Saturday, 10 May 2008

Toylander kit for kids

Toylander logo

Build your child his or her own toy Land Rover,its a 12 volt electric driven car and can carry two children,two adults at a push!

This was mentioned on the blog some weeks back,just a picture really,it was one we cut from a set of plans a customer bought from the designer.We looked at the plans,then made some adjustments in assembly to speed things up,really we just took a process we thought of when building the Didi Mini Transat race boat Running With Scissors, where instead of using small angular support cleats,we use more simple 'Finger Joints',this means we do away with the wood cleats (epoxy fillets instead) which saves both weight,time and money, we think the ease of assembly is so much better this way too,plywood kits are available from us,while plans for the S1 design,are 35 pounds and direct from the designers in England at one item we can make really easy for you to make faster, is for us to include some Superform bending plys in our kit,this makes the top of the two front wings and the bonnet curves really easy to shape!


Friday, 9 May 2008

Paper Jet can really fly

Staying with a theme of relative simplicity but working with Dudley Dix of Dix Design at we would be selling the sailing world short if we do not mention his very fast (if you want) Paper Jet,which we offer as plans and a kit,no plans only for this besign,as the sections are not really suitable for home cutting with a jig saw,we also keep the design to a very close build tollerance this way too. The boat that Dudley built for himself,sail number 001 and in the pictures,was constructed from a set of CNC cut panels that CKD Boats supplied.

Dudley thought about this new design for some while,I say new but it went back over ten years,the idea was there but to actually complete it, then build the first one,which of course then means Dudleys top notch 'Builders Guide',which he supplies with all his plans,could be writen up. Dudley is a good boat builder,its this side of the Dix Design name,that ensures that when you buy one of his designs,plans or kit,the boat will be easy to construct and will sail as he intended.

The Paper Jet ,is special in that it is really three boats in one,check out the three sail plans,its easy to see a natural power progression from one to the other,start small,then as you build up your sailing tallents,move on to the next sized rig,of course this means that the boat can be suited to various sailors with different levels of skills and all in the same day,just by changing the boats rig,its that simple!


Thursday, 8 May 2008

Houdini said?

Houdini said, 'To get out of bed is the hardest thing I can do' so sang Leo Sayer back in the late 1960s....I am not sure what Houdini, the escape artist has to do with this really nice design,the 'Houdini' by the New Zealand boat designer John Welsford but I expect its an attempt as a means of escape from from some of the daily tensions we may have from time to time? This is now one of our CNC cut boat kits,we have the plans in stock too.


Small boat theory,John Welsford

So we now see a massive surge in the price of petro chemicals,oil has just gone past U$24 per barrel now (Hong Kong) this equates to a minimum of 500% as a petrol price increase in about five years, probably more if your running a diesel engine? A while back I thought we should be looking at power boats and you may have noticed some on our web site,the idea still holds true for those who need the flexibility that power craft can give,fishing and waters not suitable for sailing come to mind but now my mind is also looking to boats that are super fuel efficient,either by using very little or none at all! One of our designers, John Welsford ,has a number of suitable craft,check his web site out at his range of both power and sail craft is large and we have a selection of his plans in stock,plus have produced some as kits too,to date the Navigator (pictured above) and the Houdini but we are open to most of the others John has created too.


Wednesday, 7 May 2008

South African boat building trade

Time was we were very far away from the percieved 'world market', it seems this has seen a very large turn around in recent years,in the Cape Town area especially.In May 2003, Chris Van Gass,the editor of Business Day, came and had a chat with me about how I saw the local boat building trade? Chris is not the only one either,Veda Raubenheimer (cbti) now SABBEX (south african boat builders export council) did the same,also two proffessors doing a thesis on the same issue, came for a look see at what we do and how I think the trade is progressing,in fact is it progressing? In the published story about how the local boat builders were doing,Buisiness Day recorded that our local industry had a sales turn over in 2003 of over 700 million Rands,I note the industry turnover is now more than 1.5 billion Rands,five years has seen growth indeed!! The situation in growth has,to some extent been slowed by a lack of suitable trained artisans,thats across the spectrum.

