Dix 43 ‘Waratah’ (4)

2 August, 2009. Moving on.

This will be the last entry in the dedicated pages that followed the building of ‘Waratah’. With ‘Waratah’ nearing completion, I will continue reporting in the main blog section. I am in South Africa now, and on August 6 we will move ‘Waratah’ to Durban for final outfitting and launch.

21 July, 2009. The final stages (2)

And some more pics of ‘Waratah’. One of the stainless steel support for the bow rollers, the others of the interior which show some of the lighting system. We used as much as possible 24V LED units, for their low energy consumption.

Bow rollersLights1lights2

galley2galley lights

On July 26th I will fly to South Africa to prepare ‘Waratah’ for the launch in Durban, which is scheduled for August 6th.

21 July, 2009. The final stages (1)

The interior and systems of ‘Waratah’ finally start to take real shape now. Here a few impressions of how calorifier and fuel filters are arranged around the engine. Shots from the galley, with refrigerating system, ice box, and water manifolds, and of course the heads, sinks, and wash basins.

The calorifier can produce a limited amount of hot water, either by using the engine cooling water, or by using a 220 VAC heating element. The refrigerating compressor for the ice box runs on the 24 VDC house bank only.

Calorifier1Calorifier2Engine and filters

stove1Fuel filters1Manifold1

Manifold2Final trim 022double sink

ice boxheads1Basin1


25 June, 2009. Fuel filters.

An important part of creating a reliable fuel system, is the choice of the right primary fuel filters. This is the first filter (or set of filters) we meet in the fuel system, going from the tank to the engine. On the engine itself is a second fuel filter, which is part of the engine assembly. The first filter has a mesh size of 10 micron, the second usually 2 – 5 micron.

On a seagoing vessel there is always a chance of getting sea water in the fuel tanks. Also changes between day and night temperature, can cause condensation of water in the fuel tanks, especially in places with high air humidity. Therefore a good fuel filter should also have water separating capabilities.

On ‘Waratah’ I am using two Racor filters in parallel. One is in use, and the other on stand-by. The filters can be isolated by a number of valves in the fuel system. In case of the filter in use getting clogged, I can change over to the stand-by filter without disrupting the fuel flow to the engine. The clogged filter cartridge can now easily be exchanged.

I also like the little manual priming pump on top of the filter assembly.

The first picture shows the 2 filter assemblies, the second a box with spare cartridges.


25 March, 2009. Long overdue update on ‘Waratah’.

I had so much trouble with my internet connection, and the Great Firewall of China in the past few weeks. It made it impossible for me to update my blog properly. Finally a chance to post an update and pictures.

The interior of Waratah is painted now, and in the final stage of being finished. I have selected a cream white colour, and a rosewood finish, which makes the interior look light and spacious. Most boats are far too dark inside. The first pictures give a bit of an idea how the interior is looking now. I also added a picture of the mast step, with the sheaves for all the lines going back to the cockpit.



02 February, 2009. The power plant.

‘Waratah’ will have a main electrical system which is 24 VDC. There is some equipment, like the navigation equipment, which is only available in 12 VDC. So this equipment will have it’s own power supply through a 24/12 VDC converter, via a 12 VDC battery, which also acts as a UPS.

And then there will be a 24 VDC/ 220 VAC converter, for the electric water heater, outlets for laptop and other 220 VAC equipment.

The main house bank is about 450 Ah, and will be charged by a Balmar marine alternator, which has been added to the Yanmar engine. The engine has it’s own 12 VDC starting battery, with matching alternator which came with the engine.

The Balmar alternator is rated at 140 Ah at 24 VDC, and that is about as big as you can fit safely on my Yanmar engine, without putting too much stress on the non-drive end bearing. The two pictures show the arrangement.


01 February, 2009. Holding tanks.

After a number of modifications the sewage holding tanks are now up to my liking. ‘Waratah’ will have two heads (= toilets, for those not familiar with the marine lingo), one forward, and one aft next to the master cabin. Each has a holding tank, to allow storage of sewage in waters where you can not just dump it overboard. The holding tanks are made of steel, and have a capacity of about 45 – 50 liters each.

