Dare to Say No

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Chris Ostlind, Nov 23, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. HJS
    Joined: Nov 2008
    Posts: 371
    Likes: 68, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 288
    Location: 59 45 51 N 019 02 15 E

    HJS Member

    Get the client mature!

    That is the problem.
    Just look at the many threads in this forum.

    The problem is to ask the right questions so that I can understand my client's real needs. He, it is usually a he; perhaps he should change the lady or get an allotment-garden. The client must describe the needs, not solutions. The solutions are in my area.

    There are lots of good solutions, but the client does not know them. That's where a forum like this and serious magazines come in with information that could lead to a more mature client.

    The difficulty for some readers, however, is to understand what is nonsense and what is knowledge. Many contributions to this forum and in some journals can, through its semantics and constant repetition perceived as skilled knowledge.

    It is up to everyone in this forum to take his or her responsibility to contribute with real information. It is therefore important to prevent some people’s ignorance to be presented as truths.

    The observant know by now who and what I am referring to.


  2. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    There is always an argument, Richard. As long as there exists opposing points of view, there will forever be an argument. But then, you already knew that. I know that you wish that there were total agreement with whatever you say, but it's just not going to happen anytime during your life.

    He who is intractable will never reach real peace

    Richard, my friend... Let's suppose I did do something like you suggest. Do negative points really have anything to do with anything of substance in your life... anything? We both know the answer to that one, so why is it such an issue for you when there are so many other desireable things about which you can be concerned?

    Do you also get weird when the neighbor's tree sheds its leaves on your yard in the autumn? Come on, Richard, quit festering over meaningless rep points and join the gang here.
  3. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    So, there is still a market for cryptic designers in this world?.... ;-)

    While I appreciate the definition provided, it is but a small sliver of the possible client-to-designer interactions that have walked in my door since I got started in the game (and that hasn't been all that long, so I can only guess what is still out there to experience)

    There are clients who "know it all" and only need to get me to tweak things into place for them. There are clients who have a certain vision of how things should work, or look and they want to have me define the vision with my crystal ball until they get a smile on their face. There are the ones who are drawn to one quirky aspect, or another of something I've done and they want to absorb some more of my time while they wander about the landscape making no decisions whatsoever. And on and on it goes with interactions well outside the comfortable suggestion offered in the quoted passage.

    I wish it were as simple as the way you describe it, Juergen, but it has happened like that only a few times compared to all the others that are not within that scope. When one boils it all down, it usually winds-up as an amalgam of my vision coupled with their interests. I didn't say needs because very few of the suggestions I have seen are actual needs. More like desires, but mostly not real needs.

    Let's face it, they didn't come to you because your name randomly popped out of a hat at the yacht club. They came to you because they saw something in your work that moved them, or they read something that you wrote and it struck a chord with their own philosophy. Whatever drove the interaction, initially, it was about looking to get the thing that makes you good at what you do.

    Because I have not been doing this for years and years, I need to put design work out in front of prospective clients and the industry in general, that speak about my particular take on how I'd like to see things go in the boating world. If people find that attractive, then they wander in my direction and I may be fortunate enough to be engaged by them for purposes of design work.

    The overwhelming amount of my design work to date has had to do with efficient vessels that address markets that I perceive as growth areas in the future, as well as right now. The fact that I'm becoming busier everyday is speaking to something in the psyche of the potential user of craft such as these.

    There will probably always be room for those who reside on the opposite side of the philosophical debate we have seen on this thread. There should be and I'd be greatly disappointed if it weren't so. Still, there is an awakening trend developing in the business of boat design. I didn't start it. I'm not sure that there is any one individual who could be hoisted as being the starter of such a movement, but a movement it is.

    BTW, Juergen... I visited your site and you have some very interesting studies regarding high efficiency potential in boat design. I appreciate where you are taking your interests.
  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    There is no movement to larger boats! We see that phenomenon only in the "Megayacht" - "Superyacht" sector. But that is a market in the hands of half a dozen players (and will remain so).
    We see a recession, yes.
    And of course, when economy gets down, the higher levelled products sell better! That was always the case, and all the industry knows it.

