Monday, September 9, 2013

Hitting the Nail on the Head with CC19

We all know what it means to "hit the nail on the head". Taken literally, it is so satisfying to hit a nail so square and hard that it drives a long way into the timber. Just a few such blows and it is home, securing whatever its destiny in life was to hold in its given place. Taken figuratively it means that we have expressed an idea very clearly and in a way that resonates with others.

In just the same way, it is possible to design something that is just perfect, that we would not like to do any differently if we were to start again from the beginning, even if armed with the experience that came from the use of that product. A designer can and should get tremendous satisfaction from his/her involvement in the process whenever that nail is so squarely struck on the head. I have been lucky enough to find that nail a few times.

The Cape Cutter 19 is just such a design. I really would not change anything at all about that little boat. I have not sailed them enough and hope that I will get many more opportunities to sail them. The sailing that I have done has always impressed me with the extraordinary speed, handling and ability of this little boat.
Two Cape Cutter 19s drying out in UK.
 It is not a racing boat, so don't expect it to plane downwind like a sportboat. It is a little cruiser that can sometimes make you feel like you can take on the sportboats. Take it out in light conditions and it will sail past virtually any other cruiser or cruiser/racer of similar size, as well as taking out many much larger boats that should be a whole lot faster. It is oh so satisfying to sail past a boat that looks much faster but isn't.

It is not only a light-weather boat though. Remember, I grew up sailing the waters of the Cape of Good Hope and spent most of my life sailing there. Most circumnavigators tackle the Southern tip of Africa with great trepidation because of the often violent wind and sea conditions. For those who live there, those are the conditions that are given, so they have to be dealt with. I designed the Cape Cutter 19 to sail those waters safely, with due diligence by the skipper, of course.

There is a really nice independent review of the CC19 and it's bigger sisters on the SA Yacht Blog . It includes observations by the author of boats to these designs that he has seen in action around the Cape of Good Hope and how they have managed in those conditions.

These boats are loved by their owners and they are very sad to part with them. One such owner is Russell Eden in UK, who sold his CC19 this past weekend. I received these messages from Russell, repeated with his permission.

"I sold my Cape Cutter 19 today after three years of ownership.

She was number 47, built in SA. I wanted to personally thank you for creating such a beautiful craft. Each and every day I sailed her I had people approach me to talk. People would sail/motor over to take photos and video. People offered me money for her, there, on the spot.

I've only sold her because my wife says she will come sailing with me more often if we had a boat with full standing room and a heads. I would have kept her forever otherwise.

I'm sitting here now wondering what I've done; I've let go perhaps the most wonderful piece of property I've ever owned. No doubt I'll get over it in time, but I doubt I'll ever own anything quite so easy on the eye, or so wonderful on the water.

Thank you for designing her."


Russell followed up with:-

"I really meant it too. You designed something which grown men cry after.

 That said, it was only ever the white ones I lusted after. I think you need to be able to see the lapstrake, which you can't always do on the darker hulls."


Russell Eden sailing his CC19 "Zephyr".
Thank you Russell, for your kind words. I get great satisfaction from them.

The Cape Cutter 19 is a GRP production boat built in UK by Honnor Marine . It can also be built from plywood from plans that we supply at http://dixdesign.com/ . There you can see our wide range of other designs as well.