|“Real World” Class|
2: SCAD Boat Project continued
By George L. Petrie — November 2001
At the start of the project, the students looked at designs of runabouts currently on the market and noted their remarkable similarity. Most had two seats facing forward, two more facing aft, and a seating area in the bow. With everybody facing in a different direction, how could boating fulfill its promise of being a family experience? And for watersports, access to the swim platform usually meant climbing over the transom.
Focusing on communication and interaction as key elements in the design objective, they developed a layout with a circular seating area that allows everyone to face the center of the boat, fostering conversation. The helm is centered in the aft portion of the seating area so the driver can see everyone on the boat and elevated to provide an unobstructed field of vision for the driver.
Other design innovations address comfort and convenience issues. For example, just forward of the helm station, there's a beverage cooler built into a console in the center of the seating area. A bowl is molded into the base of the console so the family dog can enjoy a cool refreshing drink during a long day in the sun. And recognizing concerns that many people have about exposure to the sun, the students devised a nifty little sunshade that cantilevers forward over the helm station, supported by a racy strut that doubles as a tow point for wakeboarding or water-skiing.
Even the transom offers clever features, like a walk-through door on one side. It's such a common feature on larger cruisers; how come runabout builders don't do it? Another innovation is an aft-facing seat molded-in on the port side of the swim platform. Not intended for use while the boat is underway, it serves as "mom's nest" while keeping an eye on little ones at play in the water or a spot for skiers to sit while they strap on the bindings and fasten the life vest.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.