Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Update on Wide Stern Versions of Didi 40 and Didi 40cr

In February I posted about the wide stern version of the Didi 40cr being built in Australia. Read that earlier post. Amateur builder David Edmiston sent me an update photo with the deck and cockpit nearing completion.
Wider stern at deck level, with T-cockpit.
The underbody of the hull is unchanged, with the topsides more flared to give the wider deck. This allows a broader T-shape cockpit that will work with either tiller or a larger wheel than can fit into the original format.

A plywood Didi 40 being built in India uses this same hull with a different deck and longer cockpit. That boat will be used as the plug for moulds, from which series-built sandwich GRP boats will be produced. The builder is XS-Marines in Mumbai.
Plywood hull being skinned with jigsaw-jointed panels.
Stern view of the Didi 40 wide stern version.
The boats on this post are essentially updated versions of the Didi 38 "Black Cat", the boat that kicked off our radius chine plywood design range.

To see more about our full design range visit our main website or our mobile website.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Didi 29 Retro Project Nearly Done

Bruce Mierke is building his Didi 29 Retro "Arabella" in North Carolina. I have shown his project before, showing his beautiful craftsmanship. Bruce built her from a CNC plywood kit that we supplied.

Bruce's boat is nearing completion and looks really good in the newest photos. These show her pulled out of the workshop, with her rig standing for the first time. The mast stands in a tabernacle and Bruce pulled it upright with a spinnaker pole and tackle system.
Didi 29 Retro "Arabella", beautifully built by Bruce Mierke.
Bruce is a professional boatbuilder and is building this boat for himself. He has many of his own ideas that have gone into the build, so there are some differences from our stock design. These include the cabin configuration and much of the interior. The final result is a good-looking boat with hull lines that promise exciting sailing.
Gaff rig with carbon spars. Clean lines of a radius chine plywood hull.
"Arabella" has an articulating carbon bowsprit that retracts to stow along the side deck. The inboard end of the sprit runs on a track with control lines led to the cockpit.
Articulated and retracting carbon bowsprit.
Carbon bowsprit slides through forestay chainplate fitting.
"Arabella" will be launched in a few months. Next update when she is afloat.

To see our full range of designs visit our main website or our mobile website.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Didi Sport 15 Adaptive - Sportboat for those with Handicaps

I have written in previous posts about the Didi Sport 15, aka the DS15. You can see one of those posts at this link or use the search window to view the many other posts.

This design caught the attention of two sailors in Santa Cruz, California. George Arthur and Luc de Faymoreau are involved with an accessible sailing program, helping sailors with disabilities to get afloat and sailing. They asked if it would be possible to redesign the DS15 to be suitable for disabled sailors and still have good performance.

The resulting design process has produced a specialised version of the DS15, using the same hull and foils as the base platform but with modified deck and sail plan. The name of the new design is the Didi Sport 15 Accessible, aka the DS15A. We don't yet have a design page for it on our website, that will come with time.
The DS15, basis for the new accessible boat
The deck modifications are to allow two sailors to sit in tandem in secure seats. The crew are seated in a narrower cockpit that allows them to brace themselves against solid structure when they feel the need, or to lean against something solid. The cockpit has low comfortable coamings that crew can hook an arm or an elbow onto, to hold themselves to windward if they want. Severely handicapped or weak crew can be strapped into the seats with harnesses if needed, to assure their safety.
3D Image of the DS15A accessible sportboat.
The rig has been reduced in power because the crew will not have the benefit of the stability advantages from mobile crew and single or twin trapezes. The ballast bulb on the daggerboard will be standard equipment rather than an optional item as with the DS15. It has a smaller asymmetrical spinnaker as well, on a shorter retractable bowsprit, for more advanced sailors in the program.
DS15A sail plan, reduced power but still exciting.
Sail controls are all led to the two seats, with camcleats on the sidedecks or cockpit sole, to share boat handling functions between skipper and crew. Some controls can be operated from either seat, to help with sail training or to better serve crew with different disabilities. Steering is by means of joysticks mounted in front of each seat, driving cables that are connected to the tiller.

This boat is not only for those with physical handicaps though. It is also well-suited to those who feel that they no longer have the agility or fast reactions demanded by a powerful boat like the standard DS15. It is also less intimidating to many wives and other less adventurous people who would still like to get out onto their local sailing waters with less fear that their thrill-seeking partners are going to scare the daylights out of them.

The first boat is about to start construction in Santa Cruz, being built from a plywood component kit, accurately cut by CNC router and shipped from our kit supplier on the East Coast. Construction is radiused chine plywood, giving a round bilge hull that is within the abilities of amateurs. From this first boat they will make moulds, whereafter fibreglass boats will be produced for the use of their own program and to fill orders from other programs and individuals.

We will also sell the design on the same basis as applies to the DS15, so it will be available as plans only, plans with full-size patterns or plans with a CNC kit.

I look forward to seeing the first of these versatile boats sailing. I will update progress with future posts on this blog.

To see our other designs, go to our desktop website or our mobile website.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

An Orca on Lake Baikal

I wrote yesterday about our boats being built in Ukraine. We have sold our plans to builders in 90 countries, so many of them are being built very in exotic places, places about which most of know almost nothing. The thing to keep in mind is that most of us consider our own particular home locations, wherever they might be, to be just that, home, and not very exotic. But to others in far-off lands my "home" may be the place of dreams and a place that they consider very exotic.

