Where plans go to die?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Tom2x4, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Tom2x4
    Joined: Nov 2017
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    Tom2x4 Junior Member

    noob here, first post. I've been an multihull design 'enthusiast' for 10+ years now, and have lurked here and elsewhere, but have never once sailed, designed my own watercraft, or built anything anywhere close to completion. What excites me is finding out if there is an answer to the Eternal Multihull Design Question: 'can this boat be cheap, easy to build, fast, comfortable, safe, light, shallow, low windage, and spacious, with optional standing headroom, good resale value, low storage fees, maybe trailerable, sleeps twelve, and fit into a monohull slip, that my wife will approve of, etc?' It's a non-zero-sum game; the balance of life; the yin and the yang. An unanswerable question with unlimited answers.

    Anyway, i somehow ended up becoming a collector of multihull documentation, i like to think it's impressive but probably not. i've got all the books by Piver, Horstman, Harris, Cotter, Jones, Clarke, Brown, Gougeons, Simpson, et al. I have 2/3rds of the AYRS publications from #1 to #100. I've downloaded every attachment in OldMulti's epic "Multihull Structure Thoughts" thread. And his thread contains about 3/4 of all the digital multihull media in existence. But what i think we really all want to see more of and is historical FULL PLANS.

    PLANS. From the Golden Age of Multihulls. Are they all going to disappear? I mean, you can get some Piver and Newick plans from that museum, but it's 2020, they should be digitized. And that's the best we have. Lock's are all locked up. Did we find that Jeff guy who has all of Norm Cross's? Seen any Nicol plans? I'm afraid they're all lost. T. Firth Jones's family is still selling theirs, but i doubt the grandkids are going to get $350 if there's no help from the designer. Remaining pioneers are up there in age. I'd hate for more to go into the dustbin. Really, who is going to build a Kraken 40 these days? And if someone did, they weren't buying an IncatCrowther boat anyway. I'd love to see the solutions (someday) that Horstman and Shuttleworth came up with, but the chances may be slim (without $5000). I understand that a guy has to make a living while alive, and designing a successful seagoing vessel is a lot of work, but i guess this is a reminder to all the designers/engineers out there to have a good Estate Plan for all your designs. Haha. I guess in the long run we are all dust anyway.

    TLDR; Can we get a database of historical multihull plans on this website? Maybe i just didnt see it. Or is there some moral dilemma there? Why all the secrecy surrounding historical/outdated designs?
  2. Boat Design Net Moderator
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    Boat Design Net Moderator Moderator

    Welcome to the forum,

    Copyright would be a primary concern -- it would be necessary to get permission from the yacht designer / copyright holder(s) for any plans.

    The protection period can be considerable and needs to be ascertained carefully to be certain any plans would not violate the designer's, estate, or other copyright holder(s) copyright.

    Designer's Copyright https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/designers-copyright.38245/#post-465224 goes into some things to consider.
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  3. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Your question reminds me of an old, often stated and sad proverb:
    "The best laid plans of mice and men,
    often come to no good end."
  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I dunno. I think, honestly, better boats are being built today than ever before.

    the foams
    the bonding agents
    the fitouts

    all good stuff

    cheap? Plywood sheathed in light glass and epoxy is probably the lowest cost per foot for the longest life..
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  5. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    +1 re Fallguy's comment above - modern multihull designs are light years removed (and better) than the designs from the 50's, 60's, 70's, even the 80's.

    If a 50's design is going to cost as much to build (if not more) as a much better more modern design, which would you prefer to build?
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  6. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    The designs may be more advanced with sweeping compound curves and carbon fibre resin infused flyweight components and unobtainium rigging parts, but for the average guy how buildable are they ?
    Woods and Wharram boats are still being built because most blokes handy with tools can relate to the materials and methods.
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  7. kenfyoozed
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    kenfyoozed Junior Member

    I would think most older designs that were to be built in traditional boat framing could still use the stations as molds and build in stitch and glue....
  8. garydierking
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    garydierking Senior Member

    This was the best cruising design 50 years ago and it still is.[​IMG]
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  9. Tom2x4
    Joined: Nov 2017
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    Tom2x4 Junior Member

    thanks guys for the replies!
    Of course, i am not trying to build a historic design, we can all agree that newer designs are much better. Its obvious that if you wanted a wood boat, you can get a used one for less than the cost of the plywood these days.

    but HOW did we get here? WHY are boats today better than those of yesterday? It'd be nice to be able to see what did work and what didn't work. Maybe some good stuff that works has been forgot??? See Gary's post above.