Now when I sailed professionally as a marine engineer, I had to be able to fix whatever breaks down on a seagoing vessel. The jobs I hated most, was working on the sanitary systems. So for ‘Waratah’ I wanted a system which first of all has few components that can fail, and further is easy to maintain and repair. For the toilets I selected standard hand operated ones, which require little more regular maintenance than adding a bit of vegetable oil in the hand pump once every 1 – 2 weeks.

For the holding tanks I wanted a system without any pumps, because they are the biggest source of trouble. And to replace and repair them is literally a ‘shitty’ job. So I decided to place my holding tanks high, above the heeled waterline of the boat. In restricted areas, or in a marina, the sewage goes into the tank from the top. There is a discharge line at the bottom of the tank, with one valve at the tank, and one valve at the hull. Where dumping of the sewage is allowed, I simply open both valves, and gravity does the rest. If this line gets blocked, it is easy to unblock it by pushing a spring through it from the inspection cover. That way I don’t have to open hoses and connections inside the boat. Because THAT is really not a nice job.

The tanks can also be pumped out from a connection on deck. In unrestricted waters, the two discharge valves would be open, and the sewage coming from the toilets, would go through the tanks and straight down and overboard. Another advantage is that by placing the holding tanks that high, is that I don’t have to install a vented loop (which goes above the waterline) into the discharge line. Another source of failures, and bad smell.



31 January, 2009. Roughing it out.

‘A picture tells more than 1000 words’, is how the saying goes.  Well, here are a few more pictures of the interior of  ‘Waratah’. Wynand and his crew have been doing a fantastic job. I love the big aft cabin, and the spacious salon. There are plenty of lockers, 43 all in all, of which you can never have enough on a boat.




14 Responses to Dix 43 ‘Waratah’ (4)

  1. Wynand says:

    The holding tanks are actually made from stainless steel plating, painted thickly with epoxy paint especially made for water tanks, drink water pipes etc.

  2. Congratulations on a fine looking vessel and a great website.

    I’m building a Dix design myself and It’s comforting to see that there are people out there that are just as crazy as I am 🙂
    One thing that caught my eye is the shape of the bow, is it supposed to have that distinct form visible in https://strandedmariner.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/blast6.jpg ?
    Also regarding the joinery, are you using marine plywood or are you planning to coat it?
    What kind of steel are you building from, Mild, Corten or Grade A Shipb. ?
    Are you using regular steel for the sterntube/rudder/throughulls or welding in stainless sections?
    How did you cut out the water lubrication slots in the Vesconite?



    • Hello Jarl,

      Thanks for your nice comment, and accept my apologies for replying late to you. I have been quite ill the past two weeks, and the Great Firewall of China often prevents me inaccessing my own blog.

      What kind of Dix are you building if I may ask?

      Regarding your question about the bow, yes, that’s the way it has been designed. For the joinery we are using marine plywood, which is now in the final stages of painting. I hope I can post a few pictures of that later.
      We decided to use regular construction steel for ‘Waratah’s hull and deck. In my opinion Corten steel is overrated, and does not give any big advantage.
      Same for the stern tube and rudder. The through hulls, with a few exceptions where we used stainless, are all plastic. Saves a lot of trouble.

      Where are you building your boat Jarl? Feel free to send me some text and pictures, and I will post them here.

      Best regards,

  3. simon powell says:

    Good afternoon – as a sailor and boat owner (first 34.7) based in HK its always nice to come accross other sailors in the region . what are boat facilities like in Shanghai ? – I travel to China regularly with work but always got the view that its not the nicest place to sail into and out of – we do most of our racing down to Vietnam,, Phils and lots to macau

    • Hello Simon,

      Nice to hear from a fellow sailor in the region. Unfortunately the facilities for boats in Shanghai are very limited. There’s not something like a regular marina, only some kind of visitor’s pier. There are plans to build a marina on the river in time for the Expo 2010, but I have seen nothing materialize yet. Also the sailing around Shanghai is not very attractive.
      Xiamen has some decent facilities, and also decent wind (much better than Qingdao). Some of our members from the Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club go their for racing every now and then.

