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Boat Design and Boatbuilding Books

From developing the lines to laying-up the first hull.
(Reviews written by our Internet friends.)
See Also:  Boat Building Books

How to Design a Boat

How to Design a Boat by John Teale
John Teale, Naval Architect and editor of Motor Boat and Yachting for years, takes the reader step-by-step through the stages of designing both power and sailing boats, while also explaining the reasons behind the process. Sketches and reproductions of working drawings are used throughout.
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Designer & Client : Eight Boat Design Commissions, from Kayak to Cruiser by Antonio Dias
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Super Yachts

Super Yachts by John Julian
The world's most luxurious yachts spanning nearly 100 years, from the launch of the classic schooner Shenandoah in 1902 to the christening of the futuristic sloop Kokomo in early 2000. A guided tour of each is accompanied by the fascinating details of the yacht's construction and the remarkable voyages it has undertaken. Magnificent color photography and specifications are provided for each of the 20 vessels.
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Secrets Of Tunnel Boat Design
The development of the tunnel and V bottoms are interestingly chronicled, with detailed explanations of hull design, function, potential, and characteristics. This book also details ten design steps for analysis of hull performance and stability showing how the calculations are accurately performed, as well as providing detailed information about their relation to hull performance. The ten steps range from layout design dimensions, calculating lift and drag, power calculations, and stability
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History of Tunnel Boat Design
History of the very first tunnel type designs, like Thorneycroft's 1870 craft and the original Hickman "Sea Sled". Review of the types of catamaran hullforms used in early tunnel configurations. Early "Ram Wing" catamarans were designed by some of the world's foremost marine designers...some were even built! Find out which ones were successes... and why!
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Applied Naval Architecture by Robert B. Zubaly
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Understanding Boat Design

Understanding Boat Design by Ted Brewer
For new boating enthusiasts-even if they've been at it awhile-there are scores of burning questions. If one boat has a round bottom and anotherīs is veed, what difference does it make in the way they perform? What are the advantages of a cutter rig over a sloop? Why does one sailor swear by a full keel, while others won't have anything but a fin keel? Why does one powerboat have more flare in its topsides than another? And while we're at it, what's flare and what are topsides? Why do some hull shapes look "right?" How big an engine and propeller will it take to move that powerboat? What are the elements of a safe boat, or a comfortable cruising boat?  Provides a "...general overview of small craft design..." to teach rudiments of hull shape, vessel types, rigs, and construction."
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Preliminary Design of Boats and Ships

Preliminary Design of Boats and Ships
A veteran designer's approach to conceptual vessel design for the layman and hte beginning professional.
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Fiberglass Boat Design and Construction by Robert J. Scott
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Yacht Designing and Planning

Yacht Designing and Planning : For Yachtsmen, Students, and Amateurs by Howard I. Chapelle
Directions for the use of tools and suggestions for handling the many problems involved in yacht designing. Describes in detail developing the lines of a yacht as it is done in actual practice. "Tells exactly what to do to design a boat from scratch using hand drafting methods, not how to do it"
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Boat Data Book by Ian Nicolson
The Boat Data Book has long been the standard reference work for boat designers, builders, surveyors and anyone interested in repairing, refitting and maintaining powerboats and sailboats. This third edition has been expanded to include more tables and new data on the latest developments involving anchors, masts, propellers, winches and the like. As before, Nicolson has packed a tremendous amount of detailed information into dozens of easy-to-use tables and graphs, accompanied by clear illustrations and concise, explanatory text.
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Boat Data Book

Common Sense Boat and Boat Model Building. Volume One, The Coventional Way. "A step-by-step track-to-run-on for beginning amateur boat builders. Dorval-Publishers, 1515 Hamilton Place, Dorval, Quebec, Canada H9S 1H3."


Sensible Cruising Designs by L. Francis Herreshoff
This book contains the plans for some of Herreshoff's best-loved boats, including Meadowlark, Rozinante, the H-28-in all, 49 plans for everything from a 16-foot double-paddle canoe to a 130-foot three-master.  L. Francis Herreshoff. Collection of how-to-build articles from "The Rudder" about some of LFH's most popular cruising designs.
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Sensible Cruising Designs by L Francis Herreshoff

Designing Small Craft by John Teale,
published by David McKay Co, Inc., N.Y. 1976.