    Yeah Jürgen, quite too often there is a communication problem between clients and designers. Thats valid for the custom design as for the mass production as well.
    For a one off far too seldom we see a proper Book of Requirements (or Statement of R.) at the beginning. Even the skilled customer often does not start with the right BOR. And it is hard for a designer / builder to contradict him. Few have the balls.
    But they should be able to ask the right questions to make a BOR!!! Unfortunately thats not daily practice too.

  5. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    The magazine, ShowBoats International, has a very interesting review of the industry in its latest issue, (Dec-Jan 2010) called 2010 Global Order Book. In that report, they show that the entire, luxury megayacht industry for the coming year is going to be down by 20% across the board for boats 80' and on up in length.

    It's really sobering report that deals with how many yards have gone out of business, been forced to mothball their activity and/or have been acquired by financial White Knights in order to (pardon the expression) stay afloat.

    It's full-on shake-out time for the big boat business. If the recession continues, or worse, if it deepens, then the luxury boat business will be joining the ranks of the well-thrashed smaller boat manufacturing businesses.

    The medicine, it would appear, will need to be passed around to all.
  6. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 1,792
    Likes: 61, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 793
    Location: BC Summers / Nayarit Winters

    RHough Retro Dude

    In real terms that means that instead of having to wait 36 months for a new yacht, you can take delivery in 30 months.

    Boats this size are not built on spec. They are built to order, no boat building started until the order is made and a substantial deposit made.

    Hinkley is in trouble, buy/sells over the years have increased their debt load. Sabre, not in the 80+ range at all is just fine, they carry no debt. I had to wait a year for my 42, now the wait is shorter ... it is not like they are shutting down until they can move stock.

    The 20% drop in custom or semi custom yacht sales is just a smaller commitment for future production. It is not like the higher end builders are waiting for the phone to ring at all, just a bit more time between calls.

    A Captian friend of mine says his owner is happy, 1 or 2 cancellations means he gets the new 164 a year earlier. No question at all about not getting it, just when. The 130 that he runs now is doing the East Coast and the Caribbean for a year or so while the 164 is built. Owner is on the boat about 100 days a year, his boats are not dock queens.

    I can see the impact and panic for the production brands. Sales lots full of cookie cutter boats lined up and 180 - 360 day inventories. No cash flow means no resources to develop the new era designs you want to see.

    I don't think we will see semi-custom, built to order 18 footers, but I can see the built to order business plan reaching into smaller boats than it does now. New designs can cycle into production faster but smaller production runs means that more efficient = more expensive and stricter controls on power units also creates greener = more expensive.

    Simpler? How so? For a day boat, how much simpler can boats be than what we have now?

    How many people ever spend a night on board, much less a week? Once you have accommodation a cooker and a MSD ... what do you see as simple, affordable and green?

    How light and small can a Cat B coastal EU rated vessel be? What trade-offs would you make to reach a simpler, greener, affordable boat that you would take your wife, children, and dogs from Canada to Mexico on? A 25 foot boat with a 6 knot cruising speed and no electronics?
  7. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Quite a few more than Hinckley are in very big trouble. The same report mentioned above shows the following:

    Broward Marine: In Spring 2009, a company spokesperson was quoted as describing Broward as "going dormant" until the economy revives.

    Couach Yachts: Founded in 1897, the French shipyard filed for court protection from its creditors on March 30 of '09.

    Fittipaldi Yachts: The Brazilian shipyard is having one of its own models finished by a competing Brazilian shipyard.

    Royal Denship: Danish courts have, as of April '09, adjudicated the firm as bankrupt.

    Sensation Yachts: Put into liquidation by New Zealand Courts in August of this year.

