Here are a few answers to questions you may have about Holiday 23 yachts. If you don't find what you are looking for please contact us at and we will try to find an answer.
I want to trailer a Holiday 23 from Cape Town back to Vaal Dam.  I have a 1.9 turbo Diesel VW golf Wagon…can I pull it with this or would I need a larger vehicle?
A selection of responses to this recent query... all good information. Thanks to contributors.

That vehicle is too light. It is illegal and would be dangerous to tow it with the VW.

I reckon the Golf will be too light for the job. Possibly the power will be okay, but I have found that you need a heavier tow vehicle for stability.
I suggest a 3lt bakkie for the trip, and recommend that you plan your trip on the basis that you will maintain a speed of 100kph or less.

To tow from CT you will need a hefty vehicle. I did it with an Isuzu DC 4x4 2.8 Diesel (1960kg empty) and although it could cope, it was on the light side.
The trailer and boat weigh 2000+ kg. To safely tow you should have a towing vehicle of the same weight as the tow, better more. Hexriver Valley will boil your gearbox and diff. A Landrover is probably the best.

I towed a Holiday 23 to Sterkfontein dam near Harrismith from Pretoria. I have an Isuzu 3 L Double Cab bakkie 2004 Model. Towing is very different than even a double wheel caravan. The wind resistance is lower than a caravan but the weight much more. Bargain at about 2 Tons behind you. I think it would be scary braking with your 1.9 VW Wagon at 100 to 120 km/hr. You would definitely need a trailer with double wheels with braking on each axle. I had only single axle braking and will not do it again.  I borrowed a trailer and the end result was that I had to replace all the rims and tires after losing one wheel and eventually came to a stop with two tires on the one side and only a rim on the other side.  I am not trying to scare you but you have to take real care.

In a nutshell:

  1. Get a good trailer. One that was built for a Holiday 23. It then sits close to the tar with good stability.
  2. Braking on both axles.
  3. Service all the wheel bearings before you put the boat on.
  4. Stop every 50 km to check the wheel nuts.
  5. Get a bigger vehicle.
  6. Make sure you have insurance while the boat is on trailer.  
  7. Make sure your trailer is roadworthy.

The cost to trailer the H23 that distance would be fairly steep. The 1.9 diesel would not work at all.
My suggestion is to find out the cost to rail the boat to Vereeniging or try and find an empty truck returning to the Vaal area.

My keel "bangs" while sailing - is this normal? Follow up info, thanks to Kevin Black:
I last wrote in connection with needing a keel-wedge, as "Revelation" Sail no 185 seemed to be without one! It had totally disappeared! Well since then I have become somewhat of a "keel expert".

We dropped the keel in the harbour at Gordons Bay, and then pulled it up onto the side for inspection. Some corrosion was found, and the hole where the bolt goes through was badly eaten - possibly by electrolytic action of stainless and cast metal? Those areas were build up with epoxy, red oxide painted and we also re-bushed the pulleys.

The mast was dropped, tabernacle removed, and pulleys re-machined - also new bushes for the mast retaining bolts. The worn holes in the keel housing were also rebuilt with epoxy.

Jannie at Holiday Yachts kindly let us take a template off a keel housing, and we shaped a new nylon wedge, but did not drill the hole for the rod, as this position can vary from boat to boat. We dropped the keel back into the harbour, moored the boat alongside, and using a diver we re-threaded new line for winching the keel up. Coenie gazed on skeptically... Eventually we winched the keel up under the boat, and guided by a diver, up and into the housing - amazing! Finally, thanks to Coenie and Bernard, out she came onto the trailer-dolly for anti-foul, and the big moment - fitting the wedge! We dropped the keel again, and by tilting her as you drop she comes almost completely out - enough to give access to the bottom of the housing which was checked for damage, and cleaned out and painted. The wedge was placed - fitted perfectly, and marked for drilling. Drilled and fitted, the keel was lifted into place and the holes re-drilled through housing and keel for the retaining bolt, - a perfect fit. We also then tightened her up and put a gasket of 12mm rope and Sikaflex around the keel to prevent any "swaying" motion. A piece of black irrigation hose slid up the leading edge also prevents excessive wear in the fibreglass, and helps it to seat nicely when the wedge is screwed down. Next day back into the water, and she has sailed happily with not a bump from the keel since!

