This page last updated 7th January 2010

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7th January 2010

Hi Coenie,

To add to your story about H23s.

I have raced mine (051 Nakita) extensively on Vaaldam where it gets violent from Aug to Oct during the windy season, especially if the dam is full. You get waves up to 6' which the Holiday easily handles, it's just the frequency of the chop that makes it so unpleasant. I have twice capsized my boat, but both times racing with full main and flying a spinnaker in 30 - 40knots of wind. The boat simply rights herself and points to weather all by itself, just like a keeler should. I can vouch that a H23 mast can bend FORWARDS in these conditions creating about 1m of slack in the forestay - at this stage the backstay is like a guitar string!! I have modified my backstay mountings from the standard inverted u-bolts to flat bar which mounts on the transom - much stronger (will send you photos if I remember.) Racing in this weather we were always 4 up, experienced keelboat sailors  - I would not do this with my family on board.

We were actually so successful racing our boat that the Vaaldam H23 handicap got pushed to a point where we could no longer compete (equal to a Stadt 23 for a while!!) - this after we won Keelboat week outright in 93 and 94. These boats are really tough, the only weak point which we've often repaired has been the rudder box, the trade-off between have a lifting rudder or not. I have considered making a single solid unit which would certainly make the boat safer at sea. (you'll always wash up on a beach somewhere on the dam if it breaks)

Regarding sailing upwind in heavy conditions - the golden rule a bit less sail and bear off onto a close reach - you'll cover ground faster this way than trying to point too high. Just for the record, the H23 with full main and No 1 genoa carries the same sail area as the L26, although weighing some 500kgs less, so NEVER try your luck by over canvassing, you just land up going sideways at a terrible angle of lean!!

Hope to get going with the refurbishment of Nakita this year, poor boat's been on a trailer too long now.

Happy sailing and fair winds to all regards



Hallo John 

Congratulations on repairing the Holiday 23, I sincerely hope that you will be able to repair it to it’s original state if you need any help, please let us know. Please send us pictures, I am sure the members would like to see the extent of the damage and watch your progress. 

The Holiday 23 is a lovely boat, though most people will describe it as is the ideal dam sailor from which I differ 100%. I have sailed my Holiday 23 in very strong winds and seas. She handles exceptionally well in these conditions for her size and weight. It is not a boat to sail into strong winds and seas but in any other direction these boats can take a lot of weather, but remember “Gentlemen never sail to windward”!!.  

During the long weekend of September last year I sailed with the owner of a Holiday 23 from Hout Bay to Gordon’s bay in a 30 – 35 knots Northerly to Cape Point. We rolled out the Genoa the size of about a storm jib only, the mainsail was tied to the boom. From Kommetjie to Cape Point we regularly logged speeds of  7 and 9 knots on the GPS. We had following seas of about 3 to 4 meters with the occasional “rouge” wave breaking against our beam, trying to broach us. I am sailing my Holiday 23 since 1994, but this was the roughest seas I have been in on a Holiday 23 and I did not for a moment felt unsafe, uncomfortable yes but not unsafe. 

Rounding Cape Point we had to go on a port beat, to Gordon’s Bay, where we had winds in excess of 35 knots. With only the “storm sized jib” and the outboard engine we sailed in the direction of Gordon’s bay. In the middle of False bay the wind subsided and the sea became more comfortable. 

On the 31st Dec 2009 we, Ernie Kleynhaus owner of “Mini Me”, sailed on my H23 from Simon’s Town to Gordon’s bay in a 25 – 32 Knots Southerly with waves on the fore quarter and seas of ± 3m, we averaged between at 5 – 6 knots, doing the 22 miles in ± 4 hours. 

Dam sailor?  Definitely not, and as an extra bonus you can put it on a trailer and tow it to where you want to sail it. 

Also go to Roux Gerber’s website and read where he had been with his Holiday 23 since January 2009.

These boats are just magnificent, magic, “fantastimo”, indescribable lekker!!!!!  

I have BCC’ed all other Holiday 23’ers. 

