Amateur design insulting to pros?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Sobell, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    When a total amateur attempts to design a boat (say, a sailboat < 20 feet), or a tiny houseboat/shantyboat -- a box, basically, on a scow hull or pontoons), is that an insult to professional naval architects and yacht designers who have been properly educated/schooled/apprenticed, etc.?
     
  2. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    I don't think it's an insult, but that doesn't mean that professionals might not be concerned about your safety. Naval architecture isn't like performing voodoo. Anyone can pick it up on their own, but the professionals have the classic education, background, and hopefully designing a number of hulls that have been wetted to confirm their designs are good.

    You the beginning amateur have none of that, and therefore you are at risk of making a mistake or oversight that history has taught a professional to not forget about.
     
  3. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    Sobell, I think it's not an insult at all, it would be a huge nice:D surprise that he (the total amateur) could do it.
    Before there were NA or yacht designers there were already people building objects to navigate the waters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  4. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    Yeah, but Tansl, depending on how far back you go, and exactly where, I'll bet they didn't know about things like centers of effort and centers of lateral resistance and, heaven help us, prismatic coefficients.... They just tried stuff and if it worked, yay! I'm a word person, I've had an uneasy relationship with numbers all my life, and I have never got along with flippin' formulas, and there seem to be lotsa numbers and lotsa forumulas in boat design.... I guess I need to keep looking for existing plans, though what I have in mind is just so much exactly what I want and ... well, never mind. (Can you tell I'm a gurl? Well, I've made it to Ol' Broad status now.... How many female NA's are there, you reckon?)
     
  5. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    I think the best thing you can do is tell your ideas to a designer and, between the two, design exactly the boat you want. The cheapest thing would be to check what is already on the market and, if necessary, to modify an existing design to fulfill what you have in mind.
    I see you know things about ship theory so I'm convinced that working hand-in-hand with a designer might be a good choice.
    I do not know how many NA women exist but in my country there are a few.
     
  6. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Gurls should not make assumptions they cannot build, or design boats.
    There are lots of guys who should not be doing any such thing.

    No matter what, there is a lot to learn. The best way is to start building a recognized designers boats. To do a good job will be difficult without numbers.
    Even if you want to just start doing your own thing it wouldn't hurt for the boat to not be too different.

    What is it that you want?
     
  7. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    If you are interested in building a boat that you have designed yourself, that's one thing. If you want to design a boat because you haven't found a boat you like, that's a different thing. If you want to design a boat because having one designed for you is expensive, that's another thing. If the cost of stock plans that are available are too expensive or not to your liking that's a whole nother thing.

    THose are four different problems and the solutions to all are not necessaarily to design your own from scratch EXCEPT the first one...That's because you want to do it from scratch, and that's the itch.

    All the other scenarios have potentially different solutions. If the problem is cost of a set of plans, well there are plenty of sources of plans that are super cheap and some that are free and open sourced, and some available along with buying a $30 or less book.

    Glen-L has some fabulous designs for relatively little expense. I like their tugs and power cruisers like the Hercules.

    There are also lots of design styles, light and swift or heavy, beafy and meant to take a hard pounding.

    Find something you like and build it, or find something ALMOST what you like and adjust it, but I would recommend you have a designer at least look at your drawing the first few times before you actually try to float what you are building.

    A barge or scow may seem like it will just float upright, but make sure you've taken in all considerations. You can still flip a barge, and if it's a sailing scow, you can flip it when sailing...Barges and scows don't turn back upright if they turtle.
     
  8. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The basic issue with self designing isn't getting the feature you want, or the appropriate aestedics you desire, but to know how to develop structures stiff and strong enough to tolerate what you intend to do, given a worst case scenario.

    Even the most rank novice has seen enough boats to get the basic shapes sort of close. It might not balance well on the water, it might steer like crap, but for all essential purposes it will likely float, right side up and do pretty much most things within some level of normal attributes.

    What usually happens is the boat is way too much heavier than they anticipated, because they didn't perform a center of masses calculation or trim calculations, so the boat float bow low or stern down. Also what typically happens is the boat doesn't meat most reasonable expectations and if you get an honest answer from the novice designer, they'll admit they should have done more of this or that during the design and construction phases of the project.

    It's not an insult, though it is a lot more difficult then might first appear. Getting the hull shapes to reach speed and performance targets, designing a structure that will get the job done, without drowning anyone, etc. are things that do require some education and experence, not to mention meet local, regional and federal regulations (where applicable), requires considerable understanding of the appropriate hoops to jump through.

    I'd agree in that you can and should self design something, but run it past an NA or designer with some experence, so they can point out anything that is glaring or simply overlooked. Hell, it's easy to miss something - I wish I had a skilled "proof reader" to check my stuff, as everyone makes mistakes. Not all NA's will be very accommodating, simply because they see lots of boat designs on the back of a restaurant napkin, that they just can't take very seriously. So, make to approuch to the NA or designer with well drawn and calculated 3D views, including the appropriate hydrodynamics. Typically within a few minutes they'll see you're serious or have some many basic issues, it would be best to start over.
     
  9. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    With larger vessels the risks go up exponentially if they are designed or modified incorrectly. Many recall the ferry disaster in South Korea. After improper modifications and loading this huge ferry capsized killing many people. The owner committed suicide.

    Epic disaster.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    But man, let us not be tragic as Sobell is talking about "(say, a sailboat <20 feet),":D
     
  11. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Sobell; You are certainly at liberty to design your own boat. Whether you get it right the first time is not a critical matter unless you barge ahead full of misguided confidence and build the boat that you have drawn . There are plenty of guys who do that. The few girls that participate in the forum are mostly a lot more cautious and prudent than the male counterparts.

    Why not draw up something and post it here ? If you are rally interested we can discuss what you have done? No one will ridicule you and most of the guys will make encouraging comments and/or help you understand some of the critical features of what you may have drawn.
     
  12. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    Here's a picture of what I (sort of) have in mind. This is not a design, it's just a picture of a sailboat. It is drawn with Serif Draw Plus 4, not design software. It was drawn on a grid representing 1-foot squares and is approximately 17' long. The cabin has roughly 4 feet of head room. I have no idea how how realistic is the height of the mast, or size of the sails. I just drew them until they looked kinda right. (I've looked at gazillions of pictures of sailboats over the last 30+ years ... you get a feel for the right look, I guess.)

    There are many boats/designs/plans I've looked over that contributed to the boat I'd like to design, build, and sail. First and foremost, Sam Rabl's Picaroon. I actually lofted the lines back in the late 1970s, but building the thing looked soooo daunting. Other boats have added other considerations. Oddly, the only boat we've owned and sailed, a South Coast Seacraft 22, added no ideas or inspiration....

    [​IMG]
     
  13. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Build and enjoy. Just use common sense. Remember there were no naval architects building for the Vikings, just smart carpenters who studied out the problems. Ask questions and welcome to the forum!
     
  14. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    I always focus on structural integrity. I am an amateur so I probably make some joints too strong for the application.
     

  15. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    How do you make joints too strong?
     
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