Genesis of a boat - The development of a new motorboat
The BAVARIA SR33 is celebrating its world premiere. But what happens, until a new model by BAVARIA YACHTS is ready for this? A lot!
A boat like the new BAVARIA SR33 is the sum of all of its parts and, at the same time, a highly complex creation. All components must fit together seamlessly, complement each other, work together and also be installed in a limited space in such a clever way that they will later also be accessible for maintenance work. Which is, in a way, like putting together a gigantic 3D puzzle. A real challenge and nearly impossible, one might think, as all these systems are usually hidden behind the surfaces of an elegant interior. And once this hurdle has been taken, then the production must run smoothly. Because only then, the yard can deliver a high‐quality boat that will make its owner happy for many years to come.
Design, product management and construction work hand in hand on new developments such as the BAVARIA SR33.
But how can this challenging task be solved? The development of a new model is quite a long process. As product manager, Beate Wirtky is responsible for the motorboats at BAVARIA. Together with the management and the sales department, she decides which is the right product for the market and for BAVARIA’S portfolio: „We analyse in which segments we need to develop further in order to have the right boats on the market at the right time!“ Sounds like a difficult question to answer, but exactly this is her task. Hardly any reliable data or detailed market studies are available, but there are many indications: „We work closely together with our dealers, to get to know the needs of the customers and the trends on the market. Furthermore, we create competition analysis for each of our models, and we follow what is happening in the market and observe very closely which trends are actually developing further.“
The interior of a BAVARIA not only has to be beautiful, the weight of the fixtures plays a major role in the construction.
On this basis the decision is made to, for example, create a new 33‐foot motorboat for the SR‐series, what it should look like and who the designer will be. BAVARIA YACHTS has long worked with Italian designer Marco Casali and the Micad company on its motor yachts, which is responsible for the pure hull lines and excellent handling characteristics. And already at this stage, more experts join the BAVARIA team: Fabian Bayer as project manager for new models, for example, with Benjamin Stahns as project engineer. As well as the shipyard’s own design department, where the many details are worked out. This brings us to the concept phase. Here, the requirements for the new boat formulated by the product manager and the management are once again discussed and fine‐tuned, the designer’s first drafts are checked, schedules and cost calculations are drawn up.
The design of the BAVARIA SR33 comes from the well-known designer Marco Casali from Italy.
Above all, however, this phase determines which of all the options that may be offered later are technically and practically feasible and make sense at all. „This starts right after the