a strong word or group of words to describe such people, its a pity I cannot use those words here in my blog.

Compliments of the season to everyone and wishing you well for the coming year of 2016.


Monday, 21 December 2015

Packing an export Optimist kit

This is a three kit set Optimist package, it also includes the meranti wood, Harken deck package, North Sails, epoxies, filler powders and glass tapes.

The three Optimist kits are going to a sailing school in the USA.

Nigel is making sure the builders jig is inside the crate correctly.

This is okoume marine plywood in 12mm thick, the parts cut are the dagger boards and sides to the dagger board case.

The three bundles of meranti, which are planed to size went in next,then the North Sails, the carton contains the Harken deck gear package and the building plans we supply with each kit we sell.

Loading from the one truck to the other was made easier with the guys that work at the CNC shop plus the driver of the van.

 With this three order Optimist kit set now packed into the van we have finished our order book for the 2015 year.

We received an order for two more Optimist kits just yesterday, also for export, so they will start our new years work in January 2016!

All the best for the end of this year and the best of luck for next year.


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Basil likes our Optimist kit

In a few days back and from Switzerland.

Hi Roy

Working on the optimist is fun.

I glued the boat including center bulkhead and mast thwart.

Now I will start with the inside gunnels to glue and epoxy the screw holes.

Have a nice day,


My thanks for the pictures and feed back on the kit from Basil


Friday, 18 December 2015

The Optimist builders guide from CKD Boats cc

The builders guide was developed as we built the first kit we made.  Finding that the plans are not really exactly correct we changed the first build as we found the mistakes. None of the changes are in the guide, the way we would like you to build our kit is.

These three sets of manuals will soon be packed with a three kit order and shipped to a sailing school in the USA with three of our Optimist kits 

The top set are the ten pages of plans, also four pages of the measurement rules.

The lower set is our fourteen page builders guide, it tells you and shows you what to do in the  next step .


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Hillman Imp bronze valve guides

Now made in South Africa and fitted with an oil control seal.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

In stock now, postage world wide, contact me for pricing.

The valve is an Imp Sport inlet valve, the guides will fit all Imp sized valves.


How to bleed a Perkins 4108 marine diesel engine ?

The owners manual gives a good account of the process and really that should be all you require?

Bleeding is the term used to remove air from the high pressure side of a diesel engines high pressure injection pipes, as with air in the system the diesel will not flow and the engine will not run.

The picture shows the engine and in the lower left hand corner is the diesel oil filter, start by opening the top fitting and pumping diesel through with the diesel pumps finger lever, when no air is seen you can close the vent plug off.

There is a catch though, the pictures shown in the manual are without the exhaust manifold and a mass of related pipes and fittings.

This spare Perkins 4108 engine has the exhaust manifold removed and for that reason the bleed screws or bolts are more accessable and easier to see.

The picture below shows the actual vents you need to open.

Look for the three spanners, which are two 5/16" and one 1/2" in size. In practice you will only require one of each size.

Click on the images to enlarge them.

The system should be vented by opening the lower bleed plug first, pump with the finger lever untill there is no sign of air, leave the plug open then move onto the top plug, vent that too until there is no air, leave that one open also.

Then open the nut to the fitting on the right, there will be a pipe exiting there, when no air escapes open the nuts at the base of the four injectors.

Next move the engine throttle control to fully open, with the key crank the engine until diesel comes out of the four injector pipes and with no air.

Then close all the open unions up and the engine is ready for starting.

The manual does not show you what the vent plugs look like when removed, this picture is the upper plug.

This upper fitting is actually a spring loaded piston valve, cracking off the lower 1/2 " nut did not achieve a result. After removal of this spare set of bleed bolts,  I could better understand why?

In practice you will only need to slacken the smaller top bolt to bleed the air out, the bottom one is the one lying loose, it goes into the top of the main fitting and then compresses the spring we can see.

You Do Not Remove The Entire Assembly!  as that was done so that I could better explain what is inside the unit.

Note, you may have to use a 7/16" spanner to hold the center nut in place as you loosen the upper plug with a 5/16" spanner, ring spanners are better than the open spanners for this work.

This is the lower vent plug, check the flat side, that allows the air to vent out when the plug is opened.

All of the above pictures were taken with a Canon G12 digital camera set to Auto.

The Perkins 4104 marine engine shown is due for a full rebuild in 2016, new liners, pistons, crank bearings etc, it has a brand new cylinder head, contact me for pricing.


The inside of a wood / epoxy composite yacht

The boat will be some sixteen years old next month, it was possibly the first yacht launched in the Cape Town area in the year 2000.

The design is a Dix 43, the first such yacht to be crafted in a wood / epoxy manner, as the picture shows even sixteen years on the application and finish is good.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

The veneers used were in a flexible sheet form in teak and white ash.

The yacht is for sale, contact me for a Word document with details of the boat.


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Dragon Boat class paddles

As with most sports equipment is closely controled and the Dragon Boat Racing class is no different.

We  ( means me) have made hundreds of such paddles, working with a genuine one sent in from Hong Kong and the measurements page.

Recently the last of the original Old Mutual sponsered  paddles have been spruced up and sold at a good price.

There are just two more left, they need some TLC and repairs but once fixed and primed coated in a twin pack paint they will be good to go again.

Any more would need to be made from scratch and at todays pricing.


What size should the Wood / Epoxy Optimist Mast Step be?

Try as I might and as yet I have not found those measurements.

Please check the picture.

The yellow drawing is one of about ten we will supply you with our fourteen page builders guide.

This plan shows the mast step details.

The so called unoficial builders guide supplied by the Optimist Asscociation, lists various sizes of meranti that the builder will require, we supply as per that list, excepting the mast step.

