Category Archives: Just G-whizz

Cast Iron Keel – an update

Some time ago we wrote about the renovation of the composite cast iron keel on G-whizz (Cast Iron Keel). In that post we mentioned that while we were initially happy with the work the proof would be when G-whizz came out of the water in a year’s time.

Well due to a number of circumstances that year turned out to be closer to 20 months but our disappointment with the work done started a lot earlier than that. We have the bottom of G-whizz cleaned regularly (in general about once a month) by an experienced diver, on the first clean after he treatment the diver rang to ask if he should be seeing rust, this was not the response we were expecting to hear just 4 weeks after going back in the water, we asked him to take some photos the next time he was diving in the vicinity.

These are a couple of those photos that show a number of pin sized rust spots, the diver commented that before cleaning they were about 25 to 35mm on diameter but after wiping reduced to the pin size in the pictures, my initial thought was – and still remains –  that these were in fact the remnants if wires from the a wire brushing process used to strip the keel.

A substantial amount of money changed hands to have the keel renovated, a process that was supposed to be one of those once in a life time of ownership jobs, even if we went with the lower of two quotes the yard that did the work is one of Sydney’s best known and regarded yards to have it last little more than 12 months is, to say the least a major disappointment.

Coming out of the water at Woolwich dock.

Without going into a long story the yard that did the work were not at all helpful in rectifying the work, while we started communication with them as soon as the diver’s photos were received, they did say that they would get the boat out of the water as soon a possible to inspect the situation. Well after a number of enquiries that “As soon as possible” is translatable to “We don’t give a stuff” as they were always too busy to lift G-whizz out of the water but they would get back to us when they had time, after some 12 months of enquiries all they could offer was that we would get a free lift for the next hull service.

After pressure blasting

We made a decision to do what was the best for the boat, get the hull soda blasted at the same time as a complete keel rectification, we took some knowledgeable advice, Michael Bartley who has done most of the maintenance on G-whizz advised that not only is she borderline deep for his new yard but he lacks road access that makes getting soda blasting equipment onto site quite difficult. Michael pointed us toward Mitch Buckingham at Woolwich Dock.

Halfway through (time to check messages).

The accompanying photographs show some of the story, the keel after the initial pressure blast displayed little of the original antifoul paint left, and as the shipwright commented “Undercoat over antifoul is not a good start”. We are not too sure if the process used by the first yard was the correct one or if the workmanship involved in it’s execution was of the required quality or both.

After Treatment.

The new work involved having the hull soda blasted, filled and epoxy primed before antifouling while the keel received extra blasting epoxy coating encapsulating in fiberglass, filling, fairing and antifouling. The antifoul used is Altex Pettit Vivid – ironically available in a number of bright colours but we chose to stay with black.

On the lift ready for splashing.

Early days but G-whizz is now performing at levels not experienced since we first came into contact with her, one complaint is that she will not stop, the first time I put her on her mooring after splashing I completely misjudged her speed and overshot the mooring on two occasions, we often get excited about motoring speeds after a hull service but what really stands out this time is her low speed slipperiness, take her off the throttle and she just keeps on going!

Racing under Sydney Harbour Bridge

Most people that know me know that I am not a fan of racing (or indeed sailing of any sort) under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, there are a number of reasons for this attitude including:
1 – The fickle winds that bend, test, gust and die for no apparent reason, affected by all the tall buildings on either side of the harbour and the funneling effect of the narrow channel at that point and probably others reasons that I don’t know or understand.
2- The washing machine conditions; it is almost is almost as  if  every bit of wash that bounces up and down the harbour meets under the bridge, bouncing off the deep and vertical walls that have been placed there and “improved’ on since colonisation of the area.
3- Circular Quay is the epicenter of Ferry activity on the harbour (Circular Quay  is “Central Station” for Ferrys) and for those that don’t know a local rule gives Sydney Ferrys absolute right of way, and don’t some of the captains like to enforce it. – Have a look at all the ferry routes on the map below. Time for a caveat here the majority of Sydney  Ferry Captains are the most considerate navigators on the harbour.

4 – It just gets busy with boats of all sorts, from International  Cruise Liners to little tinnies controlled by masters with equivalent variation of ability.

Then I look up and around, get my mind out of sailing mode and look at the scenery, and realise  just how lucky are we to sail in this area. All this comment was generated when I came across a little video on You Tube that was uploaded a few months ago, it motivated me to pen the following an place it on the Video page of the site.

