Design vs. design: An Award Acceptance Speech

I can see how a deliberate ignorance of the first principles of marine design will get you noticed, but I always presumed that tarring and feathering would follow;

You call that a catamaran, you fool!

You call that a catamaran, you fool!

Apparently not, nowadays you just get a prestigious Design Award.

This European Yacht of the Year award has left me wondering what you have to do to qualify exactly, other than be “European”.

The Europen Yacht of the Year

The European Yacht of the Year 2010

Don’t waste time considering;

A practical helm chair, unobstructed deck, line leads, visibility from the helm, ergonomic step heights, hull finish, opening ports etc.

Kids look kinda bored. Wonder what ma is thinking about, tiller in hand, not about the lack of lifelines apparently.

Good ole Bake-n-Baste helm position, nothing new there.

Class, write a story about what you think is happening in the picture.

I guess maybe I am mistaking Design for design.

Low Rise Pants

I guess maybe I am mistaking Design for design

Something like mistaking pants Designed to be worn with the belt below your ass for real clothing.

How stupid of me.  What a dinosaur.

I need to adopt a ‘Design Vocabulary’ I’ve been told.

I already have one – but it is not fit to print #@$%^&*.

But really, who would have thought that the Kriegsmarine’s camouflage could be mistaken for a Design statement?

Kriegsmarine’s camouflage

Kriegsmarine’s camouflage

The US navy maybe.

US Navy camouflage

US Navy camouflage

The ‘Millennium Yacht Design Award’ judges apparently.

Millennium Yacht Desgin Award

“Best Battleship Graphics” award?

Is there a category for “Best Battleship Graphics”?

How will the inevitable rescue helicopter find you?

Diverse ‘influences’ apparently ‘inform’ different Designers.

Oculus Yacht

Diverse ‘influences’ apparently ‘inform’ different Designers

There is a design award for everyone these days.  I like the radar mast, and the ears.

Boat looks like something I think, but I can’t quite place the influences….

design influences

Desgin influences?

Lots of boats were inspired by kitchen utensils. You know, spoons, knives, all kinds of bowls…gravy boats often, (some chicken/egg confusion there maybe?).

gravy boat

Gravy boats often inspire yacht design

How about an interior inspired by a vegetable chopper?

vegetable chopper

Angular interior design

slice and dice

I had thought that if I designed furnishings that would cause broken ribs and severe bruising I would be vilified, fool.

Imitation is the best form of flattery,

Antares Cockpit

First rate design: Antares 44 cockpit

Just ignore the “why’s” when you compromise function for the sake of Style,

aft winch

aft winch – are those toilet paper rolls?

You may find some award winning inspiration right in your own office.

toilet paper roll

Note the marine industry reading material. And the two rolls.

You should always wear special camera lens glasses to see how your cat Design will appear in a photo shoot.

cat design

preparing for photo shoot


cockpit slide

deck shoe designers need a fresh challenge

Go for the shine, the deck shoe designers need a fresh challenge.  A few scuffed ribs and barked shins are a small price to pay.

I like the water collection bags in the hardtop, and the bouncy overhead tramps for the kids.

To be fair, stand back and appreciate the features;

how do I look?

Note: comes with built-in whack-a-mole game

The Head Designer

"Diamonds rule"

“Diamonds rule”

I guess I should get with the times,

Get some Style, Buy some black undershirts to wear with my suit jacket, Embrace Progress;

The Stuffed Shirt

The Stuffed Shirt – Nat Herreshoff and his catamaran, 1876

The Style Wise

The Style Wise – Tommy Hilfiger and his catamaran, 2005. Note Tommy’s influences (the Shoes!) plus his snappy delivery of the classic “two hulls” symbol.

Nuts, I look a lot more like ole Nat.  I do own two of Tom’s own shirts though, they say so, right on the front.

Could be worse I suppose;

Karl L

Karl L – “An award winning yacht design? I could do hands down. I already have the deck shoes.”

Maybe he is right. The marine accessories field does seem to have kept pace in the Design field,

life jackets

Life jackets before 1930’s

while still paying close attention to function;

bikini life jacket

“The bikini life jacket is brilliant on three levels: It can help save lives, it is much more attractive to wear than traditional life jackets and your likelihood of being saved by a male lifeguard in the area increases ten-fold when you are wearing it.”

I guess I’m old fashioned. I still think the merit of a design should recognize its ability to do the intended task well.

Maybe I just need to redefine the task in broader terms.

ladder strain

Note to Self; reconfirm vessel hydrostatics and swim ladder disclaimer.

I like Jack.

I’d be mortified if a ladder I specified let him down.

Note to Self; reconfirm vessel hydrostatics and swim ladder disclaimer.

Fashion comes and goes,

I think cats will prevail though;

cat salvage

cat salvage

The flying bridge still looks like it is still flying. That’s cool.  The art persists to the bitter end.  Note the Cats have nice style lines and twin footprints.

Synchronized backhoe drivers are probably thinking “How do we look?  Better than this boat’s skipper, huh?”

Wish I had one of those Cats.

I suppose I have Done It Now.

In the extremely unlikely event that I am offered a Design Award, I’ll have to refuse on principle. Besides, I haven’t a thing to wear at the ceremony.

Maybe some feathers would be appropriate?



– Ted –

You must have way too much time on your hand.  You made my day…with tears in my eyes.

As you can probably guess I spend a great deal of time around cats, mostly French and South African.  Often times the owners just don’t get it…until they visit YOLO [Antares hull 07].

For example during the last several weeks we were on a French built cat, rather new and costing over $500,000 USD.  It didn’t have a freezer, “optional.” And, “it must be installed after-market by the dealer or dealer’s agent.” Also was on a cat built by South African Cat.  It was built in December 2008, originally promised for delivery in March 2007.  The yacht looked over ten years old and the finish was crap.  The gas regulation equipment was glassed into a sealed compartment.  The owner had to saw into his boat to get to the equipment.  The owners truly regret their purchase decision.  He left South Africa with a leaking saildrive seal and partially installed electronics…he just had to get away from the excuses and delays.  Next, a Dolphin cat from South America.  I was helping the owner with some AC electrical problems.  What a surprise, the very expensive yacht was wired with standard household copper wire!  The owner’s problems have just begun.

I cannot hold back when I see the poor designs and builds.  I’ve been tarred and feathered for my comments.  I sail away with no doubts on who owns the superior cat.

Keep up the spot-on comments.

– Jason –


Sometimes you just have to resort to ridicule when reason won’t make any headway.  It is an unfortunately weak and potentially injurious debating tactic and leaves you open to like retaliation for which there is little defense.  In any case the time spent with the commentary is usually just a refinement of what I have already written in response to customer inquiries.
One of the most remarkable things to note is the apparent disregard of legally supported standards such as the ISO stuff related to CE vessel approvals.  I don’t know how the European manufacturers market what are presumably “offshore” boats without providing any of the rails, lifelines, securing points, toe rails etc. that are spelled out in their own standards.   This stuff is blatantly obvious, unlike the solid core wire you have noted which is at least not apparent to a casual inspection.  I am not a great lover of bureaucratic standards by any means but they are in place.  I like the gas equipment in the sealed compartment, I think the standards just say it has to be bottom vented.