Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hull-Turning of Didi 23

Steve Watson is building a Didi 23 in Hood River, Oregon. Last week he and a few friends pulled the hull out of his garage, rolled it over in the driveway then returned it to the garage for work to start on the interior. These photos show the process that they used.
Pulled out of the garage.
Half-way over. A hull is intimidating in this position and must be controlled. Gravity can quickly become the boss.
Safely over and resting on mattresses. Builder Steve Watson at right.
Lifted off the mattresses onto a wheeled cradle to keep her mobile.
Stern view. Steve has added a scoop stern to the transom.
Going back into the garage for work to continue.
A boat-under-construction takes on a whole new character when it is turned right-way up. This is the first time that the builder gets to see it right-way-up and the final shape of his creation.

Hull-turning is a memorable milestone in a big boatbuilding project. This is always a good time to have a party, to take your rewards and gather your thoughts, resources and energy for the next stage of the project.

The way that Steve and friends turned this hull worked for them. The bigger the boat, the more complex the turning process becomes and the more care that must be taken with preparations and equipment to keep this heavy structure under control. Carelessness with this phase of the project can injure or kill people and also damage the carefully-built boat.

To see more of this and our other designs, please go to http://dixdesign.com/.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival Reminder

I wrote recently about the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Tonsend, WA. That happens next weekend, from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th September. This is the biggest wooden boat event in the world and is in its 38th year. It comprises 300 boats on display on land or in the water, 120 presentations on a wide range of subjects related to building, owning and looking after wooden boats, as well as dozens of exhibitors showing the products that you need for your boat.

My own presentation will be on the subject of "Plywood Boatbuilding Methods" and will be in the Discovery Room of the NorthWest Maritime Center building. It will be the first session of the day, from 10h45 to 11h45.

A few owners or builders of my boats have said that they will be there to attend my talk, which I will illustrate with PowerPoint. I will discuss the various methods for building plywood boats with which I am experienced, as well as plywood sheet jointing methods and plywood kits. If there is time I will also answer whatever questions about plywood boatbuilding that you may care to ask.

If you can't make it to my session but will be at the Festival later, I will be there for the duration and available to meet when I am not involved with something or someone else. David Blessing will have his Didi Mini "Segue" on display and will be able to contact me so that we can arrange a meeting.

I look forward to this great event as a wonderful opportunity to meet with other lovers of wooden boats.

To see our range of wooden and other boat designs, please visit http://dixdesign.com/.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Howdy Bailey, Boatbuilder with a Difference

Howdy Bailey is a long-time friend, from long before we moved to USA. Howdy had bought plans from me for the Pratique 35 and we visited him in Norfolk, Virginia, on our first trip to USA in 1983. I was a young designer, not yet through with my studies at Westlawn School of Yacht Design (now named Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology) and was totally unknown. Yet, based solely on the design that he had bought from me and a few hours chatting over dinner, Howdy Bailey had the confidence in me to commission the design of a 64ft charter yacht that was to be built for a consortium in Norfolk. That design is the Dix 64 and the boat was launched and went into the St Thomas charter trade as "Rising Sun".
Dix 64 "Rising Sun" shows off her exquisite finish.Howdy Bailey in the red shirt.
"Rising Sun" was beautifully built in steel, finished in flag blue Awlgrip that displayed her blemish-free surfaces to perfection. Rigged as a staysail schooner for ease of handling by a small crew, she surprised all who sailed on her with her speed under sail and characteristics.

Over the years and on opposite sides of the Atlantic, Howdy Bailey and I maintained a lasting friendship and worked together on many projects. They included the Echo 38 cruising tug "Echo" and the Little Creek 47 "Flutterby", now owned by Howdy's son Dylan Bailey.
"Echo" at home on a backwater of Chesapeake Bay.

Little Creek 47 "Flutterby" waiting to start a Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race
Howdy was instrumental also in me receiving the commission to design "Sabbatical II" as a custom design for a local businessman and friend. Howdy and his very capable crew turned her into a work of art, with beautiful detailing of a complicated boat.
The ketch-rigged "Sabbatical II" sailing in sloop configuration.
I have always thought of "Howdy" as a nickname, maybe short for Howard or some other name. Not so long ago I asked him what his real name is and he replied "Howdy". He was named Howdy at birth. Howdy's interesting name carries through to him being one of the most interesting people that I have had the pleasure of knowing in the boating industry. He no longer builds boats and instead works in the marine service industry. He and his small crew take on service work of all types, from rebuilding joinery to rerigging and new plumbing or mechanicals. Whatever you need done to bring your boat back to pristine condition, Howdy and his guys can do it. Custom metalwork is their specialty, able to produce aluminium and stainless items to a very high standard. They are currently completing the keel/engine support structure in steel for the Didi 950 being built in Ohio.

Howdy also has great community spirit. He introduced me to some surfing friends a year or two after we arrived in Virginia Beach and I joined their very informal Iguana Surf Club. Every year this club hosts a fun day on the beach as a fundraiser for the Norfolk-based Children's Hospital of the Kings Daughters, with surf contest, fun events and a big party afterwards. The past few years Howdy Bailey has really come through with large amounts of cash that has been donated by his customers and local businesses toward the fundraiser. Howdy has a big heart.

Ever since we met, he has done business from various buildings near to Cobb's Marina at Little Creek, an inlet off the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It was always an interesting place to visit, with all kinds of fascinating bits and pieces hung on the walls or suspended from the roof. Howdy is a collector, not of "stuff" but of "interesting stuff". His workshop just wasn't big enough to display all of his eclectic collection.

City codes have now forced a relocation and Howdy Bailey Yacht Services has moved into a larger shop at 7527 Avenue J, Norfolk. This has much more open space and it has been put to good use to show off Howdy's collection of toys, bicycles, boats, signs, classic cars, old tools and a host of other things. The heavy items are on the floor and lighter items are hanging from the roof or along the walls. Even if you have no interest in boats or quality metalwork, Howdy Bailey Yacht Services is an interesting place to visit.
Main entrance to Howdy Bailey Yacht Services
Howdy in red short and Larry Foster, long-time colleague.
View of the shop from the front entrance.
Lots to look at, in every direction.
Howdy and I go back a long way and I look forward to continuing that way for many years to come. If you have some boat work that needs doing by competent people, visit Howdy's shop or call him on 757-480-0058.

To see more of our designs, please visit http://dixdesign.com/.