The West Harbour Winter Series race 4 (17-Jun-18) was held in pretty gusty conditions, the course started and finished in the vicinity of Cockatoo Island proceeded down the Harbour around Fort Denison and return to Cockatoo Island with a little detour around Goat Island. we did not do too well on scratch (5th) but were lucky enough to get a first on handicap.

There is a pretty popular web cam on Sydney harbour ( and the operators were good enough to record the period when the Western Harbour Winter Series fleet went under the Bridge and then returned, They then sped up the video and up loaded to  You tube. We are in the third group of yachts heading towards Fort Denison, the only boat in that group with a black main and light coloured genoa. Its worth a look and reminds me of how privileged we are to have such a special sailing area.

G-whizz Elan 340

G-whizz as Art – Again

Some time ago Chris Low, one of our regular crew members took a photo of G-whizz on the Greenwich Flying Squadron pontoon. He then sent the photo to a friend of his in London, I think just to say look at what I’m doing while you’re over there enjoying a wonderful London Winter.

Carla, Chris’s friend, apparently has a habit of looking at a photo and then doing a painting from the image. have a look at what she did with that original photo of G-whizz, we think it to be pretty good.

A huge thankyou to both Chris and Carla.

G-whizz Elan 340
A painting of G-whizz on the GFS pontoon by Carla.

G-whizz as Art

I have always appreciated great photography, maybe it is because I’ve tried to create art through photography and failed miserably. This picture was taken by “Salty Dingo” at Sail Port Stephens 2017, it shows G-whizz under her symmetrical spinnaker, entering Port Stephens close to Yacaaba Head (the northern head). It is not so much a picture of G-whizz, but a piece of art that G-whizz happens to be in. Ann and I like it.

Elan 340 G-whizz
Entering Port Stephens close to Yakaaba Head (North head), Sail Port Stephens 2017. Picture Salty Dingo

Preparing for Sail Port Stephens

Our crew for Sail Port Stephens is an amalgamation of our crew and some refugees from Umzimkulu 2. (Ann, Chris and myself from G-whizz and David, Danni and John from Umzimkulu 2). Last Sunday we went out for some spinnaker practice and give the Umzimkulu crew a good familiarisation of G-whizz. Unfortunately Chris has this preoccupation with keeping his business ticking over and was not able to join us.

We did innumerable gybes with both the symmetrical and asymmetrical spinnakers, and while we are by no means experts we all now feel comfortable with the processes involved, the practice also exposed a couple of little wrinkles that have now been rectified, as John said “That’s the benefit of practice”. All this was performed without the added distraction of using a headsail, so we still have a bit of a magical mystery tour ahead of us.

After returning home I read David Edmiston’s latest blog entry “Countdown to sail Port Stephens” (, it dawned on me that by comparison we are in a pretty good space, our concerns are a little modification to the asymmetric tack fitting, sorting the logistics of getting a boat, it’s gear and six people from Sydney to Port Stephens and back and most importantly, is there enough gas in the LPG tank for the trip? While David is still working on the interior of his boat. You really have to admire this bloke, his efforts in building his own 40 foot boat are really impressive, in its first few twilights it has shown to be quite an impressive performer, and sitting on its mooring it  looks like something that came out of one of the premium builders in Europe.

There are three boats from GFS going to Port Stephens for the regatta, David Edmiston’s Didi 40CR – Passsion X, Michael Grove’s Jeanneau 379 –  Agrovation and of course G-whizz. All three of these boats will be crewed by members of GFS, with representation from Umzinkulu 2 on G-whizz and John and Leslie Veale’s Hasta La Vista on Agrovation. I feel sure that this will provide for substantial bonhomie off the water and a high degree of competitiveness on the water. We are all looking forward to it.

It has been a while since we have flown spinnakers and I think we have forgotten how well G-whizz likes these big light weight sails, she really lifted her skirt up and showed us a good turn of speed. David, who skippers Umzimkulu 2 remarked that he did not want us to use these sails in the Saturday point score races as he may not be able see which way we went.



Sail drives and fishing line don’t mix

Result of the prop attracting fishing Lline

As we are currently making preparations for G-whizz to have her annual out of water servicing on the slips at Michael Bartley Shipwrights, I was looking back through the records and came upon this photo from a couple of years ago.

It shows the G-whizz’s sail drive  with the prop removed. The line looks strong enough to hunt for white pointers, we have no idea when or where we got it. We are grateful that no damage was done during the “Capture” or subsequent to it. I do not have a photo to show, but I am assured that it was almost impossible to see when the prop was still fitted.

As Michael said at the time. “I wonder if the fisherman is bragging about the Elan 340 that got away?”.