DUDLEY DIX YACHT DESIGN

Testimonials

Over the years we have received testimonials from many clients who have owned our boats as well as magazine reviews of which we are very proud. A few of them are included in this page as references covering the quality of our work.

If you are wanting to make contact with any of these references, please email us and we will do our best to supply contact information for those with whom we still have contact.


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Russell Eden, UK. Russell bought a used GRP Cape Cutter 19 (current builders are Honnor marine) and recently sold it. September 2013
"I sold my Cape Cutter 19 today after three years of ownership.

She was number 47, built in SA. I wanted to personally thank you for creating such a beautiful craft. Each and every day I sailed her I had people approach me to talk. People would sail/motor over to take photos and video. People offered me money for her, there, on the spot.

I've only sold her because my wife says she will come sailing with me more often if we had a boat with full standing room and a heads. I would have kept her forever otherwise.

I'm sitting here now wondering what I've done; I've let go perhaps the most wonderful piece of property I've ever owned. No doubt I'll get over it in time, but I doubt I'll ever own anything quite so easy on the eye, or so wonderful on the water.

Thank you for designing her."

Ivan Vasilyev, Irkutsk, Siberia, Russia. Ivan built his Didi 26 and launched it late summer 2012. After sailing it a few weeks he sent me this message by email. October 2012
"In Siberia there comes winter. It is a high time to be locked till spring in a warm eling and to begin any project.

I look narrowly at DD 34. Can in few months I will get the project. Though I understand that it would be necessary to have a rest at least few years. In any case, I am very glad that got your project. Also it is very grateful to you for the help and support in construction of my boat. Surprisingly, but our plywood cruiser can and successfully competes with hi-tech racers.

Three years, and flew by since that moment so much as I wrote you the first letter, passed quickly. I found new friends, found in myself new advantages. Learned to get on with relatives. Generally lived these years fully and interestingly.

Thank you.

Ivan Vasilyev"

Bjorn Cook, Singapore. Bjorn received his new Cape Cutter 19 "Lady Leng" from Honnor Marine. After his first sail, he sent the following report to me. May 2009
"I started sailing Gaffs back in Norway when I was around 12 or so - upwind these never were any great shakes, but this little boat has the temerity to get well inside 45 degrees upwind. (Pessimistically I set the Tabs on the Windex at 90 degrees). Using this as guidance - I reckon around 30 to 35 degrees was the closest we could keep her on main and jib only in the soft winds we have here this time of year - being 5 to 6 kts on a really good day. For a Gaff rig this is pretty good all told.

During this week I'll get the Genoa up - then we'll see - but so far - all I can conclude in saying: A great design, a great little boat that sails real well."

Rod Turner-Smith, Hout Bay, South Africa. Rod completed his Shearwater 39 "Sheer Tenacity" and wrote these comments to a friend while crossing the South Atlantic. January 2009
"Justin, a lot earlier in our travels, you asked if I felt that the Shearwater was the ideal cruising boat. We have now done just over 4000nm in "Sheer Tenacity" since we left Cape Town last month, and have had time to assess her performance , and time to learn how best to trim and sail her. The answer is unequivically YES!! She is an absolute joy, and a real passage maker! Not only is she good on all points of sail, but she is naturally fast, spacious, and better ventilated than any other boat I know. She is also a real "looker", and commented upon wherever you go! A great combination of classical elegance, and efficient yacht design. Her reputation preceeds her, and people from all over the world recognise them, and respect them."

"Gerfied and Dudley certainly hit the jackpot with this boat, and I cannot believe that only about 25 of each size were built, and.. that we are lucky enough to own one!"

John Keightley, Langley, BC, Canada. John is building a Didi Mini. December 2008
"Just a brief note to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. It's a real pleasure to deal with you, to get such quick and complete responses to questions, and feel you really care about things."

