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4 fields that influence yacht designers

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Aircraft design

Words by Rebecca Cahilly

Many designers begin their career penning everything from aircraft to furniture before taking a leap into yacht design - and there are plenty of established yacht designers who have famously turned their hand to other industries, too. Since a budding young designer has much to gain from working in other fields to nurture their talent, we investigate the four most relevant and exciting industries that would foster such design development:

1. Aircraft design

It's not unusual to hear of yacht designers working on aircraft, though there is one name that epitomises the convergence between aircraft and yacht design: Winch Design. Andrew Winch’s office recently unveiled a striking concept blending his firm’s areas of expertise: a 100-metre trimaran concept with a beam wide enough for a tiltrotor aircraft landing deck. The 21-metre beam is designed to accommodate an Agusta Westland 609 and includes the volume necessary to house the craft. 

"The one thing you definitely know with an aircraft when the project crosses your table is its dimensions. It can only be a set length and a set width,’ says Winch Design’s aircraft design department director Jim Dixon. ‘With a luxury yacht, the owner’s ambitions may grow in scale while the yacht is still on the drawing board and you find you have another ten metres in length to deal with.

"The technical details of designing for private and corporate jets are significantly more constraining than they are for a yacht or residence," he continues, explaining that FAA and EASA rulings for safety as well as weight restrictions are of paramount importance.

Designer Igor Lobanov, who received his training in automotive design before moving into yacht design, recalls the Bombardier Global Express jet he designed in 2005.

"A designer must quickly adapt to the scale and nature of the vehicle he is designing," Lobanov says. "The airplane project taught me plenty about working in a very restricted sphere when very little can be changed. The rules and restrictions with airplanes are tremendous!"

Lobanov says that continuous adaptation allows him to switch between a 24-metre yacht design and a 140-metre design and he advises young designers to always consider the curvature of the surfaces and lines in relation to the yacht’s scale.

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