Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Musings of a Boat Designer

I have been trying for many years to find time to publish a book on my writings about the principles of yacht design. Time pressures never have let up, so in the end I just had to make time to get it done.

The title, "Shaped by Wind & Wave", refers to how my own life has been formed by my involvement in sailing and surfing and also to the way that a boat must be shaped to suit the winds and waves if it is to properly serve its intended purpose.

Front cover image.

Much of the content is a collection of articles that I have written over the years for boating magazines and talks that I have given at various boating events. I have updated the articles with new information and added photos for illustration. Most of these chapters cover technical aspects of boat design but presented in layman's terms, so that the normal boating reader can better understand what characteristics result from the multitude of decisions that are taken during the design process.

I have included a chapter about the only circumnavigation of the world ever to have been completed in an open boat. Consider the feat of sailing around the world on a 19ft boat that has no cabin and having to be out there in the elements nomatter what nature throws at you. This was accomplished by Anthony Steward, on a modified version of a boat that I designed.

Ant Steward's little boat shipwrecked on a beach in the
Seychelles, part way through his amazing voyage.

I have also included a chapter about sailing the southern route around Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope. It does not make much sense to take on the massive risk of encountering the Somali pirates by going through the Red Sea in preference to sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. The South African coast is hostile in some places but the locals sail there in good weather and bad. Any experienced sailor can do the same as long as they prepare properly ahead of the tough parts. My own experience is limited to the Cape of Good Hope rather than other parts of the SA coast but I have learned much about its behaviour through my surfing and sailing. Live there for more than a few weeks and you will soon appreciate why the alternative name to "Cape of Good Hope" is "Cape of Storms". In this chapter I explain what to expect, where the dangers are and what you can do to sail safely in this area of wild winds and big waves.

Satelite photo of the Cape of Good Hope area.

The book is available as a letter size paperback through . Click on the link to preview some of the book and to buy if you want to add it to your library. The cover is also pretty enough for it to make a nice coffee table decoration.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kits for Russia

We now have a kit supplier in Russia, in Irkutsk, near to Lake Baikal in Siberia. The supplier is Boat-Kits Russia and is owned by 39 year old Peter Tatarinov. Initially he is offering plywood kits for our dinghies, the Dixi Dinghy, Argie 10, Argie 15 and Paper Jet. Later he will expand into our small to medium size plywood keelboats as well.

Peter has a shop fitting company with CNC equipment, has some dinghy sailing experience and is currently building a small boat. He has decided to expand the use of his CNC equipment to offer boat kits in addition to the furniture. We have sold plans for many boats to builders in the Irkutsk and Lake Baikal areas, so there seems to be a vibrant boatbuilding community there.

Kits can be ordered directly from  Boat-Kits Russia or from our Russian Agent Andrey Popovich in Vladivostok, through his website

Peter also has CNC equipment to cut metal, so he would be able to cut kits for our metal designs as well if needed.

See our full range of designs at

Friday, February 10, 2012

Government Gone Berserk

I am not normally one to voice my political opinion, prefering to listen quietly to what others say. Occasionally something gets under my skin and itches me so badly that I must have my say.

We are all hearing constantly about the increasing size and cost of government and everyone says that government must get smaller and less costly, in the interests of the future of the nation. Today I have received an email with a link to a news story in Tennessee  that is worthy of the time to read and watch the video.

The State of Tennessee is trying to classify an amateur boatbuilding project as a professional boating business and to tax it accordingly. This is a 14ft one-off wooden skiff that a man built in his garage for his 7-year old son, who likes to fish. The tax that they demand is $539, which is probably near to half of what the boat cost to build.

Is the State of Tennessee so morally and financially bankrupt that it has to rip off its own citizens? We know that government is way too fat and lazy when it has to bend the rules and regulations beyond breaking point to bring in money to pay the salaries of the enforcers.

Murfreesboro TN may be a long way from your neck of the woods but sickness in government has a tendency to spread and other states could catch the virus also, if they see Tennessee getting away with this ludicrous twisting of regulations.