Saturday, December 7, 2013

Update on Didi Sport 15 and Didi 950

I have recently added two new radius chine plywood designs to our range and wrote about them on this blog. Here are updates on both boats.

Yesterday I visited the prototype of the Didi Sport 15 (DS15) that is being built by Hunter Gall in Virginia Beach. I hadn't seen it in the flesh for a few weeks and wanted to see how the deck is looking as it comes together. Hunter is doing a really nice job of his project, working slowly but meticulously.

His boat, "Scallywag", is looking very pretty. He stained the hull surfaces blue and the deck surfaces red before doing the epoxy coatings and these colours will be highlighted by areas of clear-finished timber. It all entailed a tremendous amount of extra work to get it right than if he had painted it in the normal way. The final result is very attractive and she will be an eye-catcher when complete. Hunter can be pleased with the overall results.

The deck configuration that I designed is unusual, with a raised mast deck and wave-breaker above a flat foredeck and the open self-draining cockpit. It gives a decidedly retro image to the deck, over the thoroughly modern hull. It reminds me somewhat of the Lightweight Australian Sharpies that my Dad sailed in South Africa when I was a child. That makes it  somehow fitting that Hunter Gall is Australian, I am South African and we have ended up working together on this project in USA.

Hunter Gall's DS15 project nearing completion
Other news on the DS15 is that work will start in the next few weeks on moulds to build a composite version in Europe. I will release more information about it after I return from the Cape to Rio Race, by which time the builder may be ready to start receiving enquiries.

The other boat was the Didi 950, for which the prototype kit has been cut and will be delivered to the builder in the next week or two. It appears that this is going to be a popular design because we have sold plan packages for another three boats since announcing the design.
Didi 950, bigger sister to the DS15
 One of those boats will result in a variation on the design, with a lifting keel. A lifting keel was part of the original concept for the builder of the prototype but he decided in the end on the simplicity of a fixed keel. The lifting keel proved to be a very viable option, using the same basic keel support arrangement as the fixed keel with no structural redesign. The major difference will be moving the motor aft to a position under the companionway, driving a saildrive rather than a shaft. This is to make room for the lifting keel to rise through the galley central locker unit.

The prototype of this design is to be built in Ohio, USA. The others that have been ordered will be built in Australia, Latvia and Greece. There is interest from other countries as well.

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