March 1, 2011

blogger - Past, Present, and Future

It is always impressive how perspective change over the years. I remember how in the 1980s I used to be blinded with big motor boats over fifty feet, having massive diesel engines which at start up and idle revving alone they use to rattle the water close to them. It was the eighties and many highly regarded US and Italian badged yachts used to have large engines in size and horsepower mostly coming from US manufacturers GM Detroit, and along with the aggressive lines the start up noise used also to play an important part in an admirer point of view. Yachts also used to look different with the Italians being particularly keen on uncluttered all around deck spaces, very fresh saloons, and on size looking bigger from the outside to what they do now.
Thinking from an engineering point of view in the last two decades the yachts have truly become whisper silent compared to the past, thanks to sound proofing, improved exhaust systems, and smoother running engines. Today the market has evolved to new generation buyers, and how motor boaters requests changed the market, following to a certain extent what is done in automobiles. But actually if you compare a yacht built before the eighties to one from the nineties onwards you can see the car influence taking shape. Go to a boat show and how silence is the boat you are looking at is surely one of the salesman tools, along with car dashboard style, and design.
Engines break through from all the major manufacturers have also helped builders these becoming smaller, with the size of the engine denominated in CC being about half to what it used to be in eighties for horsepower produced. This is surely a help to create larger interiors with bigger lady convincing cabins.
But current challenges for boating and the future of design is all about performance numbers of the hull actual distance on the water! Not only in planning boats but also in semi, and full displacement style hulls. May be even more so in the slower type hull shapes, which actually we have seen a lot of tweaks and variations since fuel started to become more expensive in the last ten years, making them more attractive in recent periods. But will it be hull design alone. Surely not, as smaller more efficient diesel engines, better propulsion inventions, along with lighter stronger building methods are have been on the push in the last fifty years, and what will be doing again its big part in the future.