Monday, February 20, 2017

First Didi 29 Retro Sailing Photos

Bruce Mierke has had his Didi 29 Retro "Arabella" in Florida the past few weeks and has been pretty busy sailing her. Now he and his boat are back home and Bruce has sent me some sailing photos. She looks very pretty under sail and shows the clean wake of a slippery hull.

About his sailing, Bruce said "I have been sailing her as a cutter in light winds under 10. With Yankee, staysail,and full main that gets me 544sf of sail up. And she handles very good. And with that much sail up moves in very light winds. Just a lot of lines to handle when tacking. Had her out yesterday in 20 to 25 with double reef main and staysail still getting her to point 35-40 degs and doing 8.25 with two friends. But rail was in the water a lot. Still can't imagine having the bigger rig."
Nice-looking sails, Bruce single-handing in about 10 knots.
Nice flat wake of an easily-driven hull.
A small classically-styled yacht that can cover miles at a good clip.
Bruce built a shorter and narrower cabin than our design, which is proportioned to give comfortable accommodation down below for weekending.
A pretty boat from all angles.
The bigger rig that Bruce referred to is the one for Mike Kopman, who commissioned this design. But that is exactly what Mike wanted, a fast and easily driven hull with a big rig for classic racing, crewed by a select bunch of well-experienced heavies on the rail. It will be interesting to watch them taking their boat around the race course.

To see more of this and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Up and Over with a Didi 40cr

David Edmiston in New South Wales, Australia, is building a Didi 40cr, in its newest form. This is with the hull flare increased aft to give more deck area and space for a T-shape cockpit. I haven't yet figured a decent name for this version, so for the moment it is the "Wide Stern Version of the Didi 40cr". David has made pretty good time building her, he is an amateur builder having bought his plans in May 2014.

Yesterday his boat made a major move, from his garden to a spot near to the water in Sydney Harbour. The start of that journey was unusual, in how the boat was removed from the building site. I will let the photos speak for themselves.
Lifted off her building cradle, this view shows the beautiful finish that David has achieved on his hull.
Up she goes.
And up some more. Note the spreader bars on the slings to relieve the squeezing loads that would be applied to the hull if they weren't there.
And over the roof. Few boats get to have such a good view of their building site. Her building cradle is at extreme right.
And onto a transporter for a quick ride to the harbour.
And away she goes, out of the neighbourhood. Being a wooden boat, her build will not have disturbed the neighbours much. Some of them may even miss watching a big project like this, which often becomes a focal point for gatherings and building neighbourhood spirit.
Her keel is delivered to the harbour. This is a steel casing with lead ballast poured in.
Then her hull is lowered over the bolts for initial dry-fit, followed by permanent bonding.
This is a slightly bigger sister to "Black Cat", the Didi 38 prototype that I built in Cape Town 20 years ago. It has the same hull but extended with a 2ft longer stern overhang. It also has a longer cabin with a bit more accommodation length.

It won't be long before David's new boat is in the water and sailing. I will post new photos when I have.

To see more of this and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Friday, February 10, 2017

DH550 "Wild Vanilla" Videos

The owner of the DH550 "Wild Vanilla" sent me videos of his boat. Here are two of the best ones, courtesy of Roy Wirthlin.

This one is a drone video of her sailing in light breeze off southern Florida.


This is an onboard video, sailing at 10 knots in 10 knots of breeze, about 15 knots apparent. She slips along easily with little wake.
To see more of this and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Didi 29 Retro and DH550, Two Boats with a Connection

This week two owners have sent me rather nice "at rest" photos of their boats.

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.
Bruce has some sailing photos, taken this week. He will send them to me when he is back home.

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.
For more info on these and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black Cat Report from Rio

Didi 38 "Black Cat" arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 21st January in great style but with a very dead motor. One of the two cylinders had blown its head gasket a few days earlier. The motor was needed to charge batteries for the electrical needs of lighting, communication, instrumentation, navigation, watermaker etc., so they made some modifications to allow it to run on the remaining good cylinder. That eventually also gave in, so they received a tow from the finish line to the yacht club. A local mechanic has been assisting them to repair the motor.

Dave has given really good reports about their treatment at Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro this year. That is good news for us yotties because the club members have been somewhat less than welcoming at the end of past races. This time crews have had full access to all parts of the club, whereas we were not permitted inside the clubhouse before. I had been lucky enough to have had meals in the excellent club restaurant in previous years because I was on the race committee, so had better than average privileges. Dave says that they have been very helpful with sorting out the engine problems as well.
Iate Clube do Rio de Janeiro
Most of the above came from Dave in a phone call. Here is his report received by email yesterday.
 
"Hi All

Just a quick update to let you all know what is happening here in Rio. We are still waiting on the mechanic, who yesterday, put the whole motor back together with newly done valves to gasket etc. We attempted to start and still no compression in cylinder no 2... After much discussion we stripped the whole motor out and are now looking at rings and pistons. Basically a major rebuild. So we wait again until Friday or Saturday. Not a problem just a bit frustrating. We did want to go to the Islands south of Rio, however that is now out of the plans. So we, with any luck, will be heading home on Saturday morning.

Rio and the yacht club here has been more than welcoming and a good time is being had by all.

Will send another update when things develop.

Cheers
Wavy"

Plans have changed since Dave wrote that report. With the motor out of the boat and being rebuilt in the mechanic's workshop, they decided to sail to the Bay of Islands for a few days of relaxed cruising before returning to Rio for the motor to go in again ahead of the voyage back home. They should be anchored somewhere around the idyllic Isla Grande right now.
I took this photo at my favourite spot in the Bay of Islands, Saco do Cue, in 1996. The little girl in the rubber duckie is my daughter, 8 years old at the time.
I will update when I have more info about their plans to depart Rio for Cape Town.