Dix 43 ‘Waratah’ (3)

12 January, 2009. Propeller shaft.

A few pictures of the propeller shaft arrangement.



The first 3 pictures show the outside. The whole shaft arrangement is slightly out of line with respect to the longitudinal axis of the boat. This enables pulling the shaft from the outside. Otherwise the rudder skeg would be in the way.

The bracket holds the Vesconite bush which supports the shaft at the propeller end. There is a similar bush on the inside where the shaft enters the stern tube. Clearly visible is the zinc anode right in front of the propeller. The 4th picture shows the mechanical shaft seal, and the flexible coupling between shaft and transmission gear.

14 December, 2008. The sail plan.

‘Waratah’ will have a so called cutter rig. It consists of one main sail, with full battens and 3 reef points for double line reefing of about 42 m2, and two head sails. One is a genoa on a Harken roller furler, the other one on the inner stay a staysail of about 19 m2. This one is also rolling furling. The total effective sail area is about 90 m2.

In the future I might look if it makes sense to add a cruising spinnaker.


14 December, 2008. Outfitting (3).

Some more pictures of the progress on ‘Waratah’. The first one is a shot of the propeller and shaft. The second two show the connection between shaft and coupling. And the last 4 show what will become the workshop. I turned one of the cabins into a workshop and storage area. After all one of the definitions of cruising is ‘fixing your boat in exotic locations’, and where would one be without a proper workshop to do the job?




13 December, 2008. Windvane steering.

‘Waratah’ will have windvane steering. After having done quite a bit of research, I selected the Monitor windvane, manufactured by Scanmar in the US.

The Monitor works with the servo-pendulum principle. Actually Scanmar has a very informative web site, with a section that explains the principles of self steering very clearly.

A big advantage of Scanmar is that they already have thousands of drawings for different boat types on file. With what they already had on the Dix43, and our additional information, they made a custom drawing just for ‘Waratah’.

The parts arrived in October, but will only be fitted when ‘Waratah’ is in the water, and we can establish the exact loaded water line.

The pictures below show all the parts that are needed. I have a set of longer control lines, because of the center cockpit setup, and a wheel adapter which will be fitted on my steering wheel. The Monitor comes standard with two vanes, one for normal conditions, and an extra one for light winds. I also ordered a cruising spare parts kit, for wear and tear parts.


October/November 2008. Outfitting (2).

Here some more pictures of the fitting out of ‘Waratah’. The first four show the progress made on deck, with winches, hatches, and some of the dorade vents in place.



The next pictures show how the interior of ‘Waratah’ is coming along.



The water tanks and related plumbing, and the water pressure unit and manifold.


And last but not least, the holding tanks and plumbing for the aft and forward heads. I am not really happy with that arrangement yet, and it will be changed.



September 2008. Outfitting (1)

Another overdue update on the outfitting of ‘Waratah’. The first two pictures show the inside of the hull, after application of ceramic insulating paint. This is a much better option than spraying polyurethane foam. First of all you can’t see what is happening behind the foam layer, secondly even closed cell PU foam will absorb water after some time, and last but not least, PU foam will give off really bad toxic fumes in case of fire.

Picture number 4, 5, and 6 show the water tanks in the keel, and the blue special water tank paint we are applying. Picture number 7 shows the water tanks with the covers bolted on. Every tank has a see through inspection cover. Picture number 8 shows the engine in place, which will later be enclosed by a separate compartment.

The last pictures show the arrangement of some of the hatches, dorade vents, and winch and jammer blocks.

More on the hull.

The first 3 pictures are showing the hull with studs where the zink anodes are going to be fitted. The next pictures show the cut-outs in hull and deck for hatches, vents, and through hull connections. The last picture shows the tank tops, with connections and inspection covers.

End July, 2008. Pouring of the lead ballast.

‘Waratah’ needs 4000 kg of lead ballast in the keel. It was quite difficult to get such an amount, because most of the scrap dealers around Welkom have long term delivery contracts with India and China. Well, Wynand did it, and finally the pouring of the ballast into the keel could begin. The first picture shows about 3000 kg of scrap lead.

There were some big chunks and ingots that were put in the keel first. The smaller lead was then molten on a specially rigged furnace and poured over the ingots. About 180 – 200 kg were molten at a time and then poured in. The 1 1/2 inch feed pipe of the funnel kept getting clogged, and had to be heated with a cutting torch to get the lead going. On the last picture ‘Waratah’ seems to be on fire, with all the smoke coming out of the hatch openings.

17 Responses to Dix 43 ‘Waratah’ (3)

  1. Steven Schapera says:

    Hi I loved reading your story; I have a Shearwater 45 and am a huge fan of Dix. I’d love to build my own boat one day…your story gets me thinking ….



