Looking for Designer for Small Sailboat

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Jabberwock, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Jabberwock
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Location: Krasnodar, Russia

    Jabberwock New Member

    This is my first post here. I'm interested in finding a designer for a small one off aluminum cursing yacht say about 28' long. Also while I'm at it what does it typically cost for custom plans? I'm figuring it's not particularly cheap but I don't know what that means. In any case can someone point me in the right direction? I want a boat that is seaworthy but has a shallow draft so I can motor up rivers. I guess that mean some sort of lifting keel. The boat will be used mainly in the black sea and Russia in general. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. micah719
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    micah719 Plotting Dreamer

    Try a plan already proven in wood. Aluminium can be worked with the same tools, except for the welding of course. There is/was a chinese guy in a hippy commune in Norway building a Colin Archer in alloy, lapstrake method. I just prefer to beat myself over the head with a hammer, it's cheaper. Alloy sounds nice, but the galvanic corrosion problems, the non-availability of easy repairs, the crappy impact resistance, the unpleasant failure modes and the low as-welded strength make me allergic to it.

    As to designs...hope you've got lots of roubles. Try Michael Kasten, he is a proponent of alloy and a quick look at the plan prices will likely have you cursing. Mind you, you probably get your money's worth, meaning support during the build and access to all his hard-won experience as to what will work. With the boat market as it is, you might consider buying a pre-loved boat. Very rare to be able to build one cheaper than buying one. Sad, but true.
     
  3. Jabberwock
    Joined: Apr 2013
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    Jabberwock New Member

    I email Michael Kasten. Seems like he's all over the web. He emailed back and directed me to his stock design page and pricing but said he could do a custom design for a somewhat more. I figured it would come to around 30K + or – based on that. I emailed him back and ask him how we get stated and said I wanted to visit his office and that was the last I heard of him. I checked with the BBB and noticed he’s not accredited with them (not that that’s a requirement) and also there was some sort of alert saying they though he was out of business. I’m kind of getting the impression he’s not interested. So I guess I need to find someone else.
     
  4. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    If you speak French there are many many French designs out there in aluminum. Have a look around the web.
     
  5. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Just my two cents, $30k would be a good price. I have been trying to get a 28ft sailboat designed for 6 years, and the hours I spent talking to designers would cover that alone.

    I eventually lucked out, and had a qualified engineer take an interest in the project, and devote a lot of time as a personal challenge. I suspect that it would have cost me $30k to get him to do it commercially.

    As a footnote - he also undertook to do a finite element analysis of the hull, so it could be built to survey, to ISO standards . That is a bonus if I want to sell it, or hire it out commercially. It also means that it has a chance of being seaworthy but without excessive weight, which is important for a trailerable boat.

    Depending on your special needs, getting a completed plan is way easier.
     
  6. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum, Jabberwock. I think US$30K is about right also. Down at this end of the size range, custom design prices these days are approximately US$1,000 a foot. As boat lengths go up, the design prices rise exponentially, as does the cost of the boat itself. Detailed plans should include complete lines and arrangement drawings, complete construction drawings including one for each transverse frame and bulkhead, the layout of longitudinals, layout of the hull and deck plating, engine foundation, keel lines and construction, rudder lines and construction, mast construction and sail arrangement, deck hardware layout, plus all the naval architecture calculations for hydrostatics and stability. For your side of the Atlantic, design details to ISO-12215 structural standards is a must. Stability would be to ISO-12217 standards. Certification can be arranged through the builder if you have it professionally built, or through a company like IMCI in Brussells if you would like to do it yourself.

    You may contact me privately if you would like to discuss your project further.

    I hope that helps.

    Eric
     
  7. gbxf
    Joined: Jun 2013
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    Location: Mediterranian

    gbxf New Member

    30' sailer

    Below is the 30' cruiser with a lifting bulb keel in 3D preliminary stage of design. Take a look, and in case you interested in such or similar boat, I could design her on your request.
    Depending on the complexity, the price can be 15 to 20k.
    The hull can be built from metal sheets.
     

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  8. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Very interesting. Does this ~$1K/ft cost include support trough the first build (by pro shop)?

    I also wonder about rights to build additional boats -does the commissioner own anything? Is there a licence fee per boat (beyond any support needed)?

    If a third party wants to build to the commissioned design is there any revenue sharing?

    This may not seem important but I think it would increase the number of paid commissions and innovation.
     
  9. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Support during build: Yes, usually telephone and email support, and minor modifications (such as if an error has occured on a drawing) are offered for free. Major design or drawing changes are charged at the normal hourly rate. If there are events, work (sea trials), or trips that the designer must make to support the design, then the client has to pay for those separately as they occur. For example, if a production builder wants me to appear at a boat show in support of selling the design, he has to pay for my time (usually at a reduced rate) and expenses for such trips. If a client wants me for sea trials, he has to pay for my time (full rate) and expenses to visit the boat and conduct the trials.