    Sovereign Yachts: Put into liquidation by New Zealand Courts in June of this year. They had moved from Canada in 2001.

    Others, as said before, were rescued at the last minute by White Knight suitors who rushed in with the necessary cash resources to avoid bankruptcy at this time.

    The big yacht brokerages were also decimated at about the same rate as the builders themselves.

    Hein Velema, the CEO of Fraser Yachts, said, "The shipyards realize if they want to put something on the market, it should be something new, or different from the yachts already under construction, or on the secondhand market. I see a huge impulse in green boats-more environmentally friendly boats and fuel efficient boats"

    Interestingly enough and also from the Order Book report... "Royal Huisman recently launched a superyacht, the 190 foot, "Ethereal", which boasts a host of efficient and environmentally sensitive solutions. It has spawned a flurry of inquiries. Feadship unveiled its dramatic new green concept superyacht, Aeon, at the Monaco Yacht Show, and Kingship introduced details of the 148 foot Green Voyager project... the first yacht project under construction in China designed to meet, or exceed Italian standards agency RINA's Green Star Plus environmental certification."

    Clearly, even the superyacht manufacturing community is well aware that the efficiency standards for the industry are shifting to a more practical demonstration of just what systems and practices are possible in all aspects of the industry.
  8. jdworld
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 61
    Likes: 2, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 50
    Location: Portland

    jdworld Junior Member

    Did I say luxury?.......sorry i meant to say "over consumption":)

    now you're talkin! That would help a lot overall - driving design to new heights. But then........well........it still doesn't solve the other half of the problem does it? The other half being the "Extra pollution fees?! Who cares? I can afford it!" mentality.

    Except, unlike pork bellies, we can't just "grow" more gas.

    Great! You are atleast TRYING, AND swallowing the cost factor - realizing that, after all, it's the least you can do since it IS just a luxury expense here.

    But realize the reason you get pressure from the idiots to drop another 20%, is that even shaving off the first 20% doesn't mean much when talking about something that now get's 2.4 MPG instead of 3 MPG.

    I hear ya on all of it. I get the luxury vs green argument. Why limit someone's luxury? If someone wants to live in a 20,000 sf house with more bathrooms than bedrooms, then um.......if they can afford that then more power to them, right? But where's line of social conscientiousness get drawn? There IS such a thing as wasteful excess. And at a certain point, one persons excessive "wants" directly or indirectly impact someone else's "needs".

    My argument is that, in terms of design, it doesn't necessarily have to be luxury vs green - something you have to choose between. You can have both. ANd in fact, in many ways green can even become the luxury that people desire. And to take it further, back in the building arena, green products and materials are often SUPERIOR to the status quo in terms of quality. They typically outlast and outperform their counterparts. IT's often a win win. Almost like a circle completing itself. And who, rich or poor, doesn't want better durability and less maintenance when it comes to boats?

    How that's accomplished with boats? Who knows. But it starts with designers atleast thinking in that direction. Pushing the status quo envelope in that direction. And it will NEVER get accomplished if designers sit around and wait for the person with the 20 room house to come to them and request it :) .
  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    That was true some 15 years ago! Today All of the "Megayacht" yards build sometimes boats on spec!

  10. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 1,792
    Likes: 61, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 793
    Location: BC Summers / Nayarit Winters

    RHough Retro Dude

    So what you are promoting is already happening? And where? At the high end. :)

    I'm not at the high end by any means, but we chose the 42 over the 52 because 42 met our needs better. We didn't buy the biggest boat we could afford to own (and operate) we chose what we thought was the best boat. We ticked off a high dollar option when we decided on the Zeus drive system ... fuel economy was one consideration ... resale value was another ... we bet that the demand for higher fuel economy and efficient drive systems will help the boat maintain its value. If the pod drive systems don't keep gaining market share, we would have been better off with the standard power package. I think that was a pretty big risk ... or ... an investment in the positive future of more efficient boats?

