Dix 43 ‘Waratah’ (1)

19 March, 2008. Deck and cockpit.

A few more pictures. The basic shape of the cockpit is in place. It’s a nice big one, with plenty of space to sit comfortably.

All the winches will be positioned so they can be operated from the cockpit. Also all lines like halyards, sheets, furler lines, reef lines, etc. will be brought back here, so the operation of ‘Waratah’ will be safe and comfortable.



16 March, 2008. Building of the deck.

A few more pictures of the construction of the deck of S/V ‘Waratah’. The last picture with the 7 year old son of Fanie the grinderman standing next to the rudder skeg, gives a good idea of the size of this beautiful hull.


12 March, 2008. Turning of the hull.

Yesterday was the big day. The hull of ‘Waratah’ had to be turned. And turned she was. It had to be done by using only chain block tackle, because a crane could not have accessed the building. On top of that the roof trusses were not strong enough to lift from, so the total of 7 chain blocks had to be attached to the upright columns.

Once the whole setup was rigged and prepared, Wynand and his team turned her in 1,5 hours! Another milestone achieved.



5 March, 2008. The Team that makes it all happen.

My report on the building of S/V ‘Waratah’ would not be complete without putting the people that build her, under the leadership and supervision of Wynand, in the spot light. Here is the team that made it happen so far:


From left to right:

Tall bearded fellow – Pieter, Boilermaker assistant, tea boy, girl Friday
Red Cap – Joseph, general helper
Thumb up – Fanie, grinder man and general helper
Center with red shirt – Wynand
Springbok jersey – Rudie, our CO2 welder
Far right – Tony, boilermaker and pal

24 February, 2008. Hull progress.

Some more pictures of the hull of ‘Waratah’. The keel is quite impressive. It will be ballasted with 4000 kg of lead. Integrated in the keel will be two tanks for water (total capacity 500 liters) and two fuel tanks (total capacity 440 liters).



18 February, 2008. Hull plating.

Another update on S/V ‘Waratah’. Most of the hull plating is in place now, with only the bow and transom to be finished before the final welding phase can start.

Meanwhile also the Yanmar engine has arrived in Cape Town. We have ordered the Balmar marine alternator for the house bank (24 VDC, 140A), main battery charger, and temperature sensors for batteries (for charge monitoring) and alternator from C-Dynamics, also in Cape Town.

C-Dynamics will also supply the main part of the electrical equipment, like battery monitor, converters and inverters, switch and fuse boards, batteries, insulation transformer etc.

We need the alternator to be fitted with the correct brackets and pulleys to the Yanmar engine, prior to shipment to Welkom.



1 February, 2008. A hull takes shape.

A few more pictures of the progress in building ‘Waratah’. All the frames are up now, and the longitudinal stringers in place. In the next few days the frame will be further stiffened with flat bars and angle bars. Then the strongback has to be checked again for being absolutely level, before the hull plating can start. If all goes well, this will be Monday February 4.


25 January, 2008. The ‘skeleton’ of Waratah.

Despite flooding and power outages in Welkom, the ’skeleton’ of S/V ‘Waratah’ is coming along nicely. The pictures show the first 8 frames mounted on the strongback. Clearly visible are the cut out slots for the longitudinal stringers. The strongback is completely level. Accurate lofting of the frames, and ensuring an absolute level ‘building foundation’ are maybe the most important steps in the construction of a steel hull. Wynand is doing an excellent job!

There are 4 more frames to add, after which the stringers will be added. Then the hull plating can start. It is difficult to express the feeling, when I saw for the first time the basic shape and size of my own boat. I am very excited now it all becomes real and touchable.


The workshop.

Here is a picture of the workshop in Welkom. It is spacious, and Wynand has made it spotless clean. Along the wall the steel plates are lined up, of which ‘Waratah’ will be made.


23 December, 2007. Propulsion system and deck equipment.

Meanwhile the engine for ‘Waratah’ has been ordered. I chose for a Yanmar 4JH4AE, which provides a maximum output of 54 hp at 3000 rpm. It will be equipped with a straight Hurth ZF30M reduction gear, gear ratio 2.15:1, and multiple mechanical plate coupling. The engine is supplied by IMS Engineering Cape (Pty) in South Africa.

The engine comes with a 12V – 80A alternator for the starting and control system. An additional 24V marine alternator will be added to charge the house bank. The final choice is still pending at the moment.

For the 38 mm diameter propeller shaft, a so called ‘dripless’ PSS shaft seal by P.Y.I will be installed. The propeller is a 3-blade fixed propeller, 18″ x 12″, and will be supplied by Central Boating in Cape Town. I am still looking for a suitable shaft brake, to prevent spinning of the propeller shaft while under sail.


Central Boating will also supply most of the deck equipment, like anchor windlass (Lewmar horizontal anchor winch, 24V DC with gypsie and manual override), hatches (Lewmar), winches (Lewmar), and most of the other deck fittings.

