Need help on how to design a boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by SamC, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. SamC
    Joined: Sep 2019
    Posts: 20
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Fulton county Ga

    SamC Junior Member

    I have recently become interested in the art of boat building. I am completing a simple skiff I make out of cheap plywood and scraps to test my building skills ( and to maby get a year or two out of it) while I plan, learn more, and save up to build a far superior vessel. When making the skiff, the biggest challenge I had was planning it. When viewing other forums I saw people share 3D computer drawlings which I assume would be much easier to follow than 2D paper drawings like mine.

    Would anyone mind sharing what's a good way to design a boat? Also, any advise for new boat builders is more than welcome here.
    Thanks,
    Sam
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,471
    Likes: 344, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    If you are building a skiff, a cardboard model is cheap and easy to make. It will give a better view of the hull. Also, you can make it float.
     
  3. Waterwitch
    Joined: Oct 2012
    Posts: 91
    Likes: 8, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 20
    Location: North East USA

    Waterwitch Junior Member

    For small craft like skiffs, I would read up on boat building books from Phil Bolger, Pete Culler, John Gardner, and Howard Chapelle to name a few, to get an idea of what sort of shapes work; as well as construction details.
     
  4. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,966
    Likes: 181, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1279
    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Sam; please take the advice that Waterwitch has posted.

    It is your best interests to discover what works and why it works when contemplating boat design. There are many sorts of boats.............fast motorboats, boats designed to withstand rough weather, simple fishing boats for use in lakes and streams, sailboats that can cross oceans or sailboats that are fun in the village pond. There are too many variables to list. None of the proven design characteristics are quite the same.

    I encourage you to do some study to learn about some of the many factors that are involved in appropriate boat design.
     
  5. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 257
    Likes: 28, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Following on from Gonzo's, Waterwitch's and Messabout's advice, here are a few suggestions.

    Get your credit card out and purchase this book on Amazon - it has to be the best book available on boat design re how it starts with the basic principles and explains them all very clearly (unlike the average naval architecture textbook which is full of formulas which are enough to put any aspiring small craft designer off boats for life).
    https://www.amazon.com/How-Design-Boat-John-Teale/dp/1574091573/ref=sr_1_2?
    And even though there are lots of very good CAD programs for boat design available now, I think that it is still good to be able to understand how a lines plan is drawn on paper from first principles - and John does this very well.
    What type of boat do you have in mind for your next design / build project?

    A good way to design a boat is to start off with an existing boat that is close to what you think you need. You don't want to be too ambitious - pretty much all boat designs have evolved to suit their local conditions. It is a bit like trying to re-invent the wheel if you think that you can 'improve' an existing design which has been proven to work well.
    There are literally hundreds of websites offering boat plans for sale - very often they have basic study plans on the website available at no cost; some designers will charge a small fee for supplying you with a PDF study plan by email (and a few more $$'s for sending a plan in the post).
    Start googling, and finding boat plans that are similar to what you want to design, and use these as a starting point.
     
    fallguy likes this.
  6. SamC
    Joined: Sep 2019
    Posts: 20
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Fulton county Ga

    SamC Junior Member

    This might be too ambitious for a new boat builder, but I plan to build some type of sailboat around 20ft long. I do know the basics of sailing as well as the common rigs, but not the types of sailboat designs.
     
  7. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 5,829
    Likes: 271, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1749
    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Yes designing a 20-foot boat IS too ambitious for a new boat builder. Think of a 12-year-old boy watching someone drive down the road in a car, saying "that looks fun and easy".

    Buy a design close to what you want, and build it.

    Better yet, buy a small sailing dinghy plan and build that to start with.
     
  8. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
    Posts: 2,851
    Likes: 89, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 579
    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    If you don't like the good suggestions given, you could go to college and get a 4 year engineering degree. But most schools will have nothing appropriate to boat design, they will just supply the basics without the specific information. So now you need to look for school with marine architecture - that might get you what you actually want.
     
  9. SamC
    Joined: Sep 2019
    Posts: 20
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Fulton county Ga

    SamC Junior Member

    Thanks everyone. After reading your replied I think I will build my next boat off of proven plans rather than trying to design it completely on my own. And I will definitely read some of the books that have been recommended too.
     
    fallguy likes this.
  10. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
    Posts: 2,851
    Likes: 89, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 579
    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Good luck with the boat.

    Do you have an idea of what you will build?
    We'd like to see that too.
     
  11. SamC
    Joined: Sep 2019
    Posts: 20
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Fulton county Ga

    SamC Junior Member

    That's what I'm not sure about. I want a boat that can be used on lakes and be sea worthy enough to be used just off the shore. I also want the boat to be relatively easy to transport and handle. Any recommendations?
     
  12. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 387
    Likes: 22, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 215
    Location: NW

    Milehog Clever Quip

    rwatson suggested building a dingy first.
    This is solid, proven good advise. It typically yields a better second boat in less time and with less waste. Kind of like two for the price of one only the mistakes have been made on the dingy where they matter less.
     
    rwatson likes this.
  13. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
    Posts: 2,851
    Likes: 89, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 579
    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    There are lots of guys with the same idea. You might look back thru the old threads.
    My personal ideas would be a waste of time for you. I want a large multihull daysailor.

    Seaworthy is often a description of the sailor. Many different boats have been successfully used just off shore.
     
    rwatson likes this.
  14. W9GFO
    Joined: Dec 2014
    Posts: 202
    Likes: 14, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 39
    Location: Olalla, WA

    W9GFO Senior Member

    I've built a half dozen small boats, re-built a couple more and have worked on more than I can remember. Two months ago I bought my first set of plans. Really, building from plans is the first thing I should have done. I enjoy making something of my own design, but the main hull shape is pretty much the easiest part. The real work comes in all the details. I am looking forward to benefitting off of someone else's work in figuring out all those small details.

    If I had started out with a plans-built boat then when it came to my own designs it would have gone more efficiently.

    Counltless people have designed, built and enjoyed their own boats. Most of them are practically garbage as far as many are concerned but the owners take pride in them and have a good time. If you are determined to build your own design, limit it to a small dingy (as has been suggested). Otherwise the wise thing to do is build from plans. Building from plans is also more economical. If you are guessing on how to handle certain aspects of the build you will probably overbuild - which is a waste of material and will hurt performance and handling.
     

  15. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,471
    Likes: 344, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Most professional boatbuilders/shipwrights build to plans from a designer, not themselves. That should tell you something.
     
    fallguy likes this.
Loading...
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.