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Old 09-02-2011, 12:01   #1
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Becoming a Yacht Designer

Someone recently asked me how one becomes a yacht designer and I realized that I really don't know much about it and was wondering what the answer is.

So...

How does one become a yacht designer?

Sorry if this is the wrong forum, feel free to move or delete.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:26   #2
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There are many good schools to study Yacht Design in the U.S., Westlawn is a good online school. I attended The Landing School in Arrundel ME. A Google search will show others. A Yacht Designer is not necessarily a Naval Architect and vise versa. After Graduation A person will need to develope their skills by working for a Design firm or for a shipyard. After at least 5 years you may be able to go it alone and start your own design firm but it should be stated this is very very very hard to do successfully. There are many disciplines to Yacht Design a good understanding of Trig, Calc, and Algebra are imperative. Today Computer skills are a must as well, in addition to Microsoft office, Excell and Word you will need to learn design software such as Auto-CAD and Rhino, as well as Fastship or Shipconstructor, An understanding of Solidworks is good to know as well. Being a Yacht Designer is not about drawing pretty boats until you are established but rather you will spend many hours designing Structural components,Marine Systems, and in some cases the astetics, also understanding and complying with standards such as ABS, Llyods, ISO, U.S. Coast Guard, GL, and ABYC. There are many more aspects to Yacht Design such as hydrostatics and wave theory to name a few.
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Old 09-02-2011, 15:17   #3
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Great thanks.
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Old 09-02-2011, 17:00   #4
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Originally Posted by Ben M-P View Post
How does one become a good yacht designer?
There are 2 basic yacht design philosophies practicing out there:

1 Form following Function

2 Egos so large that they see their craft merely as an Art Form to be appreciated.

I avoid working with the latter.

Get to know how your subject will operate by actually spending time at sea

Then start drawing.
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Old 09-02-2011, 17:07   #5
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There are 2 basic yacht design philosophies practicing out there:

1 Form following Function

2 Egos so large that they see their craft merely as an Art Form to be appreciated.

I avoid working with the latter.

Get to know how your subject will operate by actually spending time at sea

Then start drawing.
Well put, I have seen boat appeared to be designed to sit in the marina and never actually go any where.
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Old 09-02-2011, 18:35   #6
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Being a Yacht Designer is not about drawing pretty boats until you are established but rather you will spend many hours designing Structural components,Marine Systems, and in some cases the astetics, also understanding and complying with standards such as ABS, Llyods, ISO, U.S. Coast Guard, GL, and ABYC. There are many more aspects to Yacht Design such as hydrostatics and wave theory to name a few.
Very true CDunc… But what I find today is more a team of specialists in each of the disciplines you describe for a new custom build project.

I see Architects and Designers simply as “Idea Men”, who by their very nature are always looking for ways to push the envelope with some new design concept to attract a client.

You hire and pay for their “conceptual” ideas, but it is very foolish to depend on them to solve the actual engineering challenges during building.

I usually bring in independent specialist during the Feasibility Phase, to give me viable structural and equipment solutions, inside bulkhead dimensions and performance curves, prior to submitting the project to Bid Tender.

An Interior designer is also brought in during this stage to confirm the ergonomics of the inside dimensions and structural solutions, then work with the client on the aesthetics. Quite often, it is they who even get a crack at styling the exterior.

Those owners, who go from Conceptual directly to a lightweight Bid Package full of good intent by the Designer/Architect to help provide solutions during construction, usually end up with major and costly design deficiencies during the contractual Production Phase. And a lot of stress!

Since the legal and financial onus should be on the Builder to engineer and build to an approved design, I call all the work done up to the detailed Bid specifications “Contract Guidance Drawings and Specifications”, so that the builder can critique them.

But the builder still takes full responsibility for a design and build, to confirm or change the solutions at his cost

It is simply there to help both the client and builder make better informed decisions during the bid process so that the actual Build Phase can be easier on both.

Very much a team event these days if you can keep the egos outside the door.
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Old 09-02-2011, 19:06   #7
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Pelagic,
I think we must have worked together ha ha, I work for a Custom builder here in Maine and what you say is exactly true, many times I have been sent something resembeling the finished product but with not much thought on.. ok how do you actually build it? and how exactly do you fit it in the space allowed for it? The best way is infact leave the egos at the door and lets work together and get this part, module, boat built as the owner wants with the least amount of bickering. This will keep everyone happy and builds a very effective team. The other thing to remember is One owner has one yacht built..this one yacht feeds many little bellies during the build process. So as a Designer I remember to do the best I can so we can build another yacht very soon.
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Old 10-02-2011, 14:06   #8
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Well put, I have seen boat appeared to be designed to sit in the marina and never actually go any where.
That is not necessarily a bad design criteria for much of the market. I would be surpised of more than 1 in 4 of the boats at the docks I have live on leave the dock even once a year.
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Old 10-02-2011, 14:57   #9
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Only too true. Still A boat should (in my opinion) be a boat first and everything else should conform to that. I have to admit to liking some of the open, house type floor plans that look really comfortable but you know would just love to get you in a sea way and throw you all over the place. My grand father had a boat like that, it was great until it got rough then going from the companion way to the head was not a fun trip.
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