Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amateur Boatbuilders

We have developed a strong following among amateur boatbuilders over many years. This did not happen by accident because my own roots are deeply bedded in amateur projects of my own. I built my first boat in 1974, a 4.5m (14' 9") tortured plywood single-handed trapeze catamaran that I raced for a few years. This was also the first design that I drew, as an inexperienced amateur.

That was followed in 1975 by the 11m (36ft) "Tai-Neam" to a van de Stadt design, the 10m (34ft) "Concept Won" to our award winning CW975 design and the 11.5m (38ft) "Black Cat" to our Didi 38 design, prototype for our very successful radius chine plywood building method. There were also a few dinghies and canoes, the last being the prototype of the Paper Jet trapeze skiff design.

But this post is not about my own projects, it is about other amateurs building our boats. They number in the thousands. Most go about building their boats at their own pace, then launch and sail them without ever contacting us again.

The boat above is an Hout Bay 30, built in Germany by Christiane and Jorg Langanky. They built their boat, sent me photos and have now sailed away to cruise the world.

There are also many builders who like to show  their projects, to proudly display what they have achieved. I am thankful to those builders for sending us the info, either photos or links to websites or blogs about their projects.

We have a large section of our website dedicated to amateur projects of all sizes, with photos of boats being built and completed projects. Some of them have links to websites where the owners have taken the trouble to document every step of the build with photos, posting them for others to follow.

Time pressure has prevented me from adding to that section for awhile but technology came to my rescue. Now many builders choose blogs to show their projects. When they send us the link we list them on our Amateur Builders Web Links.

If you are considering building a boat yourself and are concerned about your ability to take on such a build, take a look at the projects. The links are sorted by design to make it easier to find what you want. Most of these pages are in the language of the builder but some browsers can be set to automatically translate them into your own language.

Here are some examples from our list.
Quinn Farnes building his Paper Jet in California.
Sergey Bogdanov building his Argie 15 in Russia.
Roland Zellweger building his Didi 26 on a beach in the Philippines.
Jarl Steffanson building his Hout Bay 33 in Iceland.
Marco Gheri and Alessio Bianchi building their Vickers 45AC in Italy
If you are already building one of our boats and you have a blog for the project, please send me the link so that I can add it to the list.

Have a great holiday season.

Dudley Dix

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Italian Job

Today was the launch day for the new Dix 38 Pilot, “Imagine”. She is owned by Giulio and Lidia Mazzolini of Milan but will be berthed here in Trieste, near to the holiday home of the owners.

“Imagine” was beautifully built by the expert Italian craftsmen of Cantiere Alto Andriatico S.r.l. This is a yard that is expert in building and restoring wooden boats to a very high standard. I was privileged to be able to see a number of boats that they have built or restored, some of which were on an exhibition that I was able to visit in Trieste.
“Imagine” is aluminium, so somewhat out of the main area of expertise of Caintiere Alto Andriatico but they seem to have adapted their skills to finish her in gorgeous style. They received an unfinished hull, after the original builders went into liquidation and have taken her through to completion.

The rig must still be fitted to “Imagine” and a few other things sorted out, as is always the case with a new boat. It will be a few weeks before she comes to life under sail.

I congratulate the owners and the builders on the new baby. She makes me proud.

Dudley Dix