Should Professionals Design Boats

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Submarine Tom, Sep 10, 2012.

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  1. goodwilltoall
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    goodwilltoall Senior Member


    Agree with John Welsford "an expert is but a beginner with experience".

    Great thing about boatdesigning and the ocean is its like the wild west, unlike on land where if you want to design a car, building, etc.. you will be regulated to death, where corporations, bureacracy, and guilds have made it impossible for unconvential ideas however innovative and practical to even get off the ground, whereas with boats its much more open and you find sucess or failure and constant innovation with both experts and beginners alike.

    When you take away everything and get to basics, its really about freedom, and not the youphonyisms people use to make themselves feel better about reality of the bondage they consent to. There is no comparison to true liberty, with it you have to accept others as equal and giving them opportunities to attempt ideas whether they will fail or not. Doesnt mean you will get equal results, some will be better than others. It really is a different idea to "love thy neighbor as thyself" rather than trying to take advantage through color of law.

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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Should Professionals Design Boats ?

    Never if you want progress .

    A NA can not afford any failure ,reputation is everything, yet with out failure no new ideas can be advanced.

    With wooden boats the cost of failure was minor , some time and some lumber.

    Today with plugs and molds required for real light weight , the cost of #1 hull is insane!
  3. latestarter
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    latestarter Senior Member

    Some people do their best thinking there, for instance Leo thinks about wing/fin planforms. :D
  4. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    I bet that's where the term "Think Tank" comes from.
  5. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Sometimes the ideas that come from it are more like a "Stink Tank".
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Sometimes the ideas that come from it are more like a "Stink Tank".

    Perhaps ,

    but the SKUNK WORKS is a successful concept , copied round the world used to advance designs.
  7. Wavewacker
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    I'd rather be at sea on a "professionally" designed boat. Professionals are in the business of designing things to build, the market dictates design and function. New concepts such as a pod with spider legs and foils won't pay the bills like a portoflio of a more conventional product.

    Pro designers and engineers, in most industries, seemed to be locked into conventional thinking through the nature of their education, laws and rules of the science, professional requirements, professional liability add to constraints to inovation and creative thinking. Economic constraints will keep most any professional within the generally accepted practice.

    I'd probably go out on anything where I could swim back, but at some point I'll need to rely on the pros!
  8. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    Professional at what ?? no i dont want to look at the titanic its in a wet and dark place

    There are some dedicated and very knowledgable people that are boat designers and the ones i know of have done there time on the floor covered in dust and shavings and become designers in later life . if they are just button pushers and not even sailers what the hell do they know .
    I know one guy thats a fancy boy but knows his stuff and designed some really nice pretty fast boats and has a real eye for detail but has never done a days labour work in his life . i worked for him and asked lots a questions and found out a load of stuff from him !!
    One guy thats designed some big boats and had lots boats made over the years was a house designer , boy he made some cockups in his career !! but had a magic tongue and could see icecream in alaska
    There proffessionals and proffessionals . Some guys are proffessional with everything they do and dont try to pull the wool over your eyes and then the the shifty motor mouths and they dont know the differance between shi# and chewed dates and get really upset if you question them about anything even the smallest detail !!. you can pick them a mile off as soon as the airline comes out and the dust flies ,they gone . The practical ones just stand behind you !:)
  9. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Anyone quoting the Titanic (or similarly often the Columbia space shuttle disaster) as a criticism of professional designers is simply ignorant of the facts.

    It wasn't the designers that claimed the ship to be unsinkable, they simply designed the watertight subdivision as it was required in a Merchantman (which wasn't a requirement for passenger vessels). Also the subdivision was for survival of collisions between vessels. Nor was RMS Titanic ice rated.

    The steel was not an issue either, sure a better steel might have stood up better but I've never seen any analysis that would suggest that A36 would really have been any better, and ships sink around the world every year from collisions that breach more than one compartment.

    The steel substitution quality is something of an urban myth based completely on hindsight. It wasn't until the early 1940's when ships such as the Liberty ships and T-2 tankers broke in two in cold water that metallurgists suddenly paid attention to the loss of ductility steels in low temperatures. Before then loss of ductility was simply unknown. Steel from an open hearth furnace process was considered just as acceptable at the time to the builders. They didn't know about grain boundaries and the effects of residual sulphur in steel produced this way. One steel was considered as good as another and was perfectly acceptable.

    Even 20 or so years later the "Queen Mary" was constructed of the same steels and the same construction methods except the critical difference was that the rivet holes were reamed rather than cold punched. By then designers realised that commonly available steels were overly compromised by the inclusion of high stress paths in punched rivet holes that provide fracture paths under failure. But there are plently of riveted ships and boats afloat built with pre 1940's open hearth steels.

    Above all it's important to separate the marketing hype of unsinkability with the reality of bulkheading. The hull designers were fully aware that for the ship to be truly unsinkable (within reason) that the bulkheads needed to extend to the weather deck, but the stylists wanted large grand open spaces that conflicted with that arrangement.
    Once more an understanding of Naval Architecture is to understand design compromises.

    Most importantly the Titanic was steamed recklessly at full speed through a known ice field in an attempt to break a world record, an action that would see a master imprisoned today.
  10. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Nice job skirting the question there MJ.

    So, should they?
  11. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    I was chiefly interested in sinking your Titanic inference . It’s a common, but ignorant misconception to lay the blame at the designers door for that debacle.

    How professional and how amateur are your characters? What sort of craft are being designed and for whom?

