Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Dix 43 rudder and skeg

This is as the designer changed the normal steel full unbalanced rudder to a wood epoxy,semi balanced rudder,it works very well,thats forwards and backwards.

The picture was taken on the RCYC slip at Cape Towns Small Craft Harbour.


Picture taken by R McBride using a Sony Cyber-Shot digital camera.

Another perfect morning in Hout Bay Harbour,left click the picture to see more detail.
The Dean 44 is named Merlin,the Dix 43 Flying Cloud.

These two boats are miles apart in design but both have materials in them supplied by myself,The Dean  44 cat, was finished internally by Nebe Boats here in Hout Bay (its in Australia now) the Dix 43 was a ply/epoxy build.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Inside a 998cc Hillman Imp engine

The engines origins  go back to just after the Second World Wars ending and the well known Coventry Climax 700cc fire pump engine,Rootes copied the basics but made it to an 875cc engine size,this engine is now 998cc sized.Some motor rebuilders also say the block is near identical to the Honda 1500cc block?

This engine was originally designed to peak around 5000 rpm,the later Sports version,6100 rpm,this engine has a camshaft that peaks around 7800 rpm but the engine will rev quite a lot higher when required.

One main bearing cap has been removed to allow access to the new timing chain,once refitted ,the oil pump can be fitted.

The oil pump is now in place,the set screw and three nuts over washers have had Loctite applied for security.

Hillman Imp suspension arms

The car is a bare shell,it goes to the paint shop on monday and will be painted inside and out in the colors of the Fraser Imps,past masters at winning most events.With the Engine rebuild under way,the rest of the car needs doing the same way,a total strip down to its bare parts,then reassemble,this is the cars front and rear suspension arms.

Circa 1966 and off a Singer Chamois Sport,they were bead blasted,then etch primed,the last coat of paint being smooth black Hammerite paint,applied with a high volume,low pressure spray gun.

ARC Round the World Rally starters gun

Did I say gun? Hout Bay uses a real cannon,no messing around here with little pop guns.

Thats a splendid view of the fleet down on the start line.

The event was last saturday and 12 noon the HBYC did the usual starters countdown on VHF channel 71,this was monitered by the firing crew up on East Fort cannon emplacement,the first thing we know is a puff of smoke,followed later by the sound of the cannon,I wonder did any other ARC fleet have such a splendid send off?

My thanks to who ever took the two cannon pictures,which I found at  check the page out for full news updates on the ARC fleets stopover.The good news is the entry book for the 2012 ARC Around the World Rally is now open and some 19 entries have already been recieved,plus the HBYC has been penciled in as the stop of choice in the Cape.

Photo by R McBride

Yacht (oyster)  A Lady was third over the line but was soon in front,then dropped down to eighth but she was second overall as of yesterday and doing around 200 miles a day on the trip to St Helena Island.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Hillman Imp race cylinder head

While the south easter gales continue to blow I may as well get on with setting up the new R20 fast road camshaft,I have called it a full race version but the R23 was designated that by Rootes Competitions Department,we are still looking at a camshaft that delivers power from 3200 rpm to 7800 rpm though.The tappet settings are .008 thou, on the inlet valves and .013 thou,on the exhaust valves,adjustment is with small round shims under the special new steel competition tappet buckets.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Didi 23 trailer sailer yacht


CNC kits from Cape Town,South Africa,who ship world wide.Either a flat pack of CNC machine cut plys to the correct grade with Ockume veneers to BS1088 grade (sheets are stamped) or a full kit including the wood stringers,epoxies,glass tapes,screws,etc etc. ( check the materials list at the bottom of this page)

Didi 23

Radius Chine Plywood Trailer-sailer

Compact performer
~ Based on Didi 26

~ Economy of plywood

~ Radius chine hull, stitch & glue cabintop
~ Round bilge from sheet material
~ Within abilities of amateur builders
~ Easily handled fractional rig
~ Two rig options

The Didi 26 is our most popular small keelboat design, with well over 100 plan sets sold and launchings occurring regularly. Over the years that we have been selling it, I have been asked often if we have a similar concept available in a smaller size. Now we can offer just that, in the new Didi 23. This is a contracted version of her bigger sister but maintains beam and height, so that the interior retains comfort and functionality for weekending.

