Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Hillman Imp R20 race camshaft

Lets get back to Imp 50 and look at the amazing R20 race camshaft, not quite the full race but one that a 998cc engine can use on the road but more suited to a rally or race car.

Imp 50 is the name given to this year, being the 50th anniversary of the Hillman Imp, the first car having been released May 3rd 1963, lots will be happening around this date in Coventry,UK. check the link to see what the Imp Club has planed for the event.

Click on my picture for a better view, I used a flash setting with the Canon G11 camera.

The carrier design is still basically that of the 1963 Mk1 Imp, its just relieved where the higher camshaft lobes stick out. The valve lift goes from the standard 0.290" to 0.360" and the top of the cam lobes are near flat to allow the valves to stay open longer. A dial gauge has to be used to set the timing on this type of Rootes Competitions camshaft.

Look at the base of the carrier, its just possible to see a 1mm thick stainless steel spacer shim, the sport 180 series head was bowed and required skimming on both faces, the shim made up for the metal removed from the top face. Both the camshaft and new followers and the shim came from a supplier in England.


Friday, 18 January 2013

The lost city of Hout Bay in South Africa

Well ok, its not yet a city and some say we would need a cathedral before that status was granted, if they do build one I hope its not near our beach.

Click on the pictures for a larger view and more detail.

Yesterdays picture and from close to the beach road just behind me, the sea is the other side of the buildings and the sand dunes.

Closer and with the Canon G11 tele lens in use.

Closer still, the police were trying to use the buildings but I think they have left now?

Whats this all about and what changed to allow this to happen?

Some years back, it may be 25 or so? the CSIR did a survey and decided that the best way to control drift sand from the beach was to reinstate the sand dunes which used to be there?

The HBYC committee were asked to approove this idea, it was put to them that it would not affect the yacht club which is just to the right of my picture above. Before this time we had one of the best beach sailing clubs in the country, Hobie and Halcats used to launch and park their boats right in front of the yacht club.

Soon we had a small sand dune in front of the club, the hard standing and car park was fast disapearing, soon the club itself was vanishing and eventually only the very top of the HBYC double story yacht club could be seen as you sailed into the bay. Today the sand covers the road after most of our normal summer games, the sand goes part way up the main street too, homes close by are devalued and the weekly cost to remove this unwanted sand is taxing the rate payers pockets big time.

What now, no one will accept the cause or reason, its all in the HBYC minutes and with the names writen down there we should be able to name names?


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Inside a wood/epoxy boat

This boat is now about sixteen years old and launched thirteen years ago today, so happy birthday!
It gets regular refurbishing and is in the process of a forward bilge repaint, that and correct cable runs to transducers and a bilge pump.

The boat can more or less be viewed full length inside when the various floors (soles) are lifted for inspection.  Keeping things clean allows you to see whats happening and makes for a tidy boat.

The depth transducer is to Port and the speed transducers are to Starboard, the forward section is the Shower pump out bilge. The paint is Internationals Interthane 990 polyurethane twin pack system. 

The electric bilge pump out motor has been removed for a clean and check that its all ok.


A comment from a friend:

Hi mate,

Well, it all looks spick and span down there now. At first I thought I was looking through a mirror but then remembered that you have twin cabins down there and I noticed that what I thought was the bilge reflection in what I thought was a mirror was not the same. I hope you show potential boat kit customers just how good a timber boat can look below the floor boards?


Clean and easy to wipe down, the water drains aft to the bilge pump.

The Johnston pump has an easy clean and removable base, the pump is not fixed and the hose allows it to be lifted for removal of the base, not the stick on cable ties. In this pump out the waste water is pumped up to a U vented loop half way up the side of the hull, then down to the S&L bronze seacock and out of the boat.

Hand planes, size matters

I think we all start off with a smallish steel hand plane, then as the jobs become larger we venture on into a larger size. Some of mine are very large and its the wood Jack plane thats my favorite, named The Whistler as thats the sound it makes when te shavings are coming of the wood I am working on.

A size for most jobs here, there are others as well.

Smaller sizes are great for routing out trenches which was the job at hand here. Some of my planes are now quite old, all from the last century and some before that?


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How much will your boat cost you?

This is a fairly regular question and one I avoid trying to answer in great detail, the reason being we are all different and unless we are building a so called One Design, the boats tend all to be fitted out very differently.

The words below come from a prospective customer for a Didi 40cr, in this case I supplied the link below, its from a story I had published in SA Yachting, then later  updated and in Duckworths Magazine. The words hold good today and I doubt will ever change really.

The standard question is below.


Once the hull is finished – What would my budget be for the rest of the equipment like mast and sails, Yanmar motor, winches and steering?

This was the first Didi 38 hull.

