Black Cat starting 1996 Cape to Rio Race
Design Philosophy


My design philosophy is founded on 6 basic principles, to which I stick as long as the concept permits.

The most important person in the design team is the owner. I must draw the best boat that I can to suit the owner's requirements, not my own ego. That is why I have such a broad variety of design styles.

Detail it properly. As a practising amateur builder, I know the importance of good drawings. If I have a particular way that I want it to be built then it must go onto a drawing.

Keep it simple to build. I don't enjoy building something which is too complicated. Why should my clients?

Draw it for a small crew. I enjoy short-handed sailing so I design for as small a crew as the concept permits.

Draw it to be fast. It is bad to draw boats which look fast but aren't. It is great fun to sail a boat which looks slow but sails past those who have written off its performance on looks alone. Some of my more traditional designs, particularly, are faster than they look.

Back up the builders. The aspect of a design purchase which is most often forgotten is "how good is the back-up". If you are building one of my designs and have a question, please ask me not the guy next to you in the club bar. Modern electronic communications bring me as close as the designer in the next city so distance need not be a consideration. Please read our backup policy.


This page was updated 4 June 2015
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