  2. Thanks Steven. Actually the first Dix boat I looked at was the Shearwater. Then finally I went for the Dix 43. Where do you live?


  3. Tom French says:

    Love the site but Erk

    Thats one sloppy builder , those frames should be welded to the hull you’d better send those photo’s to Dudly for comment.

    Good luck.

  4. Tom,

    Thanks for your feedback.
    The frames have deliberately left floating, in all but a number of high stress areas like around the keel, and at the watertight bulkheads. If you don’t do that, the hull plates will ‘pull’ and deform, giving the so called ‘hungry horse’ effect.
    This has been in detail discussed with, and approved by Dudley.

    Best regards.

  5. Wynand says:

    as for Tom French reply about me being a sloppy builder;

    I have built Dix65, Dix57 and Dix38 designs in the past and they are all designed with floating frames. In fact, that is the very reason why Dix builders in general achieve quite fair hulls and made Dix stand out from the crowd.

    Please ask before making wild statements…..

  6. Gary Bajada says:

    Hi Stranded Mariner

    I’m a first time boat builder. Your site has been one of, if not, the most informative.
    I am very suprised about the insulative qualities of the ceramic paint. How would it perform in regards to sound dampening ? Will you be placing anything else between the hull and the lining ?
    I am building a Roberts DS 440. I took the easy way out and had my steel laser cut and marked from CAD files.
    You certainly have the right man for the job.

    Regards Gary

    • Barry says:

      wow the roberts ds 440 , i suppose you have been around the world a few times since 09, mine got wrecked in thailand tsunami is yurs for sale, Barry

    • Barry says:

      Sorry to bother you again, do you know where i can get laser cut steel like you did for the ds 440, is it less than 30k for the steel if so i will like to get it, regards Barry

  7. Hello Gary,

    Thanks for your comment and kind words. Regarding the ceramic paint, the sound insulating properties are not up to much. To be honest, that was not my priority. I wanted good thermal insulation, that still gives me access to view the inside condition of the hull, and leaves room for ducting etc. between the hull and inner woodwork.

    Your Roberts project sounds interesting. If you like, you can send me some pictures and description, and I will post them here.

    My boat builder Wynand convinced me that straightforward lofting is the way to go when cutting your plates. Also we made some changes to the design regarding stringers and frames. With consulting and approval of Dudley Dix, that goes to say.

    We are close to completion now, I will post more pictures within the next few days. Well, completion is one thing. After that the outfitting with everything else you need for an ocean passage starts. And then the registration and insurance. There is still a lot of work ahead.

    If you don’t mind me asking, where are you based?

    Good luck with your project, and stay in touch!

    Best regards,

  8. Anton Hart says:

    “ceramic insulating paint”

    Hi Andreas,
    What sort of insulating paint(what manufacturer-product) did you use, and where in south africa did you get it. Does it work better that PU foam?

    I am in the process of starting a build on a Dix43pilot(alu), and would also like to use the insulating paint instead of PU foam.

    Have you had the boat in the water yet?

    • Hi Anton,

      The ceramic paint we used is called ‘Solarshield’, and is commonly used to insulate roofs. I will send you the technical spec sheet by separate email. It was bought in Johannesburg if I remember right.
      I like this solution better than PU foam. First of all with foam you can not see what is happening behind the foam, and even the best closed cell foam will eventually take up water.
      Further, once applied the foam is extremely difficult to remove in case of repairs or when wire ducts have to be accessed.
      And finally even PU foam with flame retarding properties will give off poisonous gases in case of any fire.

      I remember having seen a Dix43 alu project on the site of the Metal Boat Society, where also ceramic paint was being used.

      If all goes as scheduled, ‘Waratah’ will be launched end of July in Durban.

      Best regards, and good luck with your project!


      • chris sutton says:

        please could you send me some info re the Solarshield paint. I cant locate a distributor in South Africa – do you remember where you bought it?

        Since posting the info in june 2009 do you have any more ideas about its effectiveness?



        • Hi Chris,

          It was bought from Braemar paints in Port Elizabeth. I will email you the info sheet I have.

          I launched Waratah in Durban in May this year. From what I can see, it works quite well. The real test will come in tropical waters though.


  9. Grant says:

    Fantastic. I made a boat myself but a lot smaller 12ft. The satisfaction from building and launching your own boat is truley unique. I built a small boat to learn the process as I want to build a bigger sailboat. Due to the cost and time I thought learning the process first will help me finish cheaper and quicker. Great post, great boat, thanks for sharing your experiences.



    My Boat

    • Hi Grant,

      I had a look at your web site, and the boat you built. Very nice!

      I think your approach to start small when building a boat is right. There were moments I wished I had done the same 🙂


  10. Pingback: 2010 in review | Stranded on the Largest Island

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