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Yesterday I got an email from Renata saying that they had arrived safely in Cabedelo, Brazil and would send more details of the trip later. Cabedelo is Renata’s home town, so I suppose she is catching up with family and friends whom she has not seen for the many years Hout Bay was her home. Congratulations guys!

Good memories – enjoying myself on Dixi Rollar’s bowsprit last year!

I helped Steve put the main sail up whilst she was still moored to the marina – it is a bit more work than on Nolwandle!

On Thursday morning at about 10am Dixi Rollar left Hout Bay bound for St Helena and Cabedelo, Brazil. It was a sad and happy departure. This was the fulfilment by Steve of his dream. After about 15 years in which he built her, left her, came back again and for the past four years or so has completely refitted her. Today he was able to sail away in his dream boat – Dixi Rollar. Together with his wife Renata, Liz (the former owner of Nolwandle) and Lize they will be spending the next few months on the South Atlantic.

Dixi Rollar was built in steel by Steve. The main mast is a pine tree chopped down at Rhodes Memorial, from a stand specially grown for ship masts.


Then they disappeared from sight. A few hours later we saw them as a small speck out to sea opposite Llandudno. We wish them fair winds from behind and a relaxing cruise to Brazil.


Yesterday I went to check that all was well with Nolwandle and came upon this scene at Number 4 Jetty, next to the entrance of the Hout Bay Yacht Club Marina. My friend Greg, a professional diver, has been replacing all the anchors and chains of the HBYC Marina. He asked the driver of a crane that was working on a nearby fishing boat, to lift two marina floats which have been filled with cement, into the water. This was the result…

“Sout Rivier”  stops the crane from falling in the water!

I am not sure how much they weigh filled with concrete but I guess more than 10 tons. Clearly too much for the crane to lift. Once they are in the water they are easy to move around with airbags.

Greg told me the owner of the crane, after assessing the damage, asked him, “Are you a loadmaster?”, to which he replied, “No, a diver!” Looks like that crane also wanted to take a dive.

The fishing boat is “FV Sout Rivier”, at least 50 years old, but with a new deckhouse, which has now cracked right through. “Sout Rivier” is used for pole fishing for tuna.

Nolwandle on her mooring at HBYC Marina. For some reason I like this picture – I think it is because of the chaos of the background.

On the 12th August my brother Adi, and his daughter Amy, all the way from Seattle, came sailing. There was a nice gentle Westerly in Hout Bay, which quickly faded as we sailed past Chapman’s Point. We wallowed around a bit and then returned under motor. Amy seemed to really enjoy herself. Unfortunately a planned sail for the next weekend had to be canceled when my father had a stroke. Here are some pictures of Adi and Amy enjoying themselves.

Max Amy Adi Chris 2
Max, Adi and Chris (a hidden Amy holding the GPS!)

Last time I went sailing with Adi was on my Uncle Julian’s First 35 Wizard of Oz in about 1992 I think. Here he is enjoying helming.

Amy Adi Helming
Amy on winch, Adi on helm!

Amy really seemed to have a ball and it was a pity that Tabisa did not come with as she really enjoyed being with Amy.

Amy on deck
Amy on Deck

Then I realised that in most of the photos of the day Adi was holding onto his ear. I hope it helps him hear that he should COME BACK HOME!

Adi ear
Good coffee helps your hearing!

Max boom
Skipper holds the boom up in light air.

On the 22 September, Peter, Shannon, Yousuf and myself went for a great sail. Actually Peter and myself really enjoyed the sail. Yousuf, who was fasting because it was during Ramadaan, definitely did not. He was very seasick, but dealt with it stoicly. Shannon was a bit sick as well. The sailing was great, a nice 10-20 knot North Westerly, which gusted a bit when we were off Vulcan Rock, and a big 5-6 meter swell.

Poaching in 6 meter swell off Vulcan Rock, note the buoy to the right of the boat, looking for a keel to wrap around!

