Friday, April 13, 2012

Ost Power 20 - An International Effort

The Ost Power 20 is a new powerboat design that was commissioned by Ost Yachts of Moscow, Russia. The design brief was for a production GRP boat of very modern "stealth" styling and which could be economically shipped internationally in containers. The first boat was introduced at the Moscow Boat Show last month and will be doing demos in the Moscow area throughout the summer.

Ost Power 20 on the Moscow Boat Show

This project turned into a true international effort, with multiple countries involved. I am a South African designer working in USA for a Russia client. The hull and deck plugs were made on a 5-axis router in Virginia, USA and were shipped to China. There the plugs were brought up to final finish and moulds were taken from them. The hull and deck components are moulded in China, with all stiffening added in the moulds. Then they are nested inside 40ft containers and shipped to the builder in Moscow, Russia. In Moscow they are assembled and all joinery and hardware added to complete them for sale into the Russian market. The first boat taken from the moulds underwent some testing in China.

The first boat testing in China

Ost Yachts plan to show their boats on boat shows in Europe. Visit the Ost Yachts Website.

Visit for more inforamtion on all of our designs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

WOOD Regatta

It is time for the WOOD Regatta again and I encourage anyone with a small to moderate size wooden boat to join us for a weekend of fun. If you are on the US Mid-Atlantic Coast or nearby, it is well worth the effort to be there.

This is a weekend of racing but the emphasis is on fun rather than proving that you are Olympic medal material. Everybody there is a lover of wooden boats, especially the particular one that they will be sailing. Many of them have been lovingly restored or have been built by their owners, so they have little interest in enforcing their rights at marks or on the start line by bashing you out of the way. You need a working knowledge of the racing rules to be competitive but, if you are short of experience in that department, hang back from the fray to be safe.

Venue for the event is Rock Hall Yacht Club, on the Delmarva Peninsula, on the East side of Chesapeake Bay. The on-site facilities are good, with a club restaurant and plenty of space for camping in very pleasant surroundings. The club also has a swimming pool and rolling lawns for family to relax while you are sailing.

View of the sailing waters from Rock Hall Yacht Club.

I will be there with my Paper Jet #1 and invite any other Paper Jet owners on the East Coast to join me there. Argie 15s would also be great boats to sail in this regatta, so please join us there. Last year there were entries from as far away as Massachusetts and Maine. I think that there was also someone who drove from Michigan.

Go to to read more info and to download Notice of Race and application forms. Deadline for entry is 5th May, so put this on your "to do" list for action this month.
Rock Hall Yacht Club from the dinghy beach. Camping is along the tree line to the right of the club house.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

eBook Version of "Shaped by Wind & Wave"

Thanks to the support from all who have bought my printed book "Shaped by Wind & Wave", sales have gone well in the weeks since it was launched. I have now also converted it to eBook format to expand the range of reading options for those who prefer to download and read on one of the many eBook readers or a computer.

It can be bought from by clicking here . The free eBook reading program Adobe Didital Editions is needed to read it on a Windows computer. This program can also be installed via a link on the eBook download page.

To view our boat designs, go to

Friday, April 6, 2012

Last day for discounted book

Thanks to all who have already bought my book, we have had a surges of sales the past few days while the publisher has had a general disount on all publications. Today is the last day to buy at the discounted price. From tomorrow it will be back at the normal price.

Go to


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why do we build boats?

In the March/April 2012 issue of Wooden Boat Magazine the Editor, Matt Murphy, picks up on a discussion on the Wooden Boat Forum about whether to buy or build your own boat. This is an issue that is very close to my heart and soul. I would not go so far as to say that my life was aimless before I started to build my own boats but it certainly did change for the better from that first boat. It was the spark that took me into a string of builds and into a career in boat design.

I have responded to Wooden Boat with a letter to the editor, which I hope will be published in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, I have permission from Wooden Boat to publish it here on my blog. It makes this post a bit long, so I apologise. Please bear with me, I hope that you will read what I had to say.

