Low Tide

Yacht Designer Tad Roberts' Web Log

Design Ideas and their History

Design Ideas

Where do ideas come from? It’s a long and tortuous path. Today I happened to note an arrangement concept for a new design by Gerry Dijkstra that seems to be directly descended from one I conceived 15 years ago. For me the roots of this idea lie in the 1961 E.G. Van De Stadt design Stormvogel, but undoubtedly the idea goes further back to who knows where.

Stormvogel’s deck and general arrangement was done by Van De Stadt and included the concept of two deckhouses with two separate cockpits. The central cockpit is larger and contains the helm and primary sailing controls. Aft of this cockpit is an owner’s cabin with private access to its own private owner’s cockpit right aft. The production version of Stormvogel is the Ocean 71, introduced in 1970. I admired this boat immensely on sight (published in Yachting July 1970) and finally got aboard one in the mid 1980’s. In reality the arrangement was, to my mind, almost perfect. The 10’ long central cockpit seemed huge, while the short aft cockpit was just right.

So in the early 1990’s when working up the general arrangement for the Hinckley SW 70 I included this double cockpit deck arrangement. See the preliminary elevation drawing above. Of the 5 boats built on the H70 hull, I think one included a very small owner’s cockpit with private access. So much for designer’s wishes…..

In the late 1990’s I had another opportunity to incorporate this double house-double cockpit idea when creating the general arrangement for the 130’ Cecilie Marie, which became Maria Cattiva before launching in 2002 at Huisman. In this case the forward cockpit became the guest area while sailing and control is done from the aft cockpit. The aft house became a clearstory shelter attached to the owner’s cabin. While this arrangement was a product of my exposure to the Ocean 71, it was also influenced by other large boats done by the Bruce King studio, including Signe and Alejandra.

Cecilie Marie was a high profile launch, widely admired and without doubt inspected by designer’s Andre Hoek and Gerry Dijkstra. Hoek used the arrangement first in his 2006 launch TC78 Heartbeat, (where he calls it the Mediterranean arrangement) and has since adapted it to numerous designs. My work on the type cumulated in the 2002 108’ Fin de Siecle, a combination of my own 40 years of design study, Art Nouveau design by Antonio Gaudi and Victor Horta and combined with lessons from California designer Joe Artese. And so the 1960 idea from Van De Stadt comes back as a 2011 design by another Dutch designer (G. Dijkstra)…..A tortuous route indeed.

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