Dibley Marine - NZ Sailboat design

Yacht Design

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Dibley Marine Sailboat Designis

Over 32 years experience in Sail boating,drafting and designing


This article attempts to give an overview of the design and manufacturing of sailboats(raceboats) and the evolution of this NZ industry.

Kevin Dibley - improving existing raceboats


Good fit

Although some attractive fast designs were built in the first few years, Europe has been slow to run with the Classe 950 Sailboat that was first launched five years ago by Jean-Marie Vidal. Maybe New Zealand will do better...

Dibley Classe 950

Auckland designer Kevin Dibley is known not only as the designer of fast and inevitably light small to medium-sized racers, but also for a successful track record in modifying and improving existing raceboats.

New Zealand's best-known large powerboats & Yachts

He is responsible, on top of that, for some of New Zealand's best-known large powerboats plus a wide range of innovative and sometimes dramatic fast cruising yachts.


With a loyal market of previous customers for his sportsboats and other trailerable lightweight flyers, he remains driven by a desire to keep budgets within the reach of potential customers. After all, dreams are nice, but they don't pay the mortgage.

The Classe 950 Sailboat has been something of an enigma since it first appeared in France.

The size of boat is in theory ideal to slot in as the interim step between the Mini 6.50 and the more substantial and much more expensive-to-campaign Class 40. But, driven by the sophisticated level of development that is now evident across all the open classes in Furope, the first few Classe 950s built, although fast and attractive, have all come out relatively expensive. For the aspiring shorthander this makes an interim step less attractive; more sensible perhaps to just keep working towards moving directly into the Class 40.

New Zealand, however, has a long, successful and colourful history of putting fast and exciting boats on the water on tight budgets. And, unlike France, New Zealand also does not have the distraction of a large domestic Mini 6.50 and Class 40
constituency to muddy the water and confuse potential customers.

Kiwi boatbuilding ingenuity

Spotting the potential for matching the Class 950s original core philosophy with Kiwi boatbuilding ingenuity - and keeping a careful eye on cost - Dibley decided to make his move.

The new Dibley 950 is being built by Edlin Marine in Auckland to some tough cost and access criteria, with the result that one of these swift-looking little dual-purpose ocean racers can be put on the water for as little as NZ$180,000 - for crews who are
prepared to do some of the easier work themselves.

The new boat is being marketed in a variety of packages to suit almost every budget and level of experience, from bonded hull and deck mouldings for about NZ$120,000 to a complete, professionally finished boat for NZ$250,000 - including racing sails, cradle, electronics and all those usual 'extras'. In the case of a home-finished boat, individual 'boat packs' are available to ease the task of the homebuilder including appendages (circa NZ$18,000) and an interior pack (around NZ$10,000). Edlin will also quote for separate areas of the finishing work if time is short and not just for a complete boat.

Current production is based on an initial run of three boats. If further orders can be generated then Dibley and Edlin believe more cost savings will be possible. The pair are obviously motivated to promote a new class that they both feel ideally suits the New Zealand style of sailing.

The 950 sailbost design itself is created to be fully offshore-capable - with the Tasman Sea very much in mind. Dibley is hoping to see examples competing in all the region's premier long-distance events, including the Auckland-Fiji and Melbourne Osaka classics.

The new boat's composite structure

The new boat's substantial composite structure is engineered with these tougher deep-water courses in mind.

The Hull

Assuming the typical buyer is ready to do some of the easier final details themselves, to be able to put a genuine offshore-capable high-performance design like this on the water for the equivalent of $100,000+ makes for an attractive offering, particularly as the powerful hull shape allows for a generous dual-purpose interior and look impressive when fully loaded.

Sailboat Hull shape is modern and quite flat, with the shallow forward U sections making a smooth transition into sharp aftchines. The generous beam of 3.7m ensures plenty of leverage for the 450L of water ballast that the Classe 950 rules allow to be used.

The Sail

The simple A-sail and bowsprit arrangement will make for easy shorthanding. while the generous beam and reasonable freeboard allow for plenty of space for a usable accommodation for some occasional cruising. Numerous Class 40 designs -
especially the earlier boats - are now enjoying a second life as (fast) family cruisers and the same principle has been carried into the smaller 950s to help to justify the initial cost as well as to improve resale value.

The Rig

A carbon rig is fitted as standard. Sail area is to the maximum allowed under class rules: 80m2 upwind plus a substantial 155 m2 gennaker.

Twin rudders will ensure good control of the relatively flat hull form, especially when planing downwind...
something that Dibley expects to be going on quite often.

the Dibley 25 "Carbon" - 2015 WSCYC Commodores Cup

DM 76-footer - Yacht Designers From Frank Pong this morning: "Kevin, Wind, seas and main opposition are about the same this year as they were in 2013. Main difference for Jelik was definitely NZ made fin designed by you, UK HK low stretch Unicarbon film sails, Modified Juan K rudder also by you, And following Adams upwind steering advice.( He is at Prada design meeting for the next AC35) - Dibley Marine Ltd.

John plans to sail, motor, fish, and explore the hundreds of bays and coves along his end of the Hauraki Gulf. Sea trial updates will come up on this page as they are done.

Dibley designed Keel and bulb

In Facts: Mike Elley and Chris Smith, sailing the White 40 ‘Nosaka’, blitzed the 23 yacht, Division 2 fleet, with a Line-Honours win in the SSANZ -100nm Two Handed Race.

Nature threw everything at them, from drifting conditions to 45 knot gusts but they managed to get through all that in 16.5 hours with the next yacht finishing 20 minutes after them. Carnage hit the fleet with two yachts snapping their rigs, and one hitting a reef with serious keel damage.
‘Nosaka’ got a new custom Dibley designed Keel and bulb put on her a few months ago, and her performance has sky rocketed since. Well done Mike and Chris. Next big Race is the 120 nm Coastal Classic up to the Bay of Islands.


For Contacts: http://www.dibleymarine.com/


related information

Creative Cam Ltd - this foundry is now the best and probably the only one that can do these big and complex marine castings in the Southern H - he does many keels & props for SE Asian clients. Impressive design and boatbuilding job - that's why Kevin gets these commissions Chris gets to do the work. Pete above - just get them to order the work down here and it will be a good result.

Richard Edlin - NZ Boatbuilder has the plans and facilities to build this design to any clients that prefer a professional build as opposed to a home-build. Contact us for further information.

John Robinson Sailing Trimaran

A new 6.5 metre (21’) Sailing Tri with fold in Ama’s. Home built by John Robinson in Auckland, sea trials begin in February. The design brief was for a Tri that can be easily launched, with a carbon mast for ease of rigging, and fold in ama’s that allowed easy trailering. The original design concept came from David Wilkie, with Dibley Marine putting the details together. Simple ply/glass hulls, carbon aka’s that hinge the hulls inboard/outboard, carbon mast, all sailing controls lead aft and sails on furlers. Structural Engineering by Nina Heatley of ‘Clever Fox Ltd’. Sails by Simon K. of ";Beacon Sails".