Sunday, December 31, 2017

26ft Sportfisherman Design

I wrote last week about the aluminium adventure boat that is being built in Gibsons, British Columbia. Here is another design on which I am currently working, very different in all respects.

This one is for Kevin Agee, who also commissioned and built the prototype of the Inlet Runner 16 garvey powerboat. The previous design was for inshore fishing to catch bait for more serious business on his bigger boat out on the bay. He recently sold that bigger boat and commissioned me to draw the replacement, a 26ft centre-console sportfisherman with Carolina-style hull, with heavily-flared bow and break in the sheer.

Kevin started building the new boat a few weeks ago, while I am still drawing it. My task is to stay ahead of his build progress with my design work.
Profile view of the Sportfisherman 26
This is a fisherman's fishing boat but it does give a nod to the ladies. Michelle (Kevin's wife and my daughter) specified that his next boat must have a toilet. So this boat has a small cabin under the covered foredeck, with toilet and seats for two people to shelter from bad weather if needed.

I haven't designed the centre console yet, so this post is to introduce the project and to show the hull and concept. Over the next 18 months or so I will write about the progress and show details of the boat and construction, from start through to launch.
Flared bow of the Carolina-style sportfisherman
The Carolina-style hull makes for a very pretty boat. There are many variations, from moderate flair through to extreme. All around the world, popular boat shapes have developed in answer to the particular sea conditions that pertain to their own locations, sometimes with different regions developing somewhat different boats from those developed in other places with similar conditions.
Underbody of the new design
These boats developed due to the short and steep breaking wave conditions encountered in and offshore from the Carolinas. This includes the wind against current and swell against current situations that are found in Oregon Inlet and the other inlets through which the Carolina Sounds and the Atlantic Ocean exchange water at impressive speeds twice daily. Cape Hatteras is a few miles north of  Hatteras Inlet and has justifiably earned its reputation of being a dangerous place for the unwary. Projecting out into the Atlantic Ocean, it is the closest point that the north-bound Gulf Stream runs past the USA, creating large short and sharp breaking seas in NE wind conditions. Every year I visit Cape Hatteras for a few days with my buddies of the Iguana Surf Club, to take advantage of the biggest and best surf on the US East Coast. The close proximity of the continental shelf to Cape Hatteras is the reason why the Gulf Stream is so close and the swells are so large.

Back to the boat. The flared bow gradually transitions to a conventional hull section at the break in the sheer, then reverses to become a moderate tumblehome stern. The moderate-V underbody has 15 degree dihedral at the stern, with chine flat and planing strakes.
Bow flare gradually transitions through to a tumblehome stern.
Aside from the raised foredeck and centre console, it has a wet deck with open spaces for working the fish. The motor/s are mounted on a bracket that is integral to the structural girder system of the hull, not bolted to the outside. It has a full radiused transom, safer against the dangers of boarding seas than a cut-down transom with outboard motor well, if caught stern-to while working a catch.

The stern bracket has space for a single or pair of outboards. Kevin has still to decide what to use on his boat but aims to have total 300hp. Fuel supply is from an under-deck tank below the centre console.

Construction is all wood, fibreglassed on the outside and also all hull surfaces below the wet deck. The hull bottom is plywood and the sides are strip cedar using bead-and-cove strips. These are applied over laminated keel, stem and chine step, plywood girders and frames that slot together egg-crate fashion and laminated plywood transom.

Watch this space for more about this boat. Until then, for more info on our many designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Aluminium Expedition Cruiser

I am working on an interesting commission, have been for a few months and it is nearing the end of the design work. The boat is being built in Gibsons on the gorgeous Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada. This is the first metal design commission that I have had in a long time, with metal boatbuilding being in somewhat of an hiatus for a few years. That part of the world has a massive logging industry, with logs floated downstream in the rivers in huge rafts. Logs are like cattle being herded to market by cowboys; occasionally one or two get away from the herd.

