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Thread: Steelboats

  1. #531
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Folks should note that for a long time yachts and boats were designed by eye and comparison with other successful boats. Iteration was and probably still is a fundamental part of the design process. Theory and calculation came much later. The way Brent Swain designed, I think, is following a similar process, using ratios and scantlings by eye to establish a design that when built appears to work. I would not knock him for lack of theory or calculations for his designs.

    Ian Nicolson's "Understanding Yacht Design" and his "Boat Data Book" are good examples of a design technique and data that rely on existing knowledge to establish a design. James Wharram is another person who's design philosophy is based on comparison and iteration, as opposed to theory and calculations.

    As always there is more than one way to skin a cat, but we didn't end up with round wheels because of theory and calculation. At the end of the day Brent Swain builds boats that work. If you don't like his stubbornness and disdain for modern designers, don't debate with him about it, because as far as I can tell he will not budge one iota from his opinion.
    "'...contradictions .... are deliberate exercises in doublethink." Orwell from 1984

  2. #532
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    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    I think you'll find the answer is no.

    I offered to run a set of Brent's drawings past a friend who is a Naval Architect and well versed in these things. Brent won't supply the calculations and can't (or won't) supply the details sufficient to allow calculations to take place.

    My suspicion is that Brent works on the old adage of 'if it looks right, it must be right' rather than actually calculating anything much. He then belittles designers who actually know what they are talking about in these matters and cites the fact that they disagree with him as an example of how they ought not to be taken seriously.
    Many years ago I bought an old Scottish fishing boat, which I subsequently converted into a substantial motor yacht. I contacted the original builders (Herd and MacKenzie, of Buckie) to see if I could obtain a set of plans. I was informed that these boats had never been built off plans, but purely by eye. These type of fishing boats were/are some of the most seaworthy boats ever. They were built entirely on the principle that "If it looks right, it is right". Just saying.

  3. #533
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    Jul 2002
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    20,998

    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by BlowingOldBoots View Post
    Folks should note that for a long time yachts and boats were designed by eye and comparison with other successful boats. Iteration was and probably still is a fundamental part of the design process. Theory and calculation came much later. The way Brent Swain designed, I think, is following a similar process, using ratios and scantlings by eye to establish a design that when built appears to work. I would not knock him for lack of theory or calculations for his designs.

    Ian Nicolson's "Understanding Yacht Design" and his "Boat Data Book" are good examples of a design technique and data that rely on existing knowledge to establish a design. James Wharram is another person who's design philosophy is based on comparison and iteration, as opposed to theory and calculations.

    As always there is more than one way to skin a cat, but we didn't end up with round wheels because of theory and calculation. At the end of the day Brent Swain builds boats that work. If you don't like his stubbornness and disdain for modern designers, don't debate with him about it, because as far as I can tell he will not budge one iota from his opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by NormanS View Post
    Many years ago I bought an old Scottish fishing boat, which I subsequently converted into a substantial motor yacht. I contacted the original builders (Herd and MacKenzie, of Buckie) to see if I could obtain a set of plans. I was informed that these boats had never been built off plans, but purely by eye. These type of fishing boats were/are some of the most seaworthy boats ever. They were built entirely on the principle that "If it looks right, it is right". Just saying.
    I more or less completely agree. Except I’ve sailed some so called classic boats built by eye and some were wonderful I recall a 100’ plus ex Baltic Trader that had sweet lines and left almost no wake. (but sailed to windward like a dog..)

    I think you can make the argument for designing by eye and iteration but there’s precious little iteration and Brent’s origami technique (ingenious though it is) severely constrains the hull shapes achievable. That’s ok to a degree but what I REALLY object to are the phantasmagorical claims about safety. If he could just be a little more balanced and pragmatic and stop making silly and proven wrong remarks about other materials and other designs then he might be taken more seriously.

    His advice is actually dangerous at times and that’s why myself and other people don’t let it go.
    Semper aliud

  4. #534
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    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    I more or less completely agree. Except I’ve sailed some so called classic boats built by eye and some were wonderful I recall a 100’ plus ex Baltic Trader that had sweet lines and left almost no wake. (but sailed to windward like a dog..)

    I think you can make the argument for designing by eye and iteration but there’s precious little iteration and Brent’s origami technique (ingenious though it is) severely constrains the hull shapes achievable. That’s ok to a degree but what I REALLY object to are the phantasmagorical claims about safety. If he could just be a little more balanced and pragmatic and stop making silly and proven wrong remarks about other materials and other designs then he might be taken more seriously.

    His advice is actually dangerous at times and that’s why myself and other people don’t let it go.
    If you "more or less completely agree", regarding design by eye, why are you so critical when it's done by Brent Swain? Is it just the case that you have let him get right under your skin, and that now, no matter what he says, you will condemn him?

  5. #535
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    Nov 2015
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    959

    Default Re: Steelboats

    For me it is not the way BS designs and builds his boats but the fact that everybody else is wrong and he is to quick to condemn others as inept or corrupt.

    He states that steel boats do not sink after collisions but the most famous steel boat to have sunk after a collision does not count.

    He states that it only takes a few minutes a year to maintain one of his boats but does not allow any time to completely removed to cabin. This is to get to the inside of the hull to remove all the foam and Epoxy (Plastic) to stop it rusting from the inside out.

    I could go on but he has already put me off purchasing any steel boat.

  6. #536
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    7,148

    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by BlowingOldBoots View Post
    Folks should note that for a long time yachts and boats were designed by eye and comparison with other successful boats. Iteration was and probably still is a fundamental part of the design process. Theory and calculation came much later. The way Brent Swain designed, I think, is following a similar process, using ratios and scantlings by eye to establish a design that when built appears to work. I would not knock him for lack of theory or calculations for his designs.

