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post #6041 of 6763 Old 02-05-2014 Thread Starter
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Beneteau, looks, tastes and niche markets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobperry View Post
.....
But you see, I could not take a job for Beneteau. I don't want to design Euro decks. I hate the bloated tennis shoe look. And again, I would not be good at that. There are other designers very good at that modern styling. I want to stay in my comfort zone.
.....
Designing a boat for Beneteau has a simple and challenging program: a boat that has to fulfill the sail cruising needs of the the largest possible number of cruisers and sailors. For that the boat has to look good and be desirable and good looking to the largest possible number of sailors, be comfortable, with a big interior, well designed, one they find very nice, with a good quality, with the best possible cruising amenities, good storage and tankage, sail at least as well as the competition (and that is very well) and have a building that does not make it expensive and can provide a competitive priced boat :a lot of boat for the money and a boat that can be afforded by many.

What you call Euro is simply what most sailors prefer, being them American or European, if not, the design of the boat would be different. The fact that Benetau is the world leader in sales show that they (and their NAs) got it right regarding that program.

You are always remembering Brent S. that he designs just for a very small market niche. Well, what you call your comfort zone, looking by the boat that you give as example or your last designs is also a very small niche in what regards sailing or cruising. A nice one for very rich people that like classical looking boats (the style you call American) but also a less competitive one. You have to design a boat that a rich client likes. A designer for Beneteau has to design not only a boat that thousands like but one that can be afforded by many hundreds.

I don't understand your contempt regarding how Beneteaus looks (I don't want to design Euro decks. I hate the bloated tennis shoe look). That contempt is also a contempt by the tastes of the vast majority of sailors, being them Euro or American. After all Beneteau is also the leader in America or if not it is Jeanneau whose look is not that different. Sailors don't buy boats they don't like or find attractive and the vast majority find Beneteaus and Jeanneaus attractive band nice.

Regards

Paulo


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post #6042 of 6763 Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

Paulo:
You don't get it.

I like to design unique, very well built custom yachts for discerning clients.

Check out Cruising World magazines recent Top 40 Production Yachts of all Time. Three of the top ten boats were my designs. The number one boat was my design. I know production boats. I have thousands. Literally thousands to my credit.

But now I like unique custom boat projects where the build can be amazing and the end result a boat that reflects the client individual approach to life on the water. Beneteaus are out of the question. They are nice boats but they are not for my clients. I would happily do another production boat but it would have to be in a style I liked. I hope that no one is getting the idea that I don't like any Beneteaus. There are some models that I find quite appealing. Others not. I take them individually.

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Last edited by bobperry; 02-06-2014 at 06:57 AM.
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post #6043 of 6763 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Beneteau, looks, tastes and niche markets.

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Originally Posted by PCP View Post
I don't understand your contempt regarding how Beneteaus looks (I don't want to design Euro decks. I hate the bloated tennis shoe look). That contempt is also a contempt by the tastes of the vast majority of sailors, being them Euro or American. After all Beneteau is also the leader in America or if not it is Jeanneau whose look is not that different. Sailors don't buy boats they don't like or find attractive and the vast majority find Beneteaus and Jeanneaus attractive band nice.

Regards

Paulo
I don't entirely agree with "the market is always right" - even though, from a business perspective, it certainly is. From a design and aesthetic perspective, you have to deal with the reality of boats from firms like Hunter - they sell a lot of boats which, in my perspective, are not particularly pleasing to look at and certainly don't perform well with respect to sailing. What they do well is:

1. Maximize livable interior space
2. Optimize performance while motoring - i.e., their hull designs can resemble powerboats more than sailboats.

There is a sizable segment of the market that appreciates these qualities. But I'd side with Bob here and say I would never want to design a boat where those two objectives were primary.

Of course, I happen to think that Beneteau designers usually get it right, in terms of aesthetics, performance and functionality, though there are plenty of Beneteaus - the Oceanis line, in particular - that I don't find very pleasing. But that's because my tastes run towards what Farr delivers in the First line. And even there I don't think the results are always great - the First 40.7 and 36.7 were okay boats, especially the former, but I don't care for the looks of either one, which are often compared to "beach balls" because of their rather voluminous coach roof designs (compared to the extremely sexy Mills and Ker designs, for example - much more expensive boats, of course).

At the same time, I find the contemporary J/Boat designs to be very appealing aesthetically, and certainly those boats also perform very well under IRC - at the highest levels, in fact. Even in the early 90's, the J/105 was a sexy looking boat above the waterline, while being fairly conventional beneath it. I think most would consider J/Boats a successful mid-market design firm, by any standard, with broad appeal to sailors everywhere.