(read this from Business Day,my blog continues after it)

Posted to the web on: 03 April 2008
Cape boat builders set sail for a bright new future
Chris van Gass

Cape Correspondent

ORDER books of some boat builders are bulging. Prospects look bright for members of the South African Boat Builders’ Export Council (Sabbex), the newest export council in the country.

With the formation of the council, there has been a shake-up among members to put the industry on a more solid footing and enhance its standing and reputation internationally, says the council’s CEO, Veda Raubenheimer.

With government support, the estimated R1,5bn industry is set to move forward with clear targets of retaining the foothold it has in foreign markets, especially in catamarans.

About 12 years ago, SA had 0,5% of the sailing catamaran market, but today, it accounts for 30% of global sales.

The South African boat-building industry has grown more than 120% since 1994, with 84% of growth in real terms driven by exports, especially to the US, the Caribbean, Holland, UK and Spain.

Western Cape accounts for 75% of the country’s boat-building companies and 87% of industry turnover.

Three flagship companies — Gunboat, Southern Wind and Robertson & Caine — are a reflection of the health of the industry, says Raubenheimer.

Gunboat built three yachts for R60m last year, and has nine more boats on order up to 2011, three of 90ft with price tags of about R70m each, and six of 66ft (about R25m each).

Southern Wind builds an average of five yachts a year in a price range of € 8m-€ 12m, and their order book is full, says Raubenheimer.

The largest boat builder in Western Cape, Robertson & Caine, built 84 boats last year priced at $380000 to $600000, for the charter market in the US and Caribbean.

This company has built more than 500 catamarans over the past 10 years.

Raubenheimer ascribes the success enjoyed by some companies to their strong brands. “People want to buy their boats,” he says.

Those companies have good reputations for boat building, and they have “a lot of good skills”.

The quality of their products is reflected in the technology applied in manufacturing, and it is cutting edge including the use of composite materials and vacuum-infusion construction techniques.

Employment provided by the top three companies numbers close to 1000, but many more workers with the necessary skills can be employed.

Raubenheimer says that it is in the skills field that the influence of the industry is being manifested and where there have been exciting developments.

The industry is establishing a boat-building academy with the False Bay College.

A new partnership, which will include the day-to-day management of the college, has been established to teach the skills the industry needs.

The academy will open in June, and provide teaching for a three-year academic qualification and short courses to fill skills gaps.

Raubenheimer says that the three-year South African Qualification Authority-recognised course would be akin to apprenticeship training, with six months of academic work and six months workplace training.

The shorter skills programme would be ideal for companies that need to expand their labour force, and assess skills levels of the existing labour force and scale up skills as required.

Her enthusiasm for the skills project is echoed by Roy McBride, owner of CKD Boats, a small boat-building business that specialises in exporting kit boats to up to 17 countries.

McBride says he believes that government support has made a “big difference” in the industry’s advancement.

He contends that the key to future success lies in expanding the skills base in the industry as “there are so many thing people can do with their hands. You have to keep training — you can’t build a business without the necessary skills,” he says.

The need for more skills is reflected in the industry’s steady growth of 10% a year in recent years, despite certain hardships being experienced in medium and smaller-sized businesses, says Raubenheimer.

Sabbex, with 31 members, has undergone a “complete review” of its membership structure, and also embarked on a rebranding exercise.

The main thrust is not only to export but to ensure steps to protect its traditional markets in the US and the Caribbean, says Raubenheimer.

A big breakthrough for Sabbex is its invitation to participate for the first time at the annual general meeting in Barcelona of Icomia (the International Committee for Maritime Industry Associations).