    My friend with the 130 decide on the 164 from the same builder in part because in the context of 130 foot yachts, the 130 provided low operating expense and the 164 will be an "economy" yacht also ... if such a thing exists. :)

    When I look at my fuel impact on the planet ... compared to the 52 I burn half the fuel. Looking at it in gallons over 200 hours in the last year I burned 4000 gallons LESS fuel.

    From one point of view, how can burning 4000 gallons of fuel per year be justified? From another, until others have reduced their fuel usage by 4000 gallons per year, they have no right to say anything about the fuel I use. :)

    It is all in how you look at it.

    One the other end of the spectrum, my property manager and his family that take care of our home in Mexico likes to fish, I donated a 9.9HP outboard to them if they could find a boat. They haven't been able to find one they can afford, so He, his son, and I are going to build a Bolger Diablo together. Raymundo and his family will have a boat, I get to enjoy building it with them. We will explore economy home built boats in Mexico ... I expect that the boat will outlive the motor. :)
  11. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    ShowBoats International is a for-money pimp.
    I always loved the spelling "captian" - I knew a guy, with a great last name with which to do this, who hand lettered (with the greatest care) "Captian Jerry Smart" on his transom.
    "And at a certain point, one persons excessive "wants" directly or indirectly impact someone else's "needs"." Indeed - it gives them a job so they can buy their needs.
    Gee, Couach built some weird **** that wouldn't go over well to people I know. I saw some salvage photos of one and it seemed all style and not function. The only Broward I was ever on was just plain crap. Fedship, Denison, same.
    "rescued at the last minute by White Knight suitors who rushed in with the necessary cash resources to avoid bankruptcy at this time." THE story of boatbuilders, in general -livin' on the edge. There's a couple of yards here (kinda), in Seattle, that have been going out of business in the middle of a job for forty years.
    I guess I don't follow what class of vessel you are talking about if these don't count as mega/super...
    cp_200040_construction.jpg cp_200040_topleft.jpg
    63.4 meter Delta. I don't know what terms but probably at least a million $ a month for four years.
    ...but part of the reason some yards don't do well is they don't build as good of product as this yard, which is busting at the seams. My guess is that demand for Westports and Christiansens will fall off faster. I do not know how other yards compare anymore.
    From my perspective, burning ten to fifteen thousand gallons of diesel a year in my little boat, fuel is cheap. Look, some British guys buy permits to dig around, send guys off into some God-foresaken place (Alaska in the sixties, anyplace with sand, underwater, etc.) set charges and listen to the reflecting vibrations, have a team of experts figure that they ought to dig, "here", get it wrong twenty times, finally find oil, pipe or ship it to a refinery as big as a city to perform magic to allow it to burn clean in vehicles and then sell a gallon for less than some bottled water. These guys fight and scrape and finally have a huge year and everyone bitches and the government takes most of it from them! If that's not enough, the whole world is telling them not "GREAT JOB, thanks!" but something less pleasant. 100 years from now, they'll be arguing if we are past peak or not. Have a good time, don't pollute, and please, please, consume conspicuously to help the little guys.
  12. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    And who isn't? Go ahead, we can wait while you compile the list.
  13. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    An extreme example...when one compiles a list of the "top" whatever and includes only those that pay exorbitant fees to be on that list, it is not credible. Forbes magazine, for example, does no such thing for their lists, their only agenda is to present a good product, sell some ads, sell some mags (and they probably like propagating a conservative agenda but they wouldn't hide this). I think Fortune mag (which I do not read) is clean in this way, as well. It's the presentation that "this is it" that bugs me. Just say, "here are some nice yachts if the list is in no way indicative of the fleet, as a whole."
  14. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Obviously, you have a serious jones for the publishing industry, Mark.

    So, your personal take then, is absolutely credible, is it?

    Moving on. There's a number of things wrong with your base assertion, so let's just look at them one at a time.

