a couple of thoughts on design…

Every morning at just about 9:00 a.m., a daysail trimaran slips past our stern taking tourists off to Buck Island. I mention this because most of the days I really envy their quiet outboard as they whisper past.

Yeah, I suffer from outboard envy. Outboards make all kinds of sense for sailboats and I often ponder why no one has designed a better outboard aimed to be used on sailboats. Then again, it’s hardly surprising that no one has because most boat stuff design is a shining example of how not to design and outboards are a good place to start.

Back in college, when I was studying design, we accepted that good design had an arc that made sense. The lowly transistor radio is a good example. When the transistor radio entered the market, it was expensive and somewhat clunky. As time passed, they became less expensive, better, and smaller as a lot of tiny improvements evolved the nature of the little beast.

Of course, back in those olden days, products were design led. Today, design follows marketing rather than marketing following design. In other words, a full-tilt, ass-backwards way to do stuff and all kinds of bad for the consumer.

What we should be seeing in outboards are motors that are cheaper, compact, lighter, and more fuel efficient. Instead, outboards are getting more expensive, bigger, heavier, and more complicated. What little design work that passes for innovation for sailboats is just adding a longer leg to an outboard and giving it a model name with the word “SAIL” in it.

Well, I guess you just can’t fix stupid…

On another tack, I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding ratlines to the Islander as they make a lot of sense and cost hardly anything. The only drawback is the look of ratlines on an elderly modern boat design tends to offend folks because it’s somewhat tradical as it’s not modern or traditional in the sense that most people think about boat design. Once the ratlines are finished, I just might go for pinrails while I’m at it and really scandalize the anchorage.


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2 thoughts on “a couple of thoughts on design…”

  1. Didnt Johnson used to make “sail-Pro” with extra long legs and low gearing? I believe Tohatsu still do, and certainly cheaper than a diesel. I will still take a 10hp diesel every time…….

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