Yacht and Boat Design Process

An outline of our typical process for new Yacht and Boat Design

2D/3D Preliminary Design Phase

The preliminary design phase typically makes up around 15% of the total design budget. During this phase we will aim to develop an understanding of the customer’s needs, deciding upon factors such as where, how and by who the boat will be operated.

We will aim to establish a rough budget for the total design and in turn, establish the feasibility of the project before moving on.

Next, we will look to establish any requirements that may be necessary such as EU/USA Coast Guard/RCD regulations. Following on from that we will begin to define hull lines, create the interior arrangements and decide upon powering and performance options before working through weight and balance studies.

As the projects requirements begin to come together, we can then look to further refine the budget for the remainder of the design work. We can also begin to generate preliminary renderings, sketches and illustrations of what the finished design may look like.

Once the preliminary design has been agreed upon, if desired we can look to move into the design and engineering phase of the project.

3D Design and Engineering Phase

During the 3D design phase, the bulk of the 3D modelling and design work is done, making up around 45% of the total design budget. Throughout this process we will work through the design of all the major elements of the boat.

The boats framing structure is drawn and equipment lists are generated. We begin locating the boats power as we design its driveline along with the positioning of any specialised hardware that may be required. All interior arrangements, structures and scantlings are calculated and modelled.

We then work through a range of weight and balance studies covering hydrostatic & static/dynamic stability calculations as well as cockpit drainage and ventilation considerations. The sight lines, freeboard and hull lines can then be finalised, bills of materials can also be generated.

As this phase draws to a close, the boat will now be fully modelled in 3D. Updated renderings of the finished boat can be produced as the project begins to come to life.

Shop Detailing and Kitting Phase

The shop detailing and kitting phase takes the finished 3D model and prepares it for build or manufacture. This typically makes up around 35% of the total design budget. At this stage, with the boat fully modelled, we will begin producing the files and drawings that are required by the builder or manufacturer in order to actually build the boat.

This may include generating hull lines plans, construction plans, profile drawings and scantling lists. Plans, drawings and instructions are also generated for the boats mechanical and electrical systems. This process is aimed to create a smooth transition between designer and builder and is always handled by builders and machine operators to facilitate an efficient workflow in the shop.

The kitting process, if required, includes the design and modelling of strongback systems, alignment and lamination jigs. This may also include any other setup fixtures required for quick and true assembly of the boat’s components. During this process, any frame jointing, CNC or traditional, can be modelled for illustration or file generation purposes.

During this phase we can begin liaising with the desired boat builder or yard in order to build an understanding of their requirements for construction. At Dan Lee Boatbuilding we typically work with Autodesk Fusion 360, however we can work with a range of software packages and file types. We are able to produce plan sets and files to suit a range of setup methods from traditional lofting to CNC machining and 3D printing.

Kitting From Existing Plans and Designs

We are often asked to carry out the kitting phase from existing plans or designs in order to streamline or modernise the build process that follows. We are usually able to carry out this process by starting with a range of different data such as tables of offsets, lines plans or 3D scans. For more information on this process please feel free to contact us.

Sea Trials Phase

The sea trials phase typically makes up around 5% of the total design budget. In this post-build phase, we will work with the builder to ensure that the boat is set up and performing at its best. This process will typically involve measured speed runs to refine hull speed and trim as well as low and high-speed manoeuvring tests.

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