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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's an excerpt from a mail from Mike on Kantala, Just left Madagascar for SA 30 years out from Victoria. Thought you might vicariously enjoy.

However, the people here are pleasant, easy to get along with, free with their laughter. The sailing dhows and pirogues have to be seen to be believed. This morning as we left on the first of the ebb there must have been 50 sails. Some are fishing boats, maybe 20 feet with an outrigger float on one side and rigging struts on the other, but many more carry people and freight between all the local villages. Some of these are easily 60-80 feet or more. Again, the popular shape is very slender with the outrigger float one side and outrigger struts on the other. The heavy freight boats are capacious mono-hulls with the dhow rig. Still very fast except when tacking. We bought new running rigging in Malaysia, and have been giving or trading away our old stuff. You should see their eyes light up when the sailors see it.

I'd love to see what modern engineering could do with the rig. I reckon a dhow made with modern materials would be almost unbeatable. The only issue is how to tack the yard. The sail itself is like a huge #1 genoa, and even with the dreadful scraps of material available to the sailors the upwind shape is quite good. Down wind the yard is allowed to lift from the bow so that the sail is like an upside down spinnaker.
 

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Good to hear Mike and Shelia are enjoying themselves. We spent many memorable evenings with them in various anchorages in SE Asia.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I know it's been over 2 days since we got to Richards Bay, but it took Customs and Immigration that long to clear us. We had to stay near the boat all the while, broke, no Internet. Actually, there is a bank machine nearby, but apparently it doesn't dispense the full wad. We wanted to write from the radio email system but propagation out of the marina is also very difficult. The joys of travel in the modern age, depending on machines to the left & machines to the right, and all unreliable.

Actually we didn't mind the delay. There are lots of boats arriving, many old friends, heaps of stories to be heard. Hot showers! Besides, you can't blame the officials. This is the busiest coal exporting port in the world, in addition to the many other ores and products coming and going. Over a dozen gigantic coal carriers per day, for example. All this brings gazillions of dollars into the South African economy, while we lowly yachts are nothing but a pain.

We want to thank the many people who gave us ideas on how to deal with the broken fresh water pump on the engine. In the end we chose a simple answer. We sailed into the port as far as the last short upwind leg towards the marina. Amazingly Port Control gave us permission to do this. Then we used the engine for 20 minutes to take us into the marina itself, with a friend standing by in his dinghy in case we had to cut the engine in a hurry.

M had taken the belts off the engine, removed the alternator and the engine pump's pulley wheel, removed the thermostat. With no load on it and with the radiator cap removed the pump seal didn't leak very much. A hose was arranged to pump water from our remaining fresh water through a trigger and into a heater hose, and thence directly into the engine block. The backup plan was to do the same with the salt water pump we use for washing down, but who really wants to put sea water into the engine and have it spray everywhere in the engine room?

Anyway, M learned a lot from all the ideas. Thank you. We should share the best solution for those in a similar predicament: - paint the engine a nice color of green, which will temporarily convince it that it's a Perkins. The beauty of this idea is that you can chuck away half your tools and replace them with a couple of spray cans.

In many ways it was good for us to have no engine. It broke just a day or two out from Madagascar, so for the rest of the voyage we had to depend on our ability rather than an engine. In the old days we used to sail everywhere, into docks, up to moorings, in and out of anchorages. That was with our old unreliable Isuzu, a rare lemon. But with the amazing Nissan we have become lazier. So call this a refresher course. On the other hand, sailing through calms in sloppy seas wreaks havoc with the sails, which is probably why one of the seams on the main tore a few days out from Richards Bay. The other sailing skill to remember anywhere near South Africa is how to heave-to in a gale. We did so twice, the first time for more than 20 years.
 

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Great posts, Len. I consider heaving-to in a gale an art form, and very few sailors know how to do this properly, or are equipped to do it properly. I've managed to do it a couple times, but not in the conditions one would encounter off SA. I just ordered a 6-foot parachute to improve my rig and retain the correct bow angle so the boat does not tend to move forward. I found a huge difference in the level of stability and comfort when this is achieved.

Cheers,

Gary :cool:
 

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Sounds like the resourceful mike and sheila I got to know. Good ideas from some folks that have been out here for donkey years.
 
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