Sunday, January 31, 2016

Didi Cruise-Mini Across the Atlantic

Tony Hussey built himself a radius chine plywood Didi Cruise-Mini in the UK. We have exchanged communications recently, while he has been en-route from UK to the Caribbean in his little boat. This is a cruising version of the little Didi Mini trans-Atlantic raceboat, so it is in its proper element with a cruise like this.

Tony has said that he is very happy with his little cruiser. He sailed her from UK to Spain and back in 2014. Then last year he sailed UK to the Azores and has now continued to Antigua.

From the Azores Tony wrote "Im not pushing the boat as I'm cruising and can't afford any breakages. I also slow down at night to 5 kts to help sleep. My autopilot doesn't handle the spinnakers very well so can't make good use of the higher speeds but the light wind performance with the big spinnakers is amazing for a small boat. On a beam reach in 6/8 knots apparent I'm up to 6 kts boat speed keeping up with the bigger cruisers motoring with not enough wind. Top speed so far is 12.9 but around 12 I chicken out as I can't trust my autopilot to control the boat when I take down the spinnaker."

Now that he is in Antigua and recovering from a back injury he wrote "So far I've done over 8000 miles singlehanded in the boat and very happy with it, always felt safe but never dry!! Joke. The plan is Panama this summer then out towards Australia through Polynesia."

The Didi Cruise-Mini has the same hull and deck as the Didi Mini but with a bit more headroom, more comfort and a more compact sail plan.
Under sail with big squartop mainsail and Solent jib.
At anchor in the Azores.
"Splinter" - Great name for a small wooden boat.
Seagull's view of a beamy little cruiser.
Hitching a tow from a kayak due to outboard problems.
We wish Tony and "Splinter" happy cruising, looks like they are angling toward a circumnavigation. You can follow their adventures on Tony's blog.

To see more about our designs visit or

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Didi 29 Retro Project Update

Another project that hasn't seen an update on this blog for awhile is the Didi 29 Retro being built by Bruce Mierke in Murphy, North Carolina. Bruce was away cruising for awhile but is now back hard at work on his boat. He is building her mostly as a day-sailer, with minimalist accommodation in a shortened cabin. He is setting her up for easy single-handing.

The standard of Bruce's work is clear in these photos that he sent me, showing the current state of his project. He is building from a CNC kit that we supplied.
Hull-turning with two gantries.
Deck stringers over bulkheads.

Deck panels ready for fitting.

Minimalist interior.
The very neat work of professional boatbuilder Bruce Mierke.

Cabin structure begins, considerably reduced from the design.
Bruce is doing sweet work on this build, I look forward to seeing the final result.

To see our full range of designs visit or

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Didi 950 Australia Project Update

Yesterday I wrote about the Didi 950 of Mike Vermeersch in Ohio, today is the turn for the parallel Didi 950 project of Fred Grimminck in Australia.

Fred is building his lifting keel version from scratch, using plans and offsets. He has been progressing very quickly and should be launching within a few months. His boat is destined for fast cruising rather than racing, so he is fitting her out for comfort rather than attempting to get close to class weight.

The lifting keel foil and bulb use similar details to the fixed keel except that it has no flare and root plate at the top and extends through a steel casing into the hull, where it bolts down onto the top flange of the casing. This is right where the engine is in the fixed keel version, so Fred's motor moves to under the companion ladder and is fitted with a saildrive instead of a shaft with stern tube.

Fred has made some changes from the design, so these photos show some differences from my drawings. Among the changes are encasing the lifting keel casing and mechanism all the way up to the deck and swapping the layout from aft heads and forward sleeping cabin to forward heads and additional aft sleeping cabin.

Casing for lifting keel being installed. Galley locker will surround it.
Water ballast tanks and double quarter berth on port side.

Port water ballast tanks and double quarter berth, looking through into lazarette.
Navigation station.
Looking from nav station, through saloon into forecabin, in this case with forward heads.
Companion ladder to cockpit. The motor is behind the ladder.
Cockpit and cabin.
Deck and cabin nearing completion.
Casting half of the lead ballast bulb.
The next update on Fred's Didi 950 will likely be when he launches her.

To see our full range of designs, please visit or