“This will give us the legitimacy and exposure and a platform to assist us to get involved in international discussions about the industry, and learn about how different industries around the world are regulated and what standards are applied,” says Raubenheimer.

What does the future hold?

Raubenheimer says the industry is eyeing the Middle East market for work boats, light commercial vessels and patrol boats as well as for “really top end yachts” as the Middle East is a “discerning market”.

Boat builders will also be looking towards Europe, Thailand, South Korea and even into Africa, the latter specifically for the day charter boats.

“Anywhere there is a boom in tourism, there’s always opportunity,” says Raubenheimer.

‘You have to keep training — you can’t build a business without the necessary skills.

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CKD Boats cc,The Blog continues:

carpenters,welders,laminators,painters,electritians,sail and mast makers,you name it,we need them,to try and at least fill part of this void,some colleges have opened,they have a fast track education of just three years,so some in house back up will still be needed when they actually do start work but having seen production in some of the countries larger boat builders,one is Robertson and Caine,another Southern Wind Shipyard,plus Sail makers North Sales and mast makers Sparcraft / Southern Spars,I can assure you the collective system is seen to be working rather well.


Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Economy Cruiser

Tiny but great at the same time! just 400 man hours to build this micro sailer and your ready to go,says Bernd Kohler of K-designs in France.Also available as an Eco Motor Caravan Boat which you will find we have mentioned in an earlier blog.

Duo 660 Sailing Catamaran

WORLD PREMIER, hot news on a brand new K-Design by Bernd Kohler,remember,you saw it here first!

Each year we try and bring a new face to our designs on offer,this is not as easy as one may think,its no use offering lots of boats that are similar,if we go that route we are not supporting those designers who have been supporting ourselves in the past.Word of Mouth seems to be the best way to find such new tallent and so it was with Bernd Kohler of K-Designs, a person with such nice fresh looking boats that its hard not to be impressed as we are.Bernd Kohler has a range of multihulls,one of which is his Duo 660,a boat made for towing behind an SUV or such like,it weighs around 430kgs,so you will need a nice trailer and a medium size towing vehicle.The Duo 660 is a simple build in wood/epoxy plywood construction,it demounts so you can make it narrower for towing,this also makes it easy to store at your yacht club or at home.
Some news: 15/05/08 we are sourcing Carbon Fibre freestanding masts locally,please contact me for information and prices at


Monday, 5 May 2008

PDRacer The new dinghy idea!

This idea came from Micheal Storer in Austrailia, try him at its a step up from a similar shaped well known design but aimed at keeping prices down and not pushing them up,the class rules are simple,make it yourself and dont even think about asking a sailmaker to cut and sew your sail,thats banned right at the start,so is spending too much money,even the plans are at rock bottom price.The nice thing with this boat is it is very family friendly,even mum and dad can fit in this design.We sell both the plans and the PDRacer kits.
May 12th update:
The plans are U$25 we can email them direct to you,please email me for a quote to the kit and its various options

Used LEWMAR Self Tailing winches

We get used boat gear from time to time,so why not put it on our blog page thinks Roy? todays offer is a number of very decent self tailing winches,two are Antal racing 46st,in black alloy,one is a Lewmar 46stc (chrome) and another is also a Lewmar stc but size 30,they have all been fully stripped, serviced and are ready to fit.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Wild Vanilla a DH55 catamaran

One of those designs that just leaps out to say,this is the best looking catamaran ever! in this case,size matters,the DH55 was designed by Dudley Dix and Phil Harvey for Phil and his wife Laura,to enjoy with their family cruising in the West Indies,then another was asked for,then another and another,when a design is so good you just have to have one yourself. We can cut the the boats bulkheads at this time and of course still offer all the boats materials that you will find listed on the boats page under 'Materials' just open the design up at .Smaller and larger boats to the same concept are already in the pipe line,we will do kits to those too.