In the case of wayward logs, they can drift around for a long time before going ashore on a beach, where they become handy seats on which to picnic with the family. Until they are washed ashore they are navigation hazards for boats, particularly when they become deadheads i.e. floating vertically. In that position they present very little above the water to be spotted from a boat but they have tremendous inertia, capable of doing substantial damage to a boat that collides with them. It is no surprise then, that aluminium boats are more popular in logging waters than elsewhere. They have more chance of bouncing off the log with no more than a dent that could fracture a fibreglass or wooden hull.
Owner Tom McPherson with his aluminium hull
This new boat was commissioned by Tom McPherson for adventure cruises in the protected waters between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Although these cruising waters are protected from Pacific Ocean swells by the 285 mile long island, the channels and fjords are well-known for strong currents and eddies. Thick fog is also very common, so careful navigation and attention to obstructions and depths is necessary to stay safe.

The intended customers for the adventure cruises will be teenagers, learning about the wilderness through which they will be moving, the creatures that inhabit it both on land and in the water, and the flora of the dense forests. Man is doing so much to mess up the beautiful blue marble on which we hurtle through space, so teaching the next generation about stewardship of the wilds and our fragile world is an important issue.

This is not just a holiday cruise for the young crew; they will learn the skills of boating and earn their way with aching limbs and calloused or blistered hands. With only a small outboard motor for propulsion into and out of harbour the crew will sail her some of the time and row her at other times. She has thwarts for 8 rowing positions. This is no luxury cruise, the crew will sleep in the large cockpit under the stars or a cockpit tent when needed. There is a small cabin in the bows, with a pair of V-berths, galley and enclosed heads.

For stability and windward ability, she has a ballasted swing keel. The cockpit has a long covered channel full-length, draining through the keel casing and outboard engine well.

This boat has to be able to carry a relatively large live load of 10 teenagers plus two adult crew, in addition to stores (which can be replenished as needed by occasional stops along the way). There is a benefit derived from the live load, of course, of considerable portable ballast that can be moved around the boat for best trim and stability.

With the intended use of gliding along with minimal disturbance among and past the wild animals of this wilderness, a boat of easy lines was needed, one that creates minimal waves and is very easily-driven under oar power. For sailing, she has a gaff schooner rig that can carry a reasonable spread of canvas with a low centre of effort, very versatile in a range of sail combinations to optimise area and helm balance to suit wind conditions. The spars are sealed carbon tubes in tabernacles, easy to raise and lower. The boat is legal towing width for transport on land, so the masts can be folded down horizontal and left in their tabernacles to simplify the process.
Gaff schooner rig, carbon tube masts folding down on tabernacles.
The hull is a big sister to my Cape series of designs that started with the Cape Cutter 19 and has spread over the years up to 32ft. But those are beamy boats and this one has been stretched out to give the slim and easily driven hull needed for her intended use. It results in a boat of very graceful lines and proportions, with fine, hollow bow at waterline and clean stern. She will slip through the water easily under sail or oars.
Slim, sleek, easily-driven hull with fine bow and clean stern.
Yes, the Cape designs all have lapstrake plywood hulls. This new boat (we really must give the design a name) has the lapstrake shape but done in aluminium. To get that right, I was pleased to be working with an experienced builder with whom to figure the best way to get the shape needed, without distorting the hull plating from excessive welding. John Dearden is that builder, having built the aluminium centre cockpit Dix 43 "Namo" as a custom build for her owners about a decade ago.

Owner Tom is working with John Dearden on the build. They turned the hull over a few days ago and report that it has turned out fair and is very pretty. Planned to be in service in the coming season, the launch is targeted for March.
Turning the hull happened a few days ago.
Tom McPherson shows the project and his cruising grounds on Instagram at Seaforth Expeditions. He has photos and time-lapse videos of the turn-over and videos of his cruising grounds.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

National Sea Rescue Institute Does It Again

I have written before about the very capable National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the privately-funded rescue service that protects mariners all around the coasts of South Africa. Crewed mostly by volunteers, they rescue users of the sea wherever and whenever they are needed, when possible saving their vessels as well. Much of their work is not seen by the public, happening in pitch darkness way out at sea in storm conditions but occasionally the man in the street, more accurately on the beach, gets to see them doing their work from up close. Such was the case recently at the beautiful Santos Beach in the lovely town of Mossel Bay, on the Indian Ocean side of the extreme southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas.

