About Dudley Dix

Born 1949, I began my professional life as a Quantity Surveyor but retrained for yacht design through Westlawn School of Yacht Design, now Westlawn Institute of Technology. I drew my first design in 1973 and built it, a 15ft sailing beach catamaran. I have designed professionally since winning the 1979 Cruising World Design Competition as an amateur with my CW975 design.

I don't lock myself up in theory but regularly test my own concepts by building them. During the '70s I began with designing and making surfboards for myself and friends. A unrehabilitated beachbum at heart, I surf whenever I can.

Boats which I have built are a few dinghies, the 15ft catamaran and 3 offshore yachts of 34-38ft. First of the big boats was a modified van de Stadt design, which sparked my interest in boat design and was the reason for my enrolment with Westlawn. Second was "Concept Won" to my award-wining CW975 design. The most recent big boat was "Black Cat", prototype of the DIDI 38 performance cruiser racer, which I built to test new construction methods for plywood boats which I was developing. The result is a strong, light, speedy and economical method of building a round bilge boat mainly from sheet material. My next build project was the Paper Jet, a high performance plywood sailing skiff with trapeze and asymmetrical spinnaker. Although I intended it as a trainer for two teenagers, I sail mine single-handed.

I have a strong reputation for designing practical concepts, probably arising out of my own boat building experiences and a dislike for things which are over-complicated. I have a wide range of designs drawn primarily with the amateur builder in mind but suitable also for professional custom builders. These are mostly for plywood or steel, the materials most often chosen by amateur builders. I also have designs suited for GRP production either as custom one-off boats or for series building from a mould, in sizes from 8ft to over 60ft.

The son of a provincial Flying Dutchman champion, I have sailed since I was a toddler and get onto the water as often as possible. Having been active in offshore racing in South Africa since the mid 70s, I have sailed in most of the major offshore races around the country. I have sailed across the South Atlantic 4 times, once double-handed and the others in crewed racing mode.

I was deeply involved in sailing management for a few years, serving for many years on the sailing committee of Hout Bay Yacht Club and on regional and national committees of the Cruising Asociation of South Africa and South African Sailing. The last 2 years of this period I was Chairman of CASA and on the Council of SAS.

My designs are carefully detailed so that builders seldom need to ask questions. Buying a set of plans also includes for backup support throughout construction, via email, fax. telephone or letter. If you have a question, it will be answered. Click here to review our backup policy.

Design awards that I have won are the 1979 Cruising World Design Competition, won with the CW975, and the 2001 Boat of the Year Award at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, won with the Shearwater 45 design. The Paper Jet won the Outstanding Innovation Award at the 2007 Wooden Boat Show and a Special Award at the 2009 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show.

In January 2004 we moved from South Africa to USA. We now live in Virginia Beach, on the Southern side of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay and part of the Hampton Roads area. Here I continue to sail my Argie 15 dinghy and Paper Jet skiff on local waters and have sailed in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race regularly on boats of my own design. I also surf the beaches of Virginia and North Carolina between Chesapeake Bay and Cape Hatteras. I am happiest when I am on or in the water.

Click photos to enlarge

Photo of Dudley Dix
Dudley Dix 2015

Photo of 4.5m catamaran "Catsanova"
My first design (1973)

Didi 38 "Black Cat" on launch day
"Black Cat", Didi 38 prototype.




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This page was updated 1 September 2018

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