Amateur design insulting to pros?

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

  1. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Sobell dear lady, pray tell what it is about Blue Moon that fascinates you. Is it the Gaff rig, the faux clipper bow, the antiquated and inefficient rudder design, the too small boat- too big cabin? Be honest with yourself and identify what it is that attracts you to such a dated design.

    The first order of business when you select a boat design or design it yourself is to make a carefully considered SOR. That is a "Statement Of Requirements". What do you want the boat to do, where and under what conditions will it be sailed, how long a period will you anticipate a single outing to be, What manner of conveniences will you facilities, refrigeration, toilet facility, stowage space, auxiliary power, reserve water and fuel, anchoring equipment as a function of the expected cruising ground, will you want electronic nav systems or just simple charts and compass, or maybe this is just a gunkholer. If it is a gunkholer then you will want a retractable board not a full keel, will the boat be stored on a trailer or permanently moored, .....etc....etc..... There are many questions and answers that go into the informed selection of a particular boat design. The appearance of the boat according to ones preconceived notion should be one of the last and least influential considerations.

    If you fail to do due preliminary diligence, your sweat, toil, money, and time is at risk of becoming a sad disappointment. Almost all of us old timers have shot ourselves in the foot at some time or other. Been there done that. It is our collective wish to help others avoid such an event. In general, we like boat people and wish to have them be long term, and satisfied, and safe, members of our unofficial clan.
  2. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    Replying to messabout...

    Is it the Gaff rig...

    Maybe. I've never much liked them before, but I sort of like this one.

    ... the faux clipper bow...

    Nah, not particularly.

    ... the antiquated and inefficient rudder design...

    Nope. Couldn't care less.

    ... the too small boat- too big cabin?

    I think we're getting warm.

    Be honest with yourself and identify what it is that attracts you to such a dated design.

    Well, the vintage look is a big part of the charm. I'm a baby boomer, a throwback. Everything back when was better. :D I'm sitting sitting here listening to Acker Bilk play Stranger on the Shore.... But I'm also a techno-junkie and internet addict. Mr. Bilk is on my "Swanky Midcentury Playlist" at YouTube...

    Back to the boat ... the individual elements aren't the attraction; it's the overall look when they are put together. But it's not just how it looks.

    I've been doing preliminary diligence for years. Your second paragraph of things to consider... I've considered them all, and many you haven't mentioned. The little boat isn't perfect for everything -- what boat is? -- but it will do, I believe. It will more than do. It will do satisfactorily ... even nicely.

    My attention is again turning to boats and travel trailers (building them myself is a big part of the attraction of both) at this time because in a few days I will have one knee replaced, followed by several weeks of rehab. Some time after that, the other one will be replaced, and after rehab for that one, I will be a new woman, so says my doctors. (PCP says I'm healthy and have long "shelf life" ahead.) I can barely walk from one room to another, but at some point later this year, I'll be able to wrestle plywood and saw and hammer and screw and nail and glue and fiberglass, with some help from my hubs. I have a whole storage shed full of power tools that have been gathering dust for years that I'll be delighted to get reacquainted with.
  3. Barry
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    Barry Senior Member

    There are three very distinct functions to take an idea of a boat that you want to build and follow it through to a completed boat.

    As it appears that you are new to the game it is important to identify them
    You say that you want to design and build a boat but the reality is that you want to perhaps draw a profile/cross section/layout to meet your needs/wants

    The design process is a separate process and depends on the type of material that you intend to use build your boat.

    A wood framed with a ply skin boat would require a different "design" "build" criteria than say a fibreglass hull or an aluminum hull, or exotic composites, perhaps concrete.

    A naval architect or some of the very learned and experienced contributors would be able to offer suggestions as to a specific material. In a perfect world a naval architect would take your drawing/sketch and do multiple calculations as to scantling sizing, fastener schedules, frame sizing and location and mast loading to ensure this joint is strong enough for the boat

    As many contributors have suggested in this thread, consider buying a DESIGNED plan that has undergone the design process, the cost distributed over many plan sales, and perhaps have been in service and proven to be able to meet the usage. Along with this plan will come the build process and a list of material that will help you with your build.

    Additionally, though your boat might not require a lot of compliance due to the size or the number of systems that you want, as you live in the US, the boat should meet ABYC requirements for safety.

    You will spend a considerable amount of money on a boat and more importantly you will spend a lot of your time. 200-400-600 hours or more. You certainly want your effort to produce a workable end product.
  4. Corley
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Corley epoxy coated

    The thing is Sobell is that so many designs that are shown here by novice would be designers as the latest, greatest innovation are nearly identical to existing designs. Nearly all practical expressions of the art have been already drawn after some fashion and most have their own unique and well understood individual caveats. I think most pros are exasperated rather than insulted.