Doug Brown, Carmichael, California. Doug bought plans for the Didi 34 then upgraded to the the Didi 40cr, with some modifications. The testimonial below is lengthy but worth reading. He explains to someone else why he chose our designs as well as his experiences working with us. His comments were unsolicited and are quoted here in full, unedited. January 2007.
"I am more that happy to share my knowledge of Dudley Dix's Didi 40 design. I purchased a set of plans for the Didi 34 about a year ago, and recently upgraded them to the Didi 40. My idea, with approval from Dudley, was to use the Didi concept as a departure point for a motor sailer of my own design. I chose Dudley's plans for several reasons.

1. Although my design does not have anywhere near the sailing abilities of Dudley's, I did want start with a modern underbody design. The Didi series has matched up well to all of my subsequent research on the subject.

2. I felt Dudley's epoxy-plywood construction method was well suited for amateur construction.

3. I liked the practicality of his design philosophy. I think it is unrealistic for an amateur to expect to build a one-off boat with the quality of detail found in production yachts. Some people may be able to do it, but painted plywood works fine for me. A homebuilt boat will rarely have the resale value of a production boat, so I think that it's a good idea to start with a simple approach from the outset.

4. Dudley has built the boats himself and sailed them across oceans. I had no doubt that he knew what he was talking about.

After receiving my plans, and spending a great deal of time with them over the last year, I can report the following.

1. While I was unaware of Dudley's reputation prior to buying my plans, I am now. On several occasions I have received positive and sincere feedback about the quality of Dudley's work when I have mentioned to knowledgeable people that I am working on a Dix design. These comments have come from people here in the States as well as from builders in India, South Africa, Canada and Thailand, as well as from the folks at Gougeon Brothers.

2. I am strictly an amateur boat designer, but I do have an engineering background. In 2006 I took a "sabbatical" from work, and devoted myself to this project. For me, the learning and design process is as satisfying as sailing itself. Over the last year I devoted myself to the study of navel architecture and engineering, using Dudley's design as my model. In virtually every instance, his work is consistent with what I understand as efficient modern design. His moderate beam and canoe underbody, the fin keel and bulb, and emphasis on light weight construction, are all in line with what I view as the current state of the art (disregarding those scary looking high tech trimarans racing around the world).

3. Dudley mentions designer support on his website, but words are often cheap. On many occasions I have imposed upon Dudley's time with questions that are really learning exercises for me, and not actually part of his commitment to assist builders. He has always graciously responded. While the design and construction are straightforward, you will have questions and it is important to know that Dudley's commitment of assistance is not just talk.

4. The quality and detail of the plans are excellent. As someone who has prepared a lot of construction documents, I can tell you that Dudley's plans far exceeded my expectations in terms of completeness and clarity. On a couple of occasions I've asked Dudley about a modification I was contemplating only to have him send me a detail that he had already drawn and had on file. The Didi 40 is not a standalone design, but rather a part of a larger body of work. Years ago I built a 44' Ferro-cement trawler from a reputable designer, but Dudley's plans are immensely more complete than what I had to work with.

5. In addition to the plans themselves, there are a number of other available documents which discuss building techniques and methodology. I didn't have this type of information the last time I built and it would have been a lot easier if I did.

6. It is of great benefit to have so many other people building these boats. There is a lot of knowledge out there that you can draw upon.

7. Bottom line - there is great value in these plans. If it is the type of boat you are looking for then I can't see how you could go wrong.

Doug Brown"

Den Vakar, Moscow, Russia. Den and friends built a Didi Mini, of which he writes below after a stormy voyage across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey. December 2006
"Just want to say that we are absolutely happy with our boat!

In mid October we cross Black Sea from Sochi, Russia to Istanbul, cover 530 miles in 5 days and test boat in hard conditions-3 days of Force 8 storm with mast high breaking waves and night gusts over 45 knots with rain and lightnings. Little bit too much for the lake yachtsmens as ourselves. Boat was absolutely fantastic at helm in all conditions and directions of course, and most of all do not brake in nightmare of going upwind against 10 meter high waves near Bosfor at 30 knots of wind and after several broachings when we have been washed out by breaking wave. When surfing we sometimes have speeds over 13 knots over ground.

Our crew want to say thank you for the good boat!"

