Rigging in Cape Town
‘Hey Bro’.
‘I am not your Bro’.
‘Ok Bro, can you pick up a sail at Warren’s Place’.
‘Who for the fuck is Warren?’
‘That guy from Associated Rigging in Cape Town. He is one of the best in trim’.
‘No worries sounds good. I need checking the rod-rigging’.

 

Next day I enter a wooden Wendy House build outside the fence of the Royal Cape Town Yacht Club. It was a 150 km ride from Saldanha YachtPort. Traffic was hectic, and I must pee.
‘Warren’.
‘Yes mate’
‘I am not your mate’.
‘Ok mate’.
‘Where is your toilet?’
He walks to the door, picks from a nail a key and waves towards a small building on the other side of the road. Next to the railway lines.
The door is jammed, and when I pee I fart, and I have to shit. Fine, Pfieeewhh.
When I am finished there is no toilet paper and no water. Fuck. I clean my ass with my left hand, and my hand in the bowl. The brown stuff is gone, not the smell.
When I walk back to the Wendy House which is the headquarters of Associated Rigging, Warren Fraser looks at me with a big smile. Like he knew that there was no toilet paper.

 

I avoid shaking hands by staying 2 to 3 meters from his desk, and Warren himself is not interested to leave his throne as well. Like he knew.

‘What Boat?’

‘BOC 50’.

‘Ahh, the same as Isabel Autissier but she had a 60. We repaired her rudder. And same as Bertie Reed, also 60, are you sure it is 50?’

‘Yeah, pretty sure. Can you do the mast?’

‘Off course mate. If I come out it costs you 5,000 Rand. If you wait till I play golf in Langebaan, just a few bucks’.

 

It takes a few weeks, but then Warren is up in the mast. We adjust back stay tension, intermediates, check-stays, the tension on the fore stays. In one hour the BOC 50 looks like a hydrocortisone pimped athlete.

Warren is happy.

‘Fuck, she looks good,. ehhh. That one is racing, Better than a wife’.

 

Warren is after the team from Proctor (later Hall Spars) in Flushing, the best trimmer-tuner I ever met. He did the BOC yachts, the Whitbreads and now the Volvo Ocean racers.

Later we become good mates. And I learn a shit load tips and tricks. About ropes, splices, rod and fibers, hardware that breaks and does not break.

‘Warren, the grub screws fall out of the Profurl C42. I used a blue thread lock. You know the blue one, so I can heat it up if I need to dismantle. Do you know something that holds?’

‘Yes, red Loctite. And drill it out, better than losing your sail’.

‘He Warren, if I go for a 2;1 purchase what block do I take?’

‘What is the main?’

‘Almost 90 m2’.

‘I guess max 2.2 to 2.5 tons on the halyard, half on the mast crane, the other half on the stopper. Here, use this’.

He tosses an Antal Halyard Purchase Block over the table with a Safe Working Load of 5,000 kg.

‘Man, that is too much block’.

‘You have not heard the price yet’.

‘Euhhh..’

‘In the shop 600 USD. This is from my personal equipment and I don’t use it, old model. You can have it for 75. It fits your boat’.

Warren, a unique specie. A no-nonsense rigger. Yachts all over the world go to Cape Town, just to see him. Maxi’s, racers, expedition vessels, cruisers and even square riggers. Best price, best performance, best quality.

Now you know.

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Peter Stuivenberg

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