Whilst we were off Vulcan we came upon two boats poaching kreef, also known as rock lobster. This is in the middle of the Karbonkelberg Marine Protected Area (MPA) Restricted Zone and is also part of the Table Bay Closed Area in which “no rock lobster may be caught between Melkbos Point (beacon MB1) and Die Josie (near Chapman’s Peak – beacon MB2), extending 12 nautical miles seawards from the high-water mark.”

The one boat was a rowing boat and the other had a small outboard. What was amazing was that this was happening in clear day light, about 1 mile from the shore. What pissed me off was that they had set long lines with tiny buoys which were very difficult to see. I was going to be very pissed off if one got caught on Nolwandle’s rudder!

Poaching sentinal

Poaching off Karbonkelberg, near Hout Bay is very dangerous. The boats are launched from the beach behind Duiker Island, often through big breakers. Just off this beach is the famous Dungeons surf break, where the Red Bull Big Wave Action takes place. One of the biggest waves ridden world wide in 2006 was ridden here! This is a picture of a 55 foot wave at Dungeons!!

BWA Jamie

These poachers take their boats out through this surf, often with disastrous results. Earlier this year at least one poacher was drowned off this spot and there are rumours that at least two others have drowned this year, but their deaths were not reported as they were poaching. Of course most of the time the poachers are not wearing life-jackets as in these photos, often are drunk or stoned (Norman told me he saw a poacher make a white pipe – mandrax mixed with dagga – in a boat at the same spot last week!) and their boats mostly leak. We saw water being bailed from this boat whilst taking these photos. This is dangerous stuff! If it were a sport it would be an adventure sport.

Poaching neck

I am very glad that the NSRI has been giving life-jackets to poachers. This might seem like encouraging poaching to some, but think about it – the sentence for poaching is not death and most poachers (but not all) are driven to this dangerous activity by poverty. I say more life-jackets to them and more and better policing.

This is the official report on the capsize of Contradiction in April 2005. Soon I will post my own reflections on what happened, although I agree with James’ conclusions and thank him for his kind words. I hope that other sailors will learn from this report – keep your hatches closed and have you flares in a capsize bottle in or near the cockpit. If your boat has a lifting keel make sure it is locked down!

This document is posted on the SA Sailing website here.

BWA fall
This photo was taken less than a mile from where the capsize took place! From the 2006 Big Wave Action held at Dungeons.

Findings of the official enquiry conducted on behalf of SAS by James Beaumont following the capsize and subsequent rescue of the sailing vessel “Contradiction” in Hout Bay on Saturday the 2nd of April 2005.

Summary of events:
On Saturday morning Contradiction, a 24 foot Lavranos day sailor, left the Hout Bay marina with two crew and the skipper, Max Ozinsky. The wind was blowing South East at about 20 knots and gusting to about 25 knots there was a light wind chop on the sea surface and very little swell in the bay. The water temperature was about 14º C. The yacht sailed out of the marina with two reefs in the main sail and a storm jib.

The yacht sailed to windward out of the bay and closer to the windward shore in order to avoid the lee shore on the opposite side. This brought the yacht close to Chapman’s peak where there is a pronounced, amplified “gust” tunnel.

The yacht was then hit by a very strong gust and broached. As the yacht went past 90º the retractable keel was pulled back into the keel box by the resultant gravity from the angel of heel going past 90º. This effectively nullified the ballast required to keep the yacht upright and, in fact, exacerbated the heel to the point where righting the yacht was impossible. The cockpit was flooded immediately. The companion way hatch was open and the wash boards were not in place which resulted in a substantial ingress of water into the body of the hull. It was not long before the yacht lay partially submerged, on her side, with the companion way fully submerged. The yacht remained afloat as a result of a small airtight chamber in the bow and an air bubble in the hull along the length of the side above the water.

