Just a thought

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by rambo!, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. rambo!
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    rambo! Junior Member

    First I´m not a NA or boat designer, it´s a very timeconsuming and interesting hobby I have for my own purpose.
    My profession is being a pro recording/mastering engineer since the late sixties, probably longer back than many of the good NA´pros here in the forums.

    To record an album was a lot of technical basic knowlege and care of details that most peaple was unaware of. With today´s DAW´s (computers and software) almost anybody can make a decent record in a mini studio and release it over internet. Some are good but mostly very bad because a lack of knowledge of the basics.

    This is very similar to what has happened in printing as the software became avaible to anybody, not only the educated designers. Quality went down.

    So my question is:

    Is there a risc that powerful CAD in the hands of too many with too little basic experience and knowledge will erode the importance of a NA´s knowledge. Will we (start or continue) to produce and sell designs more out of feeling and trends (always sunny and moderate winds) and will the pro NA´s lose some of their importance in a shorter trend design?

    Who needs PAR, adhoc or others when software gives all the answers.
    (and PAR and adhoc...excuse for using your names....you are on the experieced side)

    With humble respect to all you who share your experience

    This is not about music....

  2. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member


    Yes, of course you are right, the decline in boat design over the last few decades is the direct result of marketing (sales people trying to make the boat as close to the home as possible), and easily copied designs done on computers to appease the ever hungry sales peoples "needs".

    In years gone by, the designed would design his creation and the buyer would see this design, be impressed, and have it built. Today, the sales people drive design to suit their sales ideas of everything that opens and shuts must be shoved into a 10M boat, same goodies as a 20 M boat, so the topsides rise, sheers get hogged to create more headroom etc etc. Simple computer programes allow these drawing changes to be done in a day instead of a month, so the cost is down, the skill level and expertese required to do this correctly is down, and all goes downhill from this point on except the costs.

    sad, but true.

    That is why you see outboards on dinghys now instead of oars to power the tender, the boats are so ugly no one wants to see them as they row away!
  3. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    This is the Golden Age of Mechanical Design, due to CAD/CAM

    What only Lockheed and NASA could design and manufacture 30 years ago can be done for 1/1000 of the cost by 100s of small shops today.

    Just as computer are getting exponentially better every year, so are CAD and CAM, just a LITTLE slower.

    I don't see too much more practical improvement in use of computers for most people, but improvements in design, like computer automated optimization have only just began.
  4. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    Computer systems can make simple calculations faster, and can make otherwise impossibly tedious calculations routine.

    But they cannot- not now, and I think not ever- replace the judgement and technical knowledge of an experienced engineer. If anything, the role of the engineer becomes increasingly more important as the design and analysis techniques become more complicated.

    The current proliferation of "designs" of questionable practical merit and short life cycle is more a function of what's slick and trendy overpowering what's proven and practical, rather than the result of CAD taking the experienced designer out of the equation. Bad mass-production boats were around long before the computer took over. And I can draw a turd with pen and paper just as easily as I can draw one with mouse and NURBS.

    From what I've heard, the production boats that have serious sailors scratching their heads are rarely designed by NAs or engineers. (You know the ones- 35' long by 16' wide, two decks plus flybridge, three staterooms, an engine room with 6" of access on each side of the twin 400hp, and a deck that's curved like the roof of a VW Beetle.) Rather, a marketing team will pull together some focus groups of their target demographic, and write down all the things that group wants. Then they'll have a couple of industrial designers do their best to cram all those things into a package that looks stylish and isn't so big as to be intimidating. Then they'll contract an NA to find some way to prevent all of it from sinking/capsizing. He groans, mumbles and cusses, but takes his commission and returns the drawings the client wants, because, well, he has to get paid somehow.
  5. rambo!
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    rambo! Junior Member

    Thanx for reply landlubber,

    You are absolutly right about the dinghys, I noticed this when kayaking this summer...but my conclusion did not went that far but you´re right. One was realy off and unpredictical.

