" I have concentrated on the design of fast planing craft for over 35 years ...
... it is a specialist niche of Naval Architecture but when expertise
in this area is wanted the choice is limited!"

This covers all the basic design of a craft in whole or in part. This is Design in the true sense – it is far more than ‘Styling’ which is just one part of it. Real design not only covers the looks of a craft but the engineering and calculation governing the function underpinning the shape. On large yachts the Designer and Naval Architect are often two different people (or companies). In such cases the ‘Designer’ who is in fact just doing the styling part, is given star billing while the Naval Architect is in the small print at the bottom. Ironic really. If the boat sinks or fails to make its performance it is the Naval Architect that carries the can. If the Naval Architect is going to take the flak then he/she should get equal status.

Naval Architecture is a specialist branch of mechanical engineering. If the craft functions properly, is stable, reaches designed performance, wins races, and is a good sea boat, it is the Naval Architect who should get the credit; if it looks good the Stylist gets the credit. True design is the combination of both disciplines, and both are important. If a craft goes well it will probably look good while it is doing it – the adage ‘If it looks right, it will go right’ is not to be relied upon and must have been thought up by someone lacking in technical capability!

Design starts with a specification – either supplied by the client or decided at the first meeting – and runs through to everything needed to enable manufacture of the craft. Sometimes only part of the job is wanted. I have often designed just the superstructure or hull – or even, say, just steps to be dropped into an existing mould. I frequently work in conjunction with my client’s in house design teams or other specialists. I sometimes call in specialists myself – particularly for the design of interior finishing and materials – when I think it is the best solution. Over the years I have found people I trust.

Over the many years I have worked with fast craft, including numerous offshore racers, I have learned much about what is needed to make them run and handle in offshore conditions. I have worked on inshore craft, but designing for performance offshore is more interesting – rough water adds an extra dimension! The knowledge accumulated allows me to look at existing craft and work out answers to performance and handling problems they are suffering. It also enables me to check if proposed modifications, weight or power increases, are likely to work or not. This does rely on receiving reasonably accurate information from the owner.

I am also able to look at other people’s ideas or designs and give a reasonable estimate of whether they will work or not. I have frequently been shown ‘new’ ideas which I have seen before. Sometimes there are fundamental reasons why they did not work. Sometimes they were technically good but the financial/marketing side failed. If it is just a straightforward design of their own I can often give advice on adjusting proportions, etc., to help it work better than it otherwise would have.

In many ways these are covered above – but they are oddities! Amphibians, hovercraft, wing in ground effect, record breakers, etc. I am, more often than not, working in conjunction with other specialists on these. They usually cross a number of disciplines - frequently with conflicting requirements. Whether they work depends, most often, on how down to earth or not the originator of the project is.

I have been employed on occasion to analyse what has happened in high speed craft incidents and accidents – both racing and non-racing. I work strictly within my specialist area of high speed planing craft. I can be helpful here because planing craft handle in a very different way from slower displacement boats. In most such cases there are at least two sides and two differing views of what happened. My job is to look at the physical evidence, try to work out the truth and to give an opinion as to which side, if any, is closest to it.


# Hull Lines
# General Arrangement
# 2D and 3D modelling
# Styling/Superstructure
# Weight/cg calculation
# Lift, Resistance and Performance
# Aerodynamics
# Structures
# Stability and Handling

# Propellers and Propulsion
# Model Testing – Aero and Hydro
# Step and Spray Rail Design



About Us
Race Boats
Contact Us
Our Links
Site Map