Saturday, 6 February 2016

Our Optimist kit built up and ready for sailing

Hi Roy

Now almost ready for sailing.


Basil has made a great job of the assembly and building of our Optimist kit.

His son should be on the water and sailing very soon ?


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Cape Charles 32 kit

This has been on the go for some while but has now started to become a reality.

The Cape Charles 32 design has progressed to the stage that we have sent construction drawings to the first two builders so that they can start planning their projects. One is waiting for a kit to be available in a few months before starting. The other will wit for the northern summer before starting. I must still supply deck hardware layouts, finalise rig details and do rudder detailing, other than that it is done.

This is in many ways a classic cruising version of the Didi 950, with almost identical length and beam. It is detailed to a similar high standard of information, so I am pricing the plans at the same level, US$1500 to build from plans with offsets. We will also have full-size Mylar patterns available for bulkheads as an optional extra for $600. Shipping will be added to those prices.

Dudley Dix
Dudley Dix Yacht Design

Monday, 25 January 2016

Watchmate 850 AIS from Vesper Marine

We have sold the Watchmate AIS now for some years, known to be the very best there is, they have some strong features such as a very low power draw, it is so low you can leave the instrument switched on 24/7.

This carton contains an 850 AIS and an Antenna splitter, cables are supplied also.

The splitter, which also allows you to hear broadcast stations from your masthead VHF antenna, this is really useful when you have a steel or ferro built yacht.

The Watchmate 850 AIS, as with the antenna splitter an instruction guide is supplied.

Type approved and this one has been pre programed with an MMSI number for the Australian yacht we will deliver it to.

Delivery by Fedex takes one week, that costs only U$85 for a splitter and Watchmate 850 AIS plus local clearing fees. Contact me on the prices for the splitter and AIS.


Saturday, 23 January 2016

A Dix Design 43ft cruising boat for sale

This one owner boat is in good condition and loaded with the kind of gear you will need on a proper offshore cruising boat.

This yacht really is as nice as it looks.

Finished in teak and white ash to a warm finish which is a joy to be with.

Lots of galley space there is room for two to stand in comfort.

The upholstery is in fine condition and was Scotch guarded from new.

Priced to sell and available right now.

Contact me for a detailed Word file on the boat and what is included in the sale offer.

The yacht is on its own moorings near Cape Town which can be rented subject to conditions.

All winches are Lewmar self tailers, the Lewmar 54 sta on this picture were up graded to Lewmar 58 sta.

Soldin Rands and priced to sell at R1,300,000 or just U$79,000,  this yacht is sure to find a new home soon.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Basils first CKD Boats cc Optimist kit build

I must say that Basil has produced a really great looking Optimist from the kit we sent to him.

Hi Roy

I finished painting.

Have a great day.



I can recomend leaving the inside of the boat in clear varnish, it is a lot faster to work that way and makes a statement to your wood/epoxy Optimist build.

This week we are cutting two more Optimist kits for Basil, they will ship by sea, the one in the pictures went by air.


Cape Towns V&A Waterfront in 1997

The date will be close, the fact that the boat nearest the camera still flys the old South African flag tells me that this was pre elections.

Brian was a good friend of mine and I only discovered he has passed on last week.

This is an early TBA meeting, it will be around 1997?

Note the old SA flag on Kalarhari Sand (ferro build) Don who is standing next to Brian built the boat himself.

It was holed off Dassen Isle one night and is still there.

Brian is in the yellow tee shirt,

My Endurance 37 Ocean Cloud is behind them and against the wall.

His company is still running, Good Hope Stevedoring, in Auckland St, Paarden Eiland,

Rob, a friend of mine, viewed the picture and made the following observations.

The V&A shopping centre (or “Disney World” as my Dad unflatteringly called it) is still under construction in the photo, and the Table Bay Hotel  has still to be constructed at N0. 6 Quay which was for many years the “home” berth for the Thesen’s Coasters where I started my career. So that dates your photo.

The jetty at which your boats are moored in the photo was where the mooring line-running launches (operated by Larry Ruddy and Robert Quine) berthed, and also the harbour Police launch “Gemsbok” and the SAR&H port wooden launches, “Bus”, “Sparrow” and her identical sister whose name escapes me now but begins with a “K” –  something like “Kokewiet”. Further to the left and out of your photo frame was the boat-building yard of Louw & Halvorsen, builders of scores and scores of fine wooden craft for more than 50/60 years. It was there on a 72-ft pilchard trawler built for Mr. Johnny Eigelaar of Velddrif that I performed my first “solo” inclining experiment as part of my naval architecture practical training. Boat’s name was “Langeveld” I think. That was in 1968.

