BLUE BONNET IN PORT ELIZABETH
As previously mentioned, this 3-in-1 whaler is looking for a Knysna mooring. James is willing to share her use with the owner of this mooring. He currently lives in Port Elizabeth and has sent in photos of her trip from Kleinemond to Port Elizabeth. All went off OK. Her previous engine has been scrapped so he’s looking for a replacement.
THE SHORT LIVED SHEARWOOD BOATYARD
I had a boatyard called Shearwater Boatyard in Knysna, situated at the east end of Union Street, next to the lagoon. I built four, 12 ft dinghies, and an 8 ft ‘pram’, using marine ply for the hull, and ‘wit els’ from the Knysna forest for the frames and trim. Building these are a lot of work (just joining 2.4 m sheets of marine ply end to end with a long scarf joint is a mission in itself) and construction needs a lot of time.
AMORE GOES BACK TO DURBAN
Amore was recently sold to Natal Powerboats and left on a very large flatbed.
The boat was a regular exhibit at the show, having been present at all, but one, held in Knysna. Here she is at her first; the 2015 Boatshow held at the KYC.
ANOTHER AVIATOR TO LAND ON THE LAGOON
Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Ratcliffe Garth Russel Evans was C-in-C. of the Cape Station; commonly known as ‘Evans of the Broke’, having served in the Dover Patrol on HMS Broke and rammed a German ship that was attacking Dover at the time. E.R.G.R. as he was affectionately known, came to Knysna on a few occasions; the first by seaplane on 15th May 1934 during the visit of HMS Milford. The weather was threatening, but didn’t put the man off, landing at 4pm. He was taken onboard by a tender from HMS Milford and later delivered a slide presentation on the Dover Patrol in the local cinema.
On her mooring in the Knysna lagoon, ‘Nkwazi’ shows none of her former glory and famous patronage, having been commissioned by Leighton Hulett, ex fighter pilot and founder of St. Francis Bay resort. Son of the well known Liege Hulett who built his sugar dynasty in Kwazulu-Natal and founded the town of Kearsney, Leighton was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in WWII, serving in the Middle East and Italy in the South African Airforce.
COULD THAT BE MY BOAT BEHIND THE CITROEN ON THIS PIC FROM 1964 AT THE PARADE IN CAPE TOWN?
What a coincidence, Andre Beyers saw this photo on a Facebook group called Cape of DIAB which has the most unbelieveable old photos of the Cape.
THESENS OF KNYSNA
Thesen boatbuilders used yellowwood to construct the clinker fishing boats that used to work off our beaches, notably Plettenberg Bay. As for European oak, it too would be better for boat-building than South African grown. Ours never get enough "sleep" during winter which, leads to a shorter lifespan.
DAPHNE CLASS SUBMARINES; DAVIE JONES' LOCKER DENIED
The South African Navy bought 3 Daphne class submarines from France that were built by Dubigeon-Normandie shipyard in Nantes, in the early 1970s. These submarines were ‘sailed’ down the Seine river to St.Nazaire for first sea trials.
The first two SA Navy submarines: Maria van Riebeeck and Emily Hobhouse have been scrapped after 30 years’ service and the third submarine (renamed ASSEGAAI) is in a submarine museum in Simonstown. Lt Cdr Theo Honiball, long time resident in Knysna and well known raconteur, now lives in Cape Town and is currently compiling a book of stories of his time in the Navy which is bound to be well worth reading.
KNYSNA PADDLEBOAT FLOODED
On 12 April 2019, we woke to the dramatic scene of the Knysna ‘paddle boat’ listing heavily to port while still on her mooring. A floating protective circle was soon in place for any oil spills and professional divers were dispatched from Port Elizabeth. Knysna Motor Strippers secured the boat from complete capsize with a line to their heaviest vehicle and Roger Clancy was on scene to offer his salvage experience and advice.
SEAPLANE, SINGAPORE, ON THE LAGOON IN 1928
This amazing sight greeted Knysna residents on 28th March 1928 as Sir Alan Cobham landed the seaplane, on loan to him from the Air Ministry, in the main channel of the Knysna lagoon. He was on a 20,000 mile journey round Africa to explore the potential of air travel from the U.K.
BOATS LOST IN THE GREAT FIRE OF JUNE, 2017
A large plaque was presented to the Fire Station in addition to our donation that year commemorating the boats lost and the tremendous work by the fire fighters of Knysna ( and the NSRI ) that saved countless other boats and their fortunate owners. Precious lives were lost, but many more were saved by the actions of these organizations.
HENTIE VAN ROOYEN
Hentie van Rooyen is probably best remembered for building his ‘floating’ Botel on the Knysna lagoon that opened in 1958, but he was a fine boatbuilder too and cabinet maker. He was also the country’s first official waterski instructor, along with his wife, Rita, and trained Deirdre Barnard ( Dr Chris Barnard’s daughter and Springbok skier ) on a slalom ski of his own construction.
As early as the 1870s the Thesen and Company sawmills were producing boats from their furniture business premises, but WWII would ramp up production to over six hundred vessels. The most well known of these were the Fairmile Submarine Chasers. The Thesen engineer, Mr Cyril Noble was tasked with building the boat shed over the first keel of a motor launch. The first Fairmile was completed in June 1943, similar to the photo on the right.