Peter Weston, Gove, Australia. Peter and friends are building a Pratique 35, working from a steel kit. October 2006
"As the boat nears completion I would like to thank you for all your help over the past few years. As I look back through the photos from the project I have the fondest memories. You were always there with helpful advice and kept us on track. In the initial construction stages there was always an email waiting for us concerning the day’s construction. We would finish work, I would send you an email at night and there was always a reply in my inbox the following morning.

Now that the boat is nearly finished looking back it was very easy to build, I recommend this method of construction to anybody thinking of building.

Thank you once again in helping me achieve and bring my dream to fruition."

Steve Hunt is the owner of SHEARWATER 45 "Maggy May" of Goole. After a crossing from Cape Town to the Caribbean and doing some racing there, he wrote:-
"A crewed 75 footer led the way into Gorda Sound, but he did not romp away from us and when we passed by him, already with this anchor set, he had lined his crew up on deck. He hailed us across and was full of praise for the "outstanding looks and performance of that little beauty". He then had his crew give us a round of applause...they had been astonished that they were not able to pull away from us. My crew consists of my dear wife who does not know a sheet from a pillow case (but loves being on the boat at sea) and my daughter who likes only to sunbathe and does not sail!

I cannot tell you just how impressed I am with the design. On the way up to the Caribbean from Cape Town we saw a couple of rough patches of weather. In one case the steady wind was about 36 kts with gusts over 50. The sea was running quite high, quartering us. The boat was magnificent. I hope you get the message that I am very, very impressed with the design and I thank you for having drawn such a wonderful yacht. The performance and sea kindly qualities of my boat, "Maggy May" of GOOLE are astonishing.
"
Brian Alcock, Cape Town, South Africa. Brian was my first client when I opened my design business. He commissioned "Salty Dog II", prototype of the PRATIQUE 35, of which he writes below. He later became a professional steel boatbuilder and commissioned another 5 designs over the years. He has built 22 yachts to my designs.
"The entire project from the time of our first discussions has been immensely satisfying, and this has been enhanced by your close cooperation and excellent drawings which leave absolutely nothing to be desired."

"The boat showed that she was well balanced, very powerful to windward with, I thought, just the right amount of buoyancy in the bows to minimise pounding and keep the spray from her crew - she is stiff enough to drive through rough conditions and yet be comfortable. Both on and off the wind she shows an excellent turn of speed."

Stewart and Sallyanne Calver - Current owners of the steel PRATIQUE 35 prototype "Salty Dog II", now named "Jekamanzi", had this to say about her.
"On our initial sail out from Victoria to San francisco in September of 1996 we spent 4 of the 6 day trip in a 45 knot gale and 25 foot seas and without the windwave self-steering I am not sure we would have survived the trip. We never once took any seas on board as we sat strapped into the cockpit totally in awe of these 25 feet seas as we surfed down the swells as they swept past us night and day. After four days of this we reached San Francisco totally exhausted physically but the boat was dry and unhurt. I know I could not have steered as well and being so tired I am sure we would have broached had we been hand steering. That windwave pilot and the vessel herself are a marvel.

During that storm two other boats were lost with all hands and others suffered broken booms and rigging and torn sails."

Leigh Ross - Owner of COQUETTE 39 "Galatea", built in Cape Town but now based on Chesapeake Bay.
"Had a lovely trip over. (Cape Town to St Helena Island) Best speed 17.6 knots, best run 215 miles, took just under 11 days (to cover 1700 miles, the record then being 10 days) . Fine cruising yacht, hand steering 6 hours straight no problem (she is tiller steered). Thanks for the nice boat.
Rob Coulon - Caernarfon, Wales. Founder of RGC Steel Boatbuilders and builder of various of our designs. Below he writes of a newly launched steel DIX 38.
"Just a few words on performance. She sails like a glass boat and is very responsive to the wheel, for example going to weather at about 7 knots in 15 knots. She is perfectly balanced in all aspects of sail. She tacks like a Lazer dinghy. The boat is incredible."
Julian Putley - Owner of Dix 43 "Starry Night II" and the man who commissioned that design, writing as he neared the end of her South Atlantic crossing.
"I am delighted with the yacht's performance on all points of sail and in all concditions. She is extremely well balanced, we have hardly touched the wheel in the last 15 days, the Aries doing all the work."
Rob Archibald - Richards Bay, South Africa. Built two HOUT BAY 40s and two DIX 43s.
"I find that your drawings are meticulous, easy to read and, most importantly, easy to understand. On the few occasions that I have called for advice, I am also amazed at your ability to recall data without reference to drawings."

