Dare to Say No

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

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  1. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    As I have stated many many times. Those that are not naval architects, not professional engineers and those that have no comprehension/understanding of such, state utter nonsense to the point of being assinine.

    The length displacement ratio and its effects on resistance have been known for many decades. See attached, our own research also included; (second figure axis on the left is resistance, couldn't press the book enough, too thick - but you get the trend/idea!). Any quality text book with show you this, not just mine. Only amateurs like Rick, do not know this very well known fact, yet claim the opposite, owing to their ignorance on the subject!

    The classic series 64 hulls produced in the 50s and 60s as a result of wartime experience is well know. To professional naval architects and hydrodynamicists it is as well known as grass is green and the sun shines.

    Only those that have no formal background in hydrodynamics and naval architecture would state such utter nonsense.

    Which going back the the whole point of the thread...and noted by fcfc and WillAllison to name a few. The customer gets what he wants....ie the design is dictated by the clients needs/wants, not by the naval architect ..or in the case of Rick, what little he knows, thinks others must have because he says so owing to his extreme lack of anything related to naval architecture.

    A design is more than the sum of its individual parts....any professional naval architect can tell you that...which is why Rick keeps going on about the things he does, because he is limited by his lack of real design experience beyond computer plots and computer output "knowledge". Doesn't bother me, since it just exposes his lack of understanding perfectly.

    You give what the customer wants..not what you wnat.
     

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  2. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    It has even been learnt the hard way ...

    Customer get what they want :

    The first (french) boat : rangeboat http://www.rangeboat.com/
    http://www.rangeboat.com/index.php?_id_o=00021&_id_m=01

    narrow light hull intended to be efficient : paper from designer here http://www.hiswasymposium.com/pdf/2004/Nigel Irens.pdf Note that this design is at least 5 years old. Initially it was planned with a 130 hp engine.

    Armor boat is the third yard to try to sell this boat. The two first, seatec and rangeboat have already gone bankrupcy. Their owners did not get a living from it, but eventually lost all their investment.
    Note that the third yard took note of this, and is fitting a 200 hp hybrid engine to try to lure customers, instead of the initial 130 hp, in the hope of attracting more. Note also, that with 200 hp, this boat is reaching speed where its semi displacement round bilge hull is not at all efficient. A hard chine planning would be better.

    Now, for the price of the boats, around 300 000€. Building a light (4.6t hull) 12m lengh require infused epoxy sandwich. Very high material price (4 * price of polyester). Expensive hi tec foam. Lots of tooling.

    Now, what the (french) competitors offer :
    http://www.beneteau.com/fr/moteur/produit.aspx?GAM_CODE=12&PRO_CODE=402

    A heavy planning boat with 425 hp as minimum power. Note the boat is significantly heavier. That's make it is more comfortable. And it can be built low tech. Monolithic polyester. No infusion, no foam, no epoxy. This allow the boat to be built for 200 000€. It is also way beamier. So, can have a separate 2nd cabin, and heavier and beamier, has enough stability to allow a flybridge.


    Now, what is the customer choice :

    A) 12m boat, surface 12*3.3 = 39.6m² , 300 000€ one v berth forward, one double bunk in the passageway, 18 kts top speed, around 3 gph at 12 kts.

    B) 10 m boat surface 10*4 = 40m² 200 000€ , island queen bed forward, separate second cabin, 25 kts top speed, around 6 gph at 12 kts. And a flybridge.

    How long it will take to break even ? how many hours have you to sail at 12 kts, saving 3 gph. 100 000€ price difference is around 150 000$.

    Only the die hard ecologist integrist would opt for the first boat. And even they would opt for a pedal or sail boat, not for a powerboat.
    All the remaing people will opt for the second more fuel burning boat. It has advantages that, in the eyes of someone ready to spend 200 000€ for leisure, will greatly outperform the additional fuel burn.

    So the third yard to build the eco boat is likely to follow the fate the two first. Even if he got the molds for nearly free after previous bankrupcy.
     
  3. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Perhaps we could back off from the personalized, back and forth process and limit our comments to the specific issues before us?

    Maybe that sounds funny coming from me? I understand that point, should someone wish to make it. Nevertheless, I wish to establish a more collegial format for the discussion of issues that might have a contentious potential. There’s some really good stuff here for a powerful discussion that just might light a few bulbs for the growth of the industry.

    As we can see by the numbers of postings to the topic in the last day and a half, there is some energy on the topic that was roughly shaped at the outset of the thread. What I'd like to do is, perhaps, nudge the commentary into the process where we are looking at solutions, rather than problems.

    Market forces are not always created by the available phrase, "the customer gets what he wants". There are all sorts of driving elements within the product development idiom and direct customer demand is but one of them.

    How many times have you seen a product which never existed before, suddenly grasp the attention of the potential consumer and away it goes as an incorporated element in the larger lifestyle process? Customers didn't demand this creation. They were shown its potential and enough of them grasped the concept effectively to make it a success.

