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Thread: Researching and planning your yacht

  1. #1
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    Default Researching and planning your yacht

    For those who have built a sizeable yacht, how do you keep track of planning, ideas and design work? I'm starting to put together a binder that I keep with the plans I purchased (No Raw Faith here). It has my "good ideas", it tracks things like material requirements, basic dimensions of parts, material I plan to use for various parts etc. It also keeps techniques that many of you have put forth that I think might be a smart way of doing things when the time comes such as pouring lead. I try to put lessons learned from others build threads so I don't repeat your mistakes and I try to keep photos of features I like on other yachts that I'd like to incorporate into mine. Kelpie's companionway has some neat features I might steal and there's some images of a companionway hatch on a vessel at Rockport Marine that I love and will try to incorporate into my yacht.


    Does anyone else do something like that and how do you organize it? I have a single 3 inch binder at this time. It's broken down into two halves, (and I can see a time when I need to break it into two or more binders) a hull half and a rig and sails half. Of course, each half is further broken down into things like Lead Ballast, Deck, Hull, Backbone, Cabin furniture, Deck Furniture, Sails, Spars, Standing Rigging, Running Rigging etc.

    It seems to me at the beginning of this journey, there's an awful lot of information that I need to keep reasonably well organized and I'm curious how others have tackled the problem. Jim in particular, you always seem to have thought out exactly what needs to be done and can work effectively because of it. (Or you're hiding all the errors which is ok as well) Does anyone have any system that works particularly well for them? Bear in mind, I'm an amateur attempting to tackle a very large project so an office in the corner of the shop with expensive project management software is out of the question. Even if you're building a smaller vessel, there's still much organization required in order to ensure you have it all under control and you end up with the craft you want so don't be afraid to comment if you have no experience with larger vessels.

    Thanks guys,
    Daniel
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    At the risk of being too simplistic...
    keep a file on each design you come across that rocks your socks.

    For each of them create an index of components.
    Something along the lines of:
    1) hull.
    2) deck and cabin
    3) spars, sails and rigging
    4) electrical system
    5) navigation system
    6) plumbing
    7) engine


    The components would be further broken down
    1) hull
    (a) stem (b) ribs (c) planking (d) fastenings (e) rudder and tiller...you get the idea.

    it would probably all fit on an excel spread sheet. Might even be able to work out comparative costs this way

    paul

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    I put notes on projects into Microsoft OneNote - which I generally have running on my work and home computers, linked to an MS office account so they’re synced.

    Software needn’t be expensive or complex - I use Office as we have that at work but Evernote, Google Keep or other free or cheap software will be just as good.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    And for notes in the workshop or out and about I use a hard bound lab book. Again reflecting my at work practice at home.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    I visited a house being built by its owner yesterday. More of a castle really. He's been building it for the last 7 years, and he's a professional builder. A lot of it he makes up as he goes along. Or might find something on eBay or gumtree ( our Craigslist) and decide to use that. For example he has incorporated some solid carved stone gothic window frames from an old church which was being demolished. They are about 10 feet wide and 25 feet high, so he had to make the entrance hall double storey to accommodate them. I don't think he has a folder of ideas.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    I've got the design already. I know what boat it will be. I'm thinking more nitty gritty details. I have files on the computer and keep images etc there. I have a spreadsheet that I've started for the rigging components but I haven't filled it in yet, just have the basics of it laid out. Not sure if you're getting at something else but it seems you're suggesting pretty close to what I have already Paul. I don't really keep other designs but I do keep images of aspects of them that I like. Even big ships aren't immune to my wandering eye. I'll never have anything three masted and square rigged but Cutty Sark has these lovely deadeyes with rounded over edges and a bead cut into them. Beautiful. I can copy that in smaller form. That type of thing. I use my binder as something of a checklist as well. I can simply mark it "complete" or something once I finish something. Belaying pins are being turned out and I have bits of a helm that I'm assembling as well. Cast bronze hub from Edson and the design is taken from HMS Bounty's double rimmed helm. We'll see if my joiner skills are up to the task but at this point, I'm more worried about keeping track of everything in an organized way so I don't go building something before another part that should have been done first and not have it properly thought out. Not to mention see something cool decide I want to incorporate it, then 10 years from now when I'm at the point that I should be building that part, I completely forget I wanted to build it. I guess the process is slow enough that there's plenty of time to think through each phase?
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Oh, there’s always plenty of time. That’s the problem. A suggestion. If you already have the basic design, you’re halfway home. It might be time to get hold of a very basic CAD program. I thought the process that Chris Stevens went through when he asked forumites for input into design changes for Petrel was fascinating. Maybe you could shoot him a pm and see if he has any ideas on a program that would allow you make modifications to the design you’ve chosen.
    Paul

