Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Friday, January 1, 2016

Preliminary Planning For The Interior

Although fitting out the boat is still some time off, it has been colder the last several days so I have spent some time starting on the planning for how the interior should be designed. The basic layout is not that difficult, there will be a cabin area with a small galley, a small head, a berthing area, and a place to sit and eat. The aft cabin will have seating and controls for the boat. But more specifically, how all of that is going to be designed, required more thinking and planning.

This started as an effort to begin designing the electrical system. I'll be going into that more at a later date, but suffice to say, in order to plan the electrical system, you need to have some idea of what electrical equipment you are going to need. I was having difficulty trying to come up with this list of equipment.

It occurred to me that I could address this in a similar manner to how I address software development in my regular job. Namely, start with use cases. For those unfamiliar with this idea, it is basically a list of how you intend to use something, in this case, the boat.

Now you can get as detailed in this exercise as you want. Some might be content with saying, I plan on using my boat for fishing and I need a live well and rod holders and maybe a casting platform. I tend to be overly detail oriented so I wanted to get more detail than that.

I started by making a list of general uses I intended for the boat, such as pleasure boating, fishing, overnight camping, displaying it at shows, etc. From there I made a more detailed list for each of those types of activities to determine just what I would be doing. For example, when pleasure boating (which I define as a day on the lake), I will probably want to eat and drink something, get out of the sun, swim, tow an inner tube, anchor the boat, etc.

From his more detailed list of activities, I now started adding details about just what doing those activities meant. For example, eating implies somewhere to store the food (cold or otherwise), somewhere to sit and eat, a means of collecting and storing the garbage out of the way afterwards, and a means of washing my hands. It might mean cooking food. It would be nice to have cup holders for the drinks. You get the idea.

I do all of this using outlines in word processing software because it's convenient to add ideas as I think of them, and convenient to keep them organized. But you could do this same activity on paper, or use a spreadsheet. The main point of this last exercise is to try and think of everything that you might do or need for any given activity.

This is essentially brainstorming. Like all brainstorming activities, it's best to start with just jotting down ideas without any regards for practicality, usability, cost, or any other consideration that might restrict the free flow of ideas. Get the ideas down first, then go back through them and see if any additional ideas are generated. Repeat this as often as you feel is necessary. Then go back through them again and start organizing and pruning.

This is what I have been doing for the last couple of days. I spend 30 minutes to an hour at a time adding details and organizing. Eventually, I will have a fairly complete list of requirements for my boat. From those requirements, I can then start thinking of how I will layout the interior, what electrical and mechanical equipment I will need, and eventually I can then design the electrical and mechanical systems.

Again, it is up to the individual to determine how far they ant to carry this exercise. It is certainly easy to get into an over planning situation; analysis paralysis, they call it in my career field, so you have to keep that in mind. But it is a very useful tool for taking a huge elephant of a task and breaking it into bite size pieces.

I hope this might of use to someone. It can be used in any situation, not just for boat designing. Take care and I hope all of you have a great 2016.

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