This rescue was of the yacht "Day Off", a steel Dix 43 Pilot built in Cape Town by Randle Yachts. Her crew had brought her into Mossel Bay to shelter from an approaching storm. For reasons unknown to me at this stage, her anchor chain broke and she was carried ashore by wind and seas.
Dix 43 Pilot "Day Off" well and truly aground on Santos Beach, Mossel Bay.
Mossel Bay Harbour is in the background.
Santos Beach is just outside of Mossel Bay Harbour, where NSRI Station 15 is located. Although just around the corner from their base, "Day Off" was very securely on the beach and would have required a large amount of power mixed in with a big load of skill from very capable people to get her off the beach and safely afloat again.
The NSRI boat is at left, turning "Day Off" head-to the waves before pulling her off.
"Day Off" was pulled off the beach, then towed into Mossel Bay Harbour to a safe mooring. No doubt they will have discovered why the anchor chain broke and will remedy the problem.
"Day Off" almost afloat and on her way off the beach.
Thank you to the NSRI for another successful rescue operation.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Shearwater 39 Classic Cruiser for Sale

The Shearwater 39 is one of our most popular cruising designs, a classic cruiser with good performance and wonderful manners. These boats have been built from wood or aluminium as custom builds but most have been moulded fibreglass from female moulds.

These boats don't often come onto the used boat market but last year there were a few owners needing to sell for various reasons. I think that all of those boats now have new owners, so they are once again scarce on the used market.

We do have a new brokerage listing for one, just come available. "Windward" was moulded by Nebe Boats, then completed to a high standard by her owner. He launched her in 2008 and has cruised her since then. "Windward" is now in Trinidad, convenient to the Caribbean cruising grounds and an American buyer.
Shearwater 39 "Windward"
A classically-styled and vary capable ocean cruiser.
Modern underwater, great performance and wonderful manners
Beautifully finished and maintained. A floating home with character.
Windward is very well equipped, ready for world cruising. She can take you to tropical islands, or where-else  you want to go. See her listing for more photos and info.

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

New Photos of Dix Designs

Photos of boats that I have designed often come into my hands through various routes. Sometimes it is the owner proudly showing the boat that he had created with his own hands, sometimes it is a friend who took the photo from an interesting perspective or for some special reason. When I can I show some of those photos. Here are a few recent ones.

This first one is the steel Dix 43 Pilot "Sea Bird" that was owner-built by Andre Siebert in South Africa. She is on her maiden cruise on the West Coast of South Africa.
Dix 43 Pilot "Sea Bird" in Port Owen marina.
Ryerson and Annie Clark had Big Pond Boat Shop in Nova Scotia build a Cape Henry 21 for them and did the finishing work themselves. They launched earlier this year and have been doing short cruises as they learn to sail their new boat, named "Elvee".
Cape Henry 21 "Elvee" enjoying a beautiful Nova Scotia sunset.
David Edmiston owner-built his Didi 40cr2 "Passion X" in Sydney, Australia. It differs from the standard Didi 40cr by having a wider stern, deeper keel and more powerful rig. This photo of Passion X" was submitted to the Greenwich Flying Squadron photo competition.
Didi 40cr2 "Passion X" in Sydney, Australia.
Joop Mars built his Didi 26 "Black-Out" in Netherlands. In the photo below he is racing her single-handed and loves her sailing characteristics.
Didi 26 "Black-Out" sailing in Netherlands.
Michael Baccellieri of Portland, Oregon, bought an owner-built Cape Henry 21 that had some builder-created problems. Michael fixed the issues, did what he could to get her closer to the original design, refinished her under the new name of "Slough Coot" and went sailing. He and a friend cruised Puget Sound for 2 weeks, then exhibited her on the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend WA
Cape Henry 21 "Slough Coot" relaxing on Puget Sound.
To see more of these and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Updates on the DH550 Catamarans