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    I suggest you set up a book keeping system enabling acurate tracking of your project. You could use spread sheets or buy something like Quicken.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    I have met folks over the years who met detailed charts and lists of where things were stowed aboard the finished boat(30. -35 foot cruiser).
    I always thought to myself it was daft. If you cannot remember where stuff is , empty a locker and put it back together again.
    It works for me. Of course I know folks have different styles.
    But I do the same for building. I might just smoke a bowl and go through my epoxy bits, discs, sharpen bitters and blades . .
    Never have I kept a boat or project folder, even when I used to make a buck doing it.
    Simple works for me.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Not many changes to the design intended. I've got the designer's ear and there's an element of consulting work included in the price (if he doesn't pass away before I finish her that is) but it's all the little details......
    Maybe I'm over worrying about it and it will all work out without any concern. I saw a few pictures inside of Vega. Her tool stowage is thought out to incredibly detailed levels and the results show it.

    Vega tool stowage.jpg

    Who wouldn't want that? Life is so simple, everything has a place and it's easy to stow it all away but the price is a TON of forethought before assembling the interior. This is the kind of thing I want to be able to keep track of (not necessarily having a stowage system like that but details like that) as I build her. I've made some minor changes to things like the main cabin table and a small desk built into her cabin but there are a ton of details in a yacht and I am trying to make sure I don't mess things up on myself. Like I said, maybe I'm over worrying for nothing. Bruce seems to be able to knock things out in super rapid time and it all works for him right? Bruce? It does work for you right? LOL Thanks for all your input guys.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    No, it does not all work out first time. It evolves. The interior of layout of Woodwind has changed a lot from new. For instance I no longer have a chart table.. that makes about as much sense these days as installing a forge.
    Immay never take her back to the cold again, but when I did , things changed again. Sawzall joinery I call it . One can become enslaved to a something that works terribly on the boat, but one tolerates it and will not rip it out because it looks so nice or took so long .... teak covered decks... fine teak joinery in an interior that is dangerous for sea., these kinds of things .

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Quote Originally Posted by OliverBendix View Post
    I put notes on projects into Microsoft OneNote - which I generally have running on my work and home computers, linked to an MS office account so they’re synced.

    Software needn’t be expensive or complex - I use Office as we have that at work but Evernote, Google Keep or other free or cheap software will be just as good.
    Listen to Oliver, Sailor, this is the way to go! I have a One Note file for my boat building project and have almost everything in there: Plans, payment scheme, book keeping, offers, designs for various parts of the boat, inspirational photos, decisions, stability calculations, etc. Every topic (anchoring, galley, sails, engine, nav system, payment, etc. etc.) get's its own chapter, and everything I see somewhere, take a picture of or decide goes into it. I can access the file from everywhere as it lives in the cloud, and from any platform. And: One Note 2013 is free!
    Thomas
    -----------------------------------
    panta rei

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    The computer at work has One Note. I don't know if my MacBook at home does or not. I'll look into it though. Thanks for the tips guys.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    FWIW, my own rule for myself, is: "Never build anything without drawing it first." Drawings are a great way to collect and organize a whole lot of information in one place. And paper is cheaper than teak! By this I mean drawing to scale, of course.

    Best,
    Chris
    "Where we would wish to reform we must not reproach." -Thomas Paine

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Not exactly to your point but here's a fascinating book that details, warts and all, one man's experience building a sizable boat building project: "The Architect's Apprentice"
    Check the second review: https://www.amazon.com/Architects-Ap...ustomerReviews
    If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Funny you put up a picture of Vega (what a great vessel), I think Vega has evolved over the many years of ownership and living on board, I doubt that was the first, second or third go at that tool storage.
    For another book on the boat building processes, take a look at Luke Powell's book Working Sail.
    Personally I prefer notebooks for ideas, scribble a picture, write a note, go back to it scribble some more, write some more. Drawing something, even roughly gets it in to my head, so I can visualise it. Electronic storage doesn't work as well for me.
    Also there's lots of studies that show writing is better for memory retention than typing.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    With Meg I had the advantage of a lifetime of sailing and thirty five years of living aboard before adjusting the LFH Golden Ball to my demands. Michael Mason talked me out of my bad ideas and made my better notions actually work. Despite I made two actual errors - didn't allow enough room to get past the main saloon table forward when the starboard leaf was up, and for ease of construction allowed the lockers outboard of the saloon settes to go up from the settee rather than down from under the deck. The former I will fix and the latter is not the end of the world. And one maybe error in sacrificing some stowage to make the berth in the owner's stateroom a single expandable to a double. But maybe not a mistake as the extension also serves as a fiddle, making that berth a superb heavy weather sea berth.