Errol & Eddie
The crew Errol and Eddie kreefing on another occasion

The crew, who were all wearing life jackets, clung to the top of the hull to remain out of the water. The capsize bottle was not in the cockpit but down below in the cabin, which was now submerged. The skipper made several attempts to dive into the hull to retrieve the capsize bottle but was unsuccessful. The skipper was carrying a VHF radio but it failed to operate after being submerged.The alarm was raised by a tour bus operator from Chapmans Peak and a successful rescue of the crew and subsequent recovery of the yacht was conducted by the NSRI who are too be commended on a extremely well executed operation. Details of this are available from the NSRI.

The yacht was towed to the Hout Bay North Mole where it was righted and subsequently sunk completely apart from a small section of the bow (which was kept afloat by the airtight chamber) and the mast.

Having observed events from a high point up to that stage I then went down to the yacht and arranged for a crane and diver to recover the yacht. The yacht was subsequently re-floated and pumped dry. During this operation I interviewed the skipper.

Once the yacht had re-floated I inspected the vessel thoroughly.
Contradiction capsize
Contradiction on her side after being towed back to Hout Bay harbour by NSRI Station 8. Thanks again guys, we owe you big, big time!

Findings of Investigation:
The skipper:
The skipper is a very experience keel boat sailor and holds a SAS day skipper ticket (No. 1882). The skipper was fit and healthy on the day.

The conditions:
The conditions were such that only an experienced skipper, with experience of the bay, in a well founded vessel should have ventured out. I have seen the skipper venture out in these conditions before and he has handled his yacht well. I believe that as a skipper he was competent to handle the conditions on the day.

The sail configuration:
The sail configuration was congruent with the prevailing conditions.

The vessel:
I found the vessel to be very well equipped and maintained as well as having brand new suit of sails and a new outboard engine with sufficient power to drive the vessel in the conditions on the day. The skipper displayed a very good knowledge of his yacht.
Given the absence of sufficient built in buoyancy and the design of the lifting keel it is a matter of debate as to whether the yacht was sufficiently well founded for these conditions. With the benefit of hindsight and in the light of what happened, it is my opinion that the yacht is not suited to the conditions such as they were on that day.

Safety Equipment:
The yacht had all of the safety equipment required (and more) and everything was in good order and in date.

Certificate of Fitness:
The vessel’s CoF was issued in April last year and the skipper had already contacted the HBYC to arrange a new one. Analysis of the capsize:
Firstly one should note that most skippers sailing in Hout Bay have experienced broaches in the same area in question. It is a common event and not something to be alarmed about in its self. The capsize can be attributed entirely to the fact that the retractable keel retracted and in doing so rendered the yacht completely unstable and unable to operate within her design parameters. Had the keel not retracted I have very little doubt that the vessel would have righted and all would have been well. The fact that the companion way hatch was open and the wash boards not in place definitely contributed to the rapid partial submersion of the boat. Had this not been the case it might have been possible to enter the cabin to attempt to redeploy the keel before the hull became flooded, but I have my doubts. Had the cabin been closed however the yacht would not have flooded causing the yacht to submerge nearly as fast as it had.

More importantly, the fact that the safety bottle was stowed bellow decks made it impossible to raise the alarm given that the VHF radio had failed. One can assume that had the rescue not taken place in such a short space of time then the skipper would have, in all likelihood, made renewed attempts to retrieve the bottle, but one can not assume that he would have been successful.

Contra on mooring
Contradiction on her mooring about 5 months before that day

Summary of the findings:
Firstly it should be noted that, given the facts that the radio was not working, the flares and ID sheet were inaccessible and the cold temperature of the water, the situation was potentially fatal (and I make this statement based on my own experience with the NSRI). Had the vessel been slightly further out to sea or had not been spotted so quickly the outcome could have been tragic and therefore this matter can not be taken lightly.
The cause of the capsize:
The capsize and subsequent partial submersion would not, in all likelihood, have taken place had the keel not retracted. I therefore attribute the cause of the capsize to be that fact that the keel was not locked in place. It should also be noted that the yacht does not have a facility to lock the keel in place.

The actions of the skipper:
The skipper, although qualified and experienced, failed in two areas:

  • Failing to close the companionway hatch and secure the wash boards.
  • Failing to bring the capsize bottle with emergency equipment into the cockpit.