    Another example.....I was looking at the photo of Crowther's small Kraken 18/(20?) from the 60's. It was racing an Attunga 20 catamaran. After further research on the Attunga, the only thing i found was that it was trailerable, designed by Peter Hooks in 1959 (Melbourne) and had some sort of pin mechanism for attaching and detaching the hulls to the crossmembers. I thought to myself, "Wow, cool, a pin mechanism? I'd like to see that. Was it tapered pins or straight pins? Where was pin placement? How many pins?" .....I could find nothing. Nada. Gone......Apparently any reference to this pin mechanism is long gone, and i doubt there is anyone alive who could answer (easily). It's all really kind of a shame when you think about it.

    We can all agree that today's multihulls are better than the old ones. But if we don't have the history, are we doomed to repeat it?

    I would assume that to really understand a boat's design, you must build the design and test the **** out of it. But for these historic designs, that's not really feasible, the next best thing is to study the prints. That's all im saying i think, and i think it's disappointing that many seem to be long gone, or at best, forgotten at the bottom of a designer's trunk, now used as a coffee table by the grandchildren.
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  10. oldmulti
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    oldmulti Senior Member

    Tom2x4. Give me a day or so and I will tell you the structure of the pin mechanism, cross beams and hull structure for the Attunga 20 on Multihull structure thoughts page 91. Yes, I am still alive (barely) in Australia's lockdown.
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  11. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    You da Man !
  12. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Gday Tom 2x4

    I acknowledge that today's boats are good in many ways, but like you I would love a retired designer, like Jim Brown, to tell us about his designs and how he did them before he dies. I have interviewed a fair number of designers and because I had/have an interest in designing cats I always was interested in structures. What impressed me was how the designs were not based on pure analytic engineering, but more engineering principles overlaid with experience. Rudy Choy talks about it in his book, basing his engineering on rigorous testing and racing. Lock Crowther talked about it when Pennant cracked at her armpits.

    Even if I wanted a boat much like a Searunner I would not build one exactly the same today - it would be simpler and faster to use strip cedar or foam rather than ply and stringers. But the analysis of hull shapes and bouyancy, stability and rig CE etc are all really illuminating. How did these guys, whose shoulders we stand on today, work out such wonderful designs? I get that Brown designed the Brown 41 before the Searunner but how did he actually come up with the numbers for the amazing 37 design less than 5 years after Piver designed Bird? (I have a set of drawings for my version of a strip plank Searunner 40 melded with a Spoonbay 10 - I built a cat instead and have never regretted it.)

    As Old multi knows I haven't much time for what I call lazy design progression, where you chuck money at a proven concept and make it stronger, bigger rigged and lighter than the previous version. But these early guys did so much with cheap and poorer materials. They were driven to balance priorities and work out contradicting requirements. Some designs are wonderful examples of new ideas borne out of necessity. Think of the Kraken 33 and 40, Three Cheers, Toria, Sundreamer, Wharram cats, Fastback 30, Grainger (Azure, Perry) 37 and more.

    My cat was designed 25 years ago. She is as fast, as comfortable and sails as well as any similar style and budget cruising cat built today. If we go back 25 years before she was designed (to 1970) the boats were vastly different and nowhere near as livable. If my boat was lost I would build a replacement that is almost exactly the same. But when I think of the design evolution in multis in the 25 years from 1960 to 1985 - from Piver's Nimble to Iren's Apricot, I am amazed at how good these guys were and how exciting the scene was to watch and be part of. In the 25 years since my strip cedar cruiser was designed multi evolution has slowed drastically - that is fine, but we should learn from the days when evolution was fast and designers, along with builders, were agents of delivering better boats.
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  13. Dolfiman
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Dolfiman Senior Member

    GOM (Golden Oldies Multihulls) is a French association about historical ocean going multihulls, you may collect helpful info from their site (which includes an English version) and contact them about available (public) plans if any :
    GOM http://www.goldenoldies.biz/
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  14. oldmulti
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    oldmulti Senior Member

    Tom2x4. There is a description of the Attunga 20 foot folding cat pin setup on "Multihull Structure Thoughts" thread page 91.

  15. Corley
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Corley epoxy coated

    Is it possible to note design regression? Where good balanced designs of the past are replaced with designs where the emphasis is on bigger berths and more junk at the expense of sailing performance? As that's where most modern production designs sadly appear to be headed.
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