"My Dix 43 has turned out very fair and has caused a considerable amount of interest in the area. There are, as you know, three currently being built with a fourth due to start soon."

"I have no hesitation in recommending your yacht designs to anyone interested in building a steel boat, and especially to the amateur home builder who, like me, will not find the task too daunting."

Dick Roles - Roseville, Minnesota. Owner-building a Dix 43 Pilot.
"Thanks for the great support throughout the construction process. I cannot imagine that there is a naval architect anywhere who is quicker with a knowledgeable response to a building problem. Anyone interested in building one of your designs is welcome to contact me by email."
Jonathan Savage - Owner of CARIBBEA 30 "G-String", currently circum-navigating
"Just a short note to let you know how chuffed I am with the boat. This trip (he had sailed from Cape Town to the Caribbean) is an ideal one for the Caribbea. Being single-handed I was quite conservative as far as canvassing was concerned. Best daily run was 178nm but had many in the 150s."

"Everyone who has been aboard has been very impressed by her spaciousness."

Barry Sefton - Owner of CARIBBEA 30 "Sassy-Too", currently circum-navigating
"I'm writing this from French Guyana. I'm still on my Caribbea 30: It's a super boat and I can recommend it to anyone."

"I've sailed many similar sized boats around here and continually evaluate and compare. I'm now firmly convinced the Caribbea 30 is the best boat for me, especially since I am single-handing."

John & Rose Stockwell - owners of steel VICKERS 45 AC "Tantalus"
"We are absolutely delighted with "Tantalus", the way she sails, the way the accommodation works with 6 people on board and, last but not least, with the compliments we get on our beautiful boat. Downwind for most of the trip so far (Cape Town to Guyana)."

"On the few occasions when we have had to go to weather - one trip from the Brazil mainland to Fernando de Norhona was 200 miles into squally trades and a 2kt current - she has been strong and steady with a good ability to punch her way through the seas without any green water at all coming on board, obviously some spray but virtually nothing in the cockpit"

Sandy Wakeman - New owner of steel VICKERS 45 AC "Tantalus", now named "Sweetwater"
"As a professional delivery captain and charter skipper I've had the opportunity to sail over 40,000 miles on many beautiful yachts both large and small. I've crossed oceans in a variety of boats and have been most impressed with the sea-kindly motion, quiet ride and sense of security provided by metal boats. The Vickers 45 so encompasses everything that we were looking for in a long distance cruising boat for our family. Her sailing performance, beautiful lines, thoughtful & functional layout and the myriad of well thought out design & safety features have all added up to provide us with a boat that we are absolutely thrilled with."

Anthony Steward - Owner of open version of TLC 19, "NCS Challenger" (also known as "Zulu Dawn") during his record setting open boat circum-navigation. To date no-one else has duplicated his feat.
"I hope you are already designing my BOC boat. I am very happy with the boat, she performs very well, fast (he had recorded speeds of 12 knots regularly). Tell the public to buy lots of TLC 19s."
Corrie de Jongh - owner of gaff rigged HOUT BAY 30 "Anne M", writing to the Traditional Boat Association midway through his voyage from Cape Town to Europe and back.
"In summing up, I can only congratulate Dudley Dix on designing one of the finest and strongest thirty foot cruising yachts I've ever sailed in, lots of space and sensible layout, easy to maintian and most important, dry. On the whole trip I never had to get into a damp sleeping bag, and the biggest plus point, "Anne M" was always able to look after herself when things got tough.

