Can everybody design?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ekamarine, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Sam, Know exactly what you mean, "trying to get a gallon of pickles in a quart jug". It's amazing what designers have come up with to accomplish this. The biggest mistake most designers make is overdoing it. By trying to make a comfortable two person boat or camper accomidate four or six they destroy the comforth of the two. The other battle in smaller vessels is headroom, to gain this looks and specs. are often the losers. In my latest camper and boat builds I followed a new rule by building with the comforth of the two top priority. I think the cut off point for full headroom in a sailing vessel without comprimising on looks or good specs. is around 24ft.. While a boat this size can sleep four I feel it over infringes on the comforth of two overall. To follow in your theme pop up cabin tops and boom tents are definite features to further explore and refine to increase the comforth level on small vessels.( headroom and more untapped useable space) ---Geo.

    A yacht is not defined by the vessel but by the care and love of her owner.
     
  2. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Magnitude- thats sort of what i am referring to in post #218, working with a qualified person but not necessary for the total project, i"m wondering if there are people out there open to this concept. It certainly would go a long way to help the non professional builders. I don't think it would take away the buisness of the designer/N.A. in as much it would create more new buisness.---Geo.
     
  3. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    Viking , that is the way I thought it worked . No one can know it all , and finding the right source is one of the key to getting anything done. Being good at picking someone brain is a worth the time , but dont expect to get it for free. Why should anyone give years of experience away for nothing ?,
    I dont anymore.

    A professional boat builder is like any other builder , he puts together what is needed to get the job done, and the talents of smart people are some of the parts needed.
     
  4. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    George,

    Your assessment of boat size for the occupants is accurate. For a first time builder, it reduces risk to buy into designs that work. Jacques Mertens designed the DE25, amongst many other designs and there are two versions on offer. The plans are comprehensive and reasonable at $165. (I purchased long cabin plans 4 years ago).

    http://www.bateau.com/products.php?cat=18

    However, since then, someone whose name I cannot recall, posted a version that combined the shorter trunk cuddy with an extended wheelhouse, per the illustration. It looks a sensible tweak to an established hull. Although I don't know if such a version has been built, it could certainly add a sense of personal style for its owner.

    P
     

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  5. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Frank,some time back, i think on another forum there was a discussion on the subject of hiring a designer/N.A. to help with only part of a build or on an on call as needed basis. The general response from the one or two designers/N.A. that responded was they were reluctant to partisipate with liability being one concern. The thread then took a side street on the subject of liability insurance and I never did get a good conclusion of how they felt about the concept. While it is working out well for me to have a Designer part time i'm still don't know if this is the norm. Thats why in post # 218 i posed the question again. Is this the norm out there, are designers/N.A. open to working with the non professional builder on a part time on call as needed basis. As i stated above it certainly would be a big help to the average Jo boat building project. I agree one should not expect a free ride and there is a limit to what one should expect in terms of knowledge from people that have worked hard to be trained and qualified in their field.--Geo.
     
  6. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Depending how you approached it, you’d have either a house boat or a boat house.


    - that’s very wise; I find it’s tricky working with a mirror.
     
  7. bigbowen
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    bigbowen Junior Member

    Viking,
    I agree entirely, reading back I think Ive misdirected you a little, Im not neccesarily after quantity, moreso quality, I was very taken by how, on trailer tents, all the necessary equipment is there and it folds away allmost completely out of the way, its nothing grand, but all very practical.
    In terms of comfort I agree with you the comfort of the two shoul dbe observed, BUT if you compare the comfort of sleeping in a boat compared to your bed the obviously you will need to accept certain compromises, As I intend to specialize in boats under say 20' roughly then compromises are the rule, but thats not to say a 'comfortable' boat cant be produced?

    Sam

    Depending how you approached it, you’d have either a house boat or a boat house.

    Ancient kayaker,
    Im not so sure, I think it could be done in regular boat style, remains to be seen tho lol
     
  8. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Viking North, thanks for the SP dory pictures. I always loved the 2 stroke engine and lifting prop. My naive ideas for making a cruising boat had carvel plank that was too thin on too small frame too far apart, too big a rig, not enough ballast, and other beginners mistakes. I was lucky to have an experienced person point out my errors so I didn't build it.
    Such a great discussion. I would like to bring out one problem with taking ideas from trailers/caravans such as folding berths and tables, and applying them to boats.
    When in use, the caravan is stationary. Hopefully leveled on blocks in the caravan park while we have our vacation frolick.
    The boat and it interior, in use, are not stationary, but far too often try their very best to make the sorry occupants resemble marbles in a violently shaken soft drink can, falling down, bouncing off things, grabbing hard at stuff etc.
    The smaller the boat, the more marked the effect.
    Round corners and really strong things tend to work well.
    Varnished folding whatnots often don't work after a good thrashing or three, as the hinges are broken by you falling on it and breaking your ribs and after the thousands of dollars in emergency room charges (I live in the US) you can't possibly afford to repair the interior.
    We sailors hope our days of smooth water sailing go on forever, but we all get caught out eventually if we really go anywhere, and much of the clever folding sliding hinging stuff gets broken and not replaced.
    One folding thing I can recommend that has lasted for years at sea on BERTIE is our chart table. Shown to me by an old west coast commercial trolling salmon fisherman, I went on to install it in at least a dozen fish boats and yachts. I hate "chart desks" with a dark passion as they are a landlubber's idea, look good at the boat show and rarely are big enough to actually work at sea, but become covered in wet sea boots and puke buckets as the delivery crew tries to make the poorly conceived excuse for a vessel go a thousand miles to windward on a schedule. Even very good professional designers make bad decisions on pressure of economics and management and chart desks can be one of them.
    This charting arrangement is wonderful. You stand up to work at it, like a real ship, on a full size chart not folded, in good light.
    When not in use it disappears upward to stay dry and perfect (usually) for the next use.
    The other thing is a tiny folding desk to work at a laptop computer and to hold some small office stuff. It's new and experimental as we haven't tried it out on a trip yet but I think will work out. A super-simple brass spring holds it shut. You sit on the tool box to use it.
     

