Friday, March 25, 2011

2011 AGM

Many thanks to all members who made the special effort to attend the club AGM last night. It is a vital element of the clubs processes and constitution - we can't go forward without it! Special thanks to those who drove over the mountain to attend as well.

The meeting was short and sweet - all existing incumbents on the committee will serve another year. The books and minutes were all accepted, proposed and seconded, and  a few good questions came forward. We are fortunate to announce that Alan Batley has been appointed as the "Club Services Manager" in charge of the running of the Marina (as before), but now also of the systems and infrastructure of the clubhouse. The organisation beneath Alan has been reshaped accordingly. This is a very welcome move in respect of the club organisation, as Alan has many years of professional management experience, and has served on our committee as Commodore and Treasurer on several occasions.

It was announced that the Club has been given a substantial grant from the SA Lotto funds to establish and promote an active development sailing programme. Much detail still to be clarified. This is thanks to the joint efforts of Jeremy Nel and Keith Coleman! Watch that space.

Commodore rang the bell upstairs and we had a very pleasant evening of it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Commodores Call-box

Spotted this great example of an oldish Sailor VHF in Chris's office yesterday. Its a "Sailor" VHF Radio Telephone. It reminds me of old war movies and the ICASA course notes . . .  In fact its a fully featured marine VHF, with a dual-watch function, manual squelch, and low-power option of 1W (normally the usual 25W). The round channel indicator wheel obviously predates LCD displays - certainly it won't suffer humidity like the modern LCDs. The sound is clear as a bell, and I can also say it sends a great signal as I often used to hear Chris advising the endless string of shipping to use the right channel when trying to contact port control. Note also the "telephone" handset, which is far nicer than a microphone when transmitting. These sets were manufactured in Denmark between 1975 and 1985 approx - they weigh a whopping 9 Kgs!

Another interesting race!

The North-Wester produces some of the ebst sailing conditions Hout bay has to offer, last night was a good example. Slightly cool, *flat" water, 12-15 knots of wind. Due to limited daylight hours, the race officers set a fairly short course around the three inner marks, allowing 45 minutes of brisk racing. Start was at Fish on the Rocks, a beat up to Dunes, and then on to Ore Jetty for two triangles.

Quest and Megafreight jumped the start line and were duly recalled, costing them dearly and they went on to finish 5th and 4th respectively. Faraway sailed a cracking race, only to be outdone by Nandi (even more cracking and second over the line), while it was the veteran Shosholoza, sailed by Pat West with a junior crew, who took 1st place on handicap. They seemed to get faster and faster during the race . . .

Final results:
1 Shosholoza
2 Nandi
3 Faraway
4 Megafreight
5 Quest

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Farway wins again!

Faraway, after a cracking start, was the only finisher, in a fleet that included Megafreight, Savannah, and 2 pacers. Conditions up near the Chappies mark were quite horrendous, while there was hardly a breath near the beach and the club. One by one the fleet retired due to the strong winds, which Faraway just seemed to love! The bottle of wine went home with Mark if anyone wants to know!

Meanwile, the bridge was hard at work on the club deck, looking as officious as ever. Chief bridge officer is the man with the red shirt on the right, having a quick energy supplement (we''ll call him Jeremy for now), while the race observers can be seen at the far corner, complete with radio station. Backup teams are patiently seated around the tables.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ride the BEAST again!

Its that time of the year again when our closet motorcyclists let their hair down! Ride the BEAST!
SUNDAY 3rd APRIL - Diarise now and add your name to the list on the club noticeboard now!
Details to follow!
PS – Cars also welcome!

Wed night sailing results

Last nights results! Well done to those who turned out - I think it must have been quite fresh. Nice win for Faraway!

Faraway No 3 Chris Sutton 1.120 1 09-Mar-11 19:01:28 1.000 3795
Pacer One Rian D Turner 1.080 2 09-Mar-11 19:03:40 2.000 3802
Savannah Keith Gemmell 0.910 3 09-Mar-11 19:16:32 3.000 3906
Shosholoza Pat West 0.925 4 09-Mar-11 19:18:03 4.000 4054
Nandi Nick Fairley 1.005 5 09-Mar-11 19:14:54 5.000 4215
Aquamania Dudley Turner 1.000 6 09-Mar-11 19:16:06 6.000 4266

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ham Radio, Maritime Rescue, Spraydust, Tom Morgan

This story relates to the role of radio hams in maritime events, in this case it was Tom Morgan in trouble near Tristan. Event is recounted in the words of Graham Griggs, who recently took over the lead of SA Maritime Net from Allistair.
Yacht crew rescued. Spraydust