Then Rob remembered some more about the area.


Only for completeness’ sake, having remembered it this morning, I confirm the name of the second of the identical twin harbour launches as “Korhaan” (Afrikaans for the long-legged bird “Bustard” )
She and “Sparrow” were nice, fully-enclosed little single-screw craft, all varnished woodwork and polished brass. Built as a pair by L & H in the late 1950’s, I doubt that they still exist.

The larger SAR&H launch “Bus” was twin-screw and was used to assist movement of small trawlers in the Alfred and Victoria basins. She was also L&H-built.

The grand-dame of the lot was the police launch “Gemsbok”, powered by twin Kelvins in a separate stand-up and walk-around engine room aft of the wheelhouse. She had been known to make police trips as far north as Dassen Eiland and as far south as Cape Point.


Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Optimist kits, news from Switzerland

Hi Roy

Today I started pre-painting.

Have a good day.

I am looking forward for the next two kits

We supplied an International Paints user  guide with this first kit.

The boat has now been epoxied all over, it looks like the finish will be done in clear varnish?

The next two kits will be sent out by sea this, time we will also supply two North Sails.


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Building Basil's Optimist kit

The Optimist is being built in Zurich, Switzerland, we sent the kit there by air.

The progress is very good, just check on the finish on the Gunnels.

Hi Roy

Back from Spain and Skiing in the mountains I made progres and glued the gunnels.

Wish you and your family a good start in 2016 and all the best.


There was even time for a holiday!

We supplied the CNC plywood kit and also the selected and machined meranti hardwood for this order.


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Lokarta 7 RDF and a reminder of the way things used to be

RDF is short for Radio Direction Finder.

I bought this cheaply, the reason being that the beacons that used to send out a homing signal had been switched off some years before.

The seller thought it was then useless, I saw that it was in good condition and an up grade on the Lokata 5 RDFs I have had on my previous yachts.

It still has a perfect Sestral compass in it, also the battery case, so this works just fine day or night as a hand bearing compass.

 This may be an old bit of kit today but as a hand bearing compass is still required on a yacht, I am more than happy to have this one.

Only the receiving side does not function, so the ear phones can be left in the box while the hand bearing compass can be used still.

The Lokata 5 had an internal re chargeable battery, the mount base was the charger, I have had two of those from new.

The Lokata 7 has four penlight batteries, which in some ways is better?

The set still works, this is many years after the set was produced, the elastic band is due to the battery box retaining clip having broken off.

The owners user manual is dated 1986, so this is now thirty years old and it still works.

This to me is now a collectors item and I will add it to my collection of similar older marine instruments.

While it is not quite perfect, I do have the original packing, the head phones and the user manual, so its worth having.

I once met Christian, a Danish sailor, he had crossed the North Atlantic using only his RDF, he reasoned that once out in the Atlantic, RDF signals would be few and far between?

A really strong one was Ascension Island, so once locked onto that signal his DR was easy enough until he then picked up a second and a third beacon as he closed on the West Indies. Back then the Sat Nav was available but quite pricey, my  friend saved himself the cost of the satnav this way.

We had the Walker 412 and had had the Walker 402 before then.


Thursday, 31 December 2015

An Endurance 37 back from Brasil

I have been fortunate enough to own not one but two Endurance 37 yachts. Both went transatlantic and with myself as an owner/ builder / skipper status.

I was fortunate to have some of the best crew possible on each trip.

On Ocean Planet the trip  was back from Rio Do Janerio to Cape Town and with my good friend Alex Notman (notty) as the only crew, we came back in thirty two days, not bad really, twenty nine was very possible until we had a South Easter gale, we ended up in Saldahna on that trip.

Ocean Planet started with a bare hull and at a cost of R4500, the cockpit cost another R920 and both options were worth every cent.

Then some years later and after we had sold Ocean Planet, I bought another Endurance 37 and for a similar amount of money, being R5000, that purchase had a catch though.

Gulliver of Knysna was wrecked off the coast near Slangkop lighthouse, on its way to Cape Town and from Knysna.

I bought the wreck, stripped by another who bought her from the yachts insurance company, all I got this time was the hull and deck with a big hole in it.

The yacht was bought at a place further out and in the surf than it is in my picture, the risk to me  was great and as I now owned the wreck, the liability to move it had become mine.

I hired a man named Dennis Gentry of Tandem Rigging, he and his crew camped on the high ground and near where I was standing to take the picture. Dennis was there about five days and almost gave up but in the end he managed to drag the wreck up the rocks and load it onto a large low bed trailer.

