A reader, Phillip, wrote that he had come across this blog “as part of my quest to rid it (the Goukou River) of the madmen & their speedboats.” Phillip was refering to my post on sailing on the Goukou River. As I replied to him, I have been part of this quest/war since 1973 and we are still fighting!

Phillip also added in his email, “attached pic of dabchick sailing from 40 years ago and my kids learning the ropes Easter 2009.  Both pictures taken in the upper reaches of the tidal part of the river.” He has given permission for them to be posted here.

Dabchick goukou

Phillip, friends and bowdog enjoying a sail on a Dabchick 40 years ago!

This picture really brought back memories for me. In the 1970s I used to sail a dabchick at Stilbaai. It was almost identical to the one in the photo. Our sail number was 333, although my brother Adrian is not in agreement on this. He contends it may have been 330. A noticeable difference is the rudder, ours had a wooden stock. Note the extreme tranquility, the only sound probably the ripple of the dabbie’s wake.

Boys sailing

Phillip’s boys sailing the Goukou, Easter 2009.

And so 40 years later the fun continues and another generation learns the ropes. Lets hope that by the time they are teaching their children the madmen and their motorboats have been banned!

Thanks to Phillip for the great memories.


I was looking for something on Wylo, there is one moored next to Nolwandle, when I came upon this piece about building a Cascade 42. It is written by Don Holm and comes from his book on Circumnavigators. Clearly Mr Holm was very frustrated by Yacht Constructors aka Cascade Yachts. He praises them and criticises them at once. I wonder what the experience of other Cascade customers was?

I have placed the full quote in this post at the Nolwandle Tumblr, as it is a bit long to place here. Any comments? The text in the orignal is on The Circumnavigators website.


When I am not on Nolwandle, I stay in a flat (apartment) in Woodstock, Cape Town. Sometimes this is the view from my stoep looking ENE across Salt River, Ysterplaat, Century City and Plattekloof on the Tygerberg Hills, over which the full moon is rising. Click on the picture to see it in decent quality.

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.

Members of the Bunting family, especially Stephen, Peter and Margie;
Leaders of our revolutionary alliance;
Comrades and Friends

I speak on behalf of the ANC Cissy Gool branch, which was honoured to have cde Brian as a member for the past 16 years. Although cde Brian stayed in the adjoining ward – that of Gaby Shapiro branch – he insisted on being a member of our branch, because he felt more at home with our more working class membership from Salt River and Woodstock, than that from the more leafy parts of Rondebosch and Claremont!

Comrade Brian was a stalwart of our branch. He attended virtually every branch meeting over those 16 years. He was usually the first to arrive for the meeting, waiting patiently for the less disciplined to shuffle into Community House in Salt River. He would wait for us, sitting in the third or fourth row of chairs, neatly dressed in a tie, jacket and cloth cap.

Arriving at the meeting I knew that it was not enough to just greet him. I would have to be prepared to answer an insightful question about a national or local issue. It could be question about a decision of the ANC NEC or PEC, a controversy caused by a leader, or more often, what we should do about an eviction or strike. The question would always be accompanied by more questioning from his piercing, lively eyes and a smile.

In our branch meetings comrade Brian did not speak much and usually spoke quietly. But when he spoke everyone listened carefully. Not because he was Brian Bunting, in fact I think that many of our members did not know about his illustrious contribution to our revolution, but because of what he was saying. He had a old school journalist’s attention to detail. He would always conclude by asking what our action would be, how we should respond, not by talking about it, but by doing something practical about it.

In our meetings, if you listened only to the words that he used, you would never guess that this was a comrade who grew up in a family of pioneering Communists and had spent his whole life in the Communist Party. Cde Brian did not speak in revolutionary phrases. It was the content of what he was saying which was revolutionary, not just the words.

He had a special affection for the students in our branch and was always inviting them to engage with him on revolutionary ideas.