"Starts very basic for the beginner"
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The Propeller Handbook, David Gerr.
Up to date, detailed guide to how propellers work and how to select one, for both power and sail boats.
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propeller handbook

Ship and Aircraft Fairing and Development. Sam Rabl, 1941
"A great workshop manual for lofting, and an excellent introduction to developable shapes: I strongly recommend it to anybody who plans to build in plywood, steel or aluminum." -Jacques Mertens
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Computational Geometry for Ships.  H. Nowacki M.I.G. Bloor B. Oleksiewicz
Textbook covering curve defintion, representation, and generation ship curve design, eementary mathematical properties of surfaces, the PDE Method for Surface Generation, Blend Design, Free-Form Surface Design, Numerical Solutions of Elliptic PDEs, Surface Generation, Analysis of Surface Fairness, and Hydrodynamic Evaluation of Generated Surfaces.
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computational geometry for ships by H Nowacki M I G Bloor and B Oleksiewicz

Skene's Elements of Yacht Design, Francis Kinney, Dodd, Mead & Co. 1962.
There have been several revisions and printings of this well-known work, but for me it is not so good as Chapelle's book for the design process.   But "for information on everything from fastening size to rigging to propeller sizing this book is invaluable."
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Designing Power & Sail by Arthur Edmunds
Written in terms anyone can understand with formulas, tables, line drawings and illustrations to explain the process of design in great detail.  A good book for a beginner to start with.
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desigining power and sail by Arthur Edmunds

Yacht Designs (1977); Yacht Designs II (1992); William Garden, Int'l Marine.
Garden describes over 50 of his designs, both sail and power.  First book includes detailed instructions for drawing 3-d perspective   views from regular plans.
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Boats With an Open Mind

Boats With an Open Mind : 75 Unconventional Designs and Concepts by Philip C. Bolger
Innovative designs include a planning microtrawler; a glass-galleried, beachable birdwatching boat; a fully enclosed ocean-cruising rowboat; cruising sailboats that take the ground at low tide; power, sail, and rowing boats from 6 to 60 feet.
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Yacht and Small Craft Design: from Principles to Practice, Gordon Trower.
"all the essential computations", "written with warmth and wit" ..."an introductory book for anyone with an interest in the subject"
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Choice Yacht Designs, Richard Henderson, International Marine, 1979
Review of production fiberglass designs.
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boats to go

Boats to Go : 24 Easy-To-Build Boats That Go Fast With Low Power by Thomas Firth Jones
From a flyweight tack-and-tape kayak to a 29-foot transatlantic trimaran - 24 unique boats united by the common themes of simplicity of line, ease of construction, and high speed relative to the power used.
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Benford Design Group catalogue of Cruising Designs

Cruising Designs
Benford Design Group. Design catlog of power and sail cruising designs from 7 - 130'.
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Pocket Cruisers for the Backyard Builder:
30 Small Sailboats (15 to 29 feet) you can build for less than $12,000. Dave Gerr, 1991.   Rigs, ballast construction, ballasting and hull form, lofting, engines, building stongbacks, etc.  Steel and aluminum.  Also covers Multihulls.
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the nature of boats

The Nature of Boats, Dave Gerr, Int'l Marine, 1992.
Many design insights, such as hull shapes and propeller selection.
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The Common Sense of Yacht Design: The Theory & Practice of Naval Architecture. L. Francis Herreshoff.
Richly illustrated with photos and engravings.  "A classic treatise by a very talented and very opinionated designer."


Introduction to Naval Architecture by Thomas C. Gillmer & Bruce Johnson
The engineering fundamentals of naval architecture are emphasized in this basic textbook which develops such topics as ship geometry, strength, and stability, submarine hydrostatics, ship hazards and vulnerability, and ship hydrodynamics. This generously illustrated volume includes numerous example problems and suggestions for additional study.
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introduction to naval architecture by thomas c gillmer bruce johnson

Preliminary Design of Boats and Ships, Cyrus Hamlin, ca 1992
How to prepare a conceptual design for a naval architect to finish.
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The Troller Yacht Book: A Powerboater's Guide to Crossing Oceans
When boat designer George Buehler realized that he no longer wanted to cruise the world's oceans under sail, he decided to create a line of powerboats that sailors could love and anyone could afford. Plans for troller yachts from 38 to 70 feet and detailed information about everything from design theory, building, and outfitting to converting commercial boats.
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the troller yacht George Buehler

Practical Principles of Naval Architecture, S. S. Rabl, Cornell, 1942.
"One of the very best books on the subject but very scarce"


Basic Ship Theory : Hydrostatics and Strength by K. J. Rawson, E. C. Tupper
The first of two volumes that have become the standard introductory text for undergraduate students of naval architecture, first published in 1968 and most recently revised in 1989. Volume one covers the basic geometry, measurement, safety, structural strength, stability, and the all important floatability.
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basic ship theory volume 1

Thirty Classic Boat Designs : The Best of the Good Boats by Roger C. Taylor
A fleet of individualistic gems, from a 16-foot daysailer to a 61-foot schooner. Most are sailboats, all are interesting. They come from the drawing boards of, among others, N. G. and L. F. Herreshoff, Sam Crocker, and Olin Stephens.
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Thirty Classic Boat Designs by Roger C Taylor

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