Ten Feet From Stardom

Back when I was wowing about a $100,000 design fee for a 52′ cat, the fellow who calls himself Ocean Cruiser correctly noted that if I were famous I could get those fees. Since I’m not, deal with it. He is right. And its not the first time I have been put in my place, or replaced by the famous designers.

It was back in the end of ’91 that I got a commission to design a 61′ trimaran.  It had all the makings of being amazing.  It was the first design that I had done in 3D CADD.  It had complicated organic NURB surfaces that needed to be trimmed to each other in 3D to understand how they worked.  Nobody was doing that back then.  Paul Steinart, Phd did the FEA work.  Reichard helped with laminates.  It was going to be amazing.  It would be light and quick, with only twin outboard power.  But the builders convinced the owner that I was a nobody, and if the project was to get the fame it needed, he needed a famous designer.  I hear it might have happened again.  Maybe some Alastra fame effect.


About the same time I did schematic design on a 40’something cat with undstayed mast.  I proposed that it have no main beam, but that the cabin slope 4 ways down like a tetrahedron to the decks.  It seemed to work.  I recall the owner was so nice and was from far away.  When Ricco visited, he told me he liked the design, but he needed a famous designer.  He hired Nigel.  I was pleased to later see that it was built, in NZ as I recall,  exactly like I proposed it.  I have not found pictures of it yet.  It had a name like Joseph or something, and was painted purple or chartruse or something.

My point is I understand the fame thing and agree that I just have to keep working and live without it.  No fame here.  Never will be.  Just working the problems.

6 thoughts on “Ten Feet From Stardom”

  1. I guess the guys with the firsts do deserve a little more fame. In your case all you can claim is first guy to sell plans retail for truly high performance wood multis (not to take away from composite work). First guy to make plans for super ships for the home builder. First guy to make super ships that you can make for the cost of a suit of sails. First guy on a lot of tech into stock plan sets.

    Yeah it all makes sense…

  2. I am sure here are many builders out there who are happy that you are not famous and hence too expensive.

    And surely there are many others who can only dream of the inner satisfaction that comes from making any kind of living off of the product of their passion.

    And I would bet there are many famous types who would love to chuck all the baggage that comes along with it.

  3. Kurt, sorry it took my old brain a couple days to remember – it was “Jimmy”, purple indeed, with aerorig. Just googled “Jimmy catamaran aerorig” and top item was “www.multihulldesigns.com/pdf/aero56story2.pdf” (mainly about SARABI a KHSD 56 CATAMARAN) where you also mention it.

    Would you like me to email the NZMYC members here to see if anyone can put you in touch for an update?

    I like LeeV’s thinking, above comment, But I also feel your pain! What was the name of that cafe we lunched at, discussing this same stuff back in ’89 while building your F40′ tri – must be just along Fairview from your office, is it still there?

    1. Kiwi Chris comes through again. Jimmy it was. I remember earlier time at a multihull conference in Southampton. We all were to give 20 minute presentations. Most designers had 20 slides and read a paper. I had 3 full carousels of slides and intended to free style with an avalance of images. Turned out my US carousels would not work in UK. I bought the only two carousels available there, but was still short one. Chris was flipping slides and my presentation never skipped a beat. I had forgotten about the Sarabi article. Old brain again. Cafe was the Cricket. It has new name now but my office about two spinnaker halyards from it.

  4. “Fame” is fleeting and often unearned. Look around at those we pay millions of dollars to for a year’s work. Then look at teachers and other public servants. I’d rather quietly move along and let my work and how I treat those around me be my legacy, or in your case, your designs…

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