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Step back, evaluate, change direction

After the last post I fixed up the images a bit. Scanning, removing unecessary lines and correcting some of the worst mistakes. I took a few days off from the exterior design, starting to work on the interior instead. When I got back to the exterior, I decided it had some dull spots, particularly around the pilothouse. The pilothouse windscreen looked too detached from the rest of the yacht, like I had slapped the windscreen of a sportscruiser on top of a classic yacht.
I spent some time researching potential looks, and made a new “base” for the front perspective to go from. Here is the cleaned up rear perspective and new front perspective base.


To spice up the design, I did quite a few side view sketches. Here is one:


And based on this, I tried to find a solution for the front of the pilothouse. Not happy with any of these really. Just sketches, trying different things, for example the misplaced locker doors in the second sketch.


Funny that the name “LEAN” was the first to come to mind. That was the idea behind the boat anyway, although it looks a bit more mean now. Yesterday I was struggling to get more quality into my ideas/sketches – to find the good mix of form and functionality that is great design. I noticed that I am not good enough at considering the whole when I do each detail. Eventually, I realized I had to step back and reevaluate my direction. Now I think I have to change my approach, because working too hard on one single design is probably not what will make a designer out of me. I think I need to differentiate, and start sketching different boats, different vehicles, furniture, buildings etc. Just having fun with it! Then, when I come back to this design I am sure I will have some new energy and better ideas!

A plus right now is that I have broken a new barrier – I posted something I was unhappy with. That will help me to be more open and get more feedback going forward.


Presenting my new slim cruiser

After lots of exploration, drawing and erasing, I am happy to present a new design! Hand drawn by myself – except for a guiding box grid I 3d modelled and printed in A3 format. This is a 20 meter by 4.15 meter (65′ by 13’7″) full displacement yacht.

My new 65 foot slim cruiser - two perspective drawings of the major features

My new 65 foot slim cruiser – two perspective drawings of the major features

Side view of the new 65foot slim cruiser - freehand on measured length.

Side view of the new 65foot slim cruiser – freehand on measured length.

A completely freehand side view - slightly more organic but length not to scale.

Much more quick and rough sketch – slightly more organic but length not to scale.

The idea is to make a more environment friendly cruiser – adding length to increase hull speed while keeping the narrow beam of a 40ft yacht. The yacht emphasizes enclosed living spaces for the scandinavian climate and weather. Instead of the typical cockpit I envision seating like in a convertible – behind the helmsman in open air. Canopy – or optional hard top!

The interior layout, which I will reveal soon, makes the most of this miniaturized “raised pilothouse” design to provide spacious accomodation for four people – and it might include one smaller single crew cabin.

I figure this should be a diesel elctric hybrid boat, with twin electric pod drives. I have freed up space for solar panels on the top deck by making a nice compact RIB garage in the rounded stern. Put as much batteries and machinery as low as possible, install stabilizers, and I hope the boat will be stable, safe and comfortable despite the narrow beam.

Since I am obviously concerned with feasibility and practicality of the design, I am still thinking of ways to make it easy to do the daily stuff like tying on fenders and docking without side decks. And I have a fancy but hopefully mechanically simple solution for bathing platform, RIB garage and paserelle!

And just to be clear – this design is not “M/V Julie” – the superyacht design project that triggered my yacht interest and which is the underlying theme of this blog. This is just another step towards my goal:)

Worst challenge so far

A month ago, I had a really hard time. I had just had a week of vacation from my day job, trying to focus on my design studies – especially drawing. But I struggled big time with drawing, and procrastination had become a major problem for me. I could no longer stand it – something had to be done. Could I go on demanding more from myself than I was able to deliver? Or could I deliver more than I was doing? And the hardest question – which I had to ask myself: Are you really passionate about something if you procrastinate to avoid it?

So I decided to start really planning and logging my time again. I had stopped because I felt doing it both at work and at home was putting too much pressure on me. But I realized that I had been wrong. Plan, act, review, change. I needed balance between all of them. Managing my expectations – and having a list of tasks to change between was chosen as my weapon to fight procrastination and drive me on.

It has worked. Yes, I am still struggling and I am still frustrated by not having come as far as I had hoped. But I have worked hard to overcome one of my greatest challenges and it is actually working! So, yes, I am still incredibly passionate about my project, it was my approach that was at fault.

Thursday was a success

I am happy to report that thursdays drawing session was a success. As usual it took a while to complete the drawing – about a work day, but I warmed up doing a quick sketch in just 30 minutes. While I was unable to make straight parallel lines in the quick sketch, I was surprised at how accurate I was.

So – what’s next? Well as mentioned I was going to draw something from my imagination as well. Nothing to show yet, but I have a very different design idea I want to get down on paper and develop. Will keep at it and post when ready!

