First was "Arabella", the Didi 29 Retro of Bruce Mierke. This radius chine plywood monohull has retro styling and a gaff rig and has surprised some with her nimble performance and handling. She was exhibited on the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show in October then launched in North Carolina. She sailed for a week or two before going to her inland South Carolina winter home. Now she is afloat again, this time in the warmer waters of Florida.
|Didi 29 Retro "Arabella" now in the warmer Florida water.|
Click on the photos to enlarge.
The other boat is the DH550 prototype "Wild Vanilla". She is a radius chine plywood cruising catamaran of very modern styling. Built by Phil Harvey in Trinidad, she is now owned by Roy Wirthlin and lives in southern Florida. Roy is very proud of his boat, particularly the interest that she attracts. In his email today he passed on these comments.
"We have the boat located just north of West Palm Beach FL and I can’t tell you the number of comments that we get: “that is the most beautiful cat I have ever seen.” One older gentleman made a point of chasing us down to find out what make it was, he said: “I have been sailing for over 40 years and that is the best looking cat I have ever seen … makes me think I might go over to the ‘dark side’ :).”
Even the bridge operators have given us compliments.
“Speed of a Catana, with the space of a Lagoon and so easy on the eyes” is how I describe her."
Thanks Roy, for your comments.
|DH550 prototype "Wild Vanilla".|
Roy has also given me some videos of "Wild Vanilla" sailing, both from inside the boat and from a drone. I will post some of those here in a day or two.
So, what is the connection between a 29ft classic monohull and a 55ft modern catamaran, aside from construction material and method? The are close to opposites in concept but are both derived from the same earlier design, the very popular Didi 26. The Didi 29 Retro hull is the same as the Didi 26 but extended aft into a counter stern. The DH550 has Didi 26 hulls that are reproportioned to the needs of a big cat.
|Didi 26 "Panic Knot". Her design is the basis for both of the other boats mentioned.|