The creative process always amazes me. I used to think that someone would sit at an easel and paint a painting at one sitting! Imagine! Maybe that’s why I knew that I wouldn’t ever be able to draw or paint anything! I remember taking an English class in high school and on the final exam we were told to “Write A Poem,” no advanced warning and at 40% of our grade, I remember thinking to myself…”well, I hope I did perfectly on the rest of the test! I left that space BLANK.”
I’ve talked to yacht & boat designers in the midst of their own creative process. It’s really a beautiful thing. Nothing on a boat is ever “just there,” NOTHING. Everything has a function, otherwise it would be deadweight and at today’s gas prices, nobody wants that burden! I know, I know boring, right, stuff that everyone knows already. But these people are geniuses!!! I swear, they have to know so many things, water displacement, shapes, curves, what materials would compliment their design the best, they even have to know how big the propeller needs to be to have effective movement. There are even books & seminars JUST on propeller size! A very dear friend of mine, Dave Gerr, wrote one “The Propeller Handbook” http://www.amazon.com/The-Propeller-Handbook-Installing-Understanding/dp/0071381767/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1340726498&sr=8-4&keywords=dave+gerr He is one of those design geniuses I told you about.
Dennis Fogg has a unique perspective on design in my opinion. He has passed down it down to his incredibly intelligent son, Patrick. I really count myself lucky to know this family. They have a great way of getting things done. They don’t cut corners and they will never let anything leave their shop unless it is perfect. Their original designed boats are to be honest, some of the best I have ever seen! The attention to detail is exquisite and with the customer in mind. The original Fogg Craft was designed so that everything in & on the boat can be reached and/or removed in 30min. to be repaired or replaced. This cuts down on the customer’s time without his boat and the guy’s time & frustration who is fixing the boat! To me only a top notch genius would think of that when drawing out a design. If you don’t know a yacht/boat designer…follow us on facebook or twitter & watch their creative process with their new boat the ….River Slipper!……You will be soooooo impressed! Promise!
I am lucky enough to live deep down east in Maine, which means most of the severe weather misses us. Sometimes we get our own severe weather patterns that no one else gets, but this New England heat wave is missing us, thank goodness! When I think of being overheated like that, I think that no matter what the temperature is on land it is ALWAYS cooler on the water. Which makes what boat builders do even more magical to me.
People walk by boats at a harbor sometimes seeing them, sometimes just walk right by them, sometimes even just say “Hey, that’s a pretty red boat!” without a thought to how much went into that “red boat” sitting in that slip. The owner may or may not know. He does know one thing for sure, if he is HOT, he can get into that boat slide it into the body of water of his choice and cool off just about instantly. As sure as he will freeze in the late fall when he or she (sorry) can’t resist that last spin before winterizing their boat. And this is some of the reasons I believe why that is!
The curves of the hull, are complex, literally & figuratively. They are not there by chance, each and every plank, piece of aluminum or bronze bolt is carefully placed for a reason, either for areodynamics, weight or looks. I have watched my share of boats being designed & built. Some for pleasure, some for fishing, some for sailing and some for rowing. Getting back to the curves, next time you look at a boat or a ship…..stop for a second….I know it’s corny…look at the bow (the front) and look and the curves that reach down to the bottom of the boat and to the back of the boat. Those are complex curves. Most (not all) boats have curves that bend 2 ways, they bend in and up toward the tip of the bow to cut through the waves. It is NOT an easy thing to bend planks of wood to do that….you have to steam them, but that’s another story! It’s a very carefully and painstakingly process to develop the correct curve for the boat being designed…..do you want speed? do you want the boat the ride close to the top of the water? it’s a decision up to the designer, but it’s not something anyone thinks about when they walk by that boat at the dock!
Please, next time you walk by that boat, or your boat…look at those curves going toward the bow and give a nod toward the designer of your magnificent vessel! No matter the size, color, condition or where it is! Someone took a LOT of brain power to sit and design that boat for you to enjoy!
So as a novice (well, well below novice) in the boating world, I sat at the admin. assistant desk listening to these designers & builders talk to each other. They laughed and joked in what seemed to me at the time a private language! I knew they were speaking English, but the words were totally foreign to me. This began my beautiful beginnings into the boating world. Little did I know what a fantastic journey I was about to go on & where I would end up and the incredibly intelligent people I would meet.
After a few years I realized that boat/yacht designers are some of THE most intelligent, gifted & amazing thinkers I have had the pleasure of getting to work with every day! I never really realized what went into designing even the simplest of rowboats.
I walked with Dennis Fogg past sailboats, power boats & Fogg crafts in his yard and into this amazing boat shop, which the smell should be a candle, that fresh milled & cut lumber smell, few things smell better. The planer, band saw, assorted other power tools all are in their places with various projects in various states of completion hanging around them waiting for their turn to be needed or finished. Then as I turned the corner to the left a beautiful red lapstrake power boat was sitting in wait for her turn for attention from Dennis or his boat builder & designer son, Patrick.
A few more steps and a large dark red almost maroon transom is high above my head. It states “Lucky Lady” in white letters from Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Originally a Stanley Lobster Boat, she is sitting HIGH in the Fogg boat shop being converted into a glorious luxury yacht, with the stipulation that from the outside she stay true to her lines and style and will continue to look like a working lobster boat! Her majesty takes up almost the entire side of the shop. She is gorgeous, looking like a true lady, keeping all of her working days a secret inside hull of this princess. She is like a race horse that is getting spoiled rotten in a green pasture for life. Unlike the race horse, though, this “Lucky Lady” is getting the Fogg’s Boatworks touch, which is delicate and classy. The Fogg’s are known for their classic taste and working knowledge of both working boats as well as pleasure boats. She will also get to have the wide open water as her “pasture” for a very long time hopefully passed through generations!!!
So many variables go into designing a boat, that I, as a layperson (so to speak) would not dare to venture to name them. I know that absolute perfection is 100% required. After a design is put onto paper or into the computer it can be lofted, which is a way of taking a drawing, “blowing” it up and drawing it life-sized on a lofting board. Each drawing has a scale to which to follow…every single tiny detail on paper is blown up to that scale, which means if there is a fractioin of error it will be “blown up” and be a large error on the board. That is just one little, tiny example of the mind blowing difficulty of just transferring a drawing! Developing one is 3000 times harder!
Dennis Fogg has seemed to me to be the guy who works hard, always, but is always thinking! Thinking of a better design for a better piece of furniture, a berth in a boat, and the boat itself. After lobster fishing and working in boat yards for years he designed the Fogg Craft in 26’ & 28’. This incredible boat has a unique feature…every piece of the boat & engine can be reached and/or removed to be repaired in 30 minutes! What a wonderful idea for the guy who is repairing your Fogg Craft!! What a great idea for the owner who sees the small times on the repair bills! This boat is also made of aluminum, which is 100% recycleable! If something happens to these boats, you can recycle the hull and most of the boat! Amazing!!!
Patrick Fogg is also a hard working young man. He worked with his father and studied at the same school as his father, studying boatbuilding & designing. Pat even was the first student who designed and built his own boat during school!!! His “Down East” tender is a thing of beauty, nicknamed in the shop by the other boatbuilding students as “The Sexy Beast,” noting her sexy curves and stunning complex curves in the bow!
Now these 2 gentlemen have joined together to create the “River Slipper,” or as us Mainah’s say….Rivah Slippah! It’s a sleek double spoon-bow boat. It’s meant for easy entry into the water and will be light as air! I will keep you posted of every step these gentlemen take in her building! She is coming to life along side the