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Old 11-18-2010, 06:16 AM   #1
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Student project: your opinion please

Dear trawler enthusiasts

I'm a student in Product Design and I'm working on my final major project: a boat. I would be a great help if you could give your opinion on my project. Thanks in advance.

The idea of this project is based on a few long term trends:
<ul>[*]First of all, the popularity of trawlers and semi-displacement yacht (such as the Azimut Magellano 74) has increased significantly in recent years. Apparently many sailboat owners switch to this type of boats because of their declining physical en mental capabilities. Many (not all) trawler owners are thus elderly people.[*]Secondly, it's very obvious that in the near future the yachting industry will face a green evolution/revolution, like we already know it in the car industry. Hybrid engines, solar cells and more sustainable materials and production processes will be used.[*]Thirdly, people nowadays like to customize and/or personalize their products. It seems we're moving to a more custom made economy.[/list]Taking these trends into account, I want to design a 50 feet ecological, modern cruiser/trawler. A boat for both young and older people, that's suitable for slow cruising in many weather conditions. The interior should be a nice environment where people like to live, not only when the ship is at sea but also when it is docked in a harbour. I want to construct the boat in a way that the interior can be renewed/personalized relatively easy, so that the product life span can be extended.

Do you like the idea? Do trawler owners have other specific needs/wishes? Are there other things I should take into account?

Please let me know! Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:20 PM   #2
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Student project: your opinion please

Well, you've pretty much defined what the major boat builders are already doing.

The powerplant issue is an interesting one. So far nobody has come up with a production-viable alternative to the diesel engine, although these have gotten much cleaner and more efficient in recent years. Diesel-electric is a credible power source--- the Washington State ferries had them as far back as the 1950s at least although the newer ferries use direct-diesel drive today. But while diesel-electric has the potential to be "greener," it is still not cost-effective given the still-low cost of diesel fuel.

It take a lot of power to move a boat--- unlike a car boats don't "coast" or require relatively little power once they're up to speed on level ground. A boat engine is working hard all the time because the drag of the water is trying to stop it all the time. In effect it is always going uphill. A hybrid powerplant--- at least in today's conventional sense with battery power with augmentation from a small combustion engine---- would require massive battery capacity to get any range at all out of the boat. So you'd have extremely challenging weight and storage space issues to deal with.

Perhaps a more effective "non-diesel" power source would be a fuel cell-based system. Boeing has flown a (very small) airplane using a fuel cell, and there are fuel-cell cars out there. The big problem is the distribution infastructure for the hydrogen. It's not there and won't be unless the demand becomes large enough to warrant it. But the demand won't grow unless there's a viable distribution system. So a chicken-and-egg scenario.

And of course there's biofuel using algae or other renewable feedstocks.

In terms of hull efficiency vs power requirement, a displacement hull will require the least amount of power relative to the size of the boat. But if you include every factor including the owner's time into the equation, a displacement boat may not be the most cost-effective or popular. One reason companies like Grand Banks began putting larger and larger engines into their semi-planing*boats is because the typical buyer of a new GB is wealthy and has a lot of demands on their time. So they want to maximize their time at their destination and minimize their time enroute to and from it. Fuel for them--- so far--- is not as big a cost penalty as it is for other boaters.* So the ability to go fast when they want to and slow when they have the time to is a major attraction.

If you want to make your boat design affordable to as wide a range of buyers as possible you need to take a page out of my employer's book and not offer endless options and configurations. We used to do this on all our airplane models, and it kept the cost of the airplanes very high because we had to be prepared to do what amounted to custom work for every different airline. This adds a huge amount to the manufacturing cost in terms of labor, assembly time, and the volume of different components we had to keep on hand.

Over the years we have greatly pared down the options available to our customers. The most dramatic implementation of this so far has been the 787 where we offer a relatively few number of cabin configuration, seat, galley, and equipment options, etc. for the plane. While some of our customers have wished for more ability to customize, they ALL appreciate the reduction in purchase price that results from reducing options.