Last year the DH550 "Friends Forever", built by JJ Provoyer and his team, was launched in Cape Town, South Africa. For a few months "Friends Forever" day-sailed locally, then set off trans-Atlantic (South Atlantic) to cruise the Caribbean. Then back across the Atlantic again (North Atlantic this time), headed for the Med, final destination Israel. Last that I heard she was cruising France.
DH550 "Friends Forever" on Table Bay.
Easy sailing in beautiful conditions.
While "Friends Forever" was in France, she was visited by Kevin Bream of Exocetus Marine, supplier of CNC kits for the DH550, Dix 470 and the Dix 430 (currently in the design phase). Kevin did a drone fly-around video and sent some photos and a sailing report. He said "We went for a sail for one day. We were on a close haul tacking out from Cogolin past Saint Tropez, and making better speed than all the mono hulls, tacking speed was impressive as well. Overall very impressed."
"Friends Forever" sailing off St Tropez.
Back in South Africa, Sea Tribe Catamarans is building a DH550 in Durban. They are building from a kit supplied by Exocetus Marine and are moving at a fast pace. They have a series of time-lapse videos of their project on the Sea Tribe blog, showing the build process. I wrote earlier this year about the kit that was shipped to Southern Africa.
Sea Tribe turning one of the hulls of their DH550.
To see more about this and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Clipper Race & the National Sea Rescue Institute

The Clipper Round the World Race fleet departed Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday this week, starting the third leg and heading for Western Australia. The Cape of Storms was on its best behaviour, with fine weather and calms seas. There is a short sail of about 40 miles from the start line to the notorious Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point to the locals), after which it is all wide open Southern Ocean.

One of the fleet, the yacht "Greenings", didn't make it to that open ocean, instead running aground on Olifantsbospunt (Elephant Bush Point) about half-way down the coast. If the Cape of Storms had been howling through the rigging as it so often does, the sea would have been very boisterous and the yachts would have stayed well clear of the dangerous hard bits. Instead the calm seas lulled them in pitch darkness and lured them into the kelp beds and onto the rocks. We all have to wonder how that could happen in a very well-equipped one-design racing yacht, with the very best of modern electronic navigation equipment and a full crew of 18 pairs of ears and eyes. No doubt an investigation will tell us in a few weeks or months exactly what went wrong.
"Greenings" on the rocks the following morning.
There is no Coast Guard in South Africa, no state-financed rescue service. All that there is to help in a situation like this is the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). The NSRI was started by private individuals in 1967 and has grown to become a very well organised and capable rescue service, crewed by more than 1000 volunteers working from more than 30 bases around the country and operating a wide variety of powerboats, from rubber ducks to purpose-built offshore rescue vessels.

NSRI vessels and shore crews were despatched from four bases around the Cape Peninsula. Within a few hours and still in darkness, they had rescued all 18 crew from the "Greenings" and had them safely ashore in Hout Bay, my home before moving to USA. Read more about the rescue.
Crew of "Greenings" met by race officials at Hout Bay NSRI base.
This was another very efficient rescue, executed by a vary capable rescue service with very dedicated crew who go to sea at any time of night or day. This time their rescue was on calm seas with a good moon. At other times they are out in the worst weather and seas imaginable but they are always out there when lives are at risk. NSRI has always been funded by donations from private individuals and commerce. They also used to receive funding from government, which knew that this organisation supplies a critical service and has saved many hundreds of lives. That funding from government was very important to maintaining the costly craft, equipment and bases, as well as training the crew members.

Unfortunately, the current South African government has only self-interest at heart and has decimated and even plundered most of the infrastructure of the country, themselves becoming very wealthy in the process. Along the way, many very valuable programs and charities have lost most or all of their government funding. NSRI is now dependent almost entirely on private funding.