Keel banging is not normal and the rear screw-down wedge must be very tight.
I have had small holes drilled in my wedge screw and I fit a small s/s rod in the holes to give extra leverage when screwing down the wedge.
Needless to say I have no keel movement.
The older boats have a brass wedge which does not work that well. The newer boats have a nylon wedge which seats better.
The brass wedge also caused damage to the trailing edge of the keel when left to 'bang' as the writer puts it and once the training edge of the keel is damaged it is difficult to tighten the wedge. A sort of vicious circle.
This is not normal at all. The casing at the bottom of the hull may have collapsed near the wedge. In this case the keel must be dropped out of its housing and the hull re-glassed. The keel MUST always be wedged at all times or else the hull can de-laminate and horrors the boat actually sink.
It is best to put the wedge down while on a run as it then bites evenly.
After the initial tightening up with the mechanism, my keel needs repeated re-tightening after it has settled in . That can be up to 4 times. It doesn't need a lot of force, just to make the wedge settle in properly until the banging stops. When tightened up in this way, my keel feels very solid.
I also had a problem with the keel banging in the keel-box housing. I also screwed down the mechanism to secure the keel but could still feel the keel moving. I ended up taking the yacht out of the water and dropping the keel. There was a lot of growth, barnacles and stuff, inside the keel box, also a lot of the same ¾ of the way up the keel, I also noticed the rope attached to the keel for lifting was badly worn, I dread to think what could have happened if I was sailing along under full sails without the retaining pin in, and the keel fell out ( s#*t ).
I think this problem had been going on for years with the previous owner as there was damage at the base of the keel box were it comes out of the hull so, yes if you don’t have the keel tightly wedged inside the keel box housing at all times it will cause damage ….
I had similar problems. I have Martinique, sail number 134 also based at Mykonos. The problem was the keel housing had worn so badly that it was possible to turn the wedge down to the end of the rod without stopping that familiar thud! The fix:-
1. Sail the yacht around to Port Owen and contact Colin (0822550560) for a very affordable repair.
2. Have Colin place yacht on cradle and drop the keel completely.
3. Colin built up the keel housing for me with 732 Epoxy and reworked the worn areas of the keel housing to provide a close fit, and hey presto, no more problems.
4. When you reassemble, make sure you secure the safety line so that the keel bolt hole does not drop past the last housing hole.
I have sailed some 900 nm's now mostly around the lagoon and have had no further problems or thuds.
I regularly sail my yacht around the Langebaan lagoon and have bent so many keel bolts, that I keep a supply of new ones on board so have adopted the following procedure when sailing to Kraal Bay.
Leave keel wedged, take tension on the keel hauling mechanism, cleat it off securely and remove the bolt! Have you ever tried to remove that bolt when its bent like a banana and the the yacht is lying on it? I have no movement or thuds this way and if you have had a groundless sail, pop the bolt back when in deep water again.

Some owners may be interested in another little mod that Dave Barnes from Action Yachting did for me and has saved me lots of bucks now that I am able to haul my boat out and stand it on its keel (see pic in photo gallery) Dave had Harry Anders manufacture a recessed flange that is mounted to the keel housing with a tight fit adjacent to the lower keel bolt. The flange is about 45 mm in diameter and spreads the loading of the bolt nicely with an added bonus that I am now able to keep that area water tight with a suitable rubber grommet.

