Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mila on the hard in Power Boats. The hull getting sanded and prepaired for painting.
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Trinidad & Tabago

My Afrikaanse vriende vra altyd hoekom ek nie my blog in Afrikaans skryf nie. Die rede is baie eenvoudig. Die "cruising" gemeenskap is baie internationaal en mens vind dat Engels oor die algemeen meer verstaan en gepraat word. Ek sal wat wou gee om meer Afrikaans sprekende Suid Afrikaners te ontmoet wat om die wereld seil. So as julle my blog in Engels lees wees verseker dat ek my moedertaal, Afrikaans eerste stel meer weens die omstandighede die blog in Engels skryf.
Ek wens my familie en vriende 'n baie geseende Kersfees en gelukkige 2009

2008 has come and gone, the year ending seems to come faster and faster every year. This year started off with the crossing from South Africa and most of the year was spent in Trinidad. I was ask to help with the building of a 55' Catamaran called Spice for an American owner. It was a good experience but time has come to get all the work finished on Mila so that she can go back into the water. Plans are to launch Mila by the 25th February 2009 and then go sailing north to Grenada and the Grenadines. My son Hennie is planning to join me here in Trinidad and then to come sailing with me for a month. Mila has been on the hard now for some time and I am looking forward to be on the water again. I would like to wish my family and all my friends a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2009

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wedding Bells

Alex and Dominique got married in Hout Bay, South Africa on Saturday the 11th October. We wish them a very happy togetherness.
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bottom Bay


Bert and Jo Peck

The Coral Island Barbados

My visa expired and I decided to visit Barbados for a week. On recommendation by Thomas en Johness Pinion I made a booking to stay with Jo and Bert Peck who has a quest house on the Island. I left Trinidad Monday and was met by Jo and Bert at the airport. They immediately welcomed me with open arms and so a week of relaxation began. Jo and Bert went out of their way to make my stay as pleasant as possible, took me on a motor tour around the Island and introduced me to their friends. We visited several pubs and restaurants. If anyone is looking for a fantastic holiday, I can recommend the Pecks. They have a very comfortable quest house 5 minutes walk from a beautiful beach were one can swim and snorkel. Their contact details are
The Island of Barbados is a coral Island with white sandy beaches and a lot of diving and snorkeling sites. The water is warm and very clean and clear.It is the far most easterly Island of the Caribbean chain but unfortunately don't cater for yachts. With a population of approximately 270,000 on a land area of 166sq miles it is not crowded but as with Trinidad there are to many cars on the roads. Well known personalities own property on the Island. There are three towns, Speightstown, Holetown and the capital Bridgetown. The English came to the Island in 1605 and there is a beautiful old church in Holetown built in 1626.
All in all I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Barbados and to have met the very friendly people of this pearl in the Caribbean.
Thats all for now

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Isle du Salut

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First timers to my website

If this is your first time viewing my web, you are welcome to contact me via the web and give me your comments. Sign the guestbook or click on comments. If you don't have a Google account click on unanimous write your message and post it. For earlier entries scroll down. Click on recent posts or archives.


Shakespeare once wrote: Man but man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what his most assured. His glassy essence, like an angry ape play such fantastic tricks before high heaven, as make the angels weep. I want to dedicate this to Robert Mugabe. I am sure that all the angels are weeping.
What a world are we living in ?
Till later

Marinna and Marius

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Niels and Ruth Evening at Sails
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Die Hollanders Arno Pieter en Johan
Thomas and Johness evening at Sails
Owner of Sails. Didier and Danielle his wife
Larry and Tracey evening at Sails
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Friday, April 04, 2008


Trinidad has a lot to offer visiting yachtsmen, is primarily outside the hurricane belt, at least I hope so this year. It has marinas and boatyards that handle super yachts, with travel lifts to haul 15 to 200 tons and services for both mono and multi hull vessels
The boating mecca of the Southern Caribbean is Chaguaramas situated in the north–western corner of Trinidad.
Chaguaramas was least by the Americans from Britain and used as a naval base for seaplanes during the war. Several of the buildings erected by the Americans can still been seen today and are being used by the Trinidad Tobago Defence Force. One can see the big hangers were the seaplanes were kept, and bunkers that were used for ammunition. In 1965 it was given back to the people of Trinidad Tobago.
Customs and Immigration is conveniently located at Crews Inn Hotel and Yachting Centre.
This area has grown tremendously into a major yachting centre the last 16 years. Owners bring their boats here for the hurricane season and others visit on their way north.
Chaguaramas has several yards of which Peakes and Power Boats are the biggest. Yachts anchor in the bay and some make use of the moorings buoys available. Several of the smaller yards have slip moorings available. Repairs and general maintenance to boats can be done by the owners or you can get an approved contractor to do the work. Boat shopping here is a paradise with several of the big suppliers like Budget close by. I wish I had all the equipment and gadgets available when I built Mila.
It is not unusual to see a big tug or supply vessel maneuvering between the anchored yachts, as Chaguaramas is close to the Trinidad oilfields.
I have not done much travelling in Trinidad except going to the airport or the supermarkets to buy provisions. The maxi -taxis are very efficient and one can go into Port of Spain for as little as 5tt, that’s 5 Trinidad Tobago Dollars. The present exchange rate is 6.25tt to the US dollar. Trinidad is rich in oilfields but unfortunately they don’t seem to spend money on the infrastructure. Some of the roads are in a bad condition and like most countries to many motor vehicles on the roads.
The country is beautiful and green, have a very high rainfall with an abundance of bird life. It is winter and suppose to be the dry season but the average daily temperature is 32 degrees and we have rain showers almost every day.
Mila is on the hard in Power Boats Marina and I am working on the paint jobs. The topsides are going to be painted with "Awlgrip". The new "Sunbrella " canopy looks good and keeps the sun off the deck. I fitted two 6500 btu aircons over two hatches and raised the swim scoop by 200mm this will minimise the noise of water while at anchor.
Milo, the boat cat is back on board and he seems to adapt well, making friends with the other yard cats. He caught a Iguana and brought him into the boat. This was quite scary as the Iguana was about 600mm long. I managed to save him out of Milo's paws but were bitten. Should have left him for Milo. Dominique and Alex did a fantastic job looking after Milo, the two of them left for England soon to be joined by Johness.
That’s all for now