I would say that Beneteau's success can be attributed to pretty much getting all or most of the key variables correct, from both a business and a design point of view. And because they utilize NAs with significant racing experience and interior designers with deep understanding of ergonomics and functionality and aesthetics, they seem able to square-the-circle with respect to performance vs. comfort quite successfully.

For what it's worth, there's no question that Bob can draw sexy "modern" designs. I've seen Icon up close and it holds its own against any comparable contemporary design at that length. Quite competitive in PNW racing, as well.



Respectfully,

MrP

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post #6044 of 6763 Old 02-06-2014 Thread Starter
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Discerning tastes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobperry View Post
Paulo:
You don't get it.

I like to design unique, very well built custom yachts for discerning clients.

Check out Cruising World magazines recent Top 40 Production Yachts of all Time. Three of the top ten boats were my designs. The number one boat was my design. I know production boats. I have thousands. Literally thousands to my credit.

But now I like unique custom boat projects where the build can be amazing and the end result a boat that reflects the client individual approach to life on the water. Beneteaus are out of the question. They are nice boats but they are not for my clients. I would happily do another production boat but it would have to be in a style I liked. I hope that no one is getting the idea that I don't like any Beneteaus. There are some models that I find quite appealing. Others not. I take them individually.
...
Yes I understand quite well what you say but as you pointed out you once designed to the main market, boats that could appeal to many and whose cost make it affordable. The builders of that type of main market boats chose you to design them. I am talking about boats like the Tayana or Valiant and several others that were mass produced and sold in great numbers.

Neither am I taking out any of your relevance as one of the more important NA from the XX century one that in America pushed the boundaries of cruising boat design and give at that time to the general public, meaning sailors, the boats they wanted, better sailboats.

I am only pointing that by our own choice, or not, you are not working on that main market sector anymore and are working on a niche sector that you call your comfort zone. Nothing wrong with that specially if that makes you happy and it is what you want, but the designers that work for Benetau or Jeanneau work not only that niche sector you chose but the main market, performance cruisers, solo racing and crewed racing.

It seems odd and inelegant to me that you consider their work regarding the main cruising sector (in a general) in a negative and depreciating way. I find also odd that you talk about having to design boats in a style you like. An Architect designs for clients not according his particular tastes but according to client tastes and since Beneteau and Jeanneau work the main market that means the tastes of the vast majority of sailors.

Particularly regarding the Oceanis 38 that you considered looking like "a bloated tennis shoe look", it is designed by Conq that expressed in an article what was was his take regarding aesthetics and that is a pure functionalist one: what makes a boat sail better is beautiful. Regarding sailing and that boat many things were taken from solo racers, that him and Finot had been designing from ages and the boat had ended up having the look of a solo racer adapted to cruising. That according to Conq is a positive aesthetically characteristic since in a functionalist way a top racing boat is beautiful by definition and I (like Conq) believe that the fact the boat looks a bit like a solo racer will have a positive response in what regards general tastes. Sailors will like it.







Regarding the type of clients you have that you describe like "discerning clients", they certainly are rich and want luxury boats but they are also quite conservative in their tastes. A discerning taste may also means a taste for speed in cruising and a boat easy to sail solo (with a luxurious interior) and it seems to me that, contrary to the other NA that also designed by Beneteau and Jeanneau, none of your recent clients has that type of discerning taste.

regards

Paulo


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Last edited by PCP; 02-06-2014 at 09:15 AM.
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post #6045 of 6763 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

Well Paulo, just chalk it up to diversity. Diversity is good. I don't think like you and vice versa. Nothing wrong with that. Diversity. There is no right or wrong. My opiniions are not personal attacks on your choices they are simply my opinions. I am not interested in anyone dictating what my "taste" should be. It's my work and I choose to do it my way. It works well for my clients

"Regarding the type of clients you have that you describe like "discerning clients", they certainly are rich and want luxury boats but they are also quite conservative in their tastes. A discerning taste may also means a taste for speed in cruising and a boat easy to sail solo (with a luxurious interior) and it seems to me that, contrary to the other NA that also designed by Beneteau and Jeanneau, none of your recent clients has that type of discerning taste."

That commenty is just plain silly.

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post #6046 of 6763 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

Pelican:
I'm an ex-J24 owner and I admire almost all the J Boat models.
I also admire the Pogo series.
I like the Beneteau First series.
I am a real fan of Nils Jeppeson's work with the X Yachts.
My last boat was a Peter Norlin design.
My SLIVER is as big (for a single hander), radical, comfortable and fast as possible.
My 62' ketch CATARI is just plain comfortable and pretty.

If someone is going to try to put me in a box here they had better bring a really big box.

Please visit my blog. It's fun to read.


