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Having moved to suburbia from an apartment in the inner city, I have been surprised by the diversity of the wild life in Newlands. Birds and bugs of all kinds abound. A falcon recently flew within a metre of where I was sitting, chasing a small bird!

But suburbia also has it’s demands – like it’s electric fences. Two of my neighbours have them, and when they are shorted by something touching them, they cause a lot of RFI (radio frequency interference), especially on the HF frequencies.

Many things can get the electric fences shorting. When shorted they make a regular ticking noise on the radio and sometimes you can hear and see it outside as a bright spark and a loud crack every second or so. Very irritating and surprisingly loud at night.

These are radio transmissions. The owners of the fences don’t have licenses to transmit on these radio frequencies, so their transmissions are illegal!

As I don’t want to get into a legal fight with the neighbours, I take it upon myself to regularly ensure that nothing touches the fences, to reduce the shorting.

Electrified gecko, just the perfect length to short two wires of the electric fence.

The biggest cause of the fences shorting seems to be geckos, small lizards which eat insects and which I encourage around the house. On average I find two dead geckos a night, sometimes more.

That is a lot of geckos dying – it  seems like the great garden gecko massacre to me!

The geckos are usually severely burnt where they touch the wires, but I presume they die of the electric shock.


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.


Not to be outdone by Phillip, Adi sent this photo of him sailing Extra 628 with our father, opposite our house at Stilbaai. The road bridge over the Goukou is straight in front.

I spent alot of time on that Extra. It is an outstanding dinghy, designed by Herbert McWilliams for the Cape Southeaster, she is an incredibly seaworthy boat. She can be sailed one or two up. Originally designed for plywood construction, this one was built in GRP, which made her slightly heavier than a racing version. I sailed this boat all over Stilbaai, in the river, the mouth and the sea. With both a main and a jib, she is a bit of handful for singlehanding, but very rewarding if you get it right.

I think that I took this photo from a rowing boat – I would like to blame the poor contrast on the scanning, but must admit that I was a general problem that I had with the camera I was using at the time.

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.

I just could not resist posting this beautiful picture of Cascade 36 “Rain Drop” near Hanalei Bay on Kauai Island, finishing and winning the Pacific Cup race.

Picture from an interesting and comprehensive report with more photos in Electronic Latitude.

Amazing, but true, a Cascade 36 called “Rain Drop” has won the Pacific Cup yacht race from San Francisco to Hawaii. She was sailed two up and was first over the line and seems to be the winner on handicap as well! She was sailed in the two-handed division.

“Rain Drop” leaving San Franscisco for Hawaii – 14 July 2008

She is hull number 33 with a racing keel (I am not sure what that means) and an extra three feet on the mast. She was specially built in 1970 with a balsa cored deck and a bowsprit. She seems to have been set up specifically for racing as seen in the above picture. There are more pictures on this website.

She also has a scoop added to the stern, pic taken at start of Pacific Cup

“Rain Drop” after her arrival in Hawaii 26 July 2008

Clearly a well designed “old” boat, sailed well, can beat modern racers – see for instance this picture taken at the start in San Fransico where “Rain Drop” is pointing much higher and seems to be going faster than a more modern design!

Rain Drop out pointing and overtaking a modern design with a wide arse!

There is also a report on this stunning victory by a Cascade 36 in Lectronic Latitude with a beautiful picture of “Rain Drop” under spinnaker.

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.

Nolwandle’s engine is lifted by a crane to be re-installed after being reconditioned. Those who know the Elliot Basin will note Manuel Mendes’ innovative placing of Nolwandle so that the crane could access her. Photo by Peter, using his cell phone – quite impressive resolution for a phone – a Nokia E61i I think.

Boats and Boxes in the Elliot Basin

These are photos of the engine running after being reinstalled. Also note the better quality of these photos which were taken with my new Olympus FE-310 camera. The photos in the last post we taken on my HTC Tytan phone – 8mp vs 2mp. The engine is a Yanmar 2QM20H, 25 years old but running perfectly. The next step is to take Nolwandle home to Hout Bay.

The front of the engine whilst running. Note the new fuel pump – the shiny gold thing to the left – the pipe attachments on the last one started leaking. Clearly visable is the attachment point for the hand crank and the chain which drives the crankshaft.

The new heat exchanger from the side and the fuel pump and secondary filter. The finger lift pump is partially obscured by the pipe from the water pump to the heat exchanger. The finger lift pump is not working, so I fitted the electric fuel pump to assist with bleeding the engine – without it I cannot get the diesel to flow to the furthest away injector.

Top of the Engine

The engine from the top showing the bleed points on the secondary fuel filter, and just before the two injectors to the right of the oil caps.

Nolwandle has been in the Elliot Basin, also known as the Layup Basin, for the past month or so. Manuel took the engine out. The engine has been out and been reconditioned by Southern Marine. It is a Yanmar 2QM20H. Clive and company have done wonders as can be seen by these pictures. The engine will be mounted back in Nolwandle next week on brand new mounts. Manuel is also adding insulation to the engine box, so hopefully she will be quiet and smooth. Click on the pictures to see more details and close-up photos.


Click on a image to see it in good quality. All images are copyrighted unless stated.


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