On behalf of the ANC Cissy Gool branch, we honour the memory of this true son of Africa, this revolutionary giant who gave his whole life to the liberation of our people. To the Bunting family who gave him to our struggle, we thank you for all the sacrifices you have had to endure as a result. We shall never forget his contribution. Hamba kahle qabane Brian Bunting, Qhawe lamaqhawe! (Go well comrade Brian Bunting, Hero of Heroes!)

We eventually took Nolwandle home on Saturday morning. It had been a long six weeks for her in Table Bay and Tabisa, Nolwandle and I were all missing Hout Bay.

Peter and Fay joined me for the trip home. We were planning on leaving Friday evening and enduring the rain and dark for the 20 nautical miles.

Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Green Point and its lighthouse emerge from the mist. The diagonal red stripes are very good at distinguishing it from the surrounding blocks of flats.

It was pouring with rain, but I had not reckoned with the fog. Peter and Manuel insisted that the mist was too thick, so we decided to spend the rest of the evening in the RCYC bar and leave in the morning. It was after a very enjoyable evening with the sailors of the Royal Cape, and a very tasty Portuguese Steak that we retired to sleep on Nolwandle.

Fay and Peter in the cockpit

Fay and Peter hide from Nolwandle.

We left at about 0830 – sunrise was at 0750 making it one of the shortest days of the year! There was a gentle 8 knot northwester blowing. We put up sail just before the breakwater and tacked across the channel to the buoy. We tacked again, now towards Green Point and made it to Sea Point on one tack, where the wind died. Actually I thought that at some point we would sail into some real fog, but it was not to be.

Off Sea Point it was on with the 22 horses and we motored till just round Duiker Point – about 3 hours later. Reviewing our progress on the chart, it was clear that we had a strong 2 knot current behind us, most of the way. This is normal in an northwester, when the usual Benguela current is conquered by the wind.

Fishing-vessel Fuchsia rushes past on her way home to Cape Town

As we approached what Cape Town’s sailors call Barker Rock – shown as South Lion’s Paw on the chart – a Taiwanese trawler came up close to us from straight astern. Later she over took us before turning West at the end of the traffic separation scheme off Duiker Point.

Taiwanese boat

Taiwanese trawler which harassed us off Camps Bay. Nolwandle strongly supports a One China policy!

After Oudekraal Fay took over the helm. It was her first trip on Nolwandle and she managed to overcome the tricky 3 metre swell and after an hour was steering very confidently.

Fay at the Helm

Fay on the tiller.

Peter took over as we passed the Oudeschip peninsula, using his NSRI experience to cut it close to the rocks.

Off Oudeschip

Submerged rock north-west of “Die Middelmas” (The Middle Mast), off Oudeschip (Old Ship). Note Llandudno, hide away of various dictators, in the background. Perhaps a Welsh sailor could tell us what Llandudno means?

Peter says that NSRI Station 8 regularly exercise in Maori Bay, the bay immediately to the north of Duiker Point, using the Boss 400 crane barge and the large granite boulders to practise evacuating patients and survivors. This is a very rough terrain ideal for their training. They have named some of the features of the area to help with their communications. In the picture below, the rock next to the Boss 400 is called Elephant Rock. They take a 10 metre rescue boat through the gap between the rock and Duiker Point. The water is deep – about 3 meters right next to the rock. Duiker Point is the western most point of the Cape Peninsula.

Boss 400 rock

Boss 400 crane barge, Elephant Rock and gap from the mainland through which a rescue boat can fit!

After Duiker Point we turned East and then it started raining. The wind came up and we let out the genoa and switched off the engine.

Vulcan rock roaring

Vulcan Rock roaring

Past Vulcan Rock there were two rowing boats poaching. Off Badtamboer, this literally means “Bath drum”, which may be a reference to the loud sound of the sea I guess, we switched on the iron horse and braved the speeding line of snoek boats to return to mooring 53, HBYC Marina.

View from Nolwandle’s deck – back on the marina.

It is good to be home!

Sunday afternoon aerobatics over Hout Bay.


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


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