So, lots of variables to consider. I would think the first thing you need to define is your market. There is a major difference between young buyers without a ton of disposable income and older buyers who have a fair amount of money to spend on a boat. Since every aspect of a boat's design is directly reflected in the cost of purchase and ownership, I don't believe there is one-size-fits-all in terms of appealing to young and old, middle income and wealthy. Boats aren't smart phones.

The fact you've selected a size of 50' already shuts out a large portion of the buyer market. Boats this size are not only expensive to buy, they're expensive to own. Moorage costs, insurance, operating costs, even maintenance costs will be higher simply because the boat is this size. As opposed to a 36' foot boat, for example. So by your definition of your project, you are already aiming at the upper end of the market-- older (for the most part), very wealthy buyers.

So figure out what they want and design the boat to meet their requirements. Don't worry about what Joe Middle Class or even Joe Upper Middle Class might want. He's not gonna be your buyer.


-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 18th of November 2010 01:50:49 PM
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Old 11-20-2010, 04:34 AM   #3
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Student project: your opinion please

"Apparently many sailboat owners switch to this type of boats because of their declining physical en mental capabilities."

Cant wait till you market this million dollar bucket to the declined mental ability buyer !!

True many trawler (but far from all) buyers switch from sail, but the reason I find is usually shortened horizons.

A circumnavigation is a 2 or 3 year jaunt , even a small trip to winter the Carib will be almost a half year deal, and buoy racing gets tedious after a while.

The triple amount of room on a "trawler" of the same size, and the better accomiditons for guests is a plus.
Another real Plus is being up where you can see the harbor , rather than down in the hull with only small (seaworthy) ports.

At 50 ft it is very difficult to create a boat that can have different style interiors.

Since labor is a massive proportion of the vessels cost to build , and economics will probably demand $10.00 a day labor 9,000 miles from the discerning owner , and his required decision input, there will be a need for massive computer work , to understand what the owners requirements are .

Most boats built to a price are STOCK BOATS , and the owner decides on equippment . As the boats are built , they gety better and better from owner input.

I would rather by Cookie #50 than Cookie #1.

Good luck



-- Edited by FF on Saturday 20th of November 2010 05:37:11 AM
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:27 AM   #4
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Thanks Marin and FF for the very interesting feedback. I really appreciate it!

Cheers
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Hi Gallardo, I have a couple of thoughts on your project:
1) When you build an item to fit everyone, it ends up fitting no one at all. The reality is that boating is a niche market to begin with, and boats designed for niches are more likely succeed than boats designed to do it all (ie. it's better to excel at a particular application than to pass at a variety of applications).
2) I don't think it is inevitable that a green revolution is coming to boating. The cost of fuel is not particularly relevant to buyers of $1 million plus or 50 foot plus boats, and I would be surprised if such an owner would sacrifice performance to save a few dollars at the pumps.
The other aspect of green boating is that it already exists in a near perfect form (sail) so for those who truly crave an environmental option a great option already exists.

I think it is great that you are designing a boat and I am not meaning to criticize, I just think you have picked too broad a target and need to narrow it down.

Cheers,
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Old 11-20-2010, 02:59 PM   #6
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Aaron has a good point. Everytime I see one of those fish and ski boats on a trailer I just smile. Sometimes compromise just doesn't work.
So maybe targeting Joe upper class as Marin so correctly noted is what you need to do.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:25 PM   #7
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Our next fun boat will be a trailer cruiser.

The PNW calls and a couple of years doing summers there would be fine.

Since I will chose a boat that never requires a permit , taking it behind our bus conversion , and storing (and using) it at home only "costs" the rubber wear off the trailer tires.

There are dozens of inland waters that can not be reached from the shore , and getting there at 75 MPh is better than a 8K 1 GPH boat ride of weeks .