Dix 43 radius chine wood/epoxy build

We are asked now and again what the largest size boat is we can handle,the correct reply is probably any size you can afford? Our smallest boat will be the Optimist or the Dixi Dinghy at ,the largest boat we have on file is also by Dix Design and is a really great looking boat called a DH55,a co design with Dudley Dix and Phil Harvey,the boats builder in Trinidad.The Dix 43 we built was result of a need to build a 43ft yacht as fast and cost effective as possible,so wood/epoxy was the chosen route.Untill 'Flying Cloud' was built,all similar boats were built in steel,we took the steel boat plans and built a wooden boat instead! This was not from one of our kits,we only moved into CNC work later on but it gave us a clear insight into the ease of radius chine construction,as the hull was built by one person in a build time of six weeks only.
A design bonus:
Being wood/epoxy,the boat was around two tons light over its heavier steel sister,this then meant we had to add one ton of extra lead ballast to the steel keel shoe,that would normally hold four tons of ballast,as the steel shoe weighs one ton its selff we now have a total ballast weight of six tons and the boat is still one ton light over its steel versions,the result is a very comfortable and fast cruising boat,a truly wonderfull boat to sail.


Black Cat the first Didi 38

One of our favorite concept boats,so lots of pictures for this one!

This was the boat that started a design rush,since the top yacht designerDudley Dix first designed and then built the boat for his own use,he has sold hundreds of radius chined sets of plans to a growing list of boats named Didi.......Black Cat has now sailed the South Atlantic Ocean for times,being two entries in to the prestigious Cape to Rio Race,Dudely sailed his boat on three of those voyages,twice in the two races and once on the boats first return,its this sailing input that sets Dudley Dix appart from some other designers who just may not have the sea miles Dudley does.We can CNC cut the bulkheads,hull and deck skins,coachroof and the cockpit.Plus as with all our kits,we aslo supply the wood and epoxies required to complete the boat,up to the interior,which we offer as an addition.We can supply extras such as North Sails,Harken and Lewmar deck gear,Yanmar engines,Raymarine and Garmin electronics,in fact anything you will need to finish your new boat.

Eco 7 mini cat

A micro coastal cruiser from the board of Bernd Kohler,small enough for your pocket and large enough for your family,lots of features and space,easy to build in our normal kit methods with plywood and epoxy,as with all of the designs by Bernd Kohler,the cost of plans are very resonable.

Economy motor caravan boat

This one is different! another of Bernd Kohlers great designs,first as a sailing boat,now as a floating caravan,that will be just perfect for protected waters such as canals and lakes, its your own moving and floating home,plenty of space to soak up the fresh air and even a double bed to sleep the night away.The power side is taken care of with just two small outboards of 5hp each,so no gas guzzler is this power boat,you can even reach speeds of 12 knots,thats about twice as fast as your average sailing boat? We can offer kits to either the sailing Eco Sailing Cruiser,or the new Economy caravan version.


Duo 900 sailing catamaran

From time to time a new yacht designer comes to our site,one such person is Bernd Kohler,a multihull design specialist of some note.I have to say he is better known than I had thought,as in just a few short weeks since we contacted him,we have sent kit boat quotes out to Germany,USA,Poland and Greece,all except the last country were for the KD860 sailing catermaran,with a new design,the Duo 900 being the new addition.This is a fast sailing demountable craft,so you can move it by road,then reassemble when next to the water,its easier to store at home for the same reason of course.For kit pricing on both the KD860,the Duo 900 please contact me.


The Perfect Cruising Yacht?

One of our HBYC members and last years Commodore,Justin Philips, has just posted the subject on the clubs web site,you will find it at ,its posted under 'Links' then HBYC seafarers forum.

The subject is a very interesting one,do we think large, or do we think small,I myself have never found it matters one bit,that you arrive at a destination in a large or small boat,its more a matter that you arrived? The Didi 34 would be my first choice as a good cruising design,neither small or large,its a fast and safe passage maker,what you equip it with is the difference of course!