It was a bit of rush to put Nolwandle back in the water. I had told the boatyard that I hoped to have her back within a week, but a few things took longer. After 10 days Warren phoned to ask if she could go back on the Thursday, as that Friday they wanted to get two cranes into the yard to lift Nexus (see photos below) back onto her cradle, and it would be good if Nolwandle could be out of the way.

So I had to put a bit of pressure on all involved to get everything done in time. Manuel managed to get the P bracket done in time. Steve was all ready having put the epoxy on the keel, the anti-fouling and fitted the anodes, new through hull fittings and the impeller for the log.
Keel done holes
The keel anti-fouled – note the small holes in the cast iron probably caused by corrosion!

Through hull
The large toilet outlet

Anodes
The new anodes to combat corrosion. P bracket and propeller still to be fitted

All that remained was the propeller.

I had contacted an expert about which propeller to fit. He entered a whole lot of data about the boat and engine in a computer and said it should be three bladed 13 inch diameter with a pitch of 9. This would be R3700. Steve however told me that he had seen a whole lot of props at a factory in Parow. So off I went to Unmet. They had about 20 three blade propellers – all 15 inch with a pitch of 13. However they only wanted R2000.

This was confusing, what should I do?

A check on the internet and a few books warned about an over pitched propeller putting undue strain on the engine, which I would notice by the black smoke coming out of the exhaust. On the other hand the expert said that the 13×9 would only give 5 knots, at maximum revs.

Steve convinced me to go for the cheap one. And he was right. When we put her in the water we went for a little spin and she was doing 6.9 knots at full power, with no black smoke. Clearly this was a case of experience beating the expert!

However on Thursday afternoon I had to really put pressure on Terry to ensure that he turned the propeller to fit the taper of the shaft. I enjoyed watching Terry in his highly skilled work of turning bits of the propeller into bronze shavings. Even after R650 for that, we were saving more than R1000 on the propeller!

Prop and rudder

So we were ready to put her in. Warren consented that we could hang her from the travel lift overnight so that we could put the epoxy tar (carborundum) on the bottom of the keel, where the boat had been standing whilst on the cradle, as long as she was in the water by 0830 Friday morning. The two cranes for Nexus were due to arrive at 1000.

I arrived at the boatyard at 0645 the next morning, after attending the HBYC AGM the night before. Warren was there moving ski-boats about. I went to wake up Steve and just before 0800 we had Nolwandle on the travel lift hanging above the water.

I looked down where she was to go and asked Warren, “Is there enough water?”

“Yes,” he said, “ there is a minimum of 1.9 meters” and you only draw 1.6”.

It did not look right to me. I had taken the 1.6 draft from the Cascade website, but the day before I had been screwing the bolts for the p-bracket whilst Warren lifted her up and had really struggled to reach them. I am 1.8 meters tall, so I was wondering about the figure for the draft.

Warren slowly let her down into the water, she heeled over a little and it was clear that she needed about 4cm more water. Then I asked what time was low tide as I had forgotten to check myself – something I will never do again.

“0801” was Warren’s exact answer as he went to get his piece of bamboo to measure the depth. We were spot on low tide. The pole showed that there was 1.9 meters of water.

So we had to wait. And wait. And wait The tide moves slowest just after low tide and it really was slow. After an hour it had moved 2cm. At 0950 she was finally afloat and then went aground again as I moved further into the harbour. A few minutes later she was really afloat as the cranes turned into the boatyard.

Oh the wonder of a boat that does not leak. Not a drop at all. A quick turn in the bay to check the prop and then a rush to get her back onto the marina, and off to work for a meeting in Worcester. Back that night for our first braai in two weeks (Tabisa was getting withdrawal symptoms) and a weekend of cleaning and enjoying being on the water.

Tuesday we wired up the electric blige pump, installed the manual bilge pump and connected all the through the hull fittings to anodes.

All in all a very productive two weeks and a happy dry boat as a result. Thanks to all who helped.

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