" I don't think it is inevitable that a green revolution is coming to boating. The cost of fuel is not particularly relevant to buyers of $1 million plus or 50 foot plus boats, and I would be surprised if such an owner would sacrifice performance to save a few dollars at the pumps."

Of course the daffynition of what "performance " actually IS is a huge question.

Saving money on any boat that runs over displacement speeds , about 7 -8K on a 50 ft'er is nonsense.

The GREEN BS can be covered (to sell da boats) with "recyclable batteries" (all wet calls now can be recycled) and LED low voltage lighting.Diesel electric is a JOKE , unless you are operating a 800ft cruise ship.

Mostly Green is PURE BS ,advertising trash, Boob Bait for the Bubbas , but it can help shake loose that million from a wanna be greeny.
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:54 PM   #8
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Student project: your opinion please

Hi Gallardo,

This is a very interesting thread.* You seem to be coming at the project with a fresh eye.* The question is evolution or revolution?* Pioneering can be dangerous as well as expensive.* It can also be exciting and rewarding.

You have asked for opinions, and almost everyone has one.* There are a few rules that seem inviolate to me.* First is that speed is expensive.* Second is that there is no perfect boat.* Third is that all boats are a compromise.* Even a purpose built boat has to have its space allocated for specific duties.

FF is corect in saying that a 50' boat today will be in the seven figures selling price.* He is also correct in saying that cookie cutter #50 will have more customer input than cookie cutter #1.* In our case we bought cookie cutter #1 and couldn't be happier.* Did later models have changes and more customer input?* Yes.* Would I have ordered those changes?* No.* I did not want a single state room, IPS or Zeus drives, or electronic controls on my engines.* Someone was interested in buying my boat recently.* My reply was a definite, "not for sale".* We are happy, and wouldn't change anything.

Most boats today are constructed of fiberglass reinforced plastic or "fiberglass".* Because of the hefty expense of custom builds, the market definitely does not seem to be moving that way.* There is a little semi-custom work going on.* By semi-custom I mean a stock hull and deck house with some changes in the arrangement.* There are two types of FRP boats out there.* "Furniture" built boats that have wood interiors built in the hull.* They are the easiest to modify.* The other is an interior of molded FRP hull liners.* These are very difficult to modify.

All the foregoing being said, it is easier to design a 50' boat in the seven figure price range than a well designed boat at a popular price point.* If you can come up with a well engineered and designed boat in a popular price point, your designs will always be in demand.* That is what the market is waiting for.

Good luck on your project.* Let us know the progress and*final result.



-- Edited by Moonstruck on Sunday 21st of November 2010 10:12:49 PM

-- Edited by Moonstruck on Sunday 21st of November 2010 10:43:38 PM
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:36 PM   #9
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

If you're really serious in designing a "green" boat, it should be primarily sail-powered, with auxiliary oar power.* However, such a boat wouldn't be in the 50-foot-length range, but perhaps one-half or three-quarters that unless one could employ several oarsmen.

Now that I think about wooden sailing ships and the denuding of forests ...
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:50 PM   #10
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

I have to say that thirty six feet would be a much greener boat, beginning with initial consumption of materials, and in operational carbon footprint. And, thirty six feet is closer to an average persons boat. Fifty feet and above in new boats are only for the wealthy. I had to give you my three cents worth, as the cost of fuel is still on the rise.*
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Old 11-23-2010, 04:40 AM   #11
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

The really GREEN boat , like the really green house is an existing one.

However in the USA , Green is dead as the myth has been exposed.

The Euro wimps are far more used to being ruled from the top and still are accepting the myth .

AS an advertising aid , BS, Green will go on , as it will with most governments.

Ethanol ( its really GREEN to burn food) reduces a stock vehicles mileage by the percentage of the contaminant.

10% Ethanol MANDATED!

10% more sales tax from the 10% more fuel to go the same mileage.

WIN! Gov.
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Old 11-25-2010, 09:17 AM   #12
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

A novel idea and good luck with it.

