HISTORICAL INTEREST

MOTOR VESSEL MARGARET PARKES

This boat was one of three that came to South Africa from May 1963 to 1965 on board the President Class Destroyers of the South African Navy.

They were built in England and are an example of the early use of fibreglass in boats and have fairly thick skins.

Called 'three-in-ones" because they could be rowed (if your were crazy), sailed or motored under power by their Enfield horizontally opposed twin cylinder air cooled diesels. They were on the ships primarily as ship-to-shore transport when the mother ship was at anchor or on a swing mooring.

The SA Navy Officer Training School at Gordon's Bay donated these three boats to the Sea Cadets. in 1999. Lt. Cdr. Eriksen of Knysna brought all three boats to Knysna behind his BMW525e.

Two went back to the Cape Town unit on request, one was sold as is and the other was renovated and then sold.

The one that stayed in Knysna was renovated by the Knysna Sea Cadets, sponsored by Mr Jim Parkes of Geo Parkes and Sons and named after his mother Margaret Parkes.

The Margaret Parkes was on display at the 2017 Boatshow and made for an impressive sight. During preparation for the 2018 Boatshow I noticed a Gumtree advertisement offering a ‘3-in-1 Whaler for sale’. Immediately intrigued, I contacted the owner, Rod in Kleinemond, who was well aware of the Margaret Parkes in Knysna and thought the third 3-in-1 was in a museum in Saldanha Bay.

He had found his boat in slings in Norvalspont in 2005.

At the time he hoped to ferry hotel guests in her on the Kleinemond river, but things had changed and now she was up for sale. He had fully restored her including  installing a water cooled motor as the heat from the original was too much to bare. This is a photo of ‘Blue Bonnet’ he sent, sails up, in her fully restored condition:

"Here is Blue Bonnet as she ought to look when in service. The regatta rig was only for high days and holidays, sailing across Table Bay”

At time of writing it is not known if the Blue Bonnet was sold or to whom. Anyone passing the Kleinemond area might like to establish contact with Rod McGregor Mann and let us know.