Following on that post yesterday, today I received a bunch of photos of one of my boats racing on Lake Baikal in Siberia. I have written before about Lake Baikal, the largest single body of fresh water in the world. One of those posts was about Ivan Vasilyev building a Didi 26 in Irkutsk.

Ivan's Didi 26 has been in the water for a few years and I have received a few photos of her sailing. Few can compare with the high quality photos in this latest set, taken by Eugene Belimov. These photos also show how I can consider Siberia as an exotic place. The beauty of this place in summer is plain to see, far from the image that most of us hold of Siberia being a desolate, forbidding and nasty place, consisting only of salt mines and work camps as told to us in history books.
Ivan's Didi 26 against a forested mountainside backdrop.
That said, winter is another story completely. Intensely cold, frozen for many months. That is when it becomes a place of hard-water sailing (iceboats) and other ice-and-snow activities to get the locals through the tough months.

To get back to Ivan's Didi 26, she is named "Kosatka", Russian for "Orca". "Kosatka" is painted in a striking colour scheme to represent an orca.
"Kosatka" racing to windward.
"Kosatka" under big asymmetrical.
"Kosatka" chasing a playmate across autumn waters, making the most of
sunny days ahead of the bitterly cold winter.
Thanks to Eugene Belimov for use of his photos.

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Argie 15 on the Dnieper

Nick, a builder in Kiev, Ukraine, sent me photos of his Argie 15 build and the finished boat in use. Part-way through the project he bought a bigger boat, so the need for the Argie 15 fell away. He continued with the build, completed it, then donated the boat to a local sailing school. Nick says that the Argie is ideal for this kind of use, as a load-carrier it is able to carry an instructor plus as many as 8 children for introductory classes.
Nick's Argie 15 nearing completion. The large cockpit is
great for carrying a bunch of people.
Nick says that the the new boat proved to be such a hit that someone else has undertaken to finance another Argie 15 for the school, to expand its sail-training capabilities. That 2nd boat is now being built. Aside from being able to carry groups of children or adults, the Argie 15 also has a surprising turn of speed. That makes it suitable for more advanced sail-training as well, with an instructor and one or two students, to teach them how to handle a planing dinghy at speed in stronger breezes.
Argie 15 with a load of children, giving them their first experience of sailing.
These photos are shown courtesy of photographer Lubov Kotlyar.
See more of her work or make contact through her Facebook page at
I get to meet many many wonderful people through long-distance relationships, most of them building my boats. It is always interesting to read their stories and to see their homelands and local sailing waters. Many people have built my boats in Ukraine and I have seen photos of some of them sailing on the beautiful local lakes. Nick sent me an aerial photo of Kiev and the Dnieper River, which flows through it.
Dnieper River where it flows through Kiev. This photo is in winter, with ice
on the water.
The large body of water at upper right is known as the "Kiev Sea", formed by a dam. Nick says that most of the sailing in Kiev is away from the city. His own club is downstream, out of view below the bottom of the photo.

We have about 50 boats either built or in-build in Ukraine, from 10ft to 55ft. Phil Semenov built his Didi 34 "Estra" in Kiev and sailed it for a few years on "Kiev Sea". Since then he has travelled on her down the Dnieper River to the Black Sea, through the Bosphorus into the Sea of Marmara. Now he is cruising the Aegean and other idyllic locales in the Mediterranean Sea.

I look forward to meeting many more interesting people this way. Some of them I may be lucky enough to even meet personally.

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

Monday, July 4, 2016

More about Didi 40cr "Alizee"

My previous post was about the Wooden Boat Show, more specifically about the Didi 40cr "Alizee". I now have more info about her journey from the foothills of the Rockies to the East Coast.
"Alizee" loaded onto her custom three-axle trailer, ready to hit the highway.
The tow vehicle for this odyssey is a pretty serious pickup, the Dodge RAM 2500, with 5.7 litre Hemi V8 and towing capacity of 18,000lbs.
All hitched up and ready to go.
Total distance travelled was more than 1900 miles and took them through 10 states in 5 days on the road. They were delayed at the New York state line because they weren't permitted on the  NY highways on a weekend.
"Alizee" on the road.
Final destination was Noank Shipyard at the mouth of the Mystic River, Connecticut There she was to be launched, rigged, commissioned and sea trials done.
Hanging in the slings of the travel-lift, ready for launch.
Her first feel of the Atlantic Ocean.
The removable bowsprit is an owner-addition to set asymmetrical spinnakers.
"Alizee" safely afloat and waiting for her rig.
Commissioning took longer than expected due to delays with receiving her sail wardrobe. I had hoped to sail on her the day before the Wooden Boat Show but that was not to be, the Mystic Seaport dockmaster needed her in her berth too early to allow us to sail that day.
"Alizee" going through the road drawbridge to exit Mystic.
Further down Mystic River is another drawbridge, for the railway line.
"Alizee" has an interesting blog, titled  "Apres Boulot: our life after work". It covers her construction, road trip and the Wooden Boat Show. It will continue, to cover her cruising adventures.

To see other cruising blogs and websites for boats of our designs, go to our boat links web page.