The government seems to have declared war on private business, introducing draconian legislation that makes doing business there progressively more difficult. Many businesses are battling to stay viable or are simply closing their doors. This must all be having an impact on donations to NSRI and all of the other charities. We know that the people of NSRI will keep going no-matter what but one has to wonder how long they can keep the organisation properly equipped and operating safely when finance is so difficult.

As we have seen so clearly this week, the seamen of the world need NSRI when they are voyaging around the southern tip of Africa. This applies not only to small boat sailors; NSRI has been called into service when foreign fishing vessels, tankers, container ships, cruise liners and all sorts of other craft have got into difficulties. Without them, the seamen can't even count on the now decimated South African Navy or Air Force to help them. Those are all services that were available and ready to rescue whenever needed but their assistance is no longer as certain as it was in years gone by.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sailing in Extreme Weather

There have been some extreme weather systems around the coast of South Africa in the past week or two. The weather around this very inhospitable coast, from Cape of Good Hope (aka Cape of Storms) through to Richards Bay, teaches the locals to be very hardy sailors who are able to handle their boats in sometimes wild conditions. This is justifiably one of the three Great Capes of the world and many circum-navigators tell of their passages through these waters being the most scary periods of their voyaging.

The first storm was from a deep depression and cold front that had come in from deep down in the South Atlantic. It hit the Cape Town area and produced very intense gales and heavy rain, unfortunately not enough to break the long-lasting drought that currently plagues the Western Cape.

The other storm was from a cut-off low in the Indian Ocean off Durban, 1000 miles from the first storm. It produced gales that broke numerous large ships free in the port, with a large container ship lying broadside across the entrance channel. It also wrecked the marinas in the yacht basin, with some yachts sinking on their moorings.

Two boats of our design sailed through these two storms. Both were in the hands of very capable skippers. Survival of any boat and crew in extreme conditions is through the partnership between a capable boat and an equally capable crew. Put the most seaworthy boat in the hands of an inexperienced or irresponsible skipper and that good boat may be doomed. On the other hand, a capable and experienced skipper has the best chance of bringing an inadequate vessel through tough conditions.

The yacht in the first storm was the steel Dix 38 Pilot "Spailpin" (ex "Bryana"), on delivery by Jeremy Bagshaw. Jeremy and wife Anita own the bigger sister Dix 43 Pilot "Jerrycan" and have sailed many thousands of miles in her in the Indian Ocean. Jeremy has written of his experience in this storm on his blog entry titled Some Thoughts on Big Weather.
Dix 38 Pilot "Spailpin" in much calmer waters under her previous owner.
The yacht in the storm off Durban  was the fibreglass Shearwater 39 "Ocean Spirit". Her owner, Neville Bransby, was out sailing on her in that storm by choice, single-handed. He wanted to prove himself and his boat in storm conditions. He did that effectively, losing only his anemometer in the process, when it blew off the masthead. Meanwhile, the catamaran moored right next to his normal berth sank on its moorings. You can read of it in a blog post authored by Richard Crockett, titled A Case of Sound Seamanship.
Shearwater 39 "Ocean Spirit" racing between Durban and Port Elizabeth in less extreme conditions.
All of us who go to sea in small boats have to accept the strong chance that sooner or later we will be caught by extreme weather. That chance goes up with every mile that we sail. If we sail trans-ocean or long coastal passages with safe havens separated by miles of rocky coast then we have to know how to handle our boats to come safely through whatever it is that is being thrown at us by Mother Nature in a foul mood. We cannot learn how to handle these conditions only by reading how in books and magazine articles while snug in a soft armchair next to a winter fire. We have to experience these things to know what we need to do to safeguard boat and crew, to have confidence in the abilities of ourselves and our boats.

I don't mean that you must go sailing in the meanest weather that can come your way, I mean that you must not only sail on those idyllic days when it is all sunshine and cocktails on flat seas. Those conditions teach us nothing, unless we are novices just getting into sailing. If you have plans to sail across oceans or offshore coastal then you really have a need to go sailing in 35 knots, to know that your reefing systems work in strong winds, that you know how to set your storm jib and storm tri-sail, that your jackstays allow free movement from bow to stern while always tethered in your safety harness, that you know what your boat likes if you have to heave-to or lie ahull, how it will behave, how fast it will drift or at what speed and direction it will sail under different sail combinations.

