"Ask any high-school mechanical-drawing student. Drafting - even basic drafting - competes with filling out IRS forms as
a consumer of time. And drawing boats - even simple boats - hardly ranks as basic drafting. Consider, if you will, that
the designer must represent shapely, three-dimensional hulls on flat, two-dimensional vellum or Mylar. The hull lines must
be fair (both "smooth" fair, and fair in the sense that their crossings will produce a real surface - not just a pretty
picture). Beyond this, the design should be hydrostatically and hydrodynamically correct, and technical details have to be
addressed. Microchips and cathode-ray tubes notwithstanding, there's nothing particularly quick about this whole business.
"Perhaps drawings for simple skiffs can be tossed off in a couple of hours (few of us will admit how much time we really
spend in search of the perfect sheer). Perhaps the great overall expense of large yachts allows room for substantial design
fees. But what about pocket cruisers? How can a designer provide sufficient detail at acceptable prices for complex plans
that have sales potentials somewhat less than, say, the population of metropolitan New York? Jay R. Benford has tackled this
problem by writing (and publishing) a paperback book.
"Pocket Cruisers & Tabloid Yachts
contains complete plans for six (ten if you count the variants) small cruising boats from the boards of the Benford Design
Group. Full lines drawings, arrangements, construction details, offsets - everything. The 96 pages describe 17' and 25'
fantail steam yachts, 14' and 20' working tugboats, a 20' supply boat, 14' and 20' power cruisers, a 14' long-distance sailing
cruiser, and a 20' fantail stern catboat. All the plans exhibit the professional presentation and well-conceived accommodations
typical of the author's work.
"Reducing technical drawings for publication is no easy task, or so our art director tells me - lines can get muddy, and detail
can be lost.... The lines here are crisp and clean. Where possible, the drawings have been reproduced to a consistent scale.
In any case, a linear measuring stick has been printed on each drawing for readers' convenience and quick study....
"Benford prefaces each plan with a sometimes humorous essay that sketches the design's history and includes some measure of
his technical thoughts. The first chapter gives an entertaining and moving account of Howard Wayne Smith's successes and
failures with the 14' offshore cruiser Happy
. After sailing some 10,000 miles from Miami, Florida, towards Australia, the
singlehander lost his boat to a reef off Noumea, New Caledonia. I've never understood the thinking behind challenging oceans
in the shortest boat imaginable, but Benford hints at the spirit required. As may be, he uses few words; drawings form the
heart of this book."