While little known outside specialist circles, nautical design is very interesting from many different standpoints. These include aspects such as technology and research, into not just materials and production processes but also into new design and execution methods, enabling increasing precision in the production of craft and equipment.
Another interesting aspect is the similarity between domestic interior design and the design of space-conscious nautical interiors – or the large open spaces of luxury mega-yachts – that embody solutions for comfortable living within the confines of what is essentially a nomadic means of transport.
Working on such a complex object demands a tightly knit team, and numerous figures with different roles and different skills must come together – often from far flung corners of the world – in a project for a water-going craft.
While most people tuned in to the recent America’s Cup in Valencia to enjoy the exploits of the participant teams, it also showcased the latest products of nautical design and innovation: these are boats in which every single detail is taken into account, exploring the cutting edge in design technologies and methods.
In addition to offering a window into the state of the art in competitive sailing, where technology is a decisive factor for success (such as ultralight hulls, on board computers, GPS, carbon fibre masts and composite sails to name but a few examples), these boats also pioneer many solutions which will eventually filter down into more commonplace leisure craft.
An example of this can now be seen in manufacturing techniques. For instance, infusion moulding, a ‘closed mould’ procedure for the production of articles in fibreglass or other advanced composites, where the resin and reinforcement fibres do not come into contact with the external environment.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 166