Following is a sample design brief for a 43 meter sailing yacht. It is a first step in analysing the owner's general requirements for a specific yacht. The design brief is a starting point for putting together the team that will include the naval architect, builder, interior designer, and project manager.
A DESIGN BREIF FOR A 43 METER FAST,
The boat has to be fast, fun to sail, responsive. She has to have the potential to win regattas. She has to be sea worthy, comfortable, and capable of crossing oceans fast and safely. She needs to have two expansive owner’s cabins, with lots of fresh air and light. She needs a variety of places to hang out, both on deck and inside. She needs multiple cabins for guests and a gym for exercising. She needs a lifting keel to provide a harbor draft of less than 4 meters while not compromising on her performance draft. She needs well designed systems that are easy to repair with ample redundancy. She needs crew quarters that will attract and keep an exceptional crew. She needs a tender of ample size as befitting a super yacht. Above all, she must be sleek and beautiful, the kind of yacht that turns heads and demands attention.
When contemplating the optimum size for a new build, it is critical to consider the details and requirements of what is wanted by the potential owner. For this build some of the ideas that have been expressed include:
A sleek, fast boat that is both fun to sail and responsive
A lifting keel to provide both high performance when sailing and shallow draft for exploring
A tender of at least 6 meters length that is dry, stable, and comfortable
Twin owner’s staterooms with good light and fresh air
Three guest cabins with private heads and showers
A boat that is easier to steer on a reach and downwind
A purpose built gym that can convert to guest quarters when needed
Multiple seating areas both inside and out
A dedicated crew area
Space for toys like windsurfers, paddle-boards, bikes
Adequate storage for sails, gear, and spares
One approach, in fact the approach which is predominate in the yachting world currently, is to design the yacht from the inside out. Unfortunately, this approach has been shown to result in a yacht that is full of compromises both aesthetically and practically. Beauty is often overlooked in favor of cramming in “more stuff” or more luxurious accommodations. There are a lot of very unattractive yachts out there. I believe the best approach is to first design the hull shape and general look of the boat, and then grow it to fit the desired attributes. The question becomes, how large must the yacht be in order to comfortably accommodate the following core requirements of the owners:
1. (2) equal owner’s staterooms
2. Three guest staterooms
3. A 6 meter dingy stowed under-deck
4. A lifting keel
Additionally, the addition of a gym/extra guess cabin, a common crew area, and multiple deck cockpits was put into the equation, though not required in defining final yacht size. 43 meters appears to be the ideal size yacht for the stated requirements.
Interior requirements often determine the size of the yacht and take up much of the design energy. However, it is the deck of a sailing yacht that draws people together and provides spaces for the true enjoyment of the yacht. In order to provide a generous yet intimate outside dining area D9 will have a large, center cockpit with a wraparound settee. Access to deck supplies stored under cockpit seats will be from outside of cockpit in order to minimize disturbing those seated. Additionally, there will be a large, private aft cockpit accessible directly from either owner’s staterooms, with seats 230cm long, plenty long enough to stretch out on. Both cockpits will have dodgers and biminis. At sea, as well as at anchor, the aft cockpit will be an excellent alternative place to sit, closer to the water and out of the center of activity. A bonus seating area will be forward of the mast, in the dingy well. When the dingy is launched the well can turn into a forward cockpit with flip up seats, or alternatively, into a Jacuzzi. Whatever the ultimate decision is for this use, this is a 6 meter long space that most definitely won’t go to waste!
A major consideration for D9 is a lifting keel. For proper balance, there is only one place it can be located, so this requires it to be the starting point of any interior layout. D9’s interior will incorporate the keel housing tastefully into the design of main salon DINGYS The battle of how to get a substantial enough tender for your yacht has been waged on virtually every boat under 50 meters. There seem to always be compromises regardless of the size of the vessel. It is important to determine the optimal size dingy required. On D9 we have, in a sense, designed the yacht to accommodate a tender of reasonable dimensions – one that will provide a smooth, dry ride for at least 10 people. A smaller boat could not have a dingy of this size stored in a well forward of the mast. The preliminary design allows for the tender to be completely under-deck, maintaining the clean, sleek lines desired. Naturally further study will have to go into the dingy itself to insure a dry performance boat which will fit into the confines allowed. Additionally, there will be room for a crew tender in the dingy garage aft.
