Friday, March 27, 2015

Cape Cutter 19 Launch in Cape Town

Nick Kulenkampff, of Cape Town, bought plans from us in November 2013 for the Cape Cutter 19, to be built in lapstrake plywood. I only received one question from him and that was on choice of plywood for the build. A few days ago I received another email from him, with launch photos attached. He launched his boat, named "Mimi", at Royal Cape Yacht Club, in February.

In his email, Nick said "thank you for a beautiful design and also for a set of plans that were spot on. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process." From the photos it appears that he made a pretty good job of the build, which was also quicker than most at about 15 months.

This boat is available in GRP from Cape Cutter Yachts in UK. It is the smaller sister to our popular Cape Henry 21 design.

Here are some of Nick's build photos, with explanations
Making bulkheads. These are cut from full-size Mylar patterns, included in the plans.
Transom, laminated from multiple layers of plywood.
Bulkheads and transom set up on building stocks.
Bottom skin going on. Plenty of clamps needed.
Bilge panel gong on. Keel deadwood and wood bilge keels fitted. This bilge keel is to protect the hull when aground, serving purely as a support to keep the hull skin clear of pebbles.
Forward bottom panel. Fitting this panel is the most difficult part of the build, due to the amount of twist in the panel. The twist is what forms the fine bow for good performance.
Hull epoxy-coated, primed and ready for paint.
Building the cockpit. Nick's work is very neat.
Interior, looking forward, built  before fitting the deck.
Interior, looking aft. Painting in progress.
Deck stringers glued into pre-cut slots
Painted and brightwork being done. Almost ready to get wet.
This view shows why these little boats are so quick. That fine bow works vvery well.
Launch day. The yellow boat below the bow is "Black Cat", the Didi 38 that I built.
Afloat and waiting for her rig to be set up.
Thank you, Nick, for the set of photos. She looks good and I am sure you will have many good times sailing her.

To see more of this and out other designs, visit

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Didi 29 Retro Progress

Bruce Mierke is building a Didi 29 Retro in Murphy, North Carolina. Bruce is a professional boatbuilder, building her for himself and progressing nicely. He has now completed the hull and it will be turned over in a few weeks.

This design is based on the Didi 26, modified to create a more classic image. Carrying a choice of rigs, the squaretop Marconi rig below and two gaff rigs further down the page. It is a radius chine plywood design, round bilge from plywood and can be built from plans or a CNC kit. Although Bruce is a professional builder, I developed this construction method primarily for amateurs and they have built many boats to this range of designs.
Marconi rig of Didi 29 Retro
Here are the latest photos from Bruce, showing the beautiful standard of finish that he has achieved.
Beautiful hull finish.
Two gaff rigs, racing at left and cruising at right.

For more info on this and our other designs, visit

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dix 470 Catamaran Kit Build in UK

Kevin Bream is the owner of Exocetus Catamaran Kits in UK, the company that he formed to develop kits for our plywood catamaran designs and to market them to builders, both professional and amateur. To be sure that he does a proper job of this, he is building the Dix 470 himself, to test the fit of all parts and to develop systems to ease the whole construction process.

The number of plywood components in a boat like this is massive. Just the thought of figuring the size and shape for each one, then cutting it out before fitting it in place on the boat, can make the project being contemplated seem very intimidating. Anything that can be done to reduce the number of hours in the build and the flow of elbow grease from builder into the boat is worthy of consideration. It reduces building time for any kind of builder. For a boatyard it increases profits and for the amateur it gets him afloat and sailing sooner.

Kevin Bream has one hull completed and is now working on the second. Lessons that he learned while building the first hull have been put into making a better product. Aside from that, anyone who buys a kit from Exocetus will benefit from a product that has been built by the supplier himself. Who could provide better backup support to the builders than he who has done the development, the cutting and the building before them?

Here are recent photos of the project.
The workshop of Exocetus Catamaran Kits, first hull on the right.
Completed Dix 470 starboard hull, waiting for its mate.
Self-jigging building stocks, bolted to the concrete slab.
Interlocking bulkheads & backbone assembled, stringers in progress.
Daggerboard casing. This boat can have cruising keels or daggerboards.
Skeleton of port hull, ready for skin. The jigsaw joints are visible at panel edges.
Skeleton with side skin being dry-fitted to test for proper fit.
Stern detail of starboard hull, showing swim platform.
Exocetus Catamaran Kits can also supply similar kits for the bigger sister, the DH550.

To see more about these designs, as well as others of all types and materials, please visit