Find a market and go for it.* More important,* find a backer with lots to lose.* Better yet, find a proven builder with a great reputation, and convince him to go out on a limb with you.

All new entries are trial baloons,* maybe yours will be a winner.

I agree with FF.* A truly green boat is an existing one.

I think all the aging sailor wants is a little more comfort.* Maybe you could come up with a way to put a wheelhouse on his 40 foot sailboat and he will be happy as a clam, and save a couple hundred grand in the works.* That is really what a true trawler is, a seakindly hull with a house.* Sailboats are not a bad basis,* easily driven at moderate speed.

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Old 11-25-2010, 10:14 AM   #13
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Sorry I can't be much help due to my declining mental abilities...
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Old 11-25-2010, 10:26 AM   #14
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Quote:
Capt Dan wrote:

*That is really what a true trawler is, a seakindly hull with a house.* Sailboats are not a bad basis,* easily driven at moderate speed.

Dan, that sounds much like your trawler.

*
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Old 11-25-2010, 11:17 AM   #15
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

A sailboat is a great concept for conversion as no one would consider 400% excess power to get a 50% faster boat.
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Old 11-25-2010, 12:18 PM   #16
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Student project: your opinion please

Here is a boat that would seem to fit the needs for power when needed and sail when possible. There is one of these in our marina, owned by the founder of the large Ford dealership. The owner's last name is Diehl, and his boat is named Diehler. Clever, yes.

The boat is a Bruckmann 50, made, I believe, in Canada. We walk by this boat every time we go to ours and have had a few conversations with the owner and his wife.* They seem extremely pleased with it, and they use it a lot. Their previous boat was a Santa Cruz 52, also named Diehler, a true heavy-duty racing sailboat. I suspect they wanted to continue to be able to sail in a fast, efficient boat but wanted a more comfortable boat to do it in and one that would work well under power.

I don't know if this could be considered a true motorsailor--- it seems to favor the sailing aspect more than most motorsailors--- but in the "does both" category of boats, this is the best, most effective example I've ever seen.* i don't know how much it costs but given the financial position of the owner of Diehler, I suspect the Buckmann 50 is not inexpensive.



-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 25th of November 2010 01:21:12 PM
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Old 11-26-2010, 04:18 AM   #17
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

A sailboat is a great concept for conversion as no one would consider 400% excess power to get a 50% faster boat.

OOOPS! Just found a 1973 43 ft Gulfstar where the fellow installed a 370hp turboed yanmar for a 20K Cruise and a claimed 28K top end.

So from an estimated 1 1/2 GPH at 7K to 20K cruise at perhaps 15- 18 GPH is possible.

Florida to the NE in a 60 hour run! Plus fuel stops .
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Old 11-26-2010, 06:36 AM   #18
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Student project: your opinion please

FF,

I guess you can never say never.**

Or as my Dad would always say,* "It takes all kinds!"

Dan Pease

-- Edited by Capt Dan on Friday 26th of November 2010 07:37:46 AM
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:30 AM   #19
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Quote:
FF wrote:

A sailboat is a great concept for conversion as no one would consider 400% excess power to get a 50% faster boat.

OOOPS! Just found a 1973 43 ft Gulfstar where the fellow installed a 370hp turboed yanmar for a 20K Cruise and a claimed 28K top end.

So from an estimated 1 1/2 GPH at 7K to 20K cruise at perhaps 15- 18 GPH is possible.

Florida to the NE in a 60 hour run! Plus fuel stops .
Talk about a tender hull.* I would hate to have to keep that thing in trim when it is up on top.* Round bilge with no chines for stability must make it a balancing act.

*
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:19 AM   #20
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RE: Student project: your opinion please

Below is a link to a discussion of a successful saiboat-to-trawler conversion. Seems to have worked well for the owner. I was aboard the boat years ago. It was very nicely done.

http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/10/...ring/index.htm

Dan Stone
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