US-based South African designer Dudley Dix is reporting growing international interest in CNC cruising boat kits, including for a range of big catamaran designs.
Cape Town-born Dix, who operates from his home in Virginia Beach, recently concluded a deal with Indian builder XS Marines who have built a modified plywood version of his Didi40cr cruiser/racer design.
“I supplied CNC files for XS Marines to cut the bulkheads and skin panels,” Dix told IBI. “The plywood that they use is an odd size that is different from international norms, so they had to modify the CNC files to suit their materials.”
He said XS Marines had also taken moulds off the plywood boat for future production in sandwich fibreglass.
XS Marines previously bought plans to build the Didi 26 and the Didi 38/40 range from GRP.
Dix says he is receiving numerous requests for bigger boats in his radius chine plywood design range. “These requests are not from India but from elsewhere, for 50ft-60ft versions of the Didi monohull designs,”Dix said. “My big catamaran designs developed from the smaller monohulls and one of the priorities soon is a 65ft sister to the 43, 47, and 55ft designs.
“The catamarans will all be available as very comprehensive CNC kits, as are the 47 and 55 already. One of the 55ft kits is being built in KwaZula-Natal by Sea Tribe,” he says.
The catamaran kits are being developed by UK-based Exocetus Marine. Says Dix: “The kits are very comprehensive in that they include every piece of plywood that goes into the boat, CNC-cut and indexed for identification. They supply interactive PDF files as a step-by-step instruction manual for the builder, no mean feat for a boat of this size and complexity.”
Dix aims to sell his designs “as broadly as possible throughout the world”, aided by a ‘simple-is-best’ approach to online marketing. He purposely steers away from high-resolution features that “gobble up loads of Internet bandwidth” and prevent his designs from being downloaded in some locations.
“This seems stupid to most web developers but it has resulted in my website being seen by customers in countries where web speed is a serious problem. In those places a viewer will give up when a page doesn’t load completely but my site will get to almost anyone who wants to see it,” Dix says.