Since early January I have noticed that “Nolwandle” has been taking in more and more water. When I first bought her, in April 2006, she had a dry bilge. In about October I noticed that the bilge was no longer completely dry. Since the middle of January she has been taking in about 5 buckets a week. This has added a moist atmosphere inside the cabin to the smell that emanated from the locker on the port side where the seacock from the heads is located.

On Barge
A boat without complications – no need to replace the seacocks! One Sunday in Hout Bay harbour March 2007

In January I also noticed that the floor boards seemed to be warping, and were definitely more difficult to lift up as they seemed to have extended a bit. Also some of the marine ply in the lockers, which was not coated all over seemed to be very moist.

I was sure that the large 40mm tapered plug seacock was leaking the most. But the 19mm inlet cock, which is in the bottom of the hanging locker on the starboard side opposite the heads was also damp, and probably also bleeding a bit.

Clearly something had to be done. She had to come out of the water soon.

Taking her out of the water would also give an opportunity to tackle some of the things that the surveyor had mentioned when I bought the boat – the cutlass bearing, the movement in the rudder. And there were a few other tasks I had identified – the most important probably being replacing the propeller, as I was not so happy with it during the survey and had experienced an decreasing power from the iron donkey as time had passed. Also I have wanted to fit a log, so that I could measure boatspeed and the presence of currents (by comparing a log reading with the GPS reading).

March is not the best time of the year for me to be doing this. Things are hectic at work, free time is minimal and getting less. In addition there is the difficulty of finding a place near Hout Bay to take her out at a reasonable price.

The latter was solved by deciding to use the Hout Bay Boatyard, who have had a travel lift for the last few months. They are expensive, but the “Nolwandle” will be safe there as they have good security. The other alternative in Hout Bay is to use the harbour slipway. This is very cheap, but there is no security and many stories of petty and more serious theft from boats, including whilst people are on the boat!

Steve and Renata were persuaded to give some time (hopefully not more than a week) from getting Dixi Rollar ready for her coming trip to Brazil. Steve is really a jack of all trades when it comes to boats, and always has good advice and knows what the right cure is and where to find it at a cheap price in Hout Bay, or greater Cape Town.

So I booked with the yard for a liftout on Friday 17th at 13:00 and made arrangements with work to take the afternoon off. I was a few minutes late and Steve was waiting for me, but we soon fired up the Yanmar diesel and took her round to the boatyard. There was about 20 knots of South East blowing and it was about half an hour before high tide. No problem with the water depth, but the wind was a potential problem.

When we got there Warren was waiting with some guys for us.

Warren and Steve

Steve and Warren chat as Nolwandle comes out of the water

First step he indicated was to turn the boat around and go in backwards. This worried me. “Nolwandle” can be a real bitch in astern. I have always thought this has to do with the fact that her spade rudder does not hang vertically, but at is angled at about 30 degrees. When she is in astern, the leading edge looks completely wrong. In retrospect I think that the reason for this problem was about to emerge out of the water. Anyway I was able to manoeuvre her in okay. This skill is from all the practise I had picked up from kreefing!

Waiting in bay

Then Warren took over – bringing the travel lift onto the berth, positioning the slings, lifting her up and positioning her on the cradle. What a scary sight – my other baby (from another mother Tabs?) hanging on two 50mm wide slings.

Warren on travel lift

Warren controlling the travel lift

She looked like a boat out of water – showing off more of her classic lines, but kind of with her panties down. We were suddenly looking things we were not meant to see.

Nolwandle just hanging


Nolwandle on straddle lift

First impression was that she had much more growth on the port side than the starboard side, in fact there was not much growth on the starboard side at all.

Two sides of growth

This was strange? Since she has been on her own mooring (since October I think) the port side is on the South side – ie the darker side. I would have thought the growth would be on the sunny side.
Port side growth
Otherwise at first glance she looked fine.

Warren explained to me that they would place her a cradle that was cut in half lengthways. Once she was correctly in place, he welded the cradle together, so that it fitted her beam exactly. To me this was a novel idea. Whilst they were busy, Karl, the owner of the boatyard came to introduce himself and ask if everything was okay? He apologised for not having one of his new cradles available for me to use, “unfortunately the boat owners always say they are going out today, but then something else comes up, so none are available”. Little did I know that within 36 hours I would be praising the “African time” of those using the new cradles.

After the cradle was sorted out, Warren sprayed her down with the high pressure hose and Steve remarked on the amount of red anti-fouling that also came off. Perhaps she had been coated in one of the fancy racing, self abrading paints?

Soon she was shining and drying out underneath, and that’s when the first shock came. The keel, which is cast iron, seemed still to be covered in an orange growth. Closer inspection revealed that the cathodic corrosion had seemed to penetrate through the anti-fouling to leave this orange deposit on the outside.

Keel Rust

Steve had also had serious corrosion problems on “Dixi Rollar” – she had developed many minute holes in her steel hull. Peter the marina manager had been on a campaign to find the “leak” in the electrical system on the marina, but so far had found nothing. Now it seems that “Nolwandle” is another victim.

Keel Rust close up

Steve set right to work removing the propeller. From the survey I knew that the two blader had seen better days. I had a photo from the survey which clearly showed that it was missing about 10mm all round, especially on the leading edge. It was much worse now– when banged with the hammer it started to chip and fall apart. There was also a 15mm crack from the outer edge of one blade towards the centre. Steve also suggested that it had also has a part welded on.