That is to be supplied as a meranti block 100mm x 60mm x 180mm from which your supposed to cut the mast step from?

That is a large chunk of wood and I doubt the average home builder will have a band saw large enough to deep cut down the 100mm size (4") ?

The other thing is that no where in the plans is the mast step size detailed, no dimensions at all on the actual meranti block itself.

We worked it out according to the other dimension rules and always supply a pre cut (laminated) mast step with each kit we sell.

There are three in the picture above as we are preparing a three kit set order for shipping to a sailing school in the USA.



British Seagull outboard restoration

This is as much a hobby as a paying event, mind you the work is very involved and having the old parts re machined and plated does take time and money.

These parts are from an engine around fifty seven years old now.

Just knowing where to take the parts is a story all on its own, the miles traveled are soon stacked up.

They will re assemble to look more or less like the engine in the picture below.

I have at least three more to do, one will be for sale.


Monday, 14 December 2015

Packing Optimist dinghy kits for America

I say kits as this is a three boat order and it is going to a sailing school in the USA.

The idea is ( a good one ) to have the kids build their own boats, then learn to sail on them when complete.

We are supplying the  plywood base kit, the meranti wood, builders jig ( for free ) epoxies and related consumables, North Sails and Harken deck gear.

With the exchange rate right now buying from South Africa has never been more attractive.

Contact me for pricing.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Hout Bay Harbour and a 1967 Hillman Imp Californian

The harbour and the HBYC marina and the boats on it really make for a fine back drop for this now hard to find Hillman Californian.

Click on the image to enlarge and see full size.

The car was part of the family for a decade and a half, then sold to make space, then bought back to set about the cars restoration I had never really done.

A 1971 Hillman Imp Deluxe was being restored, so this coupe had to wait its turn, the job is mainly done but still not complete.

Some nice rostyle steel wheel rims are at the engineers right now, will they be ready this year and for the annual December close I wonder?

This picture was taken about fifteen years back, check the rostyle wheel rims, they do look a lot nicer?


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Dix Design cruising boat for sale

This Dix 43 has been built as a cruiser, it is well fitted and carries most of the equipment we would expect to find on such a craft.

Launched in January 2000 she is now for sale at a fraction of the expected replacement cost.

Our friend Druma checking for the seals and sometimes a Sunfish.

This boat has great sails and you will have no need to buy more?
The canvas spray dodger has since been removed and one of the  hard dodgers has been fitted in its place.

Contact me for more details, the price and a Word document on the boat.


Friday, 4 December 2015

The TBA meets again

The TBA which stands for Traditional Boat Association was disbanded a few years back, the ex members still exist in the cape and now and again we meet up with each other.

Yesterday and on the yacht Flying Cloud, a wood epoxy built Dix 43 by Dix Design,
we were pleased to meet up with Tim and Rob and welcome them aboard.

Tim is in the dark shirt and Rob in the light shirt, its Rob who was a TBA member, we have not seen each other for over a decade.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Rob knew nothing about the TBA publication written and published by Colin Davies, I issued him one and received the standard R120  donation to Hout Bay's Station 8 NSRI (sea rescue) the TBA lives on it seems?

I have about five copies of the TBA book left, please contact me to arrange your copy with postage if you cannot collect?


I sent Rob the above pictures later that same day, his reply is below.

I am much impressed - TBA seems still alive, if not formally

Appropriately now incorporated as a fata morgana.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Basil builds his Optimist kit

This Optimist kit was flown out to Zurich, Switzerland about three weeks back, Basil has sorted the plans out and has got his shell part built already.

Each kit we supply has a fourteen page builders guide and fourteen more with the Optimist class plans and dimensions on them.

Hi Roy

I managed to figure out my questions, studying the plan. It was good advice from you!
Thank you for your patience.

From Basil.

Monday, 23 November 2015

How to build our Optimist dinghy kit

The weaker exchange rate of the Rand currency we use seems to be promoting new export sales?

We have recently shipped an Optimist kit out to Switzerland and only this week we received confirmation of a three boat Optimist kit set for a sailing school in the USA.

Building our Optimist kit?

The pictures will give you most of the information you need?

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.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

Table Mountain hiking

This was a good friend and not myself.

The view towards Hout Bay

He was up on Table Mountain just yesterday.

Looking the other direction, the view towards Camps Bay

Camps Bay and Lions Head peak.

For the first time in some ten years I spent yesterday hiking on Table Mountain. During my high-school years we used to do it quite often – usually camping out under the stars in sleeping bags and keeping warm around a fire. Sadly none of that is permitted today – probably just as well. Nevertheless, on the route we took yesterday, no evidence of litter or desecration of the natural vegetation was evident, and it seemed that the mountain remains well cared for by Cape Nature / Parks Board.

The route we took was from Kloof Nek along the pipe-track to the Diagonal Path above Camps Bay. This route is described as a “strenuous ramble” and ascends in a series of zig-zags steeply up to the rock face, then crosses the three Apostles’ buttresses of Porcupine, Jubille and Barrier, before making the final steep ascent up the well-vegetated Valken gorge onto the section of the plateau called “Valley of the Red Gods”. We swung left onto the path headed for the cable station. 

This traverses beautiful Ark and Echo valleys and steep buttresses at the heads of Blinkwater-, Grotto and Fountain ravines, where steel ladders are provided at the rock faces. The natural beauty up there is remarkable. The previous night’s good rainfall had resulted in us encountering many waterfalls, streams and generally dripping ferns and bushes. Lots of colourful natural plants were also in bloom including Protea and Watsonias. We descended by cableway.

My thanks to Rob for the pictures and words.