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Old 21-01-2004, 10:11   #1
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God is in the Details”:

Mies Van Der Rohe, speaking on “Restraint in Design” (architectural), is quoted as saying “God is in the details”.

I invite your comments, criticisms, and your additions to this discussion.

There are numerous little (and some not so little) features and details, that I believe will make one boat “better” than another. Some of these have universal utility - no matter your intended purposes, and some will be more useful to a particular usage.

Follows a short list (not nearly complete & in no particular order) of some of the features & details that I think constitute universally good boat design & construction:

Hull-Deck Joint:
The hull to deck joint should be through bolted with large fender washers (at least), and backing plates at all point-load locations (stanchions, cleats, etc).
The joint should be sealed with an elastomeric compound, or even glassed & epoxied.
The flange should be an inward or fully-boxed geometry - not outward or shoe-box.

I cannot think of any boat application (other than merely decorative) where I would recommend screwed fastenings. All fastenings should be through bolted and backed, or tapped.

Deck mounted chainplates, providing tight sheeting angles, should penetrate the deck at a raised “housekeeping pad”, which will prevent the accumulation of standing water. Alternatively, the chainplates could penetrate at an inclined (cambered) deck location.
The deck area should be reinforced, and the annular opening sealed with an elastomeric compund.
The chainplate attachment to the hull must be substantial, and should possess straight-line force transfer.

Deck Camber & Shear:
Decks should have a slight camber (higher at centreline than rail) to prevent the accumulation of standing water. A slight shear is not only attractive, but also useful in shedding water.
A carefully designed combination of camber and shear can reduce the amount of hull streaking (due to run-off) and improve the rainwater catching potential.

It is important to have a bridgedeck high enough to prevent downflooding. Consideration should also be given to the ease of ingress/egress through the companionway. I’ve always preferred a bridgedeck with enough horizontal depth to provide a small seating area at the companionway.

Some additional issues worth examination :


Structural Framing ( Frames & Stringers) & Bulkheads:

Hardware (Cleats, Bittes, Chocks & Fairleads, etc.):

What are the little things that you think make a better boat?

Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 21-01-2004, 14:54   #2
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All good stuff Gord but what should it look like underneath, the part that determines if it sails okay. Here is a start, the fins should be sensible foils with the leading edge of the keel only sloped enough to allow weeds to slide off, the rudder should be straight up and down with only a 10% variance sloping aft. The pointy end should be 22 degrees either flat towards max beam or with some convex shaping. The max beam should be no more than one third the LWL. The hull forward can almost be a V to reduce pounding but overall a modified U shape. The run aft from the keel should be fairly flat and approach the water at no more than 15 degrees. The aft end can be full and not pointy. This does not describe a heavy cruiser nor my own boat where the run aft is steeper. But it does describe a lot of the more modern shapes that sail very well and quickly. BC Mike C
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Old 21-01-2004, 19:00   #3
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If I may add a couple points to Gords List!

I pretty much agree with the spec's. overall.

On the Deck Chamber & Shear - it also makes a safer walk forward while underway because of the heeling angles. One of the things that I noted to one of the builders at the boatshow this weekend. As well the bullwark not being too high, and having scuppers for run off. One of the boats actually had deck drains just like in the cockpit, but so small with the rail too high.

Bridgedeck - Having enough depth also aids in the ease of cranking the winches in some cases. You don't have to bend over, stressing the back. I plan on putting fold down seats next to my winches.

Hardware - Should all have backing plates as well.

A lot of these items I have done or in the process of doing to upgrade my vessel. Thanks for confirming my hard labors!

One more Item - stringers or braces to support the deck in the cockpits. I've noticed stress cracks in the inner corners of cockpits where crew has jumped /landed heavly onto the cockpit deck. Mine is one of those.

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