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Thread: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

  1. #1
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    Default Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Hey y'all,
    So, I'm a college student and I've decided that this summer I want to try and build a scaled down version of a Viking Longship... I'm thinking 15-20'. Anyways I was wondering about software to get to design it. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    https://freeship-plus.en.softonic.com/

    http://www.marin.ntnu.no/havromstekn...Manual_2.6.pdf

    It works for me.

    You will need to rough out a lines plan on graph paper, and create the input files, I use EXCEL to rough fair the offsets from the graph paper and format the input files. Then you can fair and develop the hull form in Freeship.

    P.S. Welcome to the forum.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Quick question about that software, where would I find some sort of tutorial on how to use it properly?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    You can find useful info here on this site, on the web, and on boatdesign.net. Your most useful info is in the manual but you’ll still take 100 hrs using in order for what you do to be properly useful. Start with a blank slate and then simple shapes first to get the fundamental ideas.
    Other than offsets, another method you’ll most likely use is to get plan and sideview jpgs, underlay those in the program and ‘just’ draw over them to get the 3d shape you want to the size you want. It’s easy to scale all to fit. The ‘just’ is what will take time to learn in order to get useful output.
    These boats have lots of strakes, so learn to draw in an organized coherent manner so that all the strakes will have an inherent geometric relationship to one another.
    **
    It’s funny you post today: I’ve been working on and off for some time doing something similar for an Oseberg derivative – as an 18’ rowboat. Started in freeship like this:



    and got to this early surfacing milestone late last nite in another program where I’m happy with all the strake shaping and inter-relationships:




    the derivative aspect has been the work – organizing a geometrically proportional strake and hood end progression, reduced keel aesthetic, and with slightly more canoeshape sections. I left a few of the work layers on to show some of the thinking. There’s still a long way yet to go with lapping and detailing, and a bunch of other stuff.
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    ^What Mick said.
    Except that you do not need all of the strakes of your "prototype". The Gokstad faering, which is about the same size as your project has three.
    My Peerie Maa has seven.
    finished 006.jpg
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Okay, I've got a ton of work ahead of me but it seems like its going to be fun! Thanks for the advice and I'm sure I'll need to ask for some more in the near future!

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by J_Talbot View Post
    Hey y'all,
    So, I'm a college student and I've decided that this summer I want to try and build a scaled down version of a Viking Longship... I'm thinking 15-20'. Anyways I was wondering about software to get to design it. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
    You do say you want to build one this summer, not design one. So, don't bother reinventing the wheel - meaning there are plenty of plans already available for those boats (called faerings, typically). And, these were designed by experts, specifically for amateur builders.

    18' or so of wooden boat is not a trivial investment in time or money (potentially thousands of dollars and a year+ in the making). It would be fairly disappointing to spend all that time and money trying to build something that may not even work out properly. You will have a far greater chance of success if you follow a well proven plan from an established designer. Iain Oughtred would be the place to start, I'd think. https://www.woodenboatstore.com/coll...red-boat-plans
    A forum thread on the subject: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...my-first-boat!

    One can absolutely build an 18' faering as a first time boat building project. But a large percentage of builders will take years to complete one - or will never finish at all. There are lots of reasons, including sometimes just realizing that they aren't enjoying themselves anymore.

    That's kind of my roundabout way of saying that starting small is usually the best practice. Smaller boats (can) take much less time to build, and money, and your chances of completing the boat are far greater. You'll actually get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and success breeds success - your next build(s) will go smoother and faster as a result.
    A small boat is also a good place to start designing one's own, as you'll have wasted less time and money when you find the design to be inadequate or even impossible to complete.

    In addition to Freeship, take a look at Carlson's Hulls. It is much simpler, with a shorter learning curve. It won't do all the things Freeship can, though.
    http://carlsondesign.com/projects/hull-designer/

    Here is a Freeship tutorial by my friend, the late Steven Lewis - who went under the moniker 'Lewisboater' on this forum. He is gone, but not forgotten.
    https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/m...sofware.29973/

    In addition to the WoodenBoat Store plans, here's a link to a whole lot of other small boat designs: http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/r/plansindex.htm

    Good luck!
    Dave
    Last edited by DGentry; 05-13-2019 at 08:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Does Freeship work on Mac's and it says on their site that it only works on Windows2000 or previous versions.
    Clinton B. Chase
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    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    My father in law is old enough to actually have fished for a living from the Gothlandic equivalents of faerings, like the one below.



    He tells me that a 20' boat was built in a week, Monday at sunrise the boatbuilder showed up at the farm where a stack of timber was waiting, he then laid the keel and started planking with the help of one of the farm hands that could be spared.

