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Considerations Before You Start
Fig. 4 - 3D image of 'SC950' party catamaran. Design by 'Albatross Marine Design', builder 'Andaman Boatyard'. Length 9.5m, Beam 5.2m, twin 90-120hp outboards.

BY Albert Nazarov Naval Architect, Ph.D., MRINA, MSNAME 'Albatross Marine Design Co., Ltd'

uilding a custom-made boat in Southeast Asia is generally cheaper than ordering one from European or American manufacturers. You can get a craft tailor-fitted to your needs. But, if you are considering ordering a new boat, recommendations from a practicing yacht designer can be useful.


Primary considerations
What type of boat do you want to build? How do you want to use it? How often

will you use it? Where will you moor it? What type of hull is best for your boat? What material and technology is needed during construction? What type of drive and engine are most practical? How to you build the desired boat within your budget? Which features might have to be sacrificed? Which are critical to provide safety? The answers to these and other questions are critical in building a proper vessel. The variety of problems involved in boat design are so wide ranging and are so interrelated [5], that it is almost

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impossible to solve them successfully without the involvement of marine professionals. So, it's best to consult them when purchasing or ordering a new boat.

Owner's requirements
Some owners feel confident enough to choose the features and equipment of their boats, while others rely on designer's/builder's experience. In any case, the more detailed the design task, the less misunderstanding appears later. Try to answer the following questions to clearly formulate the design task (Table 1). After having some understanding of these, the perspective owner is ready to discuss with the designer the boat of their dreams. Sometimes, owner's requests are not feasible and are subject to negotiation [2].

Fig. 1 - Design spiral

Who is the 'boat designer'?
Unless we are talking about a dinghy, today's yacht is a rather complex object, requiring knowledge of different areas for successful engineering. Normally, boat design today is carried out by design offices employing 3-5 people, or a maximum of 10 engineering/design staff. They are specialists in naval architecture, marine engineering, interior design, electrical and systems engineering, structural engineering, etc.
TABLE 1 - Owner's requirements checklist Group Type of boat Basic requirements Specific requirements Comment Power or sail, monohull or multihull, etc. Purpose, operation area, speed, range, passenger capacity, load to be carried during mission, etc. Pictures and descriptions of simnilar boats and options important to the owners, desirable features, accommodation requirements, assigning to each importance factor Limitations of budget, draught, transportability, rating rules, limitations deriving from parking, taxing, etc. Material and facilities limit the possible design solutions, so should be specified if any

Design technology
The goal of the design should be to bring the owner's requirements into the best possible aesthetic and technical solution. In other words, the designer fits the desired design into a seaworthy vessel with a strong hull, taking into account design limitations. Style and taste concerns are reasons why a boat builder should talk directly with the designer, avoiding "middlemen" miscommunication. Any professional designer will quickly discern a customer's tastes and requirements, and come back with a suitable proposal. Stock designs are available from several design offices, but usually they never include systems and mechanical drawings. Also, one is limited to adjusting the design to locally available materials, and support during boat construction is limited. One-off designs are made by order to meet the requirements of a particular customer and design task. Commonly used presentation of design process is 'design spiral' [3]. Developing new vessel, the designer passes through same stages with increasing level of details to reach the target (Fig.1).

Design constraints Construction material and builder

In general, the design process involves: • Conceptual design - first sketches and estimations, provided by the designer (Fig.2). This stage also includes a design study, analysis of prototype boats, optimization procedures, etc. It shows, if and how, the boat desired is feasible. This stage can also include a 3D image of the future boat. • Basic design - this stage includes drawings of general arrangements, hull shape, boat specification, the basic calculations, and the quantity of materials needed. After this stage, the builder can provide an estimation of building costs. • Construction plans - this includes detailed plans and specifications for construction, and also cutting, or loft

files, for boat construction. These plans are usually developed keeping in mind certain builders and materials, and certain models of equipment and machinery. • Classification plans - this is the design, which will be assessed by a classification society for boat certification. This usually includes drawings, calculations, checklists and test reports according to the certification body list, but not all of them are really required for construction. The number of drawings depends on a vessel's size and the complexity of the structure, its systems and machinery. The designer normally will not draw every nut and bolt and every detail of the structure, but will to rely on builder's experience when possible.

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Design fees
There are different approaches on charging a design fee: • Commission basis - this is most convenient 'package job' method for the customer (but it can be inconvenient for the designer if customer changes the design). Normally, the cost of the design fee is 6-10% of the construction costs (including all equipment, engines, etc.) • Hourly-rate basis - this is an alternative to charging for engineering time, and designers. Usually, the design of a 10m boat requires about 200 human hours, for a 15m boat, one needs 500 hours, and a 25m boat will require over 1,200 hours [1]. Actually, this approach is charged per drawing based on estimation of working time. • Royalty fee basis - used for production designs for every boat constructed. Designers use this method only with long-term proven shipyards, charging 12% of the cost per boat sold. In reality, design fees are smaller than boat broker's fees, but designing boats requires much more training, responsibility and creative work. Most boat designers are fanatics of this art. Table 2), and there are other numerous standards referring to electrical, machinery, fire protection, etc. Getting recognized classification requires investment (sometimes considerable) from the owner's side, but it also increases the resale value of the boat.

