Designs Eviewed

DESIGN COMMENTARIES

Introduction

"The joy and satisfaction of planning a lovely thing like a cruising yacht, and of ivatching her grow until she is there beneath you, with her guiding helm in your own hand, trembling with the life that you, her creator, have given her — why it is the most satisfying thing in the world."

— Maurice Griffiths

It is no secret that the anticipation of something can be equal to the achievement of it. In many cases it can be even better. That is why the search for the ideal boat is generally more satisfying than the finding of it, and why more books and magazines on boats are sold than there are boats afloat. All that reading matter represents anticipation: of the next boat, of the best boat, of the boat of your dreams.

This book is the anticipator's dream sheet. It contains reviews of some of the most interesting boat designs of our time, and a few from times past. Some even contain intimations of designs of the future.

These reviews are objective and subjective at once. Objective, because they are written by reviewers with training and/or years of experience in design. Subjective, because these same reviewers are no different from the rest of us — they, too, are boat lovers, and they, too, have in their mind's eye the ideal boat, and for years they have been searching for it. Our reviewers, like us, are anticipators.

All of these reviews have their origins in WoodenBoat magazine, which for nearly 25 years now has attempted to maintain a noble tradition of boating and yachting magazines of the past. That is, to be a forum for designers and their audience. Nearly every issue of the magazine contains a detailed look at a boat or yacht design; nearly every review includes more than one view of the design in question; almost always at least one of the views is the lines plan, the very essence of the design. (Without the lines plan, or a lines perspective, any expression of what the boat is really like is merely conjecture.)

A design forum such as WoodenBoat's is more than an entertainment, more than an outlet for the output of professional designers, more than floss for dreamers. It is a tool for anyone seeking an understanding of what makes a good boat and, by inference, what makes a bad boat. By reading the reviews and by comparing the commentary to the plans depicted, eventually anyone with an interest in boats will come to understand enough about design to separate the good from the not-so-good. In short, reviews allow one to become at least an educated dreamer, at most an educated chooser of boats.

This book is a collection of many of the best reviews that have appeared in WoodenBoat magazine. They have been selected for many reasons, not the least of which is that they are timeless: They are excellent boats now, and they will be excellent boats in the future. Why? Because the sea is timeless; anything that can now take to the sea will always be able to take to the sea. Other criteria are the quality of the writing, the source of the perspective, the clarity of the analysis, and, of course, the ability of the boat to meet the needs of those who called for the design in the first place.

I should mention that the vast majority of these reviews are from the last 10 years or so of WoodenBoat magazine. That is because since the mid- to late-1980s Mike O'Brien has been the design review editor at WoodenBoat. Mike, a designer and boatbuilder in his own right, has an eye for a good boat and the understanding to choose the proper analyst for that boat. He is the one of late who has encouraged designers and naval architects to submit their plans for review, and he is the one who commissioned a good many of these reviews (he has written a great number of them, too). In editing this book, how could I go wrong? I was able to pick the best of Mike's best.

I should also include a few cautions for readers of this book. All boat designs are an amalgam of compromises and should be judged in that light. All reviewers are subjective, and what they have to say should be compared to your own knowledge and experience. All beautiful boats are not necessarily good, and all good boats are not necessarily beautiful. And this book does not even attempt to include all the good, beautiful boat designs available today.

If you can enjoy this book half as much as I enjoyed putting it together, you have many happy hours of reading — and anticipation — ahead of you.

—Peter H. Spectre Spruce Head, Maine

About the Authors

MAYNARD BRAY, contributing editor of WoodenBoat magazine, is the former superviser of the shipyard at Mystic Seaport Museum, a boatbuilder, a sailor, and a writer. He lives in Brooklin, Maine.

SAM DEVLIN is a West Coast designer and boatbuilder best known for his stitch-and-glue craft. He lives and works in Olympia, Washington.

WILLIAM GARDEN is a naval architect with hundreds of designs to his credit. He lives, works, sails, and writes in Victoria, British Columbia.

MIKE O'BRIEN, senior editor of WoodenBoat magazine, is a boatbuilder, boat designer, enthusiastic sailor and paddler, and editor/publisher of Boat Design Quarterly. He lives in Brooklin, Maine.

JOEL WHITE, owner for many years of Brooklin Boat Yard, Brooklin, Maine, where he lives, is a naval architect, boatbuilder, sailor, and writer.

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