    Aside from structural issues there are issues like performance, stability or suitability to task that should be identified prior to entering the design spiral. There’s no reason why an amateur who learns the ropes cannot design a successful boat but there’s a lot of reasons why the amateur may produces an abysmal unsuitable or even dangerous design

    A lot of Engineering knowledge including Naval Architecture is not intuitive and requires learning. That’s’ why class rules evolved for builders and designers.

    By following construction to ISO or Lloyds rules for example, you are designing to professional guidelines. Any amateur following these rules correctly can produce a structure adequate to the requirement.
    But be aware that amateur designers have caused vessel loss, personal injury and even death when they failed to get their designs class approved, for example confusing yield with tensile strength or simply forgetting about fatigue or confusing the application of structural members. So if an amateur designs a boat and even inexperienced but more learned people such as Westlawn grads would be sensible that they get their initial designs thoroughly reviewed by either going through a class approval process or getting a professional review of their initial design work.
  12. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    One striking difference is found in the two approaches-

    The 'professional' has the training and experience to often know that a innovation will fail before being built.
    Sadly 'amateurs' have to take ideals continually 'back to the drawing board' which would never have left it under the practiced eye of the more experienced.

    We are practically buried under the 'new ideals' and 'progress' each day which is the aggregate output of countless professional builders, designers and engineers who push their respective fields forward through hard conscientious work.

    I still find these discussions to be somewhat silly- why parse 'amateur' and 'professional' when the question is simply one of proficiency.

    -Boat designers should design boats-

    Where are proficient designers found?
    Above a certain class of vessel the amateur does not exist in the field.
    Below it- proficiency is found in the work of that practitioner who is accomplished in their field through stint of applied talent.
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  13. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I would not call the steel substitution issue an "urban myth". I read about in a respected science journal after discovery of the wreckage. The designers had called out the new alloy specifically to give the much larger ship an added level of safety. It might be true that the more common alloys were still in use years later, but this particular ship was pushing the limits of ship design technology, the tougher steel alloy would allow a larger margin of safety. Many "older" alloys are still in use today, it does not mean it is proper to use in all designs, to make such a claim is down right ignorant. The NA called out a different alloy, the steel mill could not deliver the quantity required in time and substituted the more common, more brittle alloy. Why was this not brought out during the investigation? I would bet the steel mill knew about it but was not going to bring it up, the evidence was on the bottom of the ocean.

    It was not the alloy that sank the ship, it might have given years of service had the crew acted more prudently passing through an ice field. It was just one of many issues that contributed to the sinking of Titanic.

    There were a lot mistakes made on that journey, using the correct alloy may or many not have made a difference. Putting in a larger more effective rudder many have also saved the ship. Some think that ramming the burg straight might have been better (I have my doubts, that much energy coming to a stop on a giant burg would have likely sunk the ship instantly).

    I very specifically remember reading about the steal substitution because as an engineer I have seen similar very serious problems develop from exactly this kind of error. To call it an Urban myth is just ignorant and down plays the significance of the issue. There are innocent people killed regularly from failures due exactly to inappropriate substitutions made in critical components.

    It may or may not have made a different, perhaps even if it bought only a few more hours afloat it might have saved lives. But that does not mean it was not a serious flaw, a flaw that was not the fault of the NA as far as we can determine.
  14. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    Absorbing popular culture is never a good investigative method for root cause failure analysis. The pop culture also motivates well written metallurgical articles in journals showing in detail how sulfur alters steel properties but that becomes a circular argument and not a root cause investigation.

    But what new steels ? You mean carbon steel rather than iron? The specifications for RMS Titanic called simply for 15 to 20 tons per square inch carbon steel with plate thickness of 1 inch and 1.5 Inch. Otherwise called Battleship steel. The order put a huge strain on the steel mill and consumed the available iron stocks of Britain which might put the scale of production in perspective.

    Tests of the recovered steel show a UTS of 430MPa with 30% elongation. Sulfur content was 0.02% higher than the standard of the day but that tended to be a product of open hearth steel production and sulfur content was considered a rule of thumb not a metallurgical necessity.
    It’s hindsight that reveals that the higher sulfur content makes steels susceptible to brittle failure with low temperature. Understanding of the metallurgy of ductility and temperature transition didn’t eventuate until after 1947 when Liberty ships started falling apart in cold conditions. Now we alloy steel differently to alter the metallurgy by adding manganese for example.

    Steel mills tested their steel to make sure it conformed with the order requirement for strength, which in this case it clearly did. Anyone being told that the sulfur was slightly higher but the test certificate was well within specification for strength would not have been unduly concerned about using the material at the time. We now have the benefit of 100 years of scientific advancement to make us a lot brighter :idea:

    Analysis of the wreck ( SNAME Marine Forensics Panel report) showed that the 90m “gash” in the bottom was actually separated plates rather than ruptured plates which is significant. You could use the strongest steels available today and rivet them with the same riveting techniques and get the same failure. Had RMS Titanic been a welded vessel with the same steel she may have survived unscathed.
    The rivet metallurgy is also very important and the rivets were also of poor material with slag inclusions.

    What the reduced toughness would have contributed to is the way the ship girder fractured as it ‘sank’ but that is another issue and was not the reason for the ships loss which was clearly the decision of the captain to ignore ice warnings in a stupid attempt to break a record on a maiden run.

    Even then the watertight subdivision worked well from a modern SOLAS point of view and the ship took hours to sink. Not so different was the loss of the Costa Concordia. Nothing to do with inferior steels or professional designers oversight.

  15. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    And if you read it, it just had to be true, right?

    The Titanic did sink though, didn't it, or was that just a myth.

    And hundreds of lives were lost, right?

    And did we actualy learn anything or is that up for debate too.

    I'm so confused...
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