    Usually, a builder who wants to build more than one boat must agree to a clause in the design contract for royalties per boat which are paid to the designer. The royalty is a fee for the priviledge of holding the building and marketing rights in the name of the designer. The designer's name adds pedigree (marketability) to the design, and that is worth the royalty payment. These can typically vary between 0.5% and 2% of the retail cost of the boat, and generally are paid when the boat is ordered. For the royalties, the designer remains loyal to the builder and offers continuing support by telephone and email.

    Usually, the designer retains ownership of the design, in which case he may sell the plans and building rights to third parties. This applies mostly in custom one-off designs. If I sell the design to someone else to build, the original client does not get any money from that transaction, unless there is a clause in the contract that allows for a payback to the original client. I have had that only once in one of my contracts.

    For production boats, the builder, in my experience, also wants to own the design to protect it from competition. Then there is usually a clause in the design contract that allows the designer to buy back the design under certain conditions at a mutually agreed price. In my experience, I have never really had occasion to buy back a design. But I occasionally get requests from third parties to buy the plans to build the production boat himself. Sorry, can't do that, the design belongs to the original builder.

    The $1,000 per foot rate holds for small boat designs up to about 30' or so. Beyond that, the rate generally goes up exponentially with length (exponent between 2 and 3 depending on the designer) because designs get exceedingly complex as the size goes up. So while a 30' boat may be about $30,000 for the design fee, a 50' boat may be $100,000.

    Eric
     
  10. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Now some of you may be thinking "HOW MUCH!!!!"

    But really you should now be thinking "WOW I didn't realise designing a boat took so long" rather than " I thought if you had a computer you just pressed a button that said "30ft boat"

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  11. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Thanks Eric,
    that was just the description of typical contracts I was looking for. I see the where and when of payments is such that nobody is very far from their justified payday.

    It seems to me that the natural owner of the design IP is the builder, the designer is critical to marketing and sales (brand) as well as quality. But the commissioner/first owner is also critical to the enterprise that is a boat design. Consider the difference between someone who has a great sailing reputation, a slip in a great market, participates successfully in races or boat shows, or produces media, travel blog, video, books... compared to someone who is demanding and uncooperative. The return on effort is highly dependent on the commissioner/first owner.

    I think there is a better contract arrangement that recognizes customer acquisition cost and the value of design reuse.
     
  12. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    I wonder if what you are getting at is, if the commission/first owner spent all that money to create the design in the first place, shouldn't he or she be able to get some return back on his investment from the sale of additional boats to the design. The answer is, generally, no, at least not on a custom one-off basis. The up-front cost of creating the design is simply the cost of doing business. It is what the design work requires for the designer's time and knowledge. I just want my boat to go sailing, thank you very much.

    It is very rare that custom design clients will demand a return on future sales of the design for additional boats, and if so, they will have a clause in the contract that says that. It's certainly possible to write one that way. But it is also very rare that more than one boat gets built to a custom design, regardless of what the owner does with it in the way of promotion. And if the custom client is so active in marketing their use of the boat, it is to further his/her own promotional ends as a successful sailor, perhaps running a charter operation, or is a motivational speaker or author. It is much easeir to make money doing that than getting income off succeeding sales of the design of the boat. The client who really is serious about return on design investment is the client who is already in the boat building business and is either a silent investor in the boat building company, or otherwise is the active partner. In that case, the contract is a typical production boat contract with royalties payable to the designer.

    Eric
     
  13. Skyak
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    Skyak Senior Member

    My thoughts were that the commission would have two steps at least. The first would be to produce what is needed for the end user to quote the build (a design study?), and the remaining design and detail would be done with the builder who we presume would deduct the value of of the design rights, which the builder is keeping.

    All of this is presuming that a multitude of boats are built of each design. I guess this is the difference between my 'this is what oughta be' and your 'this is what is'.

    It is baffling to me, how many boat designs there are compared to the number produced considering that there is value in boats being part of a larger fleet and it always pisses me off when the salesman that smiles and says "this is great!" makes as much profit on a product as the engineer responsible for making that product great and accountable for performance.
     
  14. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    consider that for each additional boat made from the same plans, the NA liability exposure goes up. From one, to two he doubles his exposure, add another, he triples his liability exposure. And so fourth. What does he gets in return? A small fee? Even if there was no allegations of wrong doing, if an irresponsible skipper wrecks the boat and there was loss of life, the NA is expected to participate in the investigation as no fee, and surrender all of his archives and records to the investigating authorities all at no fee. If they decided a detailed review of the design is required, often this is done at the expense of the original NA. The more of his design are out there, the more the risk of this demand on his time and efforts will occur in the future. And even if completely exonerated, that does not stop the estate of those killed will not sue in a civil action for wrongful death.

    Would the original client share in that liability? I think not. If the client foolishly did agree to assisting in defending any claims against the NA, than perhaps he would be entitled to a small portion of the residual commissions for each successive boat built from the same plans. But I doubt that would ever happen, it is not like there are ever hundreds of custom yacht built from the same plans.
     

  15. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    There are just as many clients who tell the designer "I don't want anyone else building MY design. I asked you for a custom design"

    It reminds me that Douglas Adams was invited to Hollywood for discussions about a Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy movie. He later wrote "they paid me more for the discussion about a movie that was never made than I got for writing the original radio show"

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
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