    The best thing I've done is to keep the interior simple and free of varnish. I have spent entirly too much time below in bad weather staring at busy stuff less than ten feet away.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    I suggest you set up a book keeping system enabling acurate tracking of your project. You could use spread sheets or buy something like Quicken.
    Never track costs. All manner of unpleasantness could happen if that information fell into the wrong hands.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Spouses were never intended to know these costs were they? LOL
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    I use a numerical filing system designed by Harry Benford to organize my boat design info. It breaks down the plethora of boat-related data into thirty primary topics, and most of these break down into sub-topics. Being numerical, it is easily sorted and searched in a simple database program ((Excel or Access are good ones) for digital files or catalogue, and logically stored in file folders in filing cabinets for physical documents. For example, there is Category 12 - Preliminary Design:

    12. PRELIMINARY DESIGN
    120. General or Comprehensive
    121. First Approximations of Speed, Length, Displacement, Etc.
    122. Specific Topics
    1220. Deadweight Coefficients
    1221. V/sqrt(L) and Form Coefficients
    1222. Other Form Coefficients
    1223. Freeboard Capacity & Tonnage
    1224. Horsepower & Wetted Surface Approximations
    1225. Stability Approximations
    1226. Preliminary Lines Drawings
    1227. Parent Ship Relationships
    1228. (blank)
    1229. Other

    But then, after thirty-five years of doing this, I have three filing cabinets full of file folders of collected 'stuff'. Sailor would not need such a voluminous collection of 'stuff' for his needs, but some form of organization would be a good thing for a vessel of the size and complexity that he is considering. The critical thing is to adopt a filing structure early and maintain it throughout the project, as trying to impose order after collecting a bin full of papers is a daunting task. I would suggest buying a small file cabinet and a box of file folders, define the primary topics of the design spiral (Hull form, Structure, Weights, Materials, Outfit, etc...) and define the filing system to match the topics of the design spiral.

    Now if I could figure out a similar workable order for my library of books...
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
    Not many changes to the design intended. I've got the designer's ear and there's an element of consulting work included in the price (if he doesn't pass away before I finish her that is) but it's all the little details......
    Maybe I'm over worrying about it and it will all work out without any concern. I saw a few pictures inside of Vega. Her tool stowage is thought out to incredibly detailed levels and the results show it.

    Vega tool stowage.jpg

    Who wouldn't want that? Life is so simple, everything has a place and it's easy to stow it all away but the price is a TON of forethought before assembling the interior. This is the kind of thing I want to be able to keep track of (not necessarily having a stowage system like that but details like that) as I build her. I've made some minor changes to things like the main cabin table and a small desk built into her cabin but there are a ton of details in a yacht and I am trying to make sure I don't mess things up on myself. Like I said, maybe I'm over worrying for nothing. Bruce seems to be able to knock things out in super rapid time and it all works for him right? Bruce? It does work for you right? LOL Thanks for all your input guys.
    Thats insane. Who needs two axes anyway?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    7 adjustable knucklebusters?

    Pretty expensive ballast,methinks.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    sailor, might you tell us a bit about the design that you've chosen?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    Paul, I'm so happy to have purchased plans to my dream ship but am a little shy about announcing it. It's a big project and I may never be able to complete it given I'm 40 years old and we just had a child... I know we're all a little crazy to be into wooden boats in the first place, but I'm taking on the consumption of a large elephant and my mouth is quite small. Or, it's a big boat and I'm a part time amateur who took 6 years to build a canoe and has had a catspaw dinghy on the blocks for almost/about as long. Wild Dingo (wherever he may be at this point) would whole heartedly approve. I've reached out to the skippers of two of these boats so far and both have been kind in answering questions, as most wooden boat people are. I'm still of course in the planning stages but I have started on small bits. There are sheer poles ready to be installed one day in the future. Belaying pins turned and deadeyes begun. I've given the project incredible amounts of thought as to how I'd like to execute it. About the only thing I haven't dealt with is "you can't do that, it's way too big".
    I have a system started similar to what Michael listed above. Glad an expert already does what I thought I was inventing. Settles my mind. I suppose instead of labeling my binder with two sets of 1-10 tabs I could break it down more like Michael describes. He's right, I don't need an entire file for coefficients of friction, block coefficients, prismatic coefficients etc but I like how he's got it broken down. I imagine he uses the same system for every boat he designs and leverages the repeatability of it. Once established the process probably keeps things organized very well for him. A scaled down version is pretty close to what I've been trying to build. As of now, the whole thing is a single word document broken down into chapters. Maybe I need to make each chapter it's own file/word doc.....
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Researching and planning your yacht

    The only thing i keep on PC is photos, the rest of it is either sketches and notes, kept in various folders in one large binder. Details is what can really hold the game up, i decided to pass up on all the small stuff by building in a system that does not rely on internal furniture for strength. That way you can have your major bulkheads in, but go sailing even if you have not quite decided what you want or best where to put it. I have seen people want their creations 100% perfect before they even launch it, and though there is nothing wrong with that, a few of them died before the boat got wet. Im sure some who get involved in the creating often have no real desire to go cruising, and sometimes putting off the reality keeps the dream alive. Theres a few sould out there suffering from dissolution after having spent many years and not an insignificant amount of money on a large cruising yacht. Much to be said for keeping an interior simple, but cosy.

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