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post #6047 of 6763 Old 02-06-2014 Thread Starter
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Main Market

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPelicano View Post
I don't entirely agree with "the market is always right" - even though, from a business perspective, it certainly is. From a design and aesthetic perspective, you have to deal with the reality of boats from firms like Hunter - they sell a lot of boats which, in my perspective, are not particularly pleasing to look at and certainly don't perform well with respect to sailing. What they do well is:

1. Maximize livable interior space
2. Optimize performance while motoring - i.e., their hull designs can resemble powerboats more than sailboats.

There is a sizable segment of the market that appreciates these qualities. But I'd side with Bob here and say I would never want to design a boat where those two objectives were primary.

...
Yes, the market is always right and it is not by accident that even being Hunter an american brand and therefore with a special appeal to Americans, it was at the edge of bankruptcy and even if it is very difficult to preview market tendencies, specially american ones, I would say the new boats, relatively narrow and with odd chines would not contribute to the recovery of the company.

Hunter withstanding the advantage of being an American brand sells less in America than Benetau or Jeanneau and I am not sure if they will survive with boats designed like that. Contrary of what you think I don't think it is what main market wants. Time will tell if the new Hunter will satisfy the main market to whom they are pointed. I don't think so.

Those sailors and cruisers want all what you said but want also a boat that sails as well or better than a similarly priced boat with the same interior characteristics.

Market is always right even if you don't like the same type of boats the main market wants (that means most of the cruisers) and that is to be expected being you a racer that never seriously cruised. Even when you start cruising, you, like me, will want a rewarding and fast boat with sailing performance as one of the main if not the more important design criteria in the boat. There are boats designed for cruisers and sailors like us but they are not main market because that is not what most sailors want regarding priorities.

Boats with great sailing characteristics are much more expensive to produce (and price is very important), even having a simpler and cheaper interior.

The boats that are produced for the main market have to have all characteristics you mentioned and also sail well, and they have to sail remarkably well giving the cheaper deck hardware and the simplified rigging, so well that some of those boats can have a similar performance (or better) than many 20 year's old performance cruisers and that is truly remarkable.

I would say that main market can be defined as the best cruiser for the buck and that includes not only how it sails but interior and quality of space, how it motors, all this in a balanced way.

When you go to the Miami boat show I strongly recommend you not to show to your wife the Sun Odyssey 349. Even if the Elan 320 has a great cruising interior for a performance boat, she will never be able to understand why you will want the Elan 320. She will ask to you if the Jeanneau 349 will not sail well and you would have been obliged to tell her that yes and would say also that the Elan 320 is faster. She would ask much faster? and you would have to answer truthfully: No, just a little bit.

And then you will have a problem because she would say that a boat that is just a little bit faster does not make sense cruising or living wise face to one with a better interior (separated shower cabin and all) and also one that is a lot less expensive.

See, that is what is all about main market cruisers and why most sailors will prefer them over performance cruisers That's why they are main market.

Regards

Paulo
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post #6048 of 6763 Old 02-06-2014
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

"Yes, the market is always right "

My clients are not "the market".

There you have it. The fundamental difference between my point of view and Paulo's.
I'll let it go at that.
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

http://www.youtube.com/embed/P1OddRBV0mw


This is a link to a clip of a 350 that was featured on Sailing Anarchy highlighting the "massive leeway" evident in the video. You start to wonder if the port tack 410 was having similar control issues, but what is evident in the video is what happens when the Elan's chine digs in beyond "ideal" heel, adding flotation aft. Maybe not loosing rudder control, but maybe the shape is lifting the keel too much out of the water, loosing the groove?

Thanks to Paulo, Bob (and mediators) for the hot discussion about chines. I totally "get" both arguments, and I understood Bob the first time around on boat behaviour issues, and what to expect. It reminded me of this Elan video, where you see the chined hull maybe becoming a handicap or a challenge on the upwind leg. Quite a tradeoff for a downwind blaster

Cheers,

Hans

Last edited by HMoll; 02-06-2014 at 01:03 PM. Reason: Link fix
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by HMoll View Post
http://http://www.youtube.com/embed/P1OddRBV0mw

This is a link to a clip of a 350 that was featured on Sailing Anarchy highlighting the "massive leeway" evident in the video. You start to wonder if the port tack 410 was having similar control issues, but what is evident in the video is what happens when the Elan's chine digs in beyond "ideal" heel, adding flotation aft. Maybe not loosing rudder control, but maybe the shape is lifting the keel too much out of the water, loosing the groove?

Thanks to Paulo, Bob a(nd mediators) for the hot discussion about chines. I totally "get" both arguments, and I understood Bob the first time around on boat behaviour issues, and what to expect. It reminded me of this Elan video, where you see the chined hull maybe becoming a handicap or a challenge on the upwind leg. Quite a tradeoff for a downwind blaster

Cheers,

Hans
Hans,
I could not open the link.
Here is another one that has to work.
Úlan | Sailing Anarchy

Rumen
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