Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Aim of this Blog

First post on a brand new blog, I guess that I should explain what I plan to do with it.

I have been an amateur boatbuilder most of my life, in one way or another. From building toy boats for myself from plywood tea boxes brought home from work by my mom, or carved from pieces of dead protea bushes scavenged on mountain walks, to canoes shaped from salvaged galvanised sheet steel, wood from peach boxes and pitch melted into the joints and nail holes. This eventually led me through designing and building my own plywood beach catamaran to building a 36ft sailboat designed by Ricus van de Stadt. This led further to me studying yacht design then designing and building a few dinghies, canoes and two more large sailboats of 34 and 38ft (The 38ft boat forms the background to this blog). Along the way I also designed many boats for other amateur or professional boatbuilders for various materials.

My first big boat project. A 36ft boat in my mid-20s.

Despite my status as a professional yacht designer, all of my boatbuilding escapades were as an amateur in the worst sense of the title. I built the big boats in my garden, working through extremes of hot, windy summers and cold, wet winters. I was always on a tight budget, skimping on the family budget to buy what was needed for the boat that was in progress at the time. My wife had to endure losing kitchen utensils that sometimes found their way to a more useful role in the workshop, finding epoxy chilling in the freezer if I needed to slow the cure or discovering welding rods drying in the oven. Even newly painted scale models were sometimes drying in the warm oven. I don't know how she put up with me but that is the much needed and loved tolerance of the wives of most amateur boatbuilders. I am lucky to have the support of my wife in these ventures and hope that you are as lucky too.

My most recent project, a 14ft high performance skiff.

All this has given me a large amount of experience and knowledge that I am always happy to share with anyone who can benefit from the info. It places me in a good position to help others to make the best decisions for whatever boatbuilding project they are considering or have in progress. I expect that most of the posts will be of my choosing but I will be open to readers sending me their boatbuilding questions or problems that are looking for answers.

I anticipate that I will post on it weekly but the frequency may change. Let's just see where it goes, I hope that you will join me in the experience.

Addendum: Due to limits on my own time available to work on this blog, I need to keep it to a basis that allows me to post about once a week. I can't allow it to turn into a forum type of blog, on a question and answer basis because that will become very demanding of my time and rapidly fail. I will endeavour to provide interesting and informative content that will be of value to you, the readers, on this basis. If you have any particular subjects that you would like me to cover, please send me an email and I will add it to my list of subjects. You can do that via the email link on my website at . Thanks for understanding.

To see my designs, please visit


Unknown said...

Hi Dudley, I am wanting to build a shallow runner but must be in a bass boat style. Fishing from a flat deck is so much easier than leaning over a side of a boat. I don't want a large boat so 14' will be great and made from fiberglass. It will be made in my back yard as both garages are full of kit. I have look at a twin hull and it looks good but I am still doing my homework, what can you advise.

Dudley Dix said...

Hi Dave,

I don't want to turn this into a forum, i.e. a question and answer format, which would demand a lot of time for me to keep it current. I don't really have much of that commodity available, so it would soon fall apart. I would prefer any questions to come by email rather than as comments on the blog. I didn't think to state that in the blog but will add it to the first post.

Please email your question to me and I will advise as best I can. You can find my email address at