Please don’t forget the pictures, Holiday 23 greetings 

Coenie Thiart


Hi Coenie,

The boat is currently being repaired in Middelburg, Mpumalanga – a joint effort between myself and a small boatyard, and I hope to have it seaworthy during the first half of 2010 (Will be more fun than soccer!!).  Unfortunately the requirement to work for a living has delayed the repair job somewhat but I believe we will get there. 

Thanks for the valuable and interesting site – I am sure that I will be posting a lot of questions as the repair progresses – I have not previously owned a Holiday 23 and am really looking forward to sailing her.

I am also interested in building, buying or sharing a trailer at a later date – need to get the boat fixed first. 

Keep up the good work 


John Miller


17th April 2009

Hi Coenie ,

Thanks for including my details. I'm sure you have been busy , but no doubt you enjoyed the race.

Midmar is great. People have a conception that it is very small , but it is a good few kilometers across with a few bays and inlets to cruise around. Weather is generally good too. Afternoon thunderstorms are quite frequent in summer , but year round a prevailing NE wind blows (stronger in summer) making sailing possible all year. It is known as the cleanest inland water in SA.

Currently there are 7 Holidays there , including mine. Sadly months go by between some of them getting used. I`ll get details of the owners and boats and send them through - it will be good to have a more complete list of where the Holidays are.

Best regards ,
Dave Powell

Hi Coenie 

I came across your website and saw that your website is very active. Great job and nice to know that there are many activities and discussions & information being exchanged amongst the Holiday23 owners. I have owned my H23 for four years and am currently based at Vaal Dam and loving it. Hopefully in the near future I will be able to bring my boat down to the Western Cape and partake in some of your activities, it really looks like fun. 

I see that you are compiling a list all H23 owners. Please add me to your “Holiday23 Owner’s” list to reduce the outstanding numbers that you are looking for. Details below:- (See list of owners)

Keep up the great work and I will defiantly be looking at your website on regular bases to keep up with your happenings.

Best regards 

Marcel Prydekker


24th November 2008

Hi Coenie,
Thank you so much for your assistance...  Keep up the great work it is really appreciated by all...


30th October 2008


Billy Leisegang

Hi Coenie, I can tell you that website works - we have already has three responses to our enquiry. I hope that you get an excellent response to your efforts.
Kind regards and happy sailing




27th October 2008

Derek Robinson

Hi Coenie.

You are doing a great job.


Derek Robinson.

Boskop Yacht Club


20th October 2008

Marius Crous

Hallo Coenie
Die website kom baie mooi aan!! Weereens dankie dis so lekker om te sien daar is ander eienaars wat net so lief is vir hulle H23's soos ek!
Kan jy asb. vir my Budgie Burgers se email stuur,sy boot lę langs myne en ek wil graag hallo sę.
Ek behoort in November terug te wees in die Kaap en dan gaan ek my boot in die water sit,so as iemand n trailer nodig het kan hulle myne gebruik,ek sal jou laat weet nader aan die tyd.


12th October 2008

Adrian Holmes

Hi Coenie,
Well done!
It is really nice to see someone making a real effort when people like me are so lazy / busy we hardly sail our boats.
Please continue to copy me. 

Do you perhaps know of anyone that could do a little refit on my boat?

Have a crack on the deck alongside the mast and would like to have my tabernacle replaced along with the keel knock sorted out  


9th October 2008

Bruce Hepburn

Hi Coenie, 

I have enjoyed reading every page of your web site. Well done!  

I have a question. In fact this same question is posed on the national H23 web site without any answer being given. 

What is the correct procedure for lowering and raising the mast while on the water? I would really appreciate a step-by-step “idiot’s guide” to the process. 

When I bought Shenanigans from Rob Wilson, he showed me how to raise and lower the mast with the boat out of the water on a trailer, using a 4x4 and a winch. That’s one way of doing it. The cruising options on Vaal Dam are not many, and are quickly exhausted. However, if you can drop your mast at Oranjeville to get under the road bridge, there is a huge section of Vaal Dam on the other side waiting to be explored. Being able to drop and raise the mast on the water would give me access to “uncharted waters”. 








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