    The marketplace is driven by a vast collection of so-called needs and expected wants. I'm of the opinion that boat designers, naval architects, boat yards and sales persons all contribute to the possibility of shaping the consciousness of the boating public. Once a philosophy, reflected in a new product, is introduced, the unfailing resource of public input begins to enter into the process.

    Some manufacturers try to short-circuit the process by conducting all sorts of product test showings under controlled scenarios, but that really doesn't change the basic methodology. It simply means that they can move along a little faster.. if they have the cash resources to introduce a product in this fashion, that is.

    Getting a finger on the pulse of the buying public is a tricky thing. It's part hard core data analysis and a whole lot of creative, black magic interpretive skills. That having been said, it can be done and it can be used to sway public opinion to a different sort of interpretive paradigm. For that to happen in the boating industry, it's going to take a whole bunch of well-connected folks who also believe in the application. They need to believe in it enough, that they will be willing to depart from the well understood formulas of the current product thinking... even just a little bit, in order to get the ball rolling in the heads of the consumers.

    Interesting times, these, with lots and lots of opportunities to move ideas forward that have long been well outside the box of popular recognition.
     
  4. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I've been following this thread a had a couple of comments. I posted earlier and commented that rather than purchasing a new boat I decided to restore a 1973 Silverton dual station sedan.

    Before you dismiss me as a hobbiest trying to save money please keep in mind that I've allready spent in the neighborhood of $30,000.00 US and thousands of hours on this 25 1/2' boat and I've still $20K+ to go.

    With a planned completion date in the summer of 2010 this small dual station cruiser sports an enclosed head, galley up, pressurized water system , reasonable sleeping for 2 adults, AC/DC electrical with small inverter and optional air conditioning. The boat is powered by a small (Ford 302 V8) single v-drive arrangement.

    This 10 1/2 foot beam boat is economical to operate at displacement speeds of 6 - 7 knots, 1,200 RPM +/-.

    Everybody used to pass me out there a few years ago. Now that most people have slowed down I have more company.

    When I was a kid I used to race cars (NHRA). I'm way over that, but I agree with those who say that there will always be a market for speed and power. I just think that there will be a bigger market for slow and easy, after all isn't that what recreational boating should be about?

    If I wanted speed at my age I'd go back to flight school and get recertified!

    I think that the days of the "big dick" boats are coming to an end and in time more reasonable approaches will prevail.

    Regards and thanks to all for an interesting read,

    MIA
     
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  5. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Yes they did, or rather do.
    The client wants XX, the NA designs then reiterates and comes up with...er..um...well, current technology gives er..um..sorry can't be done. Client says, i'll go elsewhere then...oh hang on....if you really want XX....we can try this, not been done before, but we can try. It solves your needs, but, because it has not been done before, we don't know if it is reliable enough for your needs...clients says, don't care, gives me what i want.

    Then what happens...it either works or it doesn't. If it works, everyone wants one..if it doesn't, its called a pig.

    That is the role of the naval architect/engineer. Using their formal training and coupled with their experience to create something from nothing (ie real design) that satisfies the clients needs. There is very very rarely any truly ground breaking break-throughs, just evolution of existing technology/knowledge.

    The client gets what the client wants. There is no magic to this...in simple terms, supply and demand.
     
  6. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    That may be functionally true in the world in which you operate, Ad, but it is not the whole story in the world of boats sold as retail goods.

    Example: Way back in the 60's when a certain Mr. Hobart Alter first introduced his conceptual approach to a recreational beach catamaran, there was no demand for the boat at all within the boating buyers of the world. Hobie put that product out there as an interpretation of what he thought would be a good product that other folks might just want.

    Nobody asked him to build it for their hotel livery trade, No huge numbers of burned-out surfers were standing in line at the Hobie shop demanding that Hobie knock out a sailing boat that not only looked completely different from anything else on the beach, but sailed differently, too.

    Today, the Hobie catamaran stands as the most sold manufactured boat for recreational use in the history of manufactured boats. Hobie Alter is not now, nor was he then, a trained naval architect, nor did he have much in the way of previous sail boat design understanding. Through his black magic interpretive social skills and his ability to conceptualize and build a high quality, functioning prototype, the product wedged itself into the needs pocket of recreational sailors the world over. The rest is history and it was not driven by what the customer wanted as direct input over the counter of his surf shop.

    I kindly suggest that designing and selling for retail consumption is a wholly different set of skills from those which are practiced in a commercial vessel shop.
     
  7. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    Do you really mean slow and easy, or cheap ?

    Slow, boatyard like www.nordhavn.com does it very successfully. But that's not cheap at all.

    As it seems forgotten by some here, a yard must pay all its workers, its plants, its suppliers, its R&D, in fact all.

    And a yard only produces new boats, not used ones.

    A 35 years old GB32 can be had for less than 50 000$. But even the worst environmental and social yard in China cannot build a new equivalent one for that price.
     
