Thursday, October 8, 2009

Confusing presentation with substance

The dark side of yacht design is the desire to just make pretty pictures. I believe we would all like to make things of beauty...that applies even to engineers. Indeed, there have been beautiful bridges, automobiles, trains, buildings, commercial aircraft, and dams. Yachts, particularly large sailing yachts, are intended to be beautiful and to be admired. Unlike the previously mentioned objects, there generally lesser requirements for performance, safety or reliability. Nor is there any requirement that the designers be professionally licensed, or even show minimal compentency. Anyone can put up a shingle or website declaring himself to be a yacht designer. Here's an example from Lila-Lou Design House I found on Sailing Anarchy yesterday:

Skimming over the sea.

More skimming

Look, they even made a fully rendered video and posted it on Youtube. I know just how long it takes make a 3D model of a complex vessel, as well as how many hours of CPU time are sucked up rendering these images and making the video. Consequently, I have to give these guys extra credit for using their full allotment of electrons, as well as an overall "A" for presentation. However, I'm afraid I've had to give them "F" on both Substance, and Comprehension of Sailing Forces 101. Alas, where to start?

Arrangement of masts and keels

Perhaps I can start with the multiplicity of keels and masts...ah, screw it, it's hopeless, and I have other stuff to do. To be (more than) fair, I've emailed them and asked them to respond with their design rationale. My point is not to pick apart this particularly stupid design, but to comment on the confusion between style and substance that you often see in yacht design.

I imagine, from their website that they have some training as interior designers or architects; consequently, presentation is everything to them. One of the dangers of photorealistic rendering is that it confers plausibility to even the most outlandish concept. Okay, you may say, it's just harmless masturbation. However, there is always the possibility that they will be able to convince some poor feckless schmuck to actually build it.

10/30 update: Amazing the PR that these loons are putting out. Looks like they've acquired a handsome pitchman with some stripes on his sleeve:

In one of Sailing Anarchy's user forums they've already beat on this striped idiot. Check it out.


Snowball said...

I think that the pictures look kinda cool.

Is your job fun? How big are most yachts?

-Sophie :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right on! Check out SA for a full rant on this fake bullshyte. This guy called it right, the people who designed this are full of sh!t. Hope some fool has this built. Morons!

johnclayton said...

Look at his stripes...what are they for? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.