12th January 2011
It might sound strange that Steam Tug Alwyn Vintcent is coming to an inland town like Villiersdorp, but what does a land-lubber from Riebeeck Kasteel have to do with her? The clue is that Deon Joubert, West Cape Tractor and Engine Club member, better known for his two Lanz Bulldog tractors, was brought up in Mossel Bay, home port of Alwyn Vintcent.
Deon is pictured here towing a self-binder with one of his Blue Babies which he has restored, at a recent Old Time Harvest Day. (Photo Hennie Richter)
Deon tells the story of how as a youngster of about 12, he ‘borrowed’ a rowing boat to row out to where the lighters were moored. The fishing was known to be good there! Alwyn Vintcent used to offload the liners which used to call in to Mossel Bay, but had to anchor offshore, into these lighters. The fishing was good until an offshore wind came up and, try as he might, he could not row back to shore against it! Out to sea he was swept, but luckily he was spotted, and Alwyn Vintcent was alerted and sent to tow him back in.
Much later as a young adult he had a similar experience where the Alwyn Vintcent steamed ahead of his boat, taking the force out of the waves and he travelled in the relative calm of the wake!
Deon says he feels it’s now pay-back time and he wants to get involved with the restoration!
Deon has two more stories to tell. One is about the stokers on Alwyn Vintcent. The Scotch return-tube boiler on board has two large furnaces, more than two metres deep, side by side. Feeding these fires is not for the faint of heart! Now the Garratts which worked on the Mossel Bay Railway (formerly the New Cape Central Railway) were sometimes fitted with steam operated mechanical stokers, but those which hauled the trains over the escarpment to Oudtshoorn were manually stoked because no mechanical stoker could feed coal in fast enough for the job. Stokers from these hand-fired Garratts were the prime choice for Alwyn Vintcent!
The other Vintcent related story Deon tells is that his father bought the large sandstone house in Mossel Bay called ‘Enough Said’, from the Vintcent family.
12th January 2011
Story from Deon Joubert of Riebeeck Kasteel By Andy Self