      Best regards,

  4. Hey Andreas,

    This is the 4th time I try to post, lets hope this time it works, for some reason WordPress keeps eating my replies.

    We are building a Hout Bay 33 in Iceland, I have a website with some pictures and a build log along with a webcam:

    Website: http://dallur.com/
    Webcam: http://dallur.com/index.php?id=129
    Gallery: http://dallur.com/index.php?id=44&tx_lzgallery_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=8

    Due to regulations here in Iceland we had to use Grade A shipbuilding steel for all components except stainless. I have found it’s more ductile than Steel 37 but also has more spring so it’s harder to permanently deform.

    I opted to make all through hulls out of stainless but with a bit of a twist, I use weld flanges to get pre-made rounded corners so all I do is cut the oversized hole and weld in the stainless section flat to the surface.



  5. Hello Jarl,

    Sorry, for reasons unknown your comments ended up in the spam folder. And I did not have internet for almost a week.

    I had a look at your web site. Very nice, and your boat seems to come along very well. I like the classic lines of the Hout Bay. I saw one for sale in Phuket last Christmas, built in South Africa.

    The solution you chose for your through hulls sounds very practical.

    I hope all will go smoothly! I will regularly check your site.

    Best regards, and good luck!


  6. U.V.R.Krishnan says:


    Can you relook at your stern tube mechanical seal arrangment. To me it looks funny.
    Both the static and the rotary parts of the seal seam to be fixed on the shaft & the whole assembly is the other way round – in Fwd-Aft direction.

    I may be wrong – but think would be worth checking.

    Happy building,

    Fm a Mariner,
    With identical dreams!

  7. MyLaowai says:


    The reason your comments never appeared, was that WordPress sends to the spam folder any comment with more than a couple of hyperlinks in it. This is to kill spam, which typically has many hyperlinks.

    @Mariner: you can change this setting in your account setup. Also, love the Dix 43. You are going to have the best survival kit ever built.

    Fair winds.

  8. @U.V.R.Krishnan

    Thanks for your comment. I checked with the instructions and it seems to be mounted correctly. On the picture you can see that on the left the seal assembly is clamped around the stern tube, on the right is the rotating part fixed on the shaft. Looks ok to me.

  9. @MyLaowai

    Thanks for the tip on the account settings, I raised the number to 3, which should do the job.
    And regarding ‘Waratah’, you will be one of the first people to sail her with me once she is in Phuket. 🙂

  10. Wynand says:

    Dear U.V.R.Krishnan,

    Im the builder of Waratah and as to your reply on the shaft seal.

    First of all, enlarge the picture and let me take you through it. Looking at the very left you will see the rubber housing is clamped to what seems is a disc. This is a reinforcement slipped over the prop shaft tube keeping the propeller shaft tube exactly aligned and the rubber casing is actually slipped over the prop shaft tube and secured with stainless steel clamps. The shaft runs inside this now. Moving to your right is another two clamps that keeps the carbon faced flange to the compressible rubber tube and the diameter of the hole is a bit bigger than the shaft that runs through it. (notice the little nipple if you want external water cooling fitted to the seal?)
    Forward of this just short of the transverse frame is the machined (ultra smooth) stainless steel ring that fits tightly to the prop shaft – in fact, it has two internal O rings to make sure no water can slip through the between the shaft and disc. This disc is pushed against the carbon face fitted on the rubber casing bringing it into compression and then locked into place with grip screws to the shaft. This seals things up so to speak or simply forming a mechanical seal.
    Simply put; the rubber and carbon faced unit is stationary with the shaft running clearly through it, and the stainless steel disc part of the prop shaft that spins against it. Understand…?

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