Devastating fire causes major damage in St. Francis
Local dealer Honda Marine St. Francis do all they can to rescue residents’ boats in the devastating fire that ripped through the picturesque coastal town back on November 11. Despite their heroic efforts as well of those of the regional firefighting services and many other local residents, there were fortunately no lives lost, however 71 houses and a large amount of personal possessions were destroyed. Eamon Scott, the Dealer Principal of Honda Marine St. Francis, takes us through the events of that fateful day.
SUNDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2012
At about 5.30pm, a fire started in one of the thatched houses at the Western end of the St. Francis Bay canal complex. Staff from Honda Marine St. Francis arrived within minutes to assist with the firefighting and they were immediately shocked at how fast the fire had already spread, fanned by a strong westerly wind. The fire continued to jump from thatched roof to thatched roof and even jumped over 2 canals.
Using several vehicles we found ourselves pulling boats and jetskis out of driveways and garages, in many cases while the main house was already fully alight. Large numbers of craft were rescued, but sadly even more were lost, mainly in garages, and there was at least one instance of a boat actually melting at its moorings, so intense was the heat of the fire.
The fire created a swathe of destruction right across the middle of the canals residential area, completely destroying at least 71 houses. The devastation stretched from the western edge of the canal system right to the sea, and so extensive was the reach of the fire that firefighters from all over the Eastern Cape were called in to assist.
As Eamon Scott relates, “I recall the almost surreal experience of driving down a street towing a boat while the street was an inferno on both sides. I had to drive on my memory of the shape of the street, the smoke being so thick. Later I found myself at the mini-marina at the canal-side Big Time Taverna restaurant watching every surrounding building being on fire, while the restaurant’s tiled roof prevented it from doing the same.”
“At one stage Technical Director Warren Rachman reached a client’s house, one of the largest properties in St. Francis, and winched the client’s boat down his slipway into the water (still on it’s trailer!) whilst the boathouse was fully alight. Not content with that he then rescued 2 jetskis from another garage on the same property. One member of Warren’s team experienced slightly burnt feet when his boots melted from underneath, so intense was the heat on the ground.”
The cause of the fire is still being investigated but is thought to have occurred immediately following a local power cut. Our deepest sympathy goes out to all those who lost houses, vehicles, boats and possessions.
Honda Marine provides TV Boat and Crew for the Billfish 15000 Fishing Competition
The Billfish 15000 Fishing Competition was recently held in Sodwana where Honda Marine provided a Raptor 820 centre console powered by twin Honda BF150’s as the event’s TV filming boat, reliably crewed by Craig Wilson from Honda Marine Durban and David Urtel from Honda Marine Sodwana. Some big Tuna were caught whilst much fun was had by all!
Once again the Billfish 15000 proved to be a very popular and important event on the annual offshore fishing calendar with some 98 boats entering the competition. Running for a solid 5 days in early November, and starting each day at 4am, it’s not an event for the faint-hearted, especially if you’ve been exposed to the amber brew the night before in order to try and wash away the taste of the salt!
Craig Wilson, Dealer Principal of Honda Marine Durban, passionate boater and a keen fisherman himself, managed 4 hook-ups during the 5 days, pulling one big Yellowfin Tuna out, all whilst skippering the Honda Marine supplied Raptor 820 centre console TV filming boat.
Craig was highly impressed with the handling of the Hayden Barber Raptor 820 which was built in Zimbabwe, as well as with the fuel efficiency and performance of the twin Honda BF150’s. He was also amazed by the trusty Lowrance HDS 8 Fishfinder and GPS unit which got him and the TV crew safely and securely to everywhere that they needed to be, making the job of being the TV boat a lot easier.
A huge number of prizes were handed out on the final evening with the overall winners winning a single cab Dodge Ram 4×4, 5.7L V8 worth R750 000. Great for surf launches and retrievals but perhaps lagging a bit behind the fuel efficiency of the Honda BF150’s…!
Honda Marine Knysna sponsors local Marathon Running Club
Despite the early start and the fear of a minor hurricane battering the southern cape coastline, the intrepid team of volunteers took the good-natured spirit of running a ‘Water Point’ perched on the western Heads (or Land’s End in these parts) to new heights at the recent annual Knysna Heads to Heads Half Marathon Race.
Setting off in bright sunshine, the trio of volunteers should have known better and remembered that the weather in the southern cape changes by the kilometer and that conditions at their morning resting spot would no doubt be mightily different and of course they were not to be disappointed.
Cold winds, dark skies, and a south-wester bringing in a dam-load of water in from the sea was what confronted them, but there were several hundred even more courageous runners expecting them, so this was no time to shirk responsibilities. 21 kilometers in these conditions would be very tough and after the arduous climb up to the Heads, the water point at the 14km mark would be crucial.
Water, coke and wine gums were the order of the day and were all gratefully received by the runners, even the local 75 year old veteran runner who even had time to stop for a boerewors roll and a chat.
Certainly an interesting morning and hats off to the Knysna Marathon Running Club for a great event!