Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend

The Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend WA ended a week ago. Two days of off-and-on light drizzle washed the smoke from the wild fires out of the air and Sunday turned into a gorgeous day with lots of visitors. There were three boat of our design on display.

The Didi Cruise-Mini "Segue" has been at the Festival many times. Her owners, David and Nancy Blessing, have become good friends of mine over the past few years and hosted me in their beautiful home in Port Ludlow. Their boat was built by the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock. The Festival gave me the opportunity to view some of the beautiful boats built by the school and also on display. I also spent a few pleasant hours in the company of Executive Director Betsy Davis and some of the many people who make this school a valuable resource of the boating community. The school may be available to build our smaller designs, up to about 21ft, but the bigger boats would not fit into the requirements of their programs.
Didi Cruise-Mini "Segue".
The Cape Henry 21 "Slough Coot" is owned by Michael and Jody Baccellieri of Portland OR. Their boat attracted an endless stream of visitors to visit aboard and talk about her. Michael and Jody had spent the previous 2 weeks cruising the beautiful islands and anchorages of Puget Sound and were very happy to chat about their capable little vessel.
Michael and Jody aboard their Cape Henry 21 "Slough Coot".
The Didi Mini Mk3 "Voodoo Child" was built by amateur Mark Paterson in Vancouver BC, to an extremely high standard that rivals the best produced by many professional boatyards. Visitors who talked to me after being aboard "Voodoo Child" all spoke of the incredible standard of finish and the many features that Mark built into his boat. She is very well-equipped, including carbon mast, boom and sprit. We took her out to sail in the Friday race, unfortunately into the worst possible conditions for a Mini 650 to show her paces. We had a boat, designed for windy downwind racing and trans-ocean passage-making, in a sometimes windless around-the-cans race where contrary current was at times faster than boat speed. I will have to sail on her another time to experience her speed in her own conditions.
Didi Mini Mk3 "Voodoo Child".
I had flown to the Pacific Northwest via Portland so that I could visit friends in that area. One was the owner of a Lotus Europa similar to my own, to help him to sort out some problems. That done, we took it for a spin on Vancouver WA roads, giving me even more appreciation for my own car, which I had resurrected from a lifeless wreck over a 5-year rebuild. Just a few more jobs to do to complete the total body-off restoration. People wonder when I walk up to this tiny car how a tall guy like me can fit into a car with the roof below waist level. The saying is that you don't get into a Lotus, you put it on like a pair of trousers, one leg at a time. 😊
The roof of my Lotus comes only to the bottom of the windows of my wife's Chev Sonic compact.  Seen here with my Ford Windstar and son-in-law's jacked SUV for contrast with my "toy" car.
To see our full range of boat designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Happenings with Radius Chine Plywood Projects

My agent in Italy, Leo Giammanco of Nautikit, sent me photos a few days ago of a new Didi 40cr. Many of these boats in the Didi 38/40/40cr series have been or are being built in Mediterranean countries, including 6 in Italy. This one is named "Mia" and was built by Stefano Consolini. She was launched at the Marina di Ravenna, east of Bologna on the Adriatic Sea.

Stefano appears to have done a really nice job of creating "Mia". He has built her as a nicely-detailed comfortable cruiser with 18mm skin and concentration on strength, rather than lightness and performance. Stefano started the project in 2006 and worked as a lifeguard to finance the build.
"Mia" gets wet for the first time.
Nicely finished as a fast cruiser.
Meanwhile, in Russia, Vitaly Ghazarayan of Krasnodar has stepped the rig on his Didi 34, with the help of a group of friends. They did this without a crane, showing that with a good dose of resourcefulness, amateur builders can do almost anything. Those of us who launch where yacht club cranes and derricks are readily available, wouldn't dream of doing this.

This series of photos shows the process that they used.

Moving the mast into position.
The lift starts, using a pole fastened to the cabin roof as a spreader to gain mechanical advantage.
Up she goes, nearly there.
Securely in place, sorting out backstay, halliards, electronics etc.
To see more of these and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.



Monday, July 31, 2017

Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend

That season is coming around again, time for the Wooden Boat Festival in the beautiful little Pacific Northwest town of Port Townsend, WA. This is the 41st edition of one of the most popular wooden boat events in the world, with hundreds of wooden boats on show and dozens of presentations on a wide range of subjects of interest to boating people. Dates are 8th to 10th September 2017. The festival website is not yet fully functional but that will come soon.

Among those many boats will be three of our 21ft plywood sailboats, all different, which can be visited on the docks.
David Blessing's Didi Cruise-Mini "Segue". This is the detuned cruising version of our Didi Mini single-handed trans-Atlantic raceboat.
Michael Baccellieri's Cape Henry 21, "Slough Coot". She was built with some deviations from our design but the current owner is working to get her closer to the original drawings.
Mark Paterson's Didi Mini Mk3 "Voodoo Child". This is the full racing version of our Mini-Transat racer, with the newer hull shape and rig. 
I will also be taking part in the presentations. I will participate in the Designers' Forum, along with other boat designers, moderated by Jay Benford. This is from 12h00 to 13h00 on Friday 8th in the Cascade Room. Bring your boat design and construction questions to this session and observe how diverse the range of opinions and solutions can be among designers with different backgrounds and design styles. This is normally a very interesting gathering.

I will have my own session in the Cascade Room from 09h30 to 10h30 on Sunday 10th. My presentation is titled "Surviving a Capsize on the Ocean". Nobody can guarantee who will survive an ocean capsize but this presentation is aimed at making boaters aware of the many factors that are working together to reduce their chances of escaping alive from a capsized boat. Armed with that knowledge, they will be better prepared to choose the best options if they do ever have the misfortune of being inside or under an inverted boat.

To see our range of boat designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.