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  9. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    You make some very good points in your post. It's not all about efficient use of space and multi-tasking equipment, it's about survivability, not just for the fittings and equipment but for the occupants too. Getting back to the first question asked in the thread, it's also about knowing what to expect and what can go wrong. Surely that more than anything else is what separates the pros from the amateurs.
     
  10. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Viking North,

    Interesting thread that I have been following for the last few days. This is my first post on it. To answer Ekamarine's original question, no, not everybody can design, the same way as I said in my Professional Boatbuilder Parting Shot piece in the current issue, not everyone, especially me, can play piano like Elton John or Billy Joel. You need a certain amount of knowledge and skill to do the project properly. You can try design, of course, there is nothing stopping you from trying. Some will succeed, and some will not. Some will never get their minds around the math and the physics, some will not even care about the math and the physics. But you can at least try.

    As for back-up help from a naval architect, yes, that happens. I have done that on a number of occasions, and this is always for a build project, not a design project. I do not critique other's designs (I would not get any other work done, there would be too many), plus, if anyone else's nifty ideas should inadvertently get into my own designs, I could be accused of stealing, and I don't want even any semblence of that threat to happen. So I confine myself to building projects.

    The most recent example of which is Catbuilder who is posting his catamaran project on this forum. He came to visit me in my office for one hour's consultation prior to starting his build. He had all his questions written out, and we blasted through those in exactly one hour, for which he paid up front. I have consulted with others on their projects, and typically, what I do is I request a certain amount of time paid up front, say a few hundred dollars (my current hourly rate is US$140 per hour). The amount usually ranges between $300 and $500. Then, the client has free access to me by telephone or email at any time to answer questions he (or she) may have. I log the time spent against the deposit paid. If the client wants more time when the fee is used up, he can pay for another few hours. If the client needs a specific task done, say a bit of engineering calculations, then I can quote that separately, and either charge it against the deposit or the client may pay for that separately. This works very well, and I would not be surprised if other professionals who post on this forum do something similar. If you want some professional advice, you have only to ask to set up an arrangement like this from a naval architect or other professional whom you respect.

    I hope that helps.

    Eric
     
  11. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Eric that is just fantastic service, I was always under the impression from previous personal experience and posted replys on boat forums, that professionals in the field were very reluctant to provide this service and it is very refreshing to know this is not so. Having access to the resorses of a qualified person and the forum has helped me in untold ways to refine my build. Both are new approaches for me. As i mentioned before not that my builds were of poor quality they were great safe seaboats but i've always felt they didnt perform sail wise and that I blame on my limited knowledge of engineering. So for all you beginners, back yard builders, quazi pros, and experienced builders (my catagory) professional help is available on a part time basis as required, seek it out, consult before your start up, and thruout your build as required, the return on investment is so great one would be crazy not to do so-- Geo.
     
  12. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Battan, good post, I like that up folding chart table, I'm stealing that for my build. While the many new electronic gadgets are rendering the paper chart and chart table obselete, i'm old school and it's my chart first and electronics second. I sort of compete my chart DR points with the gadgets, it's sharpened my chart skills.Do you have a nice photo of Bertie under sail, I want to add it to my collection of sailing craft photos which i have been neglecting over the years and want to get it started again--- Gewo.
     
  13. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    This probably belongs in some other thread but Eric's mention of design advice above prompts me to mention the other side of the coin.......

    Whenever I'm contacted about advising or consulting on a project, I'm conflicted.......While I may want to help, (better boats is the reason I'm a boat designer) some projects you just don't want your name attached to......

    All a designer has to sell is his (or her) name, your reputation, your opinion. Protecting that is good business, it safeguards my clients investments, and adds value to future work. So getting involved (say for one hour's advice) in a project over which you have no control can be problematic.......You might advise the owner builder about keel shape early in a project, and three years later learn that "your design" is for sale because it doesn't sail or trim properly or whatever........

    So much of what makes up a successful boat is interrelated with a hundred other factors.....it's very hard to spend one hour (or 3) and consider all the possible ramifications of some question. Not to say it can't or shouldn't be done.....When I worked in a high profile office we were often approached by owner/builders looking to do something on the cheap....."Just draw me the lines" they'd say.......we never did that except for major production builders with which we had a long standing relationship........

    I do consulting and advise people all the time, I only regret it occasionally.........
     
  14. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Thank you Eric, thank you Tad,

    You have helped enormously in resolving the difficulties that some of the contributors have had, in understanding the role of experienced, competent, clever and knowledgeable experts in ensuring that seaworthy boats are built and launched for our enjoyment and safety.

    P
     

  15. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    I haven't seen two tree stumps tied together in a long time, although they would float. There probably was a time that it was considered to be a vessel.

    I think what makes designing difficult is the standard set wrt many things. The vessel has to be safe to start off, hence structure strenghts is important, the limiting factor being weight. Then performance. If you're happy with a sloth then you can add weight, but that brings more problems too.

    If I look at the first catamaran I designed, well I can now laugh at myself. Ideas change if you stick to it. Designing however is a lot of fun, it is very learnfull and brings about perspective you would not gain otherwise. I don't believe naval architects have all the answers and all the ideas - and no disrespect meant - but I think a lot of very nice ideas comes form amateur builders.

    Of course, before you jump in and start slapping parts together get a bit of professional advice. There just may be - and there usually are - some things you overlooked.

    A boat is not just a boat.
     
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