There are so many things to be learned by doing this, things that will stay logged in your brain as experience rather than knowledge, to be called into use with confidence when needed.

Lets go sailing but lets also be safe.

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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

New Agent & Kit Supplier in Australia

We have a new agent in Australia. In future we will be represented by Ron Jesche of Stainless Boatworks in Adelaide, South Australia. Ron is an accomplished boatbuilder, working to a high standard. He is currently building a Cape Henry 21 for his own use.

Ron's current boat "Lioness" was his own build, to a custom pilothouse design. He saw a similar boat at the Wooden Boat Festival in Tasmania, which put him on the path that ended with him building "Lioness" for himself and wife "Carole".
"Lioness" on the hard recently for maintenance.
Nicely finished pilothouse of "Lioness".
Stainless Boatworks is able to sell plans for any of our range of designs, which will be printed and shipped by our office here in USA. They can also supply CNC kits for our plywood designs.
Ron Jesche's Cape Henry 21 build, fairing and deck in progress.
Interior of Ron's Cape Henry 21, showing nice detailing.
Ron does nice work. He has built the Cape Henry 21 from scratch. That has given him good knowledge of how our designs work, as well as the experience of building one of our designs. That makes him well-suited to represent our designs in Australia. Whether you want to build from plans or a kit, Ron can supply.

Also, if you want one of these boats and don't have the time or inclination to build it, maybe Ron will build one for you if you speak to him very nicely.

We look forward to a long and mutually satisfying relationship with Ron Jesche.

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Another Argie 15 Build in Russia

Our designs have been built in 90 countries, including well over 300 boats across the length and breadth of Russia, even in the middle of Siberia. They span most of our design range, from the little plywood Dixi Dinghy yacht tender through to the steel Dix 57 world cruiser. Nearly half of those boats are to our ever-popular Argie 15 design.

The most recent launch of an Argie 15 was by amateur builder Ilia Bogdanov, who lives in Khadarovsk in Far Eastern Russia, 760km north of Vladivostok. Ilia is a cardiovascular surgeon in his day-time job and built his Argie 15 in his spare time. Compared with the very delicate and intricate work of repairing a patient's heart, building a wooden boat must be a big change of scale.

Ilia has built a good boat of nice quality, in sometimes unpleasant conditions, certainly far from optimal. Seeing what Ilia has accomplished, with the help of a friend, should be an inspiration to boatbuilders in other faraway places, where finding suitable materials and build location can be a major challenge. It shows how fortunate we are if we are able to build our boats in a moderate climate or a heated/cooled/dry workshop and with a wide choice available to us of plywoods, epoxies, hardware etc to craft into a beautiful and safe vessel.

I see criticism sometimes of materials and methods used by builders in other countries but those resourceful builders have to hunt out the best materials that they can find to go into their boats. Those materials may not be as workable or as aesthetically pleasing as what more fortunate builders may choose but they are available and they do what is needed by the builder.

I will let Ilia's photos and my captions tell the story of his build, an achievement of which he can be proud.
Ilia's workshop was his garage, 2nd from left. It has water in it when the snow melts or when it rains.
Ilia started with a kit, bought from Peter Tatarinov, our Russian kit supplier in Irkutsk, Siberia. The water on the slab is snow melt.
Ilia unpacking his Argie 15 kit.
Hull completed, seat framing going in.
Scuppered gunwales with a difference, the slots are on the outside rather than the inside. 
Ilia filled the side seat compartments with foam flotation.
Home-made access covers using the details on the drawings.
Ilia and his children ready to use their new Argie 15.

Running under power from the 6hp outboard.

And here Ilia is racing in a mixed yacht club fleet on the Amur River.
Congratulations Ilia on your project.