    Ian Nicolson's "Understanding Yacht Design" and his "Boat Data Book" are good examples of a design technique and data that rely on existing knowledge to establish a design. James Wharram is another person who's design philosophy is based on comparison and iteration, as opposed to theory and calculations.

    As always there is more than one way to skin a cat, but we didn't end up with round wheels because of theory and calculation. At the end of the day Brent Swain builds boats that work. If you don't like his stubbornness and disdain for modern designers, don't debate with him about it, because as far as I can tell he will not budge one iota from his opinion.
    Great post blowing old boots.
    There are too many people on here who have not built anything more than a potato stack on their Sunday lunch let alone designed and built boats.
    I hear others mention that they indeed had a hand in a boat being built but I would surmise they were indeed just there watching the build program with no input on design let alone the skill of actually getting their hands dirty doing it!

  7. #537
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    1,304

    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by dom View Post
    Hi Brent,
    As you know I think you make many good points re steel. Though having raced boats for a lifetime I also know that top designers are unlikely to make such basic errors in their buoyancy calculations. Looking at that picture - the waves make it hard to be sure - but perhaps the designer was just factually pointing out that the hatch/companionway? appears to be still about 12' from the water?

    Following this point for a moment: offshore race designs (yes plastic ) must comply with strict stability requirements (AVS, STIXX, etc.), must possibly include multiple full-seal watertight bulkheads, and far-offshore races vessels must increasingly demonstrate an actual capsize recovery after a crane inverts the boat.

    I fully get the importance of empirical field testing, and as stated your track record is impressive, but do you do any formal calcs re stability, downflooding angle, righting moment, etc.?
    Yes, here is the stability curve for my 36.I also like to double check the numbers, by using models.

    S36withsealedmast2.jpg
    The designer I mentioned has posted a hatch so far offset , it was at the side deck.There was clearly no chance of there being enough buoyancy to keep it above water in a knockdown.

  8. #538
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    Oct 2010
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    1,304

    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by john_morris_uk View Post
    I think you'll find the answer is no.

    I offered to run a set of Brent's drawings past a friend who is a Naval Architect and well versed in these things. Brent won't supply the calculations and can't (or won't) supply the details sufficient to allow calculations to take place.

    My suspicion is that Brent works on the old adage of 'if it looks right, it must be right' rather than actually calculating anything much. He then belittles designers who actually know what they are talking about in these matters and cites the fact that they disagree with him as an example of how they ought not to be taken seriously.
    John said if I emailed him some drawings, he would post them. I sent them, and he has posted none of them.
    No, designers who have never owned ,built, maintained ,cruised extensively in, or lived aboard a steel boat, who's only such experience is siting at a drawing board, drawing pictures,don't now what they are talking about on the subject of steel boats
    Some are very good at self promotion, and thus convincing the gullible that they know what they are talking about, but self promotion skills are no substitute for hands on experience . The designer I am thinking about a guy who charges $175 an hour for advice on what he has never himself done, followed me to the low budget cruising thread, something which someone in that income bracket, with his own indoor pool (paid for by his victims) knows nothing about.
    A big problem with steel boat maintenance, is designers who know little about the subject, from personal, hands on experience .

  9. #539
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    Oct 2010
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    1,304

    Default Re: Steelboats

    Here are some interesting points from the origamiboats site.
    [Quote]

    In the early 70s, here in BC, a school teacher designed his own plastic boat and made his own sails. He had no previous boat design experience. He used all galvanized rigging, and had one sheet winch, in the middle of the cockpit; all sheets led to it.
    Then he raced her,under PHRF rules , where snobs give a rating ,based on how fast the snobs think it can sail. They laughed at and ridiculed the galvanized rigging ,and the thought of his making his own sails with no previous sail making experience,horrified them. Designing his own boat with no previous designing experience ? "Laughable !
    Too cheap to sail any faster than a half tide rock The designer and builder were not even "famous; "what a joke!

    Then he went out and repeatedly beat some of the fastest boats , boat for boat. They grumbled about his low rating ,but couldn't bring themselves to admit that someone of his low rank in their yacht snobbery pecking order could sail so fast.
    So they reluctantly, gradually, raised his rating , and he kept beating them boat for boat.
    He raced against their "childish snobbery", an easy victory.
    He gave them what they deserved!

    I once read an article about an Aussie who kept beating the racing yachts with his 1930s gaff ketch. They banned him from racing, officially, so he went out and sailed circles around then anyway.
    __________________________________________________ ____________

    Yes, I have noticed this and further, the more "high performance" the boat is (better suited to planing in heavy air) the less rounded boat-dimension curve there is. The curve at the turn of the bilge from the top sides to the bilge has a small radius. The bows are cardboard box straight. The longest curve comparable to boat-dimensions seems to be in the arch over the rear of the cabin at the front of the cockpit.

  10. #540
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    Jul 2002
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    Farnham, Surrey
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    20,998

    Default Re: Steelboats

    Quote Originally Posted by NormanS View Post
    If you "more or less completely agree", regarding design by eye, why are you so critical when it's done by Brent Swain? Is it just the case that you have let him get right under your skin, and that now, no matter what he says, you will condemn him?
    Absolutely not. Brent’s boats are pretty enough. It’s the condemning of other options, the dangerous advice, the inability to admit he’s wrong even it’s proven to him, together with his complete intransigence that’s a problem.
    Semper aliud

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