WHAT MAKES YACHT DESIGN SO FASCINATING?
Designing a new boat, starting from scratch, is a bit like trying to see in the dark. It is often a wonderful experience, like giving birth to new life.
Still, sometimes you may want to challenge yourself by questioning the obvious or fiddling with an unusual shape until it feels absolutely true. You may have a cloudy idea of something more than a new design, something genuinely new or unique. Whenever I sense that there may be another way or a better solution, it gives me tremendous lust and energy.
There is surprisingly little research on how a boat moves in a seaway. It is, simply, too bloody difficult to compute. A boat is a body with a certain weight and a particular shape moving on a constantly changing surface, motion creates waves, waves affect motion… So, instead you watch, try to bend your mind around in three dimensions, add the weight of all things moving – use your intuition, don’t trust your own conclusions, think again.
From time to time, I have been fortunate to evaluate a concept in collaboration with some of the brightest scientists. Sometimes, I have had a chance to test a new layout or a design twist in real life. It doesn’t happen often, but covering new ground brings an intoxicating sense of fulfilment.
Sometimes, an idea comes easily, like looking for driftwood on the beach. But sometimes (ok, very rarely, to be honest) the solution is like making an unexpected somersault – this is particularly fun if the problem was an unusually tricky one, or if the solution turned out really simple!
‘I don’t like the phrase “state of the art”.
I think you want to be ahead of the state of the art.’
Olin Stephens II
This page is about innovations, patents and research on hull shapes, keels, rudders and speed in real conditions. It is about early work, cranky ideas, design competitions, important historic roots and inspirational new design concepts. These are the things that make my heart beat.
To be filled with new contents from time to time.
Gabriel Heyman, March 2017