It is pleasing to note that the crew were wearing life jackets. (Something I rarely see).

In terms of complying with the regulations I have found no transgressions.
Kreefing
Kreefing off Kommetjie on Contradiction – Gorrie, Max, Errol and Eddie.

Conclusion:
Apart from the renewed evidence to substantiate the importance of safety equipment and the correct usage and stowage thereof one very import fact has emerged from this:It is absolutely critical that retracting keels can be locked in place and I am of the opinion that this should be made a standard requirement for the CoF for such vessels. I think that it is critical that all safety officers are made aware of this and the potential result of the absence of a keel lock.

In closing I would like to thank Max Ozinsky who, in spite of his ordeal, was humble, pleasant and extremely helpful throughout this investigation. Not traits yachtsmen are known for!

James Beaumont
SAS Safety Officer
06 April 2005
SAS Offshore Committee Comment and Recommendations.

The SAS Offshore Committee has reviewed the reports regarding the capsize of the L24 at Hout Bay and has the following comments / recommendations.

  • The yacht had the requisite valid Certificate of Fitness and the skipper was suitably qualified to handle the conditions experienced.
  • It is recommended that vessels with lifting keels of the L24 type are equipped with a mechanical means of locking the keel in whatever position is selected. SAS will include inspection for such devices in it’s Safety Checklist and the absence of such a devise will be regarded as a “no go” item.
  • It is recommended that in sea conditions where the vessel is taking water into the cockpit the companion hatch is closed and companionway washboards are fitted.
  • It is impractical to carry the “capsize bottle” in the cockpit of a small yacht but consideration should be given in this type of vessel to carrying a pencil flare pack that is small, waterproof and is easily attached to a point in the cockpit.

There are a few small mistakes in this report – “Contradiction” is a Lavranos 20, not 24. The radio was working when we left the harbour – we know because we did a radio check with Cape Town Radio, but despite being supposedly waterproof it did not survive 30 seconds and less than 50cm in the sea – bad one Icom! The hatch was closed, but the washboard was not in place.

I will write more in a post giving my views of what happened soon.

On Saturday night we had supper with Nicky and Peter, who are now temporary landlubbers as they have sold Tanihwa. They announced that they have placed the order to build their new boat. This is very exciting, even if it is a motorboat. But it seems to be a very special motorboat. Light displacement and very fuel efficient for long distance cruising this is going to be a very interesting boat. And Nicky has already promised a big party for her launch next year! Have a look at her blog at http://www.passagemakerlite.blogspot.com/

This Easter Friday there was a real storm in Hout Bay. A vicious Easterly wind came up in the morning and by the late afternoon it was a gale of about 60 knots. Later that evening it was blowing above 70 knots. About 0300 Saturday morning, the wind suddenly dropped, as it usually does. This finally allowed us to get some sleep and we woke up late on Saturday morning to a dead calm.
HBYC Storm
HBYC Marina during the storm. The large alluminium yacht in the centre is Tanihwa (pic taken about 1900)

The Easterly is feared in Hout Bay. Whilst its was very windy across the whole South Western Cape due to the South Atlantic High pressure moving South East of Cape Point, the Easterly is locally much stronger in Hout Bay, due to the location of the mountains around the bay. In addition the Hout Bay harbour mouth opens directly to the East, so a large chop also enters into the harbour in an Easterly gale.
Bressay Spray
Spray breaks over the North Mole

These conditions usually only occur about three times a year, but they can cause devastation in the harbour. Amongst the damage in the past have been the HBYC marina coming apart (as occurred in 2005), and boats coming loose and then banging into the marina resulting in them being holed. On Friday luckily only one boat – Sacred Spirit, a Leopard 42 cat – was slightly damaged, by banging into a marina finger.

Luckily Nolwandle’s mooring on the marina is close to the North Mole and is well protected from the harbour entrance.
Nolwandle in storm
Nolwandle straining at her mooring during the storm

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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