The gaff rig, once you get to understand it, is a fine cruising rig, even when sailing solo I never had any problem handling the rig. Reefing, provided you don't wait too long, is no more difficult than a Bermudan rig, just a few more strings to pull. When sailing solo I always put two, even three reefs in the main before dark, I hate reefing at night. Under triple reefed main and staysail she can handle almost anything except the very worst."

Carolyn Murphy - Coskipper of DIX 64 "Rising Sun" steel charter staysail schooner.
"This boat is a sailing fool. We left Norfolk in winds 15-25kt and seas 10-14'. Turned off the motor at the bridge-tunnel outside of Little Creek and took off like a rocket. We made 210 miles the first 24 hours. She goes 1/2 the wind speed. We were making 11kt uner 2 reefs in main and all rest full standing.

Picked up the lights of Bermuda at Sundown. We tried to slow her up so we dropped the main (she went from 10 to 9). So we also rolled in the fore staysail - went down to 8. She just wants to go!

We could have been in Bermuda in 3 days 10hrs but it was 3 days 20hrs since we had to wait all nite for daylite to go in.

Your boat is great - the brokers love it. It is the talk of the trade down here."

Dr Reinhard Wiegers -Owner of SHEARWATER 39 "Tanimola" which is based in the Baltic Sea.
"April starts the third season with "Tanimola" in the Baltic Sea. The last season was beautiful, the yacht is easy to handle and sails super in our short and high waves, when we have stormy weather.

Thank you for your fatastic design inside and out."

F. Scott Ripley - Owner of "Sabbatical" 50, under construction at Global Yachts, Norfolk VA.
"It is hard to believe that the boat is finally under construction. There are about 15 men working in the yard and one can really feel the enthusiasm. I have never seen Howdy (Howdy Bailey, the builder) so excited. Howdy and his workers are marvelling over the detail of your mylars.

Howdy said again yesterday that this boat is going together the smoothest of any that he has ever built."

Jon Lunn - Owner builder of Didi 38 in UK.
"At this stage (finishing the bulkheads) everything has been straightforward and simple to do. Your backup by email is excellent and I can refer back to emails if needed. I have asked for advice on a variety of build aspects and you normally answer the same day, at the latest the next morning. The CAD plans are also excellent - clear, concise, complete and easy to follow. I am looking forward to setting up in the next couple of weeks."
Richard Spurgeon - Owner builder of aluminum Dixi Dinghy and Argie 15 in Oregon, USA.
"It is a pleasure to work with your plans, they are easy to follow, with nothing left to chance. I think that my next project will be the Argie 10 in aluminum."
Eirik Naese - Owner builder of a modified Didi 26 in Finland.
"Regarding building the design is very smart and building (I am an amateur) has been a lot easier and quicker than expected so far.

All in all I do not hesitate to highly recommend the project. Also the support from the designer has been tremendous for such a small building project and a lot of stupid questions from a first timer..."
Bob Perry - Reviewing the SHEARWATER 39 for Sailing Magazine March 1990.
"I like to see designs where the designer has combined a traditional aesthetic with a modern hull. The 39 features U-shaped forward sections and a nicely rounded mid-section, fairing to a broad stern with tumblehome and a shapely wineglass transom with the upper corners radiused. Done improperly, this can produce the ugliest of all transoms. But Dudley's 39 is very beautiful from the stern quarter. The bow sections have enough to them to add further interest as they fair into a semi-clipper bow. Once again, when you take a traditional feature like the clipper bow that was usually styled from a heavy stem piece with a distinct rabbet line where the hull planking ended and convert it to a molded GRP detail you run the risk of creating a terrible bow that is neither fish nor fowl. Dudley has done a good job with the bow. In short, the 39 is a very handsome vessel."
James Jermain - Reviewing the SHEARWATER 45 for Yachting Monthly Magazine October 1997.
"This is a stunning looking boat with an impressive performance and delightful manners. Rig options and flexibility of interior design will satisfy the needs of a range of serious-minded cruising yachtsmen."

This page was updated 17 September 2013

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