Thursday, February 19, 2009

Designing a Boat

You can tell you are designing a boat when it's all you think about. Every time you pick up a book, it's about boats. Every spare moment, you imagine the shape of the hull, the sail rig.
First came the research. Maybe several years of research. Some will build models, in fact, the experts all agree on the value of a scale model. There are no models here, however. Doryman is impatient. The model will be full sized. The idea grows, like a mushroom. There's no stopping it!

Another thing the experts agree on is that boat design is an organic thing. It's part of the human genome. Who knows who built the first boat or when, but one thing is sure, it was designed on the spot, with the materials at hand. There was a need to get on the water, it was as simple as that. Eventually recognizable designs emerged because certain features worked.

It's still just that simple; certain features work and others don't. Some details of boat design are a mystery. We don't know exactly how they work, only that they do.
So, the best place to start is with research. Fortunately for us, there is a large body of information already compiled for us. We find the designs we like, the ones that fit our needs, our budget, our skills -- something that we understand, that speaks to us.

For Doryman the process is intuitive. Too much thinking, too much science gets in the way. Of course there has been hours, days and years spent studying what works, then comes the idea that will not be ignored and the next thing you know, he's rummaging through the wood pile. Occasionally there is the boat that grows from it's component parts. Organic. (Is it wrong to design a boat around a cool set of oar locks?)
No wonder we speak of a boat as having a spirit, a personality, since it literally comes alive, almost of it's own volition.

Pictured here are some of the designers who have inspired and mentored Doryman.
Maybe they are among your favorites, too.

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