17 December, 2007. We are on!

I just came back from Welkom in Free State, South Africa. I met with Wynand and his family, and enjoyed a week of unsurpassed South African hospitality. Wynand and I worked hard to finalize our deal to build my boat, and we were busy sorting out equipment and quotations from suppliers. There are still a few matters regarding choice of equipment that have to be clarified, but the main things are sorted out. We even had time to see a bit more of beautiful South Africa on my last day, before I had to return to Shanghai again.

Building of the hull of ‘Waratah’ will start in the second week of January 2008. Both Wynand on his web site, and myself on my blog, will keep you updated on the progress.

November, 2007

End of October I posted my last update about my Dix 43 project. At that stage I reluctantly had decided to have it built in Guangzhou, China. A part of me was never happy with this choice. Having lived here for 14 years, I know that quality would always be a challenge. Another issue is the import duties and import VAT which are not exactly low in China. On a project of this size this is a serious amount of money, which I rather spend on first class equipment and outfitting.

Since my last post much has happened. I posted earlier about the web site of Wynand Nortje covering steel boat building. Wynand has built 18 steel hull boats so far, amongst which several Dudley Dix designs. Well, to make a long story short, Wynand offered to build my Dix 43, and I happily accepted his offer. Wynand has of course lots of experience himself as a builder of steel boats, but also South Africa has a highly skilled labour force at a comparatively cheap price level. Furthermore South Africa has a boat building industry with a history, and a well developed supply chain.

The boat will be built in Welkom in Free State. Welkom is about 290 km from Johannesburg on the way to Cape Town, and about 560 km from Durban. I am flying to South Africa for a week in December to discuss final details with Wynand and get everything started. Needless to say, I am very excited!

I also have a name for my boat. Her name will be ‘Waratah’, after the state flower of New South Wales.

From now on I will add all posts, pictures, and updates on the progress of my project on this page.

15 Responses to Dix 43 ‘Waratah’ (1)

  1. Jeff Hodgson says:

    Looks great, from Jeff.

  2. Thanks Jeff! I am also very happy how ‘Waratah’ takes shape. I will continue reporting about the progress here.

    Best regards!

  3. Rob Martinus says:

    Ziet er goed uit Andreas.

    Ik hoop dat, wanneer ze gereed is, net zo mooi is als de bloem waaraan ze haar naam ontleent.

    Behouden vaart,

  4. Rob, bedankt! Ik zal je op de hoogte houden, en je kunt natuurlijk altijd hier even kijken naar de voortgang. Ik kan bijna niet meer wachten om haar te zeilen. Geduld, geduld.


  5. Ian says:

    What made you choose the Dix43? We are in the last stages of having one built here in Canada – an aluminum CC version. I liked the design and independantly, while I was researching it, my wife was in the Carribean taking sailing lessons with Julian Putley who orignally commissioned the 43. By the way, we are about 17 months into this project and hope to launch next month.

  6. Hello Ian,

    That is a good question. First of all I knew I wanted a boat with a steel hull. I was looking for a boat with which I could do some serious cruising in the future. Big enough to live on, but not too big for single or shorthanded sailing. I looked at 4 or 5 designers, and most of their designs looked more motor-sailer than sailing boat to me, or they just looked a bit old fashioned.

    I always liked the designs of Dudley Dix, having looked at a Shearwater before. I also wanted to have a centre cockpit, mainly because I like the big aft cabin this design enables. When I saw the Dix 43 it was love at first sight.
    We started building in South Africa in January of this year, and hopefully are ready for launch in September/October. I am off to South Africa this weekend again.

    Did you build the hull yourself, or did you have it built? If you want to post an article and some pictures of your project on my site, you are welcome.
    I hope it all works out for you. Stay in touch and good luck!

    Best regards

  7. Roy McBride says:


    Nice boat,I have one myself but in wood/epoxy,you will find mention of it on our web site under Flying Cloud.If you need plywoods and veneers etc,give me a call on 021 510 7206 .


    Cape Town

  8. Hello Roy,

    Had a look at your site, and Flying Cloud. Nice!
    And thanks for your contact number. Will bear in mind.


  9. Paul Bowman says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Dave’s son here. The boat looks good, isn’t it close to completion now? That night is a little hazy, and Mark and I spent the entire 12 hour flight back to the UK drinking the free booze on the KLM.

    Will be watching your progress.


  10. Hi Paul,

    Good to hear from you! And thanks for your comments on the boat. She is close to completion now, but we suffered a lot of delays. According to the original planning, she should have been in Phuket already.
    I missed the weather window to sail her across the Indian Ocean this year.
    As it looks now ‘Waratah’ will hopefully be ready by early March 2009. Then I will have to get the final outfitting done, get her insured and registered, conduct the sea trials, and make her ready for passage.
    Still a lot of work to be done.

    Stay in touch mate, cheers,

  11. Ahmad Bassam says:

    Dear Sir,

    I request your esteemed end to forward us your company profile to start forwarding you our inquiries related to our marine department.


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    Mob: 00965-97224307

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