Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sailing Report on Didi 29 Retro

"Arabella", the Didi 29 Retro built by Bruce Mierke was launched in Oriental, NC, last week. Bruce has sailed her a few times and will now take her inland to Lake Lanier, GA. Early next year she will move to Clearwater, FL, before returning to Oriental in the spring.

Bruce has reported some impressive sailing, some of it by himself and some with two crew. He doesn't have an asymmetrical yet, so the top speeds are still to be experienced.

The first sail was in light winds, strengthening a bit during the sail. In 4 knots of breeze he recorded 3.1 knots of boat speed. In 9 knots she was doing 5.6 knots on a tight beat of 30 degrees. Falling off to 45 degrees "she screamed" (no speed reported).

The next sail was with two friends in winds from 10-15 knots. To windward in 13 knots they were doing 6.75 knots under Yankee and jib on a beat and 9.25 knots on a beam reach. "I can see me putting the 1st reef in main around 16 kts wind. But no matter what point of sail or combination of sail the helm is almost neutral, great sailer."
"Arabella" on the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show recently.
The next sail was by himself again, in 15 knots. He sailed next to a J boat of about the same size for 5 miles, matching it for speed and heading. Eventually the skipper of the other boat yelled across, asking what the hell kind of gaff rig boat she is.

Bruce has the cruising gaff rig and commented that the racing rig will be a bit of a handful. That is exactly what was requested by the man who commissioned the design. He wants her for Caribbean classic racing, expecting to have a full crew to ballast the rail. In that configuration or the 3rd option, a Marconi rig with squaretop mainsail, she will be very quick.
Marconi rig of the Didi 29 Retro
No sailing photos yet, I will post those when I have.

To see our other designs, go to or

Monday, October 24, 2016

Threefold 6 Project in Michigan

Bill Blaisden has been building a Threefold 6 in Michigan the past few years and it is nearly complete. These photos show from early in the build through to getting wet. Bill's boat has the high-volume amas that we introduced a few years ago to replace the lower volume amas of the original design. 

The Threefold 6 is multi-chine plywood with stitch-&-glue joints at the chines. Construction is quite robust, giving a strong little boat with good performance, that can be built by any reasonably competent amateur builder.

Hull framing on building stocks
Hull skin done, wing framing in progress.
Wings skinned.
Interior lockers.
Deck & cabin.
Amas on demountable box-beams.
Stern view with amas on beams.
Bill put his new boat into the water to test flotation level.
He will do the launch when he receives his sails and
I will post more about this boat when Bill has her sailing.

DS15A Build in California

The prototype of the DS15A (Didi Sport 15 Adaptive) is being built in Santa Cruz, California. This design has been developed from our little sportboat design, the DS15, with modifications and features to suit handicapped sailors. 

This first boat is being built in plywood and will also serve as the plug for moulds to produce GRP boats. The men behind the project are George Arthur, who commissioned the design, and Luc de Faymoreau, the builder of the prototype, both from Santa Cruz.
First layer of radius fitted between bottom and lower side panels.
Same stage from aft
Hull framing, looking from below building stocks
Cleaning up the rebate to ready for the 2nd layer of the radius skin.
Sail plan of DS15A
We don't yet have a web page specific to the DS15A. That will come later. See the boat on which it is based on the DS15 page.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Didi 29 Retro at Georgetown Show

Bruce Mierke has built his custom Didi 29 Retro to a gorgeous standard. He is exhibiting her on the Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown SC this weekend. If you are in the area and want to ogle some beautiful craftsmanship, Bruce is there to chat about her.
Didi 29 Retro "Arabella" hits the road for Georgetown
"Arabella" on display in Georgetown.
After the show Bruce will trail "Arabella" to Oriental NC for launch and sail tests.

Congratulations to Bruce for a beautiful build.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Australian Didi 40cr

I have shown David Edmiston's Didi 40cr project before. It was David who commissioned the wide stern version with T-cockpit, which is now also being built in India in plywood, with a sandwich GRP production version to follow.

David has sent me some new photos, showing his boat with the exterior painting completed, aside from some non-skid areas that must still be done. He says that the finish is not quite perfect but he is happy. It looks to me as near to perfect as any amateur builder is likely to achieve, I see not a ripple in the mirror finish of the topsides. Congratulations David.
Beautiful finish on an amateur-built boat.
Bow view
Broader stern at deck level, with T-cockpit.
This broad-stern version is not on our website yet, it will get there when I am able to get around to the it. If you are interested in building this version, please contact me be email.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Report-back on Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

So, what happened at the 33rd Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival this past weekend? Successful for the organisers, mixed success on my part. We didn't see the sun from when I arrived there until after I had left. Some rain, lots of wind, good food, much rowdy revelry and some great new friendships made. Chairman Doug Oeller and his steering committee did a great job of organizing a thoroughly worthwhile weekend. I recommend it to anyone contemplating joining in next year.

This was my first time at this event, which is very well-supported. Literally hundreds of people camped in tents and a variety of RVs under the pine trees on the premises of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, hosts for the event. Those who are not into camping filled up the many B&B establishments of the gorgeous little town of St Michaels, just outside the museum property. More than 100 boats, from kayaks to rowing boats and small sailing cruisers, filled up the docks and launch areas.
View of the marina and launch area of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
I was guest speaker for the Saturday night, after the prizegiving for the sailing and rowing races that started at 1pm and 3pm respectively. Setting up and testing video and sound equipment tied me up for awhile in the morning, so I got to the start line very late, after the start boat had lifted the start line. With no chance in the racing I just chased the other boats around the course. I had some very fast sailing and one very spectacular wipe-out, which left my burgee in another boat and my trapeze bungee broken. I finished the race about the middle of the fleet then went out again for some fun power-reaching. I didn't have my video camera set up, or might have had some great footage to show.

When I got off my boat I could hardly stand up, I must have wrenched my bad knee while sailing and didn't feel it until I stood up. So I did my presentation while hobbling quite badly and have had to go to an orthopaedic doctor to hopefully provide a permanent fix. Prognosis next week.

A bunch of supporters asked me to put a video of my presentation online. I made a video with my new Sony Action Cam (birthday gift from my family) and have put the results onto my YouTube channel, or click on the video links below.

I had no prior experience of the capabilities of these little cameras, so this was a big learning experience. I got some things wrong, so part of the screen is missing on the left side and I keep disappearing from the picture on the right. Overall the results are surprisingly good for such a tiny piece of equipment. Sound level is a bit low, so headphones are best. It is long, so I broke it into 3 parts for easier viewing. These links below are in correct order, parts 1 to 3.


This event draws large numbers of participants, who arrived despite the less-than-pleasant weather that was dished up for the whole weekend. That speaks volumes about the venue, the organization and the variety of attractions and events that they laid on. I look forward to joining in again occasionally in future years. Thank you to Doug Oeller and his team for inviting me to be there and the honour of serving as guest speaker. I thoroughly enjoyed it all. :-)