Saturday, September 20, 2014

Didi Mini Mk3 in Vancouver BC

Mark Paterson lives in Burnaby, British Columbia, in Canada. In 2010 he was one of the first customers to buy plans for the Didi Mini Mk3. His boat is nearing completion and he expects to launch before the end of this year.

I met Mark in 2011 when I was a speaker at the Metal Boat Festival in Anacortes, WA. He drove down from Canada to meet, a pleasant surprise for me seeing as he was building a plywood boat and I was there to discuss steel and aluminium boats with people who work with cold and hard materials, grinders and sand-blasters.

A few weeks ago, when I was a presenter at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, WA, Mark came down again. He caught up with me at the Didi Cruise-Mini that was being exhibited by David Blessing. Mark gave me a flash drive loaded with photos of his project, from start through to the present nearly complete stage. I will post photos of his project over the next few weeks.
Mark's Didi Mini Mk 3 with hardware going on.
 Mark has done some exquisite work while building his boat, work of which any builder would be rightfully proud. Some of it is above the level of expertise that I would expect from an amateur builder and is to his own detailing, modified from my drawings and made from carbon/epoxy instead of aluminium or stainless steel. The lighter weight of these items will go some way to offset the comfortable interior that he has put into his boat. I can see the influence of a wife in the interior.
Nice galley to cook up a storm in a little boat.
I won't show the early construction photos. The construction method is much like her bigger sister, the Didi 950 that is shown in posts on this blog over the past few months and I don't want to bore you with repeated info. You can access the Didi 950 posts through the archive list at left. Instead I will focus on the more interesting aspects of Mark's build. Watch for those posts over the next few weeks.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Update on Didi 26 #14

I designed the Didi 26 in 1997 and sold the first plans in 1998. I had drawn it as a speculative design, with no customer to commission it but a bunch of people asking about that concept. I went ahead and drew it to fill the needs that were most often requested. Along with that it also had to fit into an Australian trailer-sailer rule that existed at the time, did not gain a following and died a few years later.One of the first to be launched was "Butterfly", built by Ake Unander in Malbo, Sweden. Ake built her in a carport alongside his home.

The hull of "Butterfly", coming out into the snow to be turned upright.
"Butterfly" being towed to launch by a VW Golf
"Butterfly" on an early sail, in breezy conditions.
Last week I received an email from Ake. He still enjoys sailing "Butterfly", although he has toned her down somewhat by replacing her bright yellow livery with a more sedate white. He has also modified the cockpit and interior to better suit his advancing age and has replaced the retracting bowsprit with a shorter fixed sprit and furling headsail, making her easier to sail single-handed. I am very much in favour of these personal modifications because the whole point of a boat is to go sailing and you will do more sailing if you are comfortable with your boat.
A recent photo of "Butterfly" in relaxed mode on Lake V├Ąttern
Thank you Ake, for building "Butterfly" and for using her as she was intended to be used.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sneak Peak at Cape Charles 32

I started to design the Cape Charles 32 a few years ago, commissioned by a client in Maryland. He passed away without having built the boat and it slid to the back shelf, with other designs having higher priority. There it stayed, waiting for a new client to take it on.

Word did get out about this incomplete design and I occasionally received enquiries about when it would be complete or when they could start building. Somehow there was always too much pressure from other designs on my board. Earlier this year the Cape Charles 32 found a spot on my board and is moving forward again and two will start construction when I have the necessary drawings ready.

In the process it has gone through a metamorphosis, prompted by the change of primary client who helps to steer the direction of the design. Eventually the concept of the original client, of a gaff rigged coastal cruiser with simple traditional layout, will be available alongside the version on which I am now working, as shown here.
Preliminary Marconi rig for Cape Charles 32
The square-top mainsail has been described as the modern equivalent of a gaff rig. It behaves differently from a gaff rig but has some of the same advantages and it is prettier than a leg 'o mutton mainsail. I think that it will work well on this cruiser. As seen here it is preliminary and it may change in some way before completion.

The new client for the Cape Charles 32 likes the interior layout of the Didi 950 and asked if something similar will work for the CC32. When I looked at this possibility I realised that the two boats are almost identical in overall dimensions. The concepts and hull shapes are very different, of course, but in some ways the Cape Charles 32 is the Didi 950 taken back a few steps in time.
Cape Charles 32 Accommodation
The layout will be very comfortable and offers good privacy for two couples or a small family. Full standing headroom extends over all standing areas of this boat because of the horizontal cabin crown. The U-shape galley is very secure at sea, with enough counter area for entertaining in harbour.
Profile and Underbody of the Cape Charles 32
Hull shape and construction is very much as for the smaller sisters in this design range. They are the Cape Cutter 19, the Cape Henry 21 and the Cape May 25. The family is growing.

With a draft of 1.2m (3' 11"), the Cape Charles 32 will be a good boat for thin water cruising. If you do run her aground, you can hop over the side to push her off again. That will get you into private anchorages that are out of bounds to deep keel cruisers.

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