    1. You assert that the pub, ShowBoats, is nothing but a pimp for the highest bidder.

    A. You offer no substantive proof to this end at all. You offer no precise analysis of the industry report that would refute the findings, which, by the way, are simply gathered data from the players involved. Do you have any data, which you would like to present at this time...? It's incumbent upon you to provide this data if you want your comments to have any value at all.

    B. You do nothing to refute the actual quote from the CEO of Fraser Yachts. This would be something along the lines of a verifiable telephonic interview with said CEO which you could then prove by presentation of said recorded interview upon demand. You have not presented the recorded interview or verification, so one must conclude that you have zip in this regard.

    C. Why in the world would a magazine, that virtually thrives on the business of reporting the most pimp rides in the marine world, go to such trouble to broadcast a very serious shortcoming in the industry when their revenue is so closely tied to the ad sales from successful players? They're basically telling the world, quite openly, that all is not well in the Megayacht business. Yet, you see this as a functional demonstration of how they've sold-out to the highest bidder.

    D. There aren't any bought into lists in the report. Unless, of course, that you refute the number one position in boats built held by Azimut-Benetti? Aside from being convinced that you haven't even looked at the report, it would seem that your personal predilection for being suspicious is producing an over-riding sense of mistrust on your part. This is supported by the fact that you have no idea as to what the real data might be and your use of the language to create an air of negativism is profound.

    E. The bankrupt and liquidation status companies so listed are a matter of public record. Please provide a suitable list that refutes the comments made.

    Come on, man. Go read the publication's report, do some digging on your own. Call around the world a few dozen times to gather specific info that has a bearing on your position. Present the data you collect in a form that is credible and verifiable... then we can talk.

  15. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    I have only seen the mag in doctor's offices, the foyer/coffeepot area of chandleries, etc. What I did notice was either bad reporting or influenced by pay reporting. I have been involved with yachts that make owner's of "Top 100" yachts want to sell and build the real thing. I have worked on everything from this http://www.abeking.com/Extra-Beat.39.0.html?&L=1 , In general, well built (I redid all hydraulic lines and fittings to SAE, layed some new teak, cut hull out where Abeking layed insulation and perforated aluminum in contact with the dissimilar hull, a few other little things)
    ...to two full winters on this basketcase marjoriemorningstar01.jpg built by Nishii, marketed as a Sterling. Abeking will stay around a long time because, if the Extra Beat is any example, they do a fine job. The other end of the spectrum may have to adapt or go away. Tho there are mistakes by all humans, I am not proud of everything "Delta", there are some Deltas finer than anything else big on this continent and that's why they're busy. I'm pretty sure they'll strip the ostrich-skin wallpaper and apply eco-groovy Ti leaf wallpaper with soy paste if an owner wants, outfit with hemp napkins if that's what sells, and use the prefix "eco" in their ads but they will still build yachts for powerful people. Powerful people seldom drive Priuses.
    I cannot address why the magazine would do anything because I have never read it. I see Benetti is getting into bigger stuff now, Azimut makes some cool lookin' stuff - are they doing well? I would think so - nice ads, anyway.
    I didn't say anything about Fraser but went back to read his OPINION. You know, building "green" is all in the perception (yes, one can have fewer VOCs, etc., and not dump bottompaint in the Duwamish waterway or sandblast directly into Commencement Bay) but a "green yacht", as a construction? Why don't you design one with not cute renewable bamboo flooring and efficient appliances but actually make the stringers out of bamboo, use recycled blue-jeans to insulate the engine room, and stick the thing together with soy paste? Cover the thing with solar panels (at least cover the cadillac wings). Don't use any leather or wood. Make it pointy and with amas absolutely in the way. Make it dive through the waves so that everyone gets to stay inside (we used to call this "a wet boat"). Avoid the use of petroleum products. Be at the forefront of technology!
    I, sir, am not as negative as I am realistic. I am not going to "call around the world a few dozen times" and I am only passively interested in the report. It is rather old news that tough times weed out the inferior.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.