  8. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    You should compare comparable things:

    Hobie cat : sales : 14 000 000$, employes : 85, taken from there : www.accountingmicro.com/docs/mas_hobiecat_ss.pdf

    Beneteau : sales : 1 500 000 000$ (1 055 000 000 €) employes : 6000 , taken from there : www.beneteau-group.com/.../496/Com-info-BP-04-06-2009-francais.pdf

    If you have better figures for Hobbie Cat, I would appreciate. Otherwise, seems that Hobie Cat is around 1% of Beneteau.
     
  9. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Help me out here.... Which product from Beneteau has sold more than 200,000 units worldwide over a forty year period and is still in production as we speak?

    Thanks for the contribution, but I'm not really sure as to the point you are trying to make with this last post.

    The post I recently made has to do with the function of just what initiates the creative process when it comes to producing a completed design. Some are in support of the "the customer gets what he wants" and I happen to believe that it is far more complex than a single, comfortable phrase.

    I provided an example to that end and you want to compare sales volume as it equates to Dollars/Euros when no mention of Dollar/Euro figures were even mentioned. Am I to assume that you do not feel that designers/manufacturers can sway public opinion as to a fresh market trend?

    In France, I am seeing Renault and Citroen producing early examples of, soon to be manufactured, vehicles that are very much pulling away from big, internal combustion engines and excessive luxury appointments in favor of electric drive systems and very compact passenger capacities.

    Now, I see this as the car designers looking to the future of higher fuel costs and an increasing need for more efficiency through design and functionality. By my reckoning, you would be suggesting that French consumers would still be demanding large interior volumes and massive gas fueled engines, the costs be damned. That position should be shown by Renault and Citroen in the production of still larger vehicles with ever larger gasoline engines.. but strangely, it is not what they are doing. Could you explain that design/demand conflict?

    I am suggesting that a similar paradigm of economical, efficient boats will soon be coming to the world of consumer boating. The signs are more than obvious, but have, in most cases, been ignored by the manufacturers to this point.

    Perhaps you could clarify your position?
     
  10. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    I think jet skies are really cool . How many of those have been sold .
    Gotta love boating for the masses.
     
  11. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    For cars, people mostly have to buy cars. Except in bigger cities center, it is very hard to have a normal live without. People just buy what they can afford and do with that.

    For boating, you have no similar pressure. People can perfectly live a normal occidental life without owning a boat. If the boat do not fit what they are ready to accept, they will just not buy it.


    And it is very unpolitical and cynical to say, but boat manufacturers are not interested by people who think boating fuel costs are too high. How can they buy a boat that will be way more expensive than just filling the tank ?
    I take back the beneteau trawler sample. Cost to fill the tank (800 liters/210 gals) at french fuel price = 1000€/1500$ Cost of the boat 200 000€/300 000$. (if you want check €/$ go http://www.oanda.com/ )
     
  12. GTO
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    GTO Senior Member

    Are market niches being mixed?

    If someone is looking for a container ship, the hobie beach cat won't work.
    Same for someone looking for a megayacht. They may be amienable to innovation, or "green" technologies, but they still want a megayacht. I would also say the same for smaller boats. If I decide I want to own a 30 footer, that's what I'm going to look for - or a boat with 2 cabins, or a head with a shower, etc. For me to buy it, the innovations still must give me what I want or I won't buy it. As pointed out, this is "fun" money. If the 30 footer you are selling doesn't give me the "fun" that I want a 30 footer to give me, I'll just go looking for another boat - or consider a completely different "fun" market.

    So I would suggest that the designers/builders trying to "encourage" or direct buyers to something else is doomed if the new product doesn't have what the buyer wants. And then that money could end up in a completely different market. Maybe a concrete submarine from Columbia. :rolleyes:
     
  13. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    Not cheap fcfc just simpler. Simpler in the respect that it's understandable and in most respects maintainable by a knowledgeable owner. I think that the folks building boats may be deluding themselves if they go down the "if we build it they will come" path. Sure there are people working at Goldman Sachs that will be able to spring for boats like Nordhaven. The question in my mind is how many "Nordhavens" can the world support given the fact that access to credit (buy now pay later, or never) will be greatly diminished as we move forward. We also have the issue of wealth moving into fewer and fewer hands.

    Best Regards,

    MIA
     
  14. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Thanks mate, the BayCruiser has been very well executed, the dayboat/weekender lightweight concept, water ballast plus trailerable and pretty, what more could you want?

    Clearly more than the Mitchell which is butt-ugly!
     

  15. fcfc
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    fcfc Senior Member

    Take as exemple http://www.beneteau.com/en/motorboats/produit.aspx?GAM_CODE=12&PRO_CODE=402

    What would you make simpler on this boat ? And what would be the functionnality and price change ?

    The only thing you cannot change is the fact that the engine has to be electronically controlled for pollution regulation. This means that you can only call the service when the red lamp blinks. Nothing on it is user maintenable, (this is the same for all recent cars).
     
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