The struggle

Still struggling – both with getting some time to draw and with drawing itself. But last week I was happy to make a little step ahead. It might not seem like much, but this small sketch of a typical sportsyacht was made just from my memory of how they typically look. Drawing what I think about is even harder than drawing what I see. So I hope to build on this very small advancement and improve loads! Also, before the holidays I managed to do the sofa drawing you see here – but that was an exercise in drawing what I see. (and yes – the stuff on the armrests are blankets to protect the sofa from the cat;) That drawing took probably a day of work total, and was very exhausting so I did it on and off for three days. So this is really a struggle.

The loudspeaker I did late one night last week. Turned out all right and didn’t take very long. It is bent, but I succeeded to at least make good parallel lines (even distance between them along their length). And tomorrow I have set aside quite a bit of time and hope to draw something by sight and something creative as well!

Drawing drawers

So I “nailed” 3D modelling – in the sense that I achieved the familiarity and confidence I always wished for. By no means a master, but on a good platform. I can do lots of things and have an understanding for what to learn (for example 3D sculpting – which really will set my models and renderings apart) and where to improve. Well set for the MV Julie project!

The last couple of months, I have been trying to tackle something far more intimidating. Learning to draw. For someone logical and skeptical like me, utilizing the “right side of the brain” to simply draw what I see is a real challenge. So is learning techniques for taking measurements by eye and pencil and getting those committed to paper without error and with nice straight lines. No rulers allowed!

I have included some pictures and drawings from my efforts so far. Some finished, some aborted, most with some perspective or rendering errors. I have decided that I have to keep this up. Learning to draw better is for me now the key to moving forward with my project – because it will help me in so many ways.

Using Space

These days, I focus on the interior for the Benford 47 foot trawler i 3D modeled this spring. I will not change the exterior much except for adding and changing windows. I like this kind of project. The framework is set by a master, I don’t want to change it too much. Still, his original becomes a reference against which I can judge my own design.

Jays interior layout was a great, classic trawler yacht interior with lots of space. I want to see if I can successfully change it with the main features being a full beam mid cabin, large head+shower compartment, and a galley situated aft next to the cockpit.


Benford’s 47ft Trawler yacht design from his book Small Ships

I can do pretty much anything with the interior within the available space, but for the windows I have to take great care and make something that doesn’t disturb Benford’s excellent design. I have spent a lot of time back and forth, and believe I am getting there. I still feel the windows make it look a bit like a passenger vessel instead of a private yacht, but I don’t have to lock them in just yet.


Changing the windows and adding some for the mid cabin

The black strip is added both for interest and to “hide” the dark glazing I will add for the mid cabin windows. And there are less windows on the pilothouse in my version. But as you will see, this is offset by the fact that I have moved the wheel forward quite a bit – so the skippers view shouldn’t be inhibited by it.

Jay Benford was kind enough to let me show you his drawings with my changes added, for which I am very grateful! After you have read my blog post, you should go check out this page about Jays designs: – and his great book called Small Ships.

My plans for the interior – full beam mid cabin, large head, galley aft

The saloon in Benfords design had the advantage of utilizing areas under the pilothouse bench etc that were not full standing headroom for the galley countertop. I developed this into an area where the settee has sitting headroom but not standing headroom. For the galley I looked at several solutions, but came to something quite conventional and spacious. I worked on including a bar counter and bar stools, but it made the saloon too crowded. The new galley means foregoing the nice midship cockpit doorway, and putting it on the starboard side. On the port side I have an outside serving station with sink – makes it double as a fish gutting station.

Another thing I figured I would want to have was some soft nice reading chairs or recliners in the saloon. It was hard to get space for this, but if I put the saloon <-> pilothouse stair midships instead of at the side, it seems to work nicely. Drawing and 3D modelling will tell me whether I was right or not! This placement of the stair means I might loose the pilothouse berth, but that is an ok compromise. Besides, it leaves space on the starboard rear corner of the pilothouse for any of three things – a flybridge stair (if one were to add a flybridge), a heating cabinet for wet oilskins, or a chart/nav station. The latter would be good, because I have removed the chart table from Jays design to move the helm forward. This was simply done to make space for a good pilot’s chair.

Pilothouse with necessary staircase changes and helm moved forward to make room for pilot’s chair

But does one need a pilot’s chair? It depends on the use of the boat, I guess. When I crossed the Georgia strait, the boat rolled so much I felt more like standing up and rocking with it. Gave me a better view out as well!

With old and small chart plotters, a good working place for charts is a must. However, if you got a 24 inch or larger chart plotter with vector charts and a fast and responsive system you might do with only an emergency solution (like working with charts in the saloon table). Then the oilskin cabinet might be a better use of the rear starboard corner of the pilothouse:)

A full beam mid cabin in a pilothouse trawler forces your layout to have a stair from the pilothouse going down. So I had to change that. It will be a challenge to model that staircase – curves both in the pilothouse and the stair. Looking forward to it.

More on my ideas for the cabins and bathroom later – luxury is the word!


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