Some preliminary thoughts from the
I've just taken my first peek at the comp entries, and I'm gasping! They're
very good - very good indeed. It's going to be hard to choose between them,
and a little hard at times to forget the personalities behind them.
I was knocked out by the standard of the entries for this year's competition - my own entries did well last year (which is why I was made a judge this year), but I'm not sure I
would have done so well competing against this excellent field.
The range of marks between those at the top of the list and those at the bottom was for me surprisingly small - I'm half sure that the quality of the entries is due to the sheer amount we have all been able to
learn from via the internet in recent years.
I have to say that fully two thirds of the entrants have used their materials in the most astonishingly efficient way - the sheer time, midnight oil burning and (probably) the weathering of domestic disputes that must have gone into making each of these designs so economical of materials really has to be acknowledged. Rarely can so much boat have been squeezed out of so little material.
I find the most difficult thing is making sure to compare the boats and not just the polish and detail in the entries.
First, in terms of the looks of the boat, I think we all agree that judgement is purely subjective. I chose from a number of boats I considered would be handsome or pretty or elegant. In some cases,3D rendering helped this process, in some cases it didn't. In my life, I have seen enough boat designs built to have a pretty good idea of what a sheer will look like in three dimensions, but I'm no John Alden or Phil Rhodes.
The intended use category is a bit trickier since to my mind it is by far the most important. Judging these designs for safety and performance involved several acts of faith. Since there is no way to check on the hydrostatic data without proper lines plans, scale etc., I simply accepted these as accurate. Since most of the designs were done on Hulls , Plyboats or what have you, I feel a bit better about them. It's fun to see how people approach a problem from different angles and the boats that were closest in type were the easiest to judge.
I consider judging these designs to be a challenge but a fun one. I also think it's a responsibility I should take seriously, as I recall my efforts in last year's competition. These guys took the time and effort to do this, I should at least give them the respect of taking them seriously. Thanks for the chance to participate, it's been a blast.