I first heard from Tom and Sue Morgan by email about 6 months ago when Tom sent me an email informing me that they would be sailing from Salvador Brazil to Cape Town with one crew member Chris Cadwell and that I should listern out for them.
At that stage I asked them to email me all their information in regard the their yacht “Spray dust”, crew etc, which they did, never thinking that I would need it.
Our first ham radio contact was on the 3 February 2011 at 13:40 SAST at that time they were at 16South and 36West just to the South East of Salvador.
I then kept daily contact with them getting their position and weather conditions and giving them a 4-day wind forecast. All went well until the 22nd February when Tom told me that they had a broken fore stay and asked it I could phone Associated Rigging in Cape Town and ask them a whole list of questions which he gave me. I asked Tom to stand by on frequency while I phoned them. To cut a long story short and after many phone calls back and forth to Tom and the riggers Tom had all the answers he needed. The problem was that they would have to go up the mast to effect the necessary repairs and due to the fact that they were in very strong wind and 4-5m sea swells this was not going to be possible. I told Tom that the winds were going to go up to gail force within the next 8 to 10 hours and that it would remain strong for the next 4 days. Tom at this stage was still hopeful and in good spirits. On the morning of 24 February I received an email from Andy the Chief Radio Officer on Tristan da Cunha Island informing me that Tom “Spraydust” had requested assistance from him and that they required a rescue. When I called Tom at our usual time 13:40 SAST Tom confirmed that they were needing an urgent rescue as the mast with out the fore stay was under severe stress and they feared it may break. I asked Tom to stand by on frequency whilst I phoned the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to find out if they had received the request. Mark at MRCC told me that he had received it from Andy on Tristan and that he had sent a request to the Brazilian MRCC who in turn had sent it on to the Argentina military for action but they had passed it on to Uruguay Military as Tom was in their area of responsibility. Mark had not heard anything else. I gave Mark all the yachts information required to pass on.
I called Tom and told him the status quo. And also give him an update on the weather, it did not look good. I arranged to call him again at 14:30 to give him an update.
I contacted MRCC and told them when I would next call Tom and asked them to ask the Uruguay Military to call at the same time on our ham radio frequency so they could talk to Tom them selves. When I called to at 14:30 I told him that I had requested the Uruguay Military to come up on our frequency we both called but heard nothing. I took Tom’s Position and weather and arranged to call him again at 20:30 SAST. I emailed Tom position to the MRCC and again asked them to ask the Uruguay Military to come on frequency at 20:30 SAST or 18:30 UTC.
When I called Tom at 20:30 he sounded very tired, we called for the Uruguay Military and back they came. I stayed in the background while Tom talked to them and explained his problem, they asked him to come back on frequency I 1 hours time. That would be at 21:30 SAST. I told Tom that I would also listen in at that time. When the Uruguay military called him at 21:30 I was on frequency and could hear Tom giving them his position and weather and arranging further contacts. After Tom had ended his conversation with them I call him and arranged to call him again at 10:30 SAST the next day. Later that night I got an email from the MRCC informing me that Tom had drifted back in to Brazilian waters and that a ship Jag Lakshita is sailing from their position to rescue the Spray dust crew. When I called Tom at 10:30 SAST I got no reply. Then I got news from Andy on Tristan that the Ship Jag Lakshita had picked the crew from Spraydust and they were well. This was later confirmed by the MRCC. Jag Lakshita is an oil tanker and is now headed for West Africa. I await further news. Thanks Andy ZD9BV Tristan and all for their help. Yet another successful rescue by HAM RADIO and Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC Cape Town)

Graham Griggs, ZS2ABK, South African Maritime Mobile Net.
Brigette is Toms daughter in the UK. Message from Tom & Sue Via Brigette's e-mail home e-mail:

Hi All, We will arrive in Africa in about a week. However, not the way we planned. The main forestay broke at the stemhead and the furling gear broke up. So, we were unable to bring the sail down. After several days, and attempts to bring down the sail, I came to the conclusion that we were doomed to sail downwind and never land, just like the Flying Dutchman! The other problem was the mast was moving and liable to fall down at any time. SO a rescue was initiated throuh the SA Maritime Mobile Net. The MRCC system took over and we were picked up very shortly by the tanker Jag Lakshita. They are treating us wonderfully.

We are well but sad to abandon sucha big part of our lives, and Tom had a whole radio station on board. We will have to start up again (number for the bank etc. all lost in the transfer). Will be in touch as soon as we get back to civilization.
Brgs Sue and Tom

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wed Sailing Results

Regrettably I don't have any pics for this race - there was quite enough action to see! A moderate South Easter was forecast, and in fact was quite light near the beach. The race officers nominated a course around all the four marks in the bay, which would take us up to Chapmans Peak, which has some nice long stretches on the way. Nine boats turned up for the race, including a new entry "Merry Waters" (Tosca 36), and set off in light conditions across the line at Dunes. By Fish on the Rocks the wind was a steady 15 knots, and soon after increased to 25+. Some of the smaller boats were clearly overpowered, with the Pacer Aquamaniac heading off into the sunset at about 10 knots sideways! Quest, my Flamenca, furled the jib to just a small piece, and battled to get around the Chappies mark after much difficult tacking near the mark. Faraway (Farr 38/40), broke each of her jib-sheets as I understand, costing her quite some time. Nandi coped reasonably well in the strong winds but clearly had some work to do as well. Before round two, Quest retired with a damaged genoa, Merry Waters and Savannah retired being out of time, and Aquamaniac retired after a severe mauling in the catabatics under Chapmans Peak. Shosholoza soldiered on and finished honourably, with no notable trauma, as did "Pacer 1" fresh from her win of the Mykonos Race.

It was Megafreight, conservatively sailed, who coped best and went on to take the overall lead, not unusually!

Overall results:
Megafreight No 3 Jendo Ocenasek 1.080 1 02-Mar-11 19:12:17 1.000 4360

Faraway No 3 Chris Sutton 1.120 2 02-Mar-11 19:14:23 2.000 4663
Pacer One Rian D Turner 1.080 3 02-Mar-11 19:33:47 3.000 5753
Shosholoza Pat West 0.925 4 02-Mar-11 19:53:01 4.000 5995
Nandi Nick Fairley 1.005 5 02-Mar-11 19:49:40 5.000 6311
Savannah Keith Gemmell 0.910 6 02-Mar-11 DNF DNF 10.000
Quest Justin Phillips 0.840 7 02-Mar-11 DNF DNF 10.000
Aquamania Dudley Turner 1.000 8 02-Mar-11 DNF DNF 10.000
Merry Waters Mervyn Pietersen 0.930 9 02-Mar-11 DNF DNF 10.000