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.
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
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
# 2D and
Resistance and Performance
Testing – Aero and Hydro
and Spray Rail Design