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.

1 comment:

  1. Dudley ... Looks like a great read! I will try to find room in our limited space to include this book. I was just musing yesterday to Heidi about how interesting it must be to design a sailboat, factoring in all the various formulas and characteristics for seaworthiness, comfort and safety ... and smoothing out all the edges and balancing the compromises to come up with something like the Shearwater 39. We are back in the water and experiencing yet again how well she handles the seas. Nest week off toward Guadaloupe, then Dominica.