Is the new design 'proven'?
The answer is "yes" if it is based on engineering technique, a naval architect's calculations, and design art and construction experience. The knowledge of regulations and market demands should also factor into any design.

Designer and builder
A good design can save considerable time and stabilize customer-builder relations. Knowledge of the technology applied by the builder and the skills of assembling team/ foreman allows the designer to issue drawings, which are readable and understandable by the local workers, thereby minimizing the chances for mistakes. An important concern is the construction support service from the designer's side. It is easy for a local designer to come down to the shipyard, or even keep permanent staff on site to supervise construction. It is common practice for the design to be in the development/correction stage until the boat is completed.

Fig. 2 - Construction of 'R38' planning powercat. Designed by 'Albatross Marine Design', builder 'Merlyn Marine'. All parts of the plug are precut by laser and assembled. Initially designed as a rescue craft, this boat would be available in pleasure options as well. Length 11.5m, Beam 3.8m, twin 250-300hp, inboard diesels with jet drives.

Safety and classification
In Thailand, there are still no formal design requirements for boats to adhere to, but it is considered good practice to follow appropriate regulations during design and construction. This is area of professional naval architect's competence. Lloyd's Register, German Lloyd, Bureau Veritas, the American Bureau of Shipping are all recommended. Boat designers also used to following the ISO "Small Craft" group of standards (see

Boat building cost considerations
Except when dealing with "crazy millionaires" cost is the most critical point when considering new boat construction. Some axioms to be kept in mind:

Fig. 3 - 'CatFish610' designed by the author and built by 'AusThai Marine'. Length 5.7/6.2m , Beam 2.2m, twin 70-90hp outboards.

TABLE 2 - Most important ISO standards applied for boats Item Deck safety Structural strength, materials and fabrication process Freeboard, stability, emergency flotation Openings in hull, deck, and superstructure Cockpits Fuel system Bilge pumping system Standards applied ISO 15085 Small craft - Man-overboard prevention and recovery ISO 12215 Small craft - Hull construction and scantlings ISO 12217 Small craft - Stability and buoyancy assessment and categorization ISO 12216 Small craft - Windows, portlights, hatches, deadlights and doors - Strength and tightness requirements ISO 11812 Small craft - Watertight cockpits and quick-draining cockpits ISO 10088 Small craft - Permanently installed fuel systems and fixed fuel tanks ISO 15083 Small craft - Bilge pumping system

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• The boat cost is almost linear in proportion to displacement: by increasing the boat length 10%, costs increase about 30%. • Boat building range from US$8-10 per 1kg for the cheapest production fiberglass, to about US$15 USD per 1 kg for quality wooden laminate or marine plywood, and about US$10-12 for 1 kg of steel. • But, hull structure is only 20-50% of the total boat cost. It is quite common to stop construction at the completed hull stage, when an owner runs out of money. The right approach to design will avoid the overuse of materials, minimize labour and the risk of mistakes when using laser cutting for boats or moulded parts. Good planning also avoids expensive 'rush' purchases.

Style and taste concerns are reasons why a boat builder should talk directly with the designer, avoiding "middlemen" miscommunication. Any professional designer will quickly discern a customer's tastes and requirements, and come back with a suitable proposal.

Boatbuilding itself is a low profit enterprise with a long-term turnover. Builders tend to require overheads to cover unexpected expenses, re-work, risks, the miscalculation of small parts, etc. So, the more detailed and carefully prepared the design, the less overhead will be needed, saving money for the customer. Relying only on a craftsmen's whimsy is too risky, and the result can lead to real disappointment.

The author would like to express his gratitude for Ray Ringuet (AusThai Marine), Luigi Innamorati (Andaman Boatyard) and Richard Jonsson (Merlin Marine) for their cooperation and sharing valuable experience.

1. Edmunds A. Designing Power and Sail. Bristol Fashion Publications, 1998. 2. Hatch G.N., Troup K.D. Creative Naval Architecture. Thomas Reed Publications Ltd., London, 1971. 3. Larsson L., Eliasson R.E. Principles of Yacht Design. International Marine 2000. 4. Nazarov A., Dolinski D., Ajishev I. Experimental Research of Sailing Craft Added Masses for Hull-Keel Combinations by Acceleration Tank Tests. High Performance Yacht Design Conference. Auckland, New Zeeland, 2006. Proceedings p.68-73. 5. Sorensen E.W. Sorensen's Guide to Powerboats. International Marine, 2002.

Fig. 5 - New 'CatFish610' option designed by 'Albatross Marine Design' for 'AusThai Marine'. Length 6.2m, Beam 2.2m, twin 90 hp outboards.

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