    Sunday just before mass, the hull, the mast thwarts and one oar was ready. The rest was up to the owner to finish.
    The boat builder (not shipwright as this was only a sideline) had probably built a hundred boats before that one, so estimate a hundred weeks for your first one.

    This is an interesting document about a replica build of the Gokstad faering
    http://www.nizen.it/backup/faering_replica.pdf

    EDIT:
    Btw.
    There's no plans for this type of boat, you set up the keel and the stems and then the planking is fitted to these and the hull develops naturally. The floors and bits(?) are added last.
    According to my FiL there was a string tied between the stem ends at the level of the top strake and the planks should have the same angle to this string all along the boat's length. Sort of like orange slices if I understand him correctly
    Last edited by Ryden; 05-13-2019 at 09:55 AM.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Some random additions:
    For freeship on Mac, I believe you needed a windows emulator like wine. What the present macs require, I do not know.

    The final version of freeship [2.6] is available at:
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/freeship/files/
    Freeship+ was subsequently developed by another and a later version [3.43] I believe is at:
    https://www.softpedia.com/get/Scienc...hip-Plus.shtml

    I have both win7 and win10 and freeship 2.6 works on both.

    Because of the recurved sections, small scale longship duplicates will probably require either derivation , modification or ballasting to get some form of stability.

    If the OP is not really interested in a smaller scale copy of a longship, possibly an intermediate step betw faering and longship would be a reduction of the large gokstad faering.

    And all of the previous is assuming that the OP wants to learn and derive a partial software solution.
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    You do realize that designing a boat is more than learning to use a computer program and drawing a pretty picture, I hope. What books have you read on the subject? Once you get over that hurdle, you do realize that a lapstrake hull of the complexity and shape of a longship required some pretty good woodworking skills, right? I am sorry to be a wet blanket over the fires of your ambition, but I feel that you are biting off a really large piece to try to chew & swallow in an amazingly short time, which will end up being a costly folly. I would strongly suggest that you keep your ambition, but slow the pace a bit and learn the subject thoroughly before putting hard-earned cash on the line. In the meantime, build a skiff or dink from store-bought plans to teach yourself boatbuilding, and read a few books on boat design. Also, keep in mind that a twenty-foot boat is a BIG boat. Boat design and construction is a wonderful avocation (in my case, vocation), but not one that comes easily or fast.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    After several years reading and integrating boat design books, rowing ergonomics, boatbuilding and Norwegian boat history, then learn the CAD stuff, if your especially gifted, you might design something as good as Iain Oughtred and his Elf, though to actually understand proportion and line, it takes decades of application, like any artistic endeavour.

    You can save yourself this arduous task, by purchasing the plans for Elf from Iain for a very modest fee. You also get to 4-5 years use out of a beautifull boat before your own boat might be ready. In fact by the time you fully understood and had integrated all the information, you would then just look at Elf and say, 'yes it's perfected'. The curve of areas, waterplane shape, sheer etc echoes the 'Viking' faerings, but it's a better size for solo use. It is infact very economic with material too for a student. Build a rowboat then when you've got more funds the sail rig. You don't need to reinvent the wheel.

    The plans from him, come with a pictorial build log that was published in a magazine, and if you work from his glued lapstrake Boatbuilding book, you will have all you need.

    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 05-14-2019 at 11:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Charles Sandison, a keen racing yachtsman on Shetland, published a monograph "The Sixareen and her racing descendants" in 1954.
    In it he compared the proportions of various Shetland Model boats with the Oseberg ship, all scaled to 30 foot of length for the comparison. The comparison indicated that the Ness Yoal, a fast slender 4 man rowing craft had practically identical proportions to the 70 foot Oseberg ship. The more burdensome Sixareens had a foot more beam and drew about 7 inches more draft. All had about 1' 10" freeboard. This suggests that if the proportions of my Peerie Maa at 18 foot over the stems and 5'2" beam are copied the design will work.
    Alternatively for a more skinny boat Sandison gives the dimensions of a two man yoal:
    OA length 20'
    Length of keel 14'
    Beam 5' 2 inches
    Height (underside of keel to shear)
    Ford 3'
    Midships 2' 2"
    Stern 2' 10"
    Those proportions are proven to work, and will give an OK starting point for a design.
    As mmd says above, there is a shed load of work to do, calculating scantlings, which leads to a lightweight calculation, then with adding live and inert ballast you will get a displacement. Then you iterate around the design spiral until your design all hangs together.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    You do realize that designing a boat is more than learning to use a computer program and drawing a pretty picture, I hope. What books have you read on the subject? Once you get over that hurdle, you do realize that a lapstrake hull of the complexity and shape of a longship required some pretty good woodworking skills, right? I am sorry to be a wet blanket over the fires of your ambition, but I feel that you are biting off a really large piece to try to chew & swallow in an amazingly short time, which will end up being a costly folly. I would strongly suggest that you keep your ambition, but slow the pace a bit and learn the subject thoroughly before putting hard-earned cash on the line. In the meantime, build a skiff or dink from store-bought plans to teach yourself boatbuilding, and read a few books on boat design. Also, keep in mind that a twenty-foot boat is a BIG boat. Boat design and construction is a wonderful avocation (in my case, vocation), but not one that comes easily or fast.