Check the link, my story and based around Black Cat.

The same boat and at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town.

Photo by Neil Rusch at the start of the Cape to Rio yacht race in 1996, check how far the rest of the fleet are behind at this very early stage of the race!

Simply put you really need to cost your boat yourself, its all part of the fun process of building and then fitting out your own boat.

Kits available here


Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Dudley Dix presents the Retro 29

This is an on line discussion group, the entire show will last an hour and each presenter gets the same amount of time and space to present his or her product.

Dear Friend, 
As you probably know by now, we have been producing PechaKucha events for industry designers, boatbuilders, and repairers.
We invite you now to join us for the world's first-ever online PechaKucha event. 
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

My very best wishes to you,


Carl Cramer
Professional BoatBuilder magazine
PO Box 78
Brooklin, ME 04616
tel. +1 207-359-4651
This is the link to join the program, yoy will need to register first, there are some 60 hours or so left for you to do this!

Try the link above to register.

Hi All,

I am one of the designers presenting a concept boat in this event, in this case the Didi 29 Retro. A Pecha Kucha is an interesting presentation concept. Twenty slides, with twenty seconds to speak about each of them, so each concept has to be presented in a very snappy manner and will not put you to sleep.

Dudley Dix.

offers  a wide range of stock and custom designs for professional and amateur builders. Dudley has built three large offshore yachts and many small ones, so is well experienced to supply backup to amateur builders. A frequent presenter at IBEX, Dudley's topic is "From modern high-performance trailer-sailer to gaff-rigged classic racer."

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dix Design Retro 29 kit

There is and will be a lot more interest in this hot new racing gaff rigged boat, said to be a very good choice for races like the Governors Cup race to St Helena island, maybe the one thats about to be built in Hout Bay, South Africa will proove this to be correct.

Our kit is based on the Didi 26 as the new Retro 29 was based on that hull form, we added some extra materials to cover the new boats extra length.

A 3D picture from Dix Design showing the traditional type transom and the longer aft end of the Retro 29 hull.


This list is optional, you can supply your own timber,glass tapes and epoxies if required, a base kit can just be the marine plywoods if you require.We can ship world wide, often for less than you can buy in your own country.

MARINE PLYWOOD 1,22x2,44m (4'x8') (preferably Gaboon or Okoume plywood)
4.5mm (3/16") - 8 sheets (use 4mm if 4.5mm is not available)
6mm (1/4") - 4 sheets
9mm (3/8") - 24 sheets
12mm (1/2") - 6 sheets

SAWN PINE (for building stocks etc) treated
25X125mm (1"x5") (rails) - 22m
50x50mm (2"x2") (bulkhead legs) - 15m
75x75mm (3"x3") (posts) - 8m

Meranti 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) - 112m (367')
22x22mm (7/8"x7/8") Triangular fillets (keel box, cockpit) - 17m (56')
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) - 23m (76')
22x100mm (7/8"x4") (companion ladder) - 4m (14')
23x32mm (29/32"x1 1/4") (tangent stringers) - 39m (128')
32x32mm (1 1/4"x1 1/4") (side & bottom stringers) - 35m (115')
44x44mm (1 3/4"x1 3/4") Triangular fillet (foot braces) - 6m (20')

SAPELE MAHOGANY or similar dense hardwood
69x69mm (2 3/4"x2 3/4") (keel foil) - 20m (66')

RESIN & GLASS (for coatings and reinforced areas)
Epoxy resin (low viscosity 100% solids) - 60kg (132lb)
50mm (2") Wide woven tape - 80m (262')
75mm (3") Wide tape - 16m (53')
300g/sq.m (9oz/sq.yd) Woven roving - 2sq.m (22sq.ft)
450g/sq.m Biaxial fabric - 10sq.m (120sq.ft)

The Governors Cup Race fleet returns

The race officialy finished on the 7th of this month, eight boats were shipped back to Cape Town on the RMS St Helena.

My thanks to  Bruce Salt, the photographer for this picture.

Part of the news statement from the race officials is below:
Governor Mark Capes presented prizes to the winners of the race at around 17:00,
Bill Leisegang the Race Officer and manager from False Bay yacht club commented on the race, “It could not have gone any better. everyone involved did an excellent job.
Julie George from the St Helena Yacht Club  thanked everyone who worked so hard from behind the scenes on the Island  as lots of people had been involved.
Eight yachts have now been loaded on board the RMS for their journey back to Cape Town (we are hoping to upload photos of the loading of the yachts in the next few days)
The remainder of the yachts will sail back to Cape Town and a selected few have sailed onto other destinations.

When you look at the picture ask yourself how it was taken, was it from a small plane, a helicopter or off the island headland as the ship steamed past!