Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Designer

Bill's Log

I’m sure many watched the programme on BBC 1 last night about Ellen MarArthur’s record breaking circumnavigation. Undoubtedly the documentary based mostly on Ellen’s own filming gave an insight into her strong character. She’s a person with sharp focus, application, and an indomitable determination to succeed. Without such qualities she could never have achieved this phenomenal feat of endurance and seamanship, but more importantly, without a boat designer who understood what was required it would never have come about.

Do you remember, not so long ago during the Vendee Globe Race, the catamaran ‘Team Phillips’ spectacularly lost the forward section of her port hull, and the dreams of Pete Goss were shattered, although the failure may have come about not through bad design, but because of faulty workmanship? Nevertheless, with such a project the work of a designer is fundamental. Adrian Thompson was that designer. He had of course prior to that drawn the lines of very successful vessels – specifically, high speed British and US Special Forces patrol craft.

Going back to Ellen, she paid tribute to the ‘team’ effort, and with her usual modesty acknowledged her own part in the venture was but a fraction of the whole. However, prior to and during the record attempt, scant mention was made of Nigel Irens, the designer of ‘B & Q-Castorama’ and his engineering cohort, John Levell.

Nigel must be one of those rare souls who demonstrably merit the qualification ‘genius’. He is such a master of his metier few others could hope to match him. Among a the list of his successful designs are ‘Fujifilm’, ‘Bicuits La Trinitaine’, ‘Serio Tacchini’, ‘Team Legato’ and ‘Academy’ – all trimarans, but his most well-known masterpiece is ‘Romilly’, a graceful monohull based on classic lines - surely a creature of beauty.

Behind all things with order we know there must be a designer and without a designer there is no order, but even within chaos a designer can be found. Einstein knew this is true true.

Nigel Irens Designs:

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