    As one who learned boat design myself on the loft floor, building boats, then hand drawing, lots and lots of study, and now do everything in the computer, I can say that I cannot imagine doing what I do without that experience of hand drawing. I learned design from Paul Gartside at WoodenBoat, fused that with my boatbuilding experience at the Landing School, and started to draw boats like mad before learning Rhino. I am really glad I took that route!
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Clint, you are ageing us. I started my career drawing pencil-on-paper with all sorts of templates, tools, devices, etc. About twenty years ago I took my drafting gear to the naval architecture office I was working in to do alterations to an old set of plans. The youngsters (recent college grads, mostly mid-to-late twenty-somethings) who were my colleagues all gathered around to look on in confusion. Most of them did not know what the instruments were. In under ten years manual drafting had ceased to be the common language of design and dots on a screen became the industry standard. But I do agree with you that all designers should be taught the basics of manual drafting; the need for such skills show up all the time.
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    I think a pencil and spline (acrylic works well) is a faster way to get up and running and will teach a lot more about the process as well.

    Or do it the viking way and build by eye... no I'm not really recommending that, but it is how they did it.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Probably because the pencil hadn't been invented yet, J. Madison
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    I think a pencil and spline (acrylic works well) is a faster way to get up and running and will teach a lot more about the process as well.
    I did point out (post #2) that you have to start with pencil and paper before using the software to fair, develop, analyse, and perfect the design. Whether on paper or a screen you need an eye for form, but the software does the analysis instantaneously, rather than taking days to lift offsets from the paper and crunch the numbers.
    Or do it the viking way and build by eye... no I'm not really recommending that, but it is how they did it.
    Which probably took 9 years working for a master before you could be trusted to supervise a ship build.
    And they did use measuring devices, a boat ell and an angle gauge to check the angle of the planks for symmetry.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Yes, it's not something to be afraid of: it's just another tool. A tool that helps give information back quicker than others and presents immediate issues quicker than others. [And a tool that can be used for all sorts of other purposes.] Why not encourage it? Heck, I can imagine the old stoneflaker's mistrust of steel tools that don't really give back the feel and texture of the wood like it did in the old days.

    But the fundamental issue is that the OP is a person with a dream . . . and before recommending other's obviously much better work, or taking decades first, or reading libraries, or building 100 boats first, I think that the first step is to encourage the dream before stepping all over it . .

    I suspect everyone here including the OP recognizes that making a 15' or slightly longer longship is a folly . . . but that it might be fun! It sure is fun to think about. . . Let's sympathize with the fun first knowing from the beginning that at least 100 hrs of learning and then the same or more probably drawing HAVE to happen first and that all kinds of concepts and possibilities present themselves to be learned about [thru books or here or by whatever means] as all the menus and personal reconsiderations get scrolled thru.
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Mick, the point that I try to make in these types of threads is that the novice designer/builder usually bites off more than they can chew, chokes on it, spits it out, and walks away muttering, "Never again". This is not what we want. We would like to see young novices to walk into their first design/build project with their eyes and ears open, before they spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on a folly that will drive them away from boats and boatbuilding for the rest of their lives. Walk before you run, so to say.

