Thursday, March 5, 2015

Yachting Monthly Capsize Video

Yachting Monthly have a very interesting  video of a capsize test on their YouTube Channel. I only became aware of it yesterday when it was highlighted by Scuttlebutt Sailing News.

Many have read the accounts that I have written about our capsize experience on the Didi 38 "Black Cat" in the Cape To Rio Race 2014. It is not possible to visualise what it is like to be there in that situation, even if you sit inside your boat and try to imagine it turning around you but this video goes a long way to help visualise it. It is not fully realistic because the roof stays at the top as the boat rotates, so the world is rotating around the boat rather than the boat rotating within the world around it. To provide better visualisation the camera needs to stay upright while the boat goes upside-down.

Bear in mind that this test is in flat water and the boat is rotated quite slowly from upright to upside-down, then rights itself quickly. Normally a capsize will happen in seas that are large and confused, so it is a much more violent process than seen in the video, with the boat being thrown in confused directions while it capsizes. Despite that, it is worth watching, to see the way that crew, equipment, etc was moved around the cabin and to see just how much water came in even in that still water.

It is not an experience that I would recommend to anyone, yet it is an experience that I am glad to have had and to have survived.

It also validates the toughness of the methods of construction that I have used for these plywood designs, that "Black Cat" came through with minimal damage.

To see our range of designs to carry you across the dam or around the world, please visit

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dylan Bailey Interviews Dudley Dix

Dylan Bailey is a marine surveyor and member of the committee of the Metal Boat Society. He recently interviewed me about my background in boats, designing, boat building and sailing. The interview was for the Metal Boat Society magazine Metal Boat Quarterly and Dylan has also posted it on his own blog. Anyone who wants to read it, please visit Dylan's blog at

Dylan is also the owner of the prototype Little Creek 47 "Flutterby", which was built by his father Howdy Bailey of Howdy Bailey Yacht Services in the 1980s. She is a shallow draft steel cruiser with swing keel, twin rudders and staysail schooner rig.

Little Creek 47 "Flutterby".
"Flutterby" on Chesapeake Bay.
To see our full range of designs, please visit

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wickedly Accurate Didi 29 Retro Project in North Carolina

I designed the Didi 29 Retro for Mike Kopman, a professional charter skipper who lives in my hometown of Hout Bay, South Africa. Mike's concept was to adapt the Didi 26 cruiser/racer design to a more traditional concept, with counter stern, bulwarks, boxy trunk cabin and a big gaff rig, for participation in the Caribbean classic racing circuit. Mike received the first CNC kit to this design, supplied by CKD Boats in South Africa. The second kit went to Bruce Mierke of Murphy, North Carolina, which he ordered from our list of plywood kits.

Mike Kopman has been building his workshop ahead of the boatbuilding project, so that hasn't started yet. Bruce Mierke started his boat a few months ago and is moving along very well. These photos are of Bruce's build. He began with some smaller items ahead of starting the hull, so I am showing those first.
Foil of lifting keel
Beaver-tail ballast bulb
Carbon spars for gaff rig.
Bulkheads and framework set up on building stocks.
This design has a spade rudder that is installed in a cassette so that it can be lifted out through the cockpit for trailing or shallow moorings. Bruce has added a motor well also, in which he will run a Torqueedo electric outboard. The casings that contain the outboard well and rudder cassette can be seen on the photo above and others in this series.
Bottom panels installed, rudder cassette and Torqueedo test-fitted
Radiused section of skin completed.
Aft view, with hardwood-veneered transom
Plug of engine well and rudder cassette in place.
Bruce has modified my rudder cassette design to allow some steerage with the rudder partially raised to assist when approaching shallow moorings with the keel raised.

He is very happy with the quality and accuracy of the kit that we supplied, describing it as "wicked accurate".

For info on our full range of designs, please visit