Thursday, April 17, 2008


The cabin sole is mostly down and bulkheads are being fitted, these will be covered with spanish cedar bead and cove boards for a nice finish. Holes for the rudderpost and bilge pumps need to be planned.

The mast partners are installed in SPYDER with two bronze rods. The partners are the fulcrum point where much of the power from the sail is transferred to the hull. The bottom of the mast is socketted in a step which holds it firmly

You ask such metaphysical questions. Most of the form of this boat, the A-cat, is derived from the designer, Francis Sweisguth, who follower the lead of Charles D. Mower. Mower designed the first A-cat in 1922 to beat another catboat, VIRGINIA, that he had designed for the Toms River Challenge cup. The goal with A-cats is to create a better boat each time one is made within the class rules. This calls for a lot of creativity in the builder.
In a more general sense, for me, the form follows function clause drives part of the design process, while human vision and emotions are the other part of the equation. For instance. in the sustainable boat I am working on there are parameters I want to meet, like beaching, strength to weight, good upwind performance, livability, and stability. For each one of the paradigms there are multiple solutions and balances and trade-offs will need to be determined between them.
I want to be able to sleep on the boat so there are definite human factors driving that brief. How comfortable do I want to be? That is a variable that will impact the size, strength & weight of the boat. Because many of these criteria influence each other the sum of the parts has inherent diversity of options.
Then there is the look and feel of the boat; color, material, sailing qualities, comfort, aesthetics. These all factor into the emotional impact of the craft. Add the pride factor from building what you design and there is much to discourse on.
Why do boats look the way they do. Mostly from the locale they were designed to inhabit. You can't sail a deep keelboat in Cape Cod Bay, but either a Cape Cod Cat or a New Jersey Cat would be right at home. If you put the two types next to each other there are obvious differences; plumb stem vs raked stem, stern mounted rudder vs. rudderpost, gaff vs. Marconi. They both developed from similar environs and share wide , shallow hull forms, similar materials, ample cockpits, huge centerboards. They are much more alike than they are different.
The hundred monkey puzzle has applied to boats. Irish boats include the currah and coracle, while the Greenlanders and Aleutes also developed skin boats for transportation and hunting. Again there are obvious differences and similarities. Much of the difference I attribute to personal whim and creativity on the part of the builders.

1 comment:

Professor Fleming said...

so, in order to build a boat, you need knowledge of physics, biology, material properties i.e.swelling, human faactors, environmental me its like a master builder in does aesthtics play out? does the look of the boat flow out of function? is there anything arbitrary?

must form always follow function?