Many times it is the interior that drives the final design of the yacht, which unfortunately leads to many rather unattractive yachts. D9’s interior has been designed to fit into the space provided without compromise to the sleek lines of the exterior. While still in its initial design phase, the interior of D9 meets the demand for mirrored owner’s accommodations with superior natural light and fresh air, numerous guest cabins, a gym, a very workable galley, a large engine room, a non-obtrusive lifting keel housing, abundant storage, and modern crew quarters.
OWNERS CABINS Starting aft, the two owner’s cabins are identical, side by side. There is a closet wall down the center of the yacht separating the staterooms. In addition to providing needed closet space, this wall acts as an excellent sound buffer, providing insulation between the two cabins. The wall is designed to be non-structural and eventually removable, forming one traditional large owner’s stateroom, in the event the yacht is to be sold. Light and fresh air are key components to the owner’s staterooms. There is an opening hatch above the bed and another at the foot of the bed. There is stairway up to the private aft cockpit, and when only one owner is aboard the door to the stairway can be left open providing an exceptional source of air and light. Hull windows provide a view.
GUEST CABINS There are three dedicated guest cabins on D9 plus the ability to turn the gym into a 4th guest cabin. The center and starboard cabins have twin beds that can be pushed together while the port cabin has one double bed. The Gym has two Pullman beds.
SALON The salon, a work in progress on the current drawings, emphasizes multiple comfortable seating areas, lots of natural light, and sweeping 360 degree views. Much of the back wall facing the cockpit is glass. There are large glass panels running down the center of the ceiling, and, naturally, wrap around windows. The dining table will accommodate 10-12 guests comfortably while working quite well for 6 or less. There is a cook’s station for serving just forward of it.
GYM D9 will have dedicated gym, complete with a large opening skylight, extra ventilation, sound system, rubberized floor, and exercise equipment. When extra guest accommodations are needed, there are fold down pulman bunks built into the bulkhead.
GALLEY A good galley should be open and airy, yet compact and defined. On D9, the galley opens to the crew mess yet remains the territory of the chef, a good chef’s dream. Crew can help with cleaning up and serving without having to actually enter the galley. The crew’s table can be used as a staging area for meals when there are an abundance of guests aboard. Cappuccino machine, sinks, instant hot water, and active refrigerator can all be used without entering galley and causing dropped soufflés.
CREW AREA Imperative to attracting and keeping a good crew is good crew quarters. Living 24/7 in a small confined space is demanding and privacy is gold. D9 has a captain’s cabin, a mate or engineer’s cabin, plus two crew cabins forward, a crew mess across from the galley, and a laundry/utility room. STORAGE Storage needs to be considered in the design of a yacht, including storage for spares, toys, linen, suitcases, deck gear, sails, and galley equipment. Several dedicated areas have been drawn in for these purposes, and all other places where storage might be utilized will be developed.
ENGINE ROOM When considering an engine room, one must consider all of the components that keep a yacht going. A good design needs to be approached from a point of view that includes the concept of how to minimize down time. Down time is when the yacht cannot fully perform her duties, and can be simply unpleasant - like a broken air conditioning system, or catastrophic, like blow hydraulics. Simple things can bring a yacht down, including a non-producing water maker, faulty waste tank pump, or fried hydraulic PLC, to name a few. The goal is to identify those systems that can stop the yacht, provide redundancy whenever possible, a well thought-out spares inventory, and the tools and work area to make repairs when needed. The engine room must have good lighting, be easy to clean, have accessibility to every section of bilge, all valves clearly labeled, all pipes and hoses color coded, all equipment grouped together by category, with complete and well documented manuals and diagrams.
Designing a modern yacht is a study in requirements, desires, and compromises. With our hundreds of thousands of miles of deep sea experience we can help formulate the perfect yacht for you, giving the naval architect and builder a solid template with which to construct the ultimate yacht.