Next the hammer was used on the P-bracket. Under the anti-fouling, the bronze also showed weakening and corrosion. We took a decision there and then not to confine ourselves to replacing just the cutlass bearing, but the whole P-bracket. The bolts holding it on were very stiff – we managed to screw two out and had to use a hacksaw on the other two. This also entailed getting into the cockpit locker to see where they emerged – right under the 160 litre aluminium fuel tank. We had to be careful of not just knocking the remains of the bolts, once the heads had been sawn off, straight through the tank.

The we had a look at the rudder. As most of the blade dried it was clear that the rudder is full of water. We assume that it has a stainless steel stock, with a stainless frame and that most of it is foam covered in GRP. It seems to be leaking where the stock emerges from the blade. However there is not much we can do with about and it should not be much of a problem. The rudder sits in the water – so it is not extra weight and structurally there does not seem to be any problem.

Rudder bleeds


We have settled on the following tasks from the above problems:

  1. Replace the seacocks – out with the big “blake valves”, in with bronze ball valves. I am not entirely convinced that this is the best solution, but hopefully they will last two years, and they are cheap.

  2. Bigger hole through hull

  3. Leave the rudder as is. We were thinking about putting a nylon shim around the rudder stock to stop the little movement, but maybe not this time. Hopefully this is will not be something to regret in future. Thanks to Mark Balcom, another Cascade 36 owner whose boat is called Kaiulani, for telling me that there are no rudder bearings as such – the stock is completely enclosed by the shaft and they rub on each other. As I write this I must say that I am not completely convinced that this is the right path, and may change my mind soon.

  4. Replace the propeller and P-bracket and anode on the propeller shaft. Also the spacer and castle nut – all of which had signs of corrosion.

  5. Sand down the keel to the metal and coat it in a epoxy rubber compound, which will hopefully help protect the keel from further corrosion. There are a few holes in the keel-hull join which will also have to be filled with epoxy. We will put anti-fouling on top of the epoxy-rubber.Keel port bare

  6. Linked to this, and with the intention of stopping further corrosion problems, we will be fitting a largish anode mounted through the hull, just behind the rudder. We will link the keel, the through hull fittings, p-bracket and the engine to this. Hopefully this will help keep the ions under control. I was not keen with another hole in the hull, but with no quick solution to the electrical currents on the marina, this seems to be the correct way to go. I had orignally hoped to bolt the anode onto the keel, but Steve advises that it is not possible to weld onto the mild steel of the keel. Shame, from having only two holes, she is now going to have four – a 100 percent increase.

  7. Re-coat the small spot which had previously been treated for osmosis with epoxy. There are only two small parts which seem to have needed treatment. The rest of the hull is fine – not bad for 23 years in the water! The treated part was still coated, but had been covered by a find of epoxy filler and there was water between the filler and the treat part. A good coating of epoxy should seal this properly.Blister port close up

  8. Fit the impeller for the log. Another hole, but what can I do, especially with the possibility that George Bush may invade Iran (based I suppose on the theory that when you are in a deep hole the only way out is to dig even deeper – although my friend Tony does not agree that they are actually mad enough to do it) and the GPS system worldwide might just be switched off. There is rumour, or is it an urban legend, going around that when they invaded Iraq they switched the GPS off for a few hours in the hope that Saddam would not know where he was. Sadly it seems that it is George that has lost his way. Bush dad son
    If so then yachtsmen worldwide are another category of the victims of Bushes. But with my log I will at least know how far I have gone whilst Tehran gets bombed.

  9. Anti-foul the whole bottom. Even though the last lot seemed to work well, but more so on the one side, this time I am going with International copper based ship paint. It is far cheaper than anything else, but at R900 for five litres, is not cheap.

So that is about it and Steve is hard at work whilst I write this flying up and down to eGoli.

There was one other excitement – and why I am think full that my cradle was welded together. On Saturday, the day after we took her out of the water, there was a bit of a blow. I left at about 21:00 on Saturday night and it was blowing 30-40 knots – a true Hout Bay Easterly. At this stage “Nolwandle” was moving gently on the cradle.

On the cradle2

Later on I’m told the wind came up to above 60 knots. “Nexus” a Roberts 45 was on a cradle about 10 meters from me. The difference was that she was facing across the Easterly wind, whilst “Nolwandle” was facing more into it.

Nexus from Nolwandle

At about 06:00 Sunday morning her owner, who was sleeping on board, got up, was busy putting on his pants, when “Nexus” lifted up and then onto her side. She broke the cradle (one of the new clever types) and fell on her port side on top of a fishing boat – “Mustang”. Am I glad that I was not given one of those cradles?

Nexus toerail 3

When I got there at about lunch time she was a sorry sight. Mustang had sustained serious structural damage. Besides her starboard side, which “Nexus” landed on being smashed in, the stringers on the port side had pulled out of the hull walls from the force of the impact. It was heart breaking speaking to the owners who were there trying to clean up a bit when I arrived. “Mustang” was their livelihood and they were going to be missing the best part of the tuna season.

Nexus on Mustang

Surprisingly “Nexus” seemed to have sustained little damage. Her toerail had pull out for about tow metres and there was about a metre where the deck had come away from the hull. However there did not seem to be much cracking as far as I could see. Perhaps “Mustang” had cushioned her fall?

Nexus from afar


Nexus front