Yacht & Coast

NL Excel

Dutch designs on yacht of the future

September 14, 2012 by robert in NL Excel with 0 Comments

In the future sailboats will be light and brim with hi-tech. Naval designers see feather-light honeycomb panels, sails doubling as solar panels, wireless navigation, robot-steering and push-button ‘captive winches’ to lighten sheet loads. But some also see hidebound serial-production yards sticking to mediocre boats. In the September, 2012, edition of Zeilen, the Netherlands’ premier yachting monthly, 4 leading Dutch designers _ Dick Zaal, Maarten Voogd, Kees van de Stadt en Dick Koopmans _ talk about yacht design, past and future:

Dick Zaal: “Demand for more space is still growing. In the 1960s, there was nothing aft. Nor in the bow. Now you see double berths, storage and toilets there. In 1977, I grudgingly drew the first Contest-32, the first sailboat of that size with a center cockpit and an aft cabin with decent clearance. I’m no fan of high-on-the-hull cockpits. (But Contest) sales people know what consumers want. It’s a reality designers must face. As a designer, I was happier with my Atlantic yachts (Atlantic-38, right): aluminum, long-distance boats that offer much shelter and sail fast. (Lightweight materials) will make a big difference. Now already, you cannot order an aluminum mast from Hall Spars.’’

Maarten Voogd: “Yacht designers cater to the next generation. They don’t want a heavy cabin cruiser that plods through the water. I’m surprised some big, serial-production yards make boats of iffy performance qualities in such large numbers. Bad cars are no longer made. But bad sailboats are! The interior styling is often dated. A boat is not an old, smoke-stained pub. In my view production yards do not change much in that sense. The road to the yacht of the future is one of slow evolution.” (Simonis-Voogd, Guardian-60, left)

Kees van de Stadt: “I became a believer in light-weight during my involvement in the ‘Broomstick’ project, a 70-ft maxi built in 1993. IOR maxis were 80-ft then, weighed 30 tons. ‘Broomstick’ was 70-ft, weighed 16 tons. In terms of safety, seaworthiness and comfort, boats must above all be fast. It’s better to take on ballast at sea than to have a permanently heavy boat. It settles the boat, makes it move better, heel less. Lightweight means comfort for it lightens sail handling and the rudder. It makes the boat faster. Even keels are getting lighter. (Van de Stadt Gaff Cutter-41, right)

Dick Koopmans: “18 years ago I designed a negative bow. That was not what the client wanted! Today you see the vertical bows of Volvo Ocean Race boats in cruising yachts. Looks racy! Same with those hull chines. But they make no sense. A vertical bow increases the risk of damage

during anchoring. A 20, 30 degree bow is better. Will we see cheap solar-power sails in 15 years? You can just about count on thit! What scares people away from sailing large yachts is docking and sail-handling. That’s easy to solve. We already have joystick-docking. Push-button sail-handling with below-deck ‘captive winches’ is already not rare. A client of mine sails an Icon-48. He controls everything from his i-Pad: steering, navigation, music. The robot-steered yacht is coming. Get on board, push the Tom-Tom and it’ll just about automatically get you to your destination.” (Koopmans 14.140, at left)


Dick Zaal: www.dickzaalyachtdesign.nl

Maarten Voogd: http://www.simonis.com

Kees van de Stadt: http://www.yacht-design.nl/satellite

Dick Koopmans:  http://www.yacht-design.nl/satellite

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