If you plan for a career in yacht design, an engineering degree (mechanical, structure, civil) with some subject selections in hydro or aero dynamics provides the base knowledge to do the job. Specialized naval architectural courses are available, but many only touch on yacht design, most being oriented towards ships and machinery. Practical drafting (computer and hand) is also essential.
We also recommend being involved in a sailboat building project. This type of hands-on experience is great for learning and understanding the art of yacht design from the boat builder's perspective.
Competitive sailing is the proving ground for the competitive naval architect. Get a feel for what makes a boat fast. Good big boat sailors learned in, and most continue to sail in, dinghies.
You may wish to check the links below for some educational resources. I hope you find this information helpful and wish you success in the pursuit of your career goals.
— Russell Bowler, co-founder of Farr Yacht Design
OUR DESIGN TOOLS
AutoCAD by AutoDesk - The designers staple tool, this program is used to create all of our production drawings and details for all of our designs. Surface geometry for hulls, decks, keels and rudders that has been developed using tools such as FastShip and Pro/E can efficiently be imported to AutoCAD for final detailing before the drawings are shipped (or more often E-mailed) to the builder. AutoCAD is the CAD tool of choice in the marine industry presenting a very common file standard for electronic transfer of design information.
CFD Analysis - In order to design the most efficient appendage foil sections and bulb shapes for our designs we have developed a considerable in-house computational fluid dynamics capability. For 2D foil section designs we principally use the X-Foil and Eppler codes while PanAir allows us to perform some 3D hydrodynamic studies of bulb forms.
Custom Applications - In many instances we have developed our own custom software to meet specific requirements. These may range from rapid expansion and analysis of towing tank data to development of methods to compare full scale two boat testing results. Many of these programs have been written as Visual Basic Add-Ins to Microsoft Excel, LISP routines in AutoCAD or as free standing programs using Digital Visual Fortran or Microsoft C++.
FastShip by Proteus Engineering - A powerful surface modeling tool used in the development of all of our hull surfaces. It allows rapid calculation of hydrostatic information and efficient methods for mapping the fairness of a particular surface.
Mechanica by Parametric Technology Corporation - This is a structural analysis program that is coupled with Pro/Engineer to allow rapid analysis of structural scenarios in an effort to improve the strength-to-weight characteristics of a particular components.
Undergraduate, graduate, vocational and continuing education schools with naval architecture/marine engineering/yacht design programs:
University of British Columbia, Mechanical Engineering Department
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Ocean Engineering
Farr Yacht Design, Ltd. does not endorse any of the educational programs listed above. We simply offer them as a list of schools known to have naval architecture programs.