The result is a boat that is 12.5% shorter and lighter than the Didi 26 and with the rig reduced proportionately. This should give a cost saving of about 15%. It will also be easier to launch and retrieve because of reduced weight.

She extends our range of radius chine plywood designs. Her sisters are the Didi Mini, Didi 26, Didi Mount Gay 30 Didi 34, DIDI 38 and Didi 40cr.

Simple Plywood Construction

Construction detailing and scantlings are the same as for the Didi 26, so the Didi 23 will be a robust little boat. Keel loads are carried by bulkheads and the structure of the keel box. The backbone is also of plywood, on edge, slotted through the bulkheads as a self-jigging eggcrate arrangement to assist setting up the framework. All of these parts are plywood and epoxy filleted together, making for simplified construction.

Assembly of the hull follows the principles of model aeroplane construction, with stringers slotted into the bulkheads for attachment of the skin. The hull skin is single skin plywood to the sides and bottom and the radius is done in two layers.

Deck construction is done in a similar way, all in single skin plywood. The cabintop is designed with a multi-chine skin and is assembled over the bulkheads by the stitch and glue method for a strong and lightweight structure.

Suggested plywood for construction is okoume (gaboon) ply throughout. Epoxy coated and painted inside and out to hull and deck, a good standard of finish is achievable with little or no fairing aside from forming fillets at internal angles. The addition of a layer of glass fabric to the outside will give increased resistance to knocks but will add weight and require fairing, thereby adding a fair amount to construction time and cost.

Two Keel Options

The standard keel is a vertical dropkeel with a 350kg bulb on the end of the high aspect foil. It is lifted by a tackle system led to a cabintop winch. Fully retracted, the bulb remains below the hull, with a draft of 0,5m. Sailing draft is 1.7m. The bulb can be done in either a simple vertical sided foil section for owner casting or a torpedo shape for professional casting.

We have a fixed keel option as well. This uses a hollow aluminum casing for the foil, constructed over tubular inner framing and fitted with the same bulb options as the lifting keel. The casing is bolted through the hull bottom to an aluminum support box, which is bolted to the internal structure of the hull.
Rudder options are a fixed blade or a rudder box with daggerboard blade. Both are transom hung on conventional pintles.

The cockpit and bridgedeck together are 2.6m long, giving plenty of space for working the boat while racing or socialising or sunning when cruising. The only winches on the boat are a pair of 16:1 self-tailers on the cabintop. They are located where they can be operated from the companionway, the bridgedeck or the weather rail. They are oversized to ease keel handling so sail trimming will be a cinch.

Easily Handled Rig

The rig is deck stepped on a hinged foot, fractional with two sets of swept spreaders. This makes her easy to handle with a small crew whether racing or cruising. Shrouds go to outboard chainplates to minimise rig loadings. The working headsails are non-overlapping and sheet inside the shrouds. A light drifter can be flown outside the shrouds and sheets to the spinnaker blocks on the quarters.

The fractional and masthead spinnakers are asymmetric, set on a retractable pole on the foredeck. The inboard end is fitted on a radiused transverse track to allow the outboard end to be projected up to weather for sailing at deeper angles. Extension and retraction of the pole can be done from either rail, with the pole retracting to whichever side is convenient at the time.

Weekending or racing accommodation

Down below she has sitting headroom throughout, with two layout alternatives. She has a small galley with two-plate cooker, sink, icebox and a seat for the cook. The dropkeel casing forms one side of the enclosed heads compartment, which includes a bin type wet locker. The dinette table drops to convert the pair of single V-berths into a double. The prime berth in the short cockpit version is a large transverse double under the bridgedeck, great for use on moorings or at anchor. Aft is loads of storage space accessible from the berth.

The long cockpit version has identical accommodation forward of the cockpit but replaces the large transverse double berth with two conventional quarter berths.

Auxiliary power is provided by an outboard clamped to the transom. An internal saildrive option is also included on the drawing.

