Dudley Dix working on a 12ft version of his Oppikat due to strong demand for his pint-sized ‘training cats’

US-based South African designer Dudley Dix is designing a 12ft version of his ‘Oppikat’ due to strong demand for his pint-sized ‘training catamaran’.

Originally intended as a springboard into bigger vessels for junior sailors, Dix says increasing interest in the original 9ft version prompted a design rethink. This week he started work on the bigger version, buoyed by the numerous enquiries.

“I showed it on my website and people started to ask for plans to be made available,” said Dix. “We sold a few for one-off GRP boats to amateurs. It gained popularity when I added wood detailing to the drawings.

“Although drawn for kids, adults have been building it to use themselves and some have asked about a bigger version. So I started this week on a bigger sister at 12ft,” he said.

The original design is 2.75m hull length, 1.7m beam and 4.65m mast length – a ‘car top boat’. “It will also fit neatly on top of the trampoline of a larger cat,” Dix says on his website. “From roof-racks to launching will be a matter of minutes and a minimum of fuss.

“She is a small and manageable boat for children to sail either one or two-up as a primer into cat sailing. She is also versatile enough to allow father to sail her either by himself or while teaching small children,” he says.

The design was originally commissioned by a production builder who went out of business before starting mould construction.

Dix said he is considering the possibility of a commercial partner: “Nobody has approached me regarding production of these boats commercially but I would be happy to discuss with any builder who would like to build them. I have the detailing already drawn for the Oppikat and that detailing would also be applicable to the bigger sister,” he said.