What inspires you as boat designer?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by tamaran, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. tamaran
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    tamaran Junior Member

    Hello all,
    I have noticed in the last years some boat designs (mostly powerboats) inspired by automotive brands and specific car designs.
    I am actually a professional car designer and joined the forum years ago due to my passion for sailing boats. I have no intention to design boats; I lack the knowledge and time for it. Therefore, I am just an admirer and passionate observer.
    In my job I try to get inspiration from fields other than cars, like Nature, Sculpture, Music, sci-fi, etc (needless to mention women, they are in all previous). And I really would like to know your opinion about the following:
    What inspires a boat designer?
    Is car design a valid source of inspiration, or a fashion?
  2. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    For me, inspiration comes from:
    a) boating - from looking at boats in marina, cruising, observing what is practical, what looks great on water, playing with local boats of different parts of world, etc. We have some new ideas almost after every trip...
    b) any kind of visual experience; shapes of objects from chair or garbage bin... to Taj Mahal

    Sometimes it is; most of times is not. Unfortunately boat design today is over saturated by 'car ideas'; but note that on car nobody walks on the front deck to put the fenders or access anchor in rough weather... Activities associated with cars are quite limited by activities associated with boats are wide.
  3. Kiwifinn
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    Kiwifinn Junior Member

    Seems to me the more I try to look outside of boat design in a traditional sence the less I get inspired. The old school "rules" of proportion just seem so hard to add value to. After all people are a certain height and like to see out through windows while standing and seated, working etc. Sure you can get ideas on how to treat edges and other detailing of that nature from cars etc.
    What goes as "styling" is mostly trying to conceal height in hulls that are too short. My favourite quote goes something like " you only need standing headroom if you plan to dance onboard" Some fellow by the name of Herreshof of other...
    So if you can make a 10m boat look as gracefull as a 15m boat good on you!
    Happy new year to all!
  4. tamaran
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    tamaran Junior Member

    Alik, Kiwifinn, thanks for your replies. Although designing cars is very enjoyable, it is difficult to focus on true values of good design like you mention (proportions, practicallity) because of marketing trends and competitiveness.

    What I admire of sailing boat designs is that they are as little design as possible, honest and highly aesthetic.
  5. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    The best summation statement. In cars, you only sit, although we may have tried other practices at times, the car does not suit action activities very well. Vans, on the other hand are more adaptable. Many modern boats seem to take inspiration from running shoes more than cars. Some few are beginning to look like tanks or F111's a bit too.

    The old rules of aesthetics still serve well because humans don't really change very fast although they do wander off into styling dead ends fairly often. Luckily, there seems to be no available boat aesthetic parallel to the low hanging pants style. Up to now, boats are slow speed compared to cars and so the need for aero "streamlining" is minimal. This allows for more aesthetic liberty and also makes it easier to fit people into the package. I find most of my inspiration from the basic rules of proportion and the boating classics of the last century tempered by practical human ergonomics.
  6. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

  7. FMS
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    FMS Senior Member

  8. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

  9. yipster
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    yipster designer

    And since Alix mentioned the "fore-deck" of a car :D
    lets not forget those old sporty car "boat-tails"
    Some opened giving two extra seats, hm..
  10. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    That's a good point. now I know where transom on boats came from!
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I'm inspired by the shapes of naked women . . .
  12. Wynand N
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    Good question Tamaran and no easy answer in my case....

    I started my Diploma on small boat design (well known English institution) during 1989 and early in my tenure as a student designed and drawn my first boat - no design software and Cad in those day and pencil and paper were still king.

    Anyhow, I just drawn that came naturally to me and not inspired by anything or copying and I attach a general arrangement drawing of this specific (first design) boat called the St. Croix 23 below. Basically all my designs had the same "signature" because it just flowed from my pencil.
    Nevertheless, although this boat was very (extremely) spacious for a 23ft and even had full standing headroom in the full head (unheard of in 23ft), the design at the time did not took off although I had a racing version with 7/8 fractional rig and bare necessity bunk interior as well....I shelved the design permanently and it still sits and collect dust in the drawer..
    Plans were drawn for both GRP, cold molded ply and radius chine steel building methods.

    The problem was that this design was light years ahead of the current trend during late 1989 - early 1990's. It had a plumb bow, very beamy and carried well aft with very powerful stern for downwind flying. Under water profile similar to latest designs with shallow canoe body and flat buttocks and sported a high aspect ratio fin with bulb and twin rudders. The French would have loved it I believe had I presented the design to them.
    Today when you look at all the modern racers / boats the norm is the triangle shape that was captured in my design. However, if I can wear a younger mans clothes again and do this design say about 10 years ago, it would have been a success.

    The point I want to make with this ramble is that designers have to design what the public wants and trend dictates. Following your natural instincts and heart can have negative results from the paying public, moreso if it is daring to what people are adapted to...

    Attached Files:

  13. tamaran
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    tamaran Junior Member

    Here are some car studies inspired by boats. With my respect to the designers, I don't think they worked so well. And some of your previous comments are confirmed here...
    But in the case of the speed boat, I personally like this Corvette inspired design very much. I find this a very nice interpretation.

    Attached Files:

  14. OceanLinerFan
    Joined: Jan 2012
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    OceanLinerFan Junior Member

    what inspires me...

    hooray, my first post!!!

    What inspired me to become a naval architect / marine engineer (I'm about to leave for college, finishing my senior year of high school in June of this year) was the legendary ocean liner RMS Titanic. Once i saw the movie, I knew this is what I wanted to do *when I grew up*.

    Ship design and construction is an ongoing passion for me, discussing with my friends the various rough designs I came up with. If you like, I could post one of my designs I am working on currently...

    Do you guys feel inclined to help me in my endeavor to design the world's greatest ocean liners, based on the RMS Titanic? I will have the rough design up as soon as it is finished...

  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome aboard OceanLiner, but do yourself a big favor and start with a 14' skiff, before taking on 271 meter vessels. To design a ship of this size is literally imposable for a single person, though a team of designers, engineers, technicians and NA's can get it done.
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