To see more of this and out other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wooden Boat Festival, Port Townsend

The Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend WA ended a week ago. Two days of off-and-on light drizzle washed the smoke from the wild fires out of the air and Sunday turned into a gorgeous day with lots of visitors. There were three boat of our design on display.

The Didi Cruise-Mini "Segue" has been at the Festival many times. Her owners, David and Nancy Blessing, have become good friends of mine over the past few years and hosted me in their beautiful home in Port Ludlow. Their boat was built by the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock. The Festival gave me the opportunity to view some of the beautiful boats built by the school and also on display. I also spent a few pleasant hours in the company of Executive Director Betsy Davis and some of the many people who make this school a valuable resource of the boating community. The school may be available to build our smaller designs, up to about 21ft, but the bigger boats would not fit into the requirements of their programs.
Didi Cruise-Mini "Segue".
The Cape Henry 21 "Slough Coot" is owned by Michael and Jody Baccellieri of Portland OR. Their boat attracted an endless stream of visitors to visit aboard and talk about her. Michael and Jody had spent the previous 2 weeks cruising the beautiful islands and anchorages of Puget Sound and were very happy to chat about their capable little vessel.
Michael and Jody aboard their Cape Henry 21 "Slough Coot".
The Didi Mini Mk3 "Voodoo Child" was built by amateur Mark Paterson in Vancouver BC, to an extremely high standard that rivals the best produced by many professional boatyards. Visitors who talked to me after being aboard "Voodoo Child" all spoke of the incredible standard of finish and the many features that Mark built into his boat. She is very well-equipped, including carbon mast, boom and sprit. We took her out to sail in the Friday race, unfortunately into the worst possible conditions for a Mini 650 to show her paces. We had a boat, designed for windy downwind racing and trans-ocean passage-making, in a sometimes windless around-the-cans race where contrary current was at times faster than boat speed. I will have to sail on her another time to experience her speed in her own conditions.
Didi Mini Mk3 "Voodoo Child".
I had flown to the Pacific Northwest via Portland so that I could visit friends in that area. One was the owner of a Lotus Europa similar to my own, to help him to sort out some problems. That done, we took it for a spin on Vancouver WA roads, giving me even more appreciation for my own car, which I had resurrected from a lifeless wreck over a 5-year rebuild. Just a few more jobs to do to complete the total body-off restoration. People wonder when I walk up to this tiny car how a tall guy like me can fit into a car with the roof below waist level. The saying is that you don't get into a Lotus, you put it on like a pair of trousers, one leg at a time. 😊
The roof of my Lotus comes only to the bottom of the windows of my wife's Chev Sonic compact.  Seen here with my Ford Windstar and son-in-law's jacked SUV for contrast with my "toy" car.
To see our full range of boat designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Happenings with Radius Chine Plywood Projects

My agent in Italy, Leo Giammanco of Nautikit, sent me photos a few days ago of a new Didi 40cr. Many of these boats in the Didi 38/40/40cr series have been or are being built in Mediterranean countries, including 6 in Italy. This one is named "Mia" and was built by Stefano Consolini. She was launched at the Marina di Ravenna, east of Bologna on the Adriatic Sea.

Stefano appears to have done a really nice job of creating "Mia". He has built her as a nicely-detailed comfortable cruiser with 18mm skin and concentration on strength, rather than lightness and performance. Stefano started the project in 2006 and worked as a lifeguard to finance the build.
"Mia" gets wet for the first time.
Nicely finished as a fast cruiser.
Meanwhile, in Russia, Vitaly Ghazarayan of Krasnodar has stepped the rig on his Didi 34, with the help of a group of friends. They did this without a crane, showing that with a good dose of resourcefulness, amateur builders can do almost anything. Those of us who launch where yacht club cranes and derricks are readily available, wouldn't dream of doing this.

This series of photos shows the process that they used.

Moving the mast into position.
The lift starts, using a pole fastened to the cabin roof as a spreader to gain mechanical advantage.
Up she goes, nearly there.
Securely in place, sorting out backstay, halliards, electronics etc.
To see more of these and our other designs, go to our main website or our mobile website.