We then took the trailer and wreck up and over Chapmans Peak Drive, that is no longer possible and even back then it was tight on the many corners.

Ocean Cloud as I renamed the boat and back from Trinidad and Brasil, Simone and her then boy friend Nigel sailed her back double handed.

The trailer and boat were directed to my home in Hout Bay, there the cradle and boat were set down in our front garden. We then had quite a good party, the guys from Tandem Rigging  had really earned their drinks and snacks.

Some fifty one weeks later I re launched the boat and in Hout Bay Harbour, a year or so later we sailed off to Brasil, my friend Notty was again with me, so was his daughter Simone and anther good friend John Holmes.

View the one on Oil Changes.

That was quite an adventure!


Looking back on the HBYC marina

The date is 31st December 2015 and as good a day as any to look back a little, how far back is a good question?

My picture gives many clues, the HBYC marina extension looks brand new, many berths are still vacant, the Endurance 37 had just returned from Trinidad by way of Brasil and the young girl pictured was probably only six then?

She is now thirty three, so twenty seven years back!

All the very best for the year of 2016 !


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

A lightweight rowing tender

This was a subject raised in the West Indies, we were at the TTYA in Trinidad, discussion about the quality of our yachts tender design was quite normal.

This tender was taken from a cold moulded dinghy which I was told one of Cape Towns senior yachtsmen made.

In GRP it is still quite light but if is was cold molded in okoume marine ply or even strip planked it would probably be some 20% lighter?

We would need some forward orders to develop the files from this dinghy.

It will carry two adults and two children safely, it will row and sail, it also only needs a 2hp outboard to move it quickly when fully loaded.

There is also an option to fit inflation tubes around the outside of the hull, this means it makes a good fender for when going along side another yacht, it becomes very stable with the float tubes there if you ever dip a rail of course.

Contact me for plans and a kit which can include the alloy bolt rope track, fastener's and the inflatable floats.


The information highway

In this case the information is what I have learned over many decades and since I signed my deeds of apprenticeship,  which in my case clearly stated that I would not divulge any of the trade secrets I was about to learn.

Selling materials and boat kits comes after having already sold many species of wood, types of plywoods, veneers , epoxy and all the related stuff we use when building a boat.

Given that I have just sold a customer  some of the above I find it only fair to then pass on some of the skills I have learned while using similar products?

There are exceptions  when I am asked to explain how to use a product, epoxy is one such product.

It goes like this:

Imagine  I am visited and asked for the information on mixing and using laminating epoxy, then when I have explained at some length the process involved, I ask '  How much do you want to buy? ' , the reply is sometimes quite a shocker ' No I dont want to buy any as  I have already bought what I need from ABC but they have no idea how to use it, so I came to you to find out '  This has happened to me more than once.

Recently I was asked while I was standing next to my own wood/epoxy boat. The question was how to use the micro balloons and fumed silica? These products  I had listed in a quote I had given to a local guy for a Hard Spray Dodger we sell as a CNC cut kit.

It was easy for me to explain by indicating the various parts of my own boat, then I was told that the person had found my quote to be too expensive, so the guy went out and purchased the list of items in my quote from another company, they will have cost him more per item anyway?

This guy was now asking me how to use what he had bought !

There must be a strong word or group of words to describe such people, its a pity I cannot use those words here in my blog.

Compliments of the season to everyone and wishing you well for the coming year of 2016.


Monday, 21 December 2015

Packing an export Optimist kit

This is a three kit set Optimist package, it also includes the meranti wood, Harken deck package, North Sails, epoxies, filler powders and glass tapes.

The three Optimist kits are going to a sailing school in the USA.

Nigel is making sure the builders jig is inside the crate correctly.

This is okoume marine plywood in 12mm thick, the parts cut are the dagger boards and sides to the dagger board case.

The three bundles of meranti, which are planed to size went in next,then the North Sails, the carton contains the Harken deck gear package and the building plans we supply with each kit we sell.

Loading from the one truck to the other was made easier with the guys that work at the CNC shop plus the driver of the van.

 With this three order Optimist kit set now packed into the van we have finished our order book for the 2015 year.

We received an order for two more Optimist kits just yesterday, also for export, so they will start our new years work in January 2016!

All the best for the end of this year and the best of luck for next year.


Sunday, 20 December 2015

Basil likes our Optimist kit

In a few days back and from Switzerland.

Hi Roy

Working on the optimist is fun.

I glued the boat including center bulkhead and mast thwart.

Now I will start with the inside gunnels to glue and epoxy the screw holes.

Have a nice day,


My thanks for the pictures and feed back on the kit from Basil