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Trinidad to Fort Lauderdale

Finally after fitting new rudders, autopilot and a new Harken Furler, Amazing Grace was ready. Clearing immigration, customs and taking diesel we left Saturday 16/02. The diesel price in Trinidad is R1.80lt.
Our first two days went well and we averaged 200 miles per day. The route we sailed took us direct from Trinidad to the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the DR. From there we sailed all along the coast to Haiti and the southern tip of Cuba. To sail in the old Bahama passage between Cuba and the Grand Banks were a great experience.
The US Coastguard visited us by helicopter when we were at the tip of Cuba, ask a lot of questions and 2 hours later we were boarded and they searched the boat and checked all the safety equipment. Amazing Grace is a registered American vessel and this gives them the right to check on the safety equipment on board. We were given a clean bill and they left after an hour.
All in all we had very good sailing conditions and we sailed the 1600 miles to Fort Lauderdale in 9 days. The last two days approaching Fort Lauderdale we had to motor on one engine and very little diesel as the fuel in the starboard tank was contaminated with seawater due to the placement of the breather.
It was a welcome site to see our final destination and a relief not to do watches. We anchored at the Las Olas City marina the first night and moved the boat to Cooleys Marina in Down Town Fort Lauderdale on the new river the next morning.
It was time for me to return to Trinidad. I booked a ticket for Wednesday morning leaving Hollywood Fort Lauderdale at 6.15am. Took the taxi at 3 in the morning and on getting to the airport was told that my booking was for Thursday the same time, this after getting an email confirmation from the travel agent for Wednesday. I returned to the boat and John was very surprised to find me drinking coffee when he woke.
Thursday morning the same procedure and we left on time for Puerto Rico. The flight arrived at 8 and I had to wait all day for the connecting flight to Trinidad at 5 the afternoon. Arrived at 8, took a taxi to Power Boats and had a good sleep on Mila.
That’s all for now

Cape Town to Trinidad

We left Royal Cape East Basin on Wednesday 19th December as planned. Motored for 3 hours and started sailing with the spinnaker on course for St Helena Island. As Jeanette was taking care of the galley we had 6 hour watches later we changed this to 4 hours and finally to 2 hours. Our first two days we had good winds and made 200 miles plus per day. After that good spell our luck changed and we had 2000 miles of 10 knots or less. Jeanette was seasick for the first 3 days but soon settled down, she was a star and kept the crew well fed, always had something in the oven and treated us with fresh bread every day.
Our route took us to the south of St Helena Island and from there we took a rum line to the horn of Brazil.
Our SSB radio did not work at all and the planned skeds that I had with friends and family could not happen. The more electronics on board the more trouble one have. Sometimes I think one should revert to the hand pump and oil lamps of yester year; we are all suckers for punishment and enjoy our comforts. Christmas and New Year came and went as it was just another day at sea with watches and sleeping.
One morning I woke with a squeaking noise and it turned out to be the rudder shaft. The helm became very heavy. On diving John discovered that we lost the starboard rudder. It sheared off close to the hull and the port rudder was bent at an angle and scraping against the hull. We decided to give Fortaleza a miss and to continue on to Trinidad.
Finally the auto pilot could not keep up with the heavy load and the clutch burned out. We then had to steer by hand; we did this in 2 hour shifts. After 30 days at sea we welcomed the stop at Kourou in French Guiana and we could rest and eat out for two days. We anchored at Isle du Salute for one night and left early the next morning for our final run of 700 miles to Trinidad. Two days from the Island and with over 400 miles to go, we lost the port rudder and had to steer the boat with the engines. John collected an old motorcar tire in Kourou and we used this as a drogue behind the boat to help with the steering. This was not easy as we had high winds and cross seas. After 36 days at sea we finally tied to the dock at Trinidad. John and I celebrated the event with a few beers that evening and we all had a good sleep.
John our skipper was outstanding, one is never too old to learn and as I had very little experience flying the spinnaker he taught me some tricks. At all times he was in control and his good nature and way of doing things made everyone feel safe and kept the moral high. I can recommend him to anyone that needs a delivery done. His contact details are
Randy and Jeanette decided to sell Amazing Grace and left the boat to fly to Denver. John ask me to help him with the delivery to Fort Lauderdale. We are waiting for the new rudders, bearings and auto pilot from Cape Town. After the repairs we will make our way to Fort Lauderdale. I will then return to Trinidad to do work on Mila. All the woodwork must be varnished and she needs a paint job to the hull and topsides. There are several South Africans here in Trinidad, most of them working on boats. Johness spoiled me with her famous bobotie, it was good to see them all again and to know that Dom has Milo on board Sparrow and he is happy.
I was told in Cape Town that after this trip I will be sold on a catamaran. This is not so I am a mono hull fan and will not change my ways. Everyone told me that on a catamaran you can put your glass on the table and it will not fall over. It does not fall over; it goes up in the air. The motion on a catamaran is very uncomfortable in cross seas and the slamming and noise is overwhelming. I preferred to sleep in a cabin above a engine than in the saloon with the continuous slamming. In all fairness I must admit that at anchor you have a lot of space but for cruising give me a mono hull any day.
That’s all for now until later.