    Actually this mate I foud in the "scud misile direction" was australian, as usuallay very friendly and nice but a little lost at the time....after a few beers I was invited to a great dinner in their boat in the late sunset

  6. wardd
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    wardd Senior Member

    my order of preference is strength and survivability, comfort, cost, performance, last looks
  7. rambo!
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    rambo! Junior Member

    Ok..to make one thing clear (that I might missed) computers are great, we use them every day. What I was reffering to was computer/software in the wrong hands, not having the basic understanding of how things work is an risc.

    I´m not against computer or CAD in the right hands.....I´m questioning the power of me, in software, being able to design a boat that looks and performs as good as a one off 60....and maybe start believing it will float
  8. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Before going to Cad program to design boat, read some material to build your basic foundation ofg knowledge. Start with Skene's Elements of Yacht Design and find other works in the same section of your library/bookstore.
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I don't think this is as big an issue as you would think Rambo. Primarily because yachts cost too damn much to consider Jim Bob and Joe Larry's desktop design as worthy of the risk. Sure you'll see a few novices design small power and sailboats, but once materials and equipment costs get looked at closely, very few will risk a new outboard/inboard/diesel/electronics package/etc. on a design that isn't proven.
  10. duluthboats
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    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    Rhino Marine won’t make me a NA any more than MS Office will make me a writer. The only person that would build a boat I design is myself.
    Gary :D
  11. rambo!
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    rambo! Junior Member

    Good point PAR (as always) but the future will tell.

    Thank you all for input...maybe this is just a possible problem for homebuilders that buy plans from somewhere......

  12. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    The good "Grass Valley" equipment you have purchased 25 years ago did not make you a better one in your profession, nor did it replace your knowledge. Same is valid for any boat/yacht/ship design software.
    And after all, the one who goes to sea in a boat designed this way or the other, decides whether that was a good one or not. Though I must agree, we see more and more crap, floating crap, designed by either drunken camels or drugged ******, using a software which was meant to be a tool not a substitution of human experience.

  13. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The bottom line is these software packages are tools only. Developing a full set of plans through these low cost and free bits of software is very difficult. There has always been and will always be Jim Bob's back yard skiff type designs, but it will be a rare thing to see the same "designer" moving many sets of plans for the "ultimate 40' cruiser". The complexity and engineering difficulties in yachts, follow the same trends as the law of mechanical similitude, as yacht sizes increase. Of course Jim Bob will not know this.
  14. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member


    As a "home builder designer" myself, using CAD and Freeship and what ever has come my way, i can assure you that you will NEVER replace a good NA. As you learn more and more about boat design you realise how LITTLE you know. My field of interest is small sailing monos, 5m to 9m, and i can assure you, that it is virtually an infinite learning curve. The deeper you delve the more you need to know, because serious engineering issues come into play that could kill you.

    It is most certainly a wonderful hobby for someone who has been bitten by the bug, i have learnt more about programs in the last 5 years than what you could imagine, and it keeps the grey matter flowing. When it comes to the hands on stuff there is NO replacement for EXPERIENCE. this is where the "old salts" come in with there practical knowledge.

    Its the same thing in your industry, the program will NEVER give the Final product. My 22 year old son is a very good muso that can read music, plays piano for 10 years and is an excellent "blues / jazz" guitarist. We have a small studio at home running Q-base and plug-ins on a dedicated HP pavillion DV6000. We still use an old Tascam US-428 unit to connect mics to the computer and i still run my Behringer 2442 analogue desk when i do sound for them. We have a 8k pa, mossfet amps. We have spent the last 3 years getting around Q-base and a friend that does the same as you has mastered for us. As you know, the youngsters buy the program but ARE TOO FLIPPEN LAZY to learn it! Much more to it than what meets the eye ;) A good ear is a very unforgiving instrument!

    So same thing here, all the programs under the sun will not make you a NA
    Also there are good NA's and bad, just like **** doctors

    for the back yard boat builder designing and building your own creation is a bucket of fun, start small so that you can afford to throw it away and get onto your next dream machine

    for the serious buyer out there with bucks, educate yourself first, there is a lot of **** out there, and manufactures make FALSE CLAIMS beeeeeeg time, and we wont even talk about shoddy workmanship.

  15. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    no it doesn't
    start building and you will also knock on their doors
    i do :D :D :D
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