    As for computer design tools, I try to keep in mind that (in the words of somebody smarter than me): "A computer is a device that allows you to make bigger mistakes faster, and with greater confidence."
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Well I'd say that you've a good heart [everyone here, really] - because of course every one of us needs to learn more when [or before] attempting something unusual to us. It's the desire to do something unusual that I think is precious and to be nurtured.
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Dave,
    I just want to say thank you for pointing out a very simple and much more well thought out idea than mine. While designing a boat would be an amazing experience, and one I hope to do later in life, you presented a very reasonable solution to my problem. I definitely will look for a plan that fits my wants. Thank you!
    Jaxton T.
    Last edited by J_Talbot; 05-18-2019 at 12:45 AM.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    MMD,
    I do understand that, and I have a few books on the way such as the "Boat building manual fifth edition" by Robert M. Steward and Carl Cramer, and "The Boatbuilders Apprentice" by Greg Rossel. There are a few more that I hope to purchase and I would love to hear any suggestions on books to read. While I also may not have the largest experience in woodworking, I have built wooden plank tables, shelves, cabinets, wooden cars, stools, and a few other items. (I had an amazing great-grandpa who taught me a lot, and we have a family friend who has a massive wood shop.) And your advice to build a smaller skiff is much appreciated, and I had planned on making a smaller boat, as well as a scaled down model, for a trial run first. Additionally, I know that while I said over the summer, I fully expect this endevour to take anywhere from 6-14 months. I hope that my reply hasn't sounded rude, because I really do appreciate any advice I can recieve on the subject. And if you have any books you'd recommend I'd love to know the titles.
    With much appreciation,
    Jaxton T.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by J_Talbot View Post
    Dave,
    I just want to say thank you for pointing out a very simple and much more well thought out idea than mine. While designing a boat would be an amazing experience, and one I hope to do later in life, you presented a very reasonable solution to my problem. I definitely will look for a plan that fits my wants. Thank you!
    Jaxton T.
    You're welcome - I've been where you're at, and did things the hard way.

    The books you have are great for what they are. But, you should check out Jim Michalak's "Boatbuilding For Beginners (and Beyond)," for good instructions on how to build very simple plywood boats. Harold Payson's "Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson" is another in that vein.

    Iain Oughtred has his own book, too: "Clinker Plywood Boat Building Manual" which is just what you'd need to build most any glued lapstreak boat - like the Elf, above.

    There are kits, too. But used boats are often the best deal (by far), and will get you on the water right away. And you can still build another boat when you're not out on the water. The classified ads in any of the small/wooden boat genre are a good start. And, on this forum, people occasionally post relevant Craigslist ads they've run across.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Quote Originally Posted by mmd View Post
    As for computer design tools, I try to keep in mind that (in the words of somebody smarter than me): "A computer is a device that allows you to make bigger mistakes faster, and with greater confidence."
    Boy is that the truth. Esp. when you begin coupling the computer with a CNC router or the like.

    I say to the OP, J_Talbot, go for it. If that longship repro lights your fire, then let that be the basis for your learning.

    It was the viking boats for me, too, that lit me up and it's been a wild rider ever since!
    Clinton B. Chase
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Jaxton, there are lots of books on boatbuilding - you have mentioned a couple of the better ones - and a few about designing (mostly sail) boats, but precious few that actually tell you the process of designing a boat. Fortunately, there is one good one for that, and happily sold by our sponsor here, WoodenBoat. Look for a copy of Howard Chapelle's "Yacht Designing and Planning". It is written assuming that you will be drawing your designs with pencil-on-paper, but it is the best step-by-step description of how to go about designing a boat that I know of. After you finish that book, back it up with a copy of Norman Skene's "Elements of Yacht Design". By the time you have absorbed those two books and completed construction of a simple plywood pram or skiff from someone else's proven design, you will be well-prepared to set off on a lifetime of boat related projects.

    But do be careful in the shop - serious injuries are all too easy if you are not being careful at all times. It only takes a split-second of inattention to cause life-changing injuries when using powertools.
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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Howdy Y'all,
    I just want to say thanks for all of the advice y'all have given me, and those books that MMD and Dave have recommended ore ones that I will definitely be looking into. I truly do appreciate the words of wisdom, as well as the ones that simply wish me good luck on my attempt. Everything that has been posted on this thread is going to be beneficial to my building process. Please continue to post any advice y'all can think of, I'm going to need it!
    Jaxton T.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    Clinton,
    I'm glad to know that I'm not the only person who decided to look into building boats because of Vikings... I'm not sure what it is but I just feel drawn to the Viking culture. I can't exactly go pillaging, so I guess building a longship and learning to forge a knives in an old fashioned way is my replacement to that.
    Jaxton T.

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    Default Re: Recommended Boat Software for Beginners

    I agree with everything above and I think you could go to the Vikingschip Museum in Roskilde, Danmark, where they build Vikingship replica's using tools they made themself out of bog iron ore. The builders were mostly volunteers for professionals wanted to use sawn planking while the orininals were built by radial splitting green oak trees like in the Tapestry of Bayeux, that was actually used as an example for the replica builders. It is imo the closest you can come into the Viking culture. Frank
    www.oarandsail.nl

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