Dear Matt,

Today I read your editorial "To Build or to Buy" in the March/April 2012 issue of Wooden Boat. Thank you for highlighting this issue. I know that I have a vested interest in the good health of amateur boatbuilding. I make my living primarily by designing boats that are intended more for amateur builders than their professional counterparts. With that "full disclosure" out of the way, I would like to comment as the amateur boatbuilder inside me that has always provided my main driving force.

I have built, with my own hands, almost every boat that I have ever owned. This started as a young child with tin canoes, sealed with pitch and paddled with the end pieces from wooden peach boxes. I have received such pleasure from creating all of those beautiful things myself, from "sticks and glue" bought from the hardware store, an enjoyment that is hard to put into words. There is a satisfaction that comes out of it that will never be understood by those who have not built a boat themselves. There is intense joy that is felt when that boat first floats and on the first sail, when all of it finally comes together and the dream is fulfilled.

There is a common saying that we have all heard many times. "The best days for a boat owner are the day that he buys it and the day that he sells it". I can see that it may be true for a boat that is bought. I cannot see it being true when you have created that boat with your own energy, with much sweat and and blood spilled in the process. I have felt sadness when parting ways with all of my boats but life has to move on.

I have built many small boats and three big ones (34-38ft). Most of this was building by myself with some help from friends or family when needed. I have a head-full of memories that will never leave me. I remember clearly exactly what led up to me losing my concentration and running my thumb through a spindle router when shaping a small part for my 38ft boat. That loss of control cost me much pain and loss of work but I will never forget the lesson learned.

I remember how difficult it was to lift my 34ft boat and slide it sidewards in my back garden, to remove it from its position on top of the mast with a spreader base through the bottom of the hull. It came to be there because nature is much more powerful than I am and had sent a Cape Town gale to pick the boat up bodily and dump it on top of my very new mast.

I remember how I cried when the person who had bought my 36ft boat from me destroyed her. I remember seeing hundreds of pieces of boat scattered among the boulders. To others they were just pieces of wood; I knew every piece of wood, exactly where I had built it into the boat. I felt that a big piece of me was destroyed along with that boat.

When you build a boat you have an affinity to it that cannot be easily described. You shape the character of that boat in the process and your own character grows along with it. I am currently rebuilding a classic British sports car that was given to me as a wreck. My neighbours, who have never created much with their own hands, have asked me if I knew how big a task I was taking on with this car. I reply that it is no big deal, any big project is a succession of small projects and I will get there, all in good time. This project is small compared with building a big boat but people who have not done such projects cannot comprehend it. Restoring a car or a boat that somebody else created long ago gives much satisfaction but it cannot compare with shaping a multitude of bits of wood into a new boat, creating an entirely new entity that would never have existed but for you and your passion, energy and endurance.

With my amateur boatbuilding hat replaced by my yacht designer's hat, I must comment also on a related issue. I received an email a few weeks ago from someone who had apparently considered building one of my designs but decided against it. He said that the $400 price of my plans added too much to the overall cost of building a boat when he could buy an ageing used boat of the same size for $1000. Frankly, anyone who has that mindset should rather buy than build because he will never appreciate the effort that goes into producing a good set of drawings nor what is involved in building a boat. That particular drawing set comprises more than 20 large paper drawings and two strips of costly 36" wide Mylar full-size patterns. They show very clear detailing that was drawn in a CAD program and are printed on expensive roll-media architectural plotters. They took many hundreds of hours to prepare to a standard that can be understood by people who are not trained as boatbuilders, architects or engineers. The price also includes full access to me to ask questions if needed from start to finish of the project.

I don't understand how all of that cannot be worth $400. Maybe it is all part of the mindset that has destroyed manufacturing in USA and sent it all off to China to be made by others at both lower price and quality, turning Americans into buyers instead of creators. Get up out of your computer chair and create something. It doesn't have to be a boat, just create something for yourself instead of buying it. You will be surprised what enjoyment and sense of achievement you will get out of it.

Dudley Dix

Virginia Beach, VA

Monday, April 2, 2012

Book discounts

The publishers of my book 'Shaped by Wind & Wave" are offereing a limited time mystery discount to all buyers of everything that is published by them. To take advantage of this offer click on the link above , the discount will be applied when the item is placed into your shopping cart.

Time runs out on this offer on Friday April 6th, so get in on it soon.

See our range of boat designs at