The materails list:

MARINE PLYWOOD 1,22x2,44m (4'x8') (preferably Gaboon or Okoume plywood)

4.5mm (3/16") - 6 sheets (use 4mm if 4.5mm is not available)

6mm (1/4") - 4 sheets

9mm (3/8") - 18 sheets

12mm (1/2") - 6 sheets

SAWN PINE (for building stocks etc)

25X125mm (1"x5") (rails) - 18m

50x50mm (2"x2") (bulkhead legs) - 15m

75x75mm (3"x3") (posts) - 8m

Meranti,American Poplar,or similar, selected, free of knots, shakes fractures etc

12x22mm (1/2"x 7/8") (washboard slides) - 5m (17')

22x22mm (7/8"x7/8") (radius stringers, deck stringers, joinery cleats) - 89m (292')

22x22mm (7/8"x7/8") Triangular fillets (keel box, cockpit) - 16m (53')

22x32mm (7/8"x1 1/4") (bulkhead cleats) - 4m (14')

22x44mm (7/8"x1 3/4") (berth bearers, beams, hatch slides) - 19m (63')

22x64mm (7/8"x2 1/2") (sheer clamps, hatch frame) - 20m (66')

22x100mm (7/8"x4") (companion ladder) - 4m (14')

23x32mm (29/32"x1 1/4") (tangent stringers) - 34m (112')

32x32mm (1 1/4"x1 1/4") (side & bottom stringers) - 31m (102')

44x44mm (1 3/4"x1 3/4") Triangular fillet (foot braces) - 5m (17')

Iroko wood or similar dense hardwood

69x69mm (2 3/4"x2 3/4") (keel foil) - 17m (56')

RESIN & GLASS (for coatings and reinforced areas)

Epoxy resin (low viscosity 100% solids) - 50kg (110lb)

50mm (2") Wide woven tape - 70m (230')

75mm (3") Wide tape - 14m (46')

300g/sq.m (9oz/sq.yd) Woven roving - 2sq.m (22sq.ft)

450g/sq.m Biaxial fabric - 9sq.m (87sq.ft)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Rootes full race R20 camshaft,the full gizmo

Its nice to see such quality still exists,this is a new race camshaft which will be fitted to the Hill Climb race Hillman Imp we are now working on.

Imported using DHL couriers,recomended,which is more than I can say for UPS and TNT.

A new camshaft deserves new followers and bearing shells,DHL collected in the UK late last week,I was informed a delivery by monday in Cape Town,11am the driver was knocking on my door.

Coral under sail

Seen here on her way out of Hout Bay,Coral is looking good.

The 27 tons of ballast are doing a fine job down there at the bottom of the keel!

And another Hout Bay view

Hout Bay from above

Taken from the viewing spot on the top of Chapmans Peak Drive,this shot gives a clear view of almost  the entire bay.

Picture by RMcBride using a Canon G11 camera.

Dix 43 on the RCYC slip

Seen here after a bottom job,this Dix 43 is ready for the water again.The hull was built using the Dix Design Radius Chine method using wood and epoxy,the hull on this boat was built by one man in just six weeks.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Lipton Cup

I was thinking about doing a story on South Africas own Lipton Cup,there are a number of others,the story never happened but may do in time,how many have seen our Lipton Cup,not so many I think,so here it is.


SV Coral circa 1906

Hout Bay is special in many ways,it has its own history but also attracts boats which themselves are a part of history,SV Coral is one of them.

Seen from a distance on the north wall inside Hout Bay harbour,the next picture will give you a better sense of Corals size,left click any picture to view in a larger format.

Coral is 86 ft on deck ( i think) so with her bow sprit we are talking about a seriously big yacht!

The front end

The center

The back end.

The boat looks large now but you should see it out of the water as I did many a time when I made timber and plywood deliveries to Stremple Marine in Woodstocks Tide Street each week.the decks were relayed using 18mm plywoods,which was then over layed with solid teak,properly sawn and fastened down.The masts,booms and spars are all made with the Birdsmouth method using oregon pine (douglas fir) glued with phenolic (recourcenol) resin glues.

Ernst VD Laan did the sail plan,also designed the new steel box keel shoe and new rudder,which is also steel.The hull is on oak,with teak to the waterline,after which it is mahogany.Sails were made by Doyle Sails, using a soft type dacron,its off white and really looks the part.The cordage was supplied by Wilbur Ellis Co,its a really nice layed rope in a soft feel fibre,which I think is polypropylene? The mast hoops were made by Charles,at Woodbenders out in Somerset West,details details!

Here for a film shoot,she was very busy the following day.

As seen from a distance and a tele lens.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A new blog spot @

Justin Philips of the HBYC has a great idea to feature South African boats,this sounds simple and an easy task,there are not many,or are there,thats what we found out,the list is impressive,so are the designs and voyages many have made,check the new site out at