Contact Noel should you need more info (0832250317) or mooring 76 at Mykonos.
Views and comments on the "new" Holiday 23 Its nice but pretty much the same....
Remove your table and you also have plenty of room The freezer box is great, and the windows that can open. - Steve
The new H23 has some really nice features. Whilst the panel work is not as good as the old John Robertson builds (Nav centre console is a bit flimsy), the guys have made an effort to make the interior more appealing to the lady sailors.
The transom idea is great for an inboard motor, but would probably not be a good idea for an outboard. If you have not seen the boat, the transom folds out and down to form a stair to allow people to enter the cockpit from the water. Nice for a cruiser but not a racer. The double rudder has a much better look about it than the old H23. My preference would be to have a solid bar holding the rudder in place rather than the pins. I did have the unfortunate experience of rounding Robben Island last year and struck a submerged log. Rudder broke off as the pins bent out of the housing. I was running will full spinnaker and sails at the time. Bit scary as it was a double hander with my inexperienced wife aboard. Needless to say it was the fastest spinnaker drop in recorded history and my trusty outboard became the rudder, albeit very tricky. - Rob
My first impression walking up to the boat was the poorly faired hull and generally poor build quality. I was only impressed by the new opening portholes and the galley. The boat was fitted with equipment normally found on larger boats, like water pressure system, pump toilet, shower and black water tank.
I sailed my Holiday along the west coast in some blistering conditions last Christmas and found her to be an excellent sail boat. I can't see the need for a double rudder. I have enough trouble pulling up the one, never mind having to pull up two of them. I believe the double rudder is there to allow space for the fold down transom steps.
My general opinion is that the builders should have put more effort into the build quality than in tarting up a small boat with large yacht fittings.
Unless the builders make an effort to improve build quality, the old Holiday will be my favourite. - Helmut
I spent an hour on the new H23. Think the double rudder is fine. Makes it difficult if you have an outboard as the rear part of the cockpit also flaps down. They have winches on the roof instead of where we have them, which won't work. The inside is great and looks super. Still have some refinements to do.
One can get a very small Penta inboard. Saw them on the show - only a little heavier that say a 15hp outboard but should be better as it sits in the middle and closer to the keel. Unfortunately it will also take up some of the cabin area. - Andre
I find it difficult to set the genoa correctly using the track, as the genoa appears to overreach the track. The track is only used if you are using a smaller jib. The big no 1 genoa feeds directly from the sail clew back to a block situated about a foot behind the primary winches. Consider setting the big no 1 slightly loose in heavy weather and sail a bit off wind so as to avoid being overpowered, otherwise the boat tends to round up very rapidly into weather.
If using a furling system, consider putting a barber hauler on the track or even slightly forward of the track. This would pull the sail down and make the furled jib set better as you shorten the sail.
When I use the genoa I do not use the track next to the window. See picture herewith. I have a block aft of the winch that I use with the genoa. The track works fine for the worker and No 4 jib.
Some of the H23's that sail with a roller furler use a tweaker when the full genoa is rolled out, with the sheet also going through aft of the winch block.
My experience with the genoa track is that it was fitted for changing head sails and the roller furler came later. I have a roller furler and the block for this sail is fitted as far back as the cockpit cubby hole. in fact the fasteners of the port side block are accessible from the cubby hole this suits the sail in all positions.
I don't think the track was meant to be used for the genoa, I have a block on the deck foward of the spinnaker block, to adjust the slot a barber hauler can be attached to the sheet using a block attached in the vicinity of the track with a rope going round the sheet through the block to a cleat.
This also works with spinnaker sheet.
I had the same problem with the genoa sheeting angle on a roller furler.  I removed the old track and fitted a longer one.  This was quite a job not to damage the interior.  I removed the trim piece of wood and used a small angle grinder to open the space.  I supported the track inside with an aluminium strip.  This has made a huge difference to the shape of the sail when set.
What size outboard motor should I use?

The originally offered extras when purchasing a Holiday 23 new from "John Robertson Yachts" in June 1987 were either Mariner/Mercury 5 or 8 HP Long shaft outboards.
A 5 HP outboard short shaft is cons
idered to be the minimum size and barely adequate for use on inland waters. However, during highveld storms or at sea an 8 HP long shaft is essential, not so much for the power, as for the length of the shaft. A short shaft is inclined to lose grip as the prop exits the water on waves or with heel when motor sailing (entering port for example.) It also performs poorly when reversing.
The prop on a long shaft does occasionally snag the water with the motor lifted and tilted but, as
Holiday 23's do not like to sail too well heeled, this usually indicates that it is time to shorten sail.

If the standard motor bracket is mounted then a long shaft will have the correct height i.e the anti-cavitation plate will be about 5cm below the water level.

When was my yacht built? The first Holiday 23's were built by John Robertson Yachts from around 1986 and the last ones in the early nineties.
Year Sail Numbers Notes
1986 001 -  
... ...  
1990 169, 170  
What roller furler should I use?
There are a number of furling systems available in SA and you will find that the specs are in general similar and most will have a unit suitable for the H23.
Most of us would need to have the unit fitted at a yard, and my suggestion would be to obtain quotations from your local yards as they normally have suppliers/makes that they are familiar with. They would then offer prices on the system, the new stay and the fitting.
Alternatively you could research the systems by contacting local chandlers to obtain the specs for the units they offer.
I need replacement parts? Sparcraft in Cape Town have the templates, sizes and lengths of all rigging.
Contact Sparcraft S.A., 021 555 3470, 021 555 3471, or

Associated Rigging can also makeup the required front stay and post to Maputo, Contact: Warren Frasier +27825732182

How do I raise and lower the mast?