We’re going to let you in on a little secret of big-time yacht design: We come up with big-time ideas, we almost never come up with scary ideas. That’s the client’s job. Most of the time, by the time a customer comes to us, he or she is pure yachting inspiration: Their perfect yacht will go this fast. It will travel this far. It will be this big. And cost that much. Our part of the game is to corral those broad strokes into a sequence of details that keeps the devil at bay. We have a lot of fun finessing how a 50-footer might travel 50 knots, and find room for 50 people. It’s all a lovely compromise, to us. Since good boats prove that we can compromise wisely.
But every once and while, a client walks through the door with a truly big idea that raises the collaborative bar. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Gemini, part of the emerging developmental concept of a bi-plane catamaran. A bi-plane cat has two masts, but the spars are not in front of the other. The masts are side by side, one on one each hull. The sails tack and gibe in tandem. And while bi-plane cats are about the same cost and complexity of normal multi-hulls, they offer the potential of being much easier to handle. While definitely not mainstream, Bi-plane cats are catching on at the fringe. This Radical Bay 8000 is a more performance oriented bi-plane cat that’s about 27 feet long.
We immediately saw why this client, an avid sailor and real estate developer, taught himself enough naval engineering to develop his bi-plane cat. This is the stuff of boat-building dreams: a 60-foot catamaran with tandem sailing rigs that would be swift and sure offshore. Yet nimble enough for regional cruising and day-sailing with a family.
The client came to us wanting real feedback on the feasibility of his new idea. But he had to be willing to ante up his own direct personal investment in his ideas over several years. As soon as we looked at his 3D files, we realized what we had. A strong client who demanded that our work make sense to his overall vision. The collaborative game was on.
So began the first step of design work– the feasibility study: We re-grafted his ideas for hull shapes, unraveled the interior relationships to fit inside these new volumes. We virtually installed the sailing platform, managed the rigging and loads. And dug deep into the details of the guts of the vessel. All with an idea of creating a unique 60-footer unlike any we know of. We did serious primary scientific research on aero- and hydrodynamics, confirmed with builders in the field. All the while dealing with a clear-eyed client with a clear vision of what he wanted. And early this year, the proof-of-concept drawings were finished. Gemini is one of our favorite concept projects.
With the Thanksgiving holiday at hand, we wanted to say loud and long how interesting Gemini was to work on. We admired our client’s courage to hand over such fringe-y project to us.
And we loved how it forced us to not just think outside the box. But act outside the box. And that you have to be thankful for.