    It's the understanding of the compromises and trade offs that come with each of them that decides the suitability of a particular craft for you. Certain boats are rare because they have unfavorable handling characteristics or suffer other faults such as low payloads or excessive wetted surface area or are too tender. That's why yacht design tends to hover around some pretty well established and wholesome design parameters that have been found to work well.
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  5. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    Thanks to everyone for the world-class discouragement.

    To put everyone's concerns to rest, if I can't update the design for modern building methods, I will build it as the plans call for.
  6. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Good luck.
    Forums are made up of people with radically different desires, experiences, and failures/ successes.
    Most but not all want to "help". In their own mind.

    You have to decide for your self, of course.
    Good luck with the knees. I know a lady who resisted the surgery for 10-15 years. Now her life is changed. I hope your's meets your expectations.
    FYI, she really couldn't completely finish her physical therapy until both were done. It was tough for her.
  7. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Don't be discouraged. Good luck with your project and your knee surgeries.

    Please keep us posted. We do love to help so don't let our grumpy selves keep you from asking questions.
  8. Angélique
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    Location: Belgium ⇄ The Netherlands

    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    (Re: post #44)

    Hi Sobell,

    Thanks for explaining, yes I misunderstood your question, my apologies . . :eek:

    Maybe a classic Hartley comes close to your wishes . . . ? ?

    Hartley 16 - (built since 1956)

    The Boat

    Hartley TS16/18/21

    Hartley TS16 construction, page 1 - - Page 2 - - (Note: the mentioned ‘‘Bote Cote’’ there is an Oz brand of Epoxy)

    Sailboat Data - Hartley TS16 - (has only centerboard version info)
  9. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    Thank you, Angelique. Those are indeed some interesting boats. Since it will be a while before I can start building, I'll continue to look at plans and designs to see if something appeals to me more than Blue Moon.
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The search for an appropriate set of plans can take as long as the actual build, particularly if you're fairly specific about what you want, the build method, etc.

    Check out and and the other usual places for stock plans. You'll find many that are close, but don't ring the bell quite enough. Next, think about the alterations to any of these choices and see if they're doable. will have new style of builds, while Glen-L will have older, dated designs, but they do have a limited number of newer (taped seam) builds too.
  11. Sobell
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    Sobell Junior Member

    Thanks, PAR. I have decided on Blue Moon, and I will build it as the plans specify. If I can't do this (please have your nitro handy as this will probably cause a frenzy), I will build a Stevenson Projects Pocket Cruiser....
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There's an active site ( for the Stevenson boats, you may wish to log on and look into the PC and other builds.
  13. sailhand
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    sailhand Senior Member

    To return to the original context of the thread, I dont believe that amateurs designing boats would be an insult to the pros, indeed a lot of good ideas and inspiration for new developments are derived from amateurs trying to satisfy a demand for new designs that fulfill the needs of a particular role. Take Steve Clarke for example, I am unsure of his qualifications and by no means wish to pass comment one way or the other, however in a recent video presentation on youtube about his latest creation, the ufo foiler, he states something along the lines that he has finally put his english degree to good use. If he is inferring that this is his only qualification then my hat is off to the genius of the man and his outstanding contribution to the world of sailing. I am sure many a pro would sit up and take note of his achievements without begrudging his possible lack of qualifications, if indeed that is the case. ( my apologies Steve if you read this for any grammatical/spelling mistakes committed in this post.)
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Steve Clark isn't a good example. He's been repairing, modifying, designing and sailing since the 1960's.

    Any idea, regardless of the source can and will be exploited by others if it's remotely successful, so novice designers aren't much of a threat. Admittedly, most aren't taken too seriously, though every so often something clever pops up.

  15. Scot McPherson
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    Scot McPherson Senior Member

    Don't get discouraged, some people think it's there job to stop someone from trying. It's frustrating. I just ignore comments that are discouraging. I have built/repaired/modified plenty of boats and modified the design to my liking.

    Maybe Bolger's boats work well as designed, but I also want to be able to beat on them without worrying about poking holes through the bottoms or side, or cracking seams. I therefore beef them up. They still work just as designed, they just aren't as light as they started out. Maybe the sailboats lost a 1/4 knot in speed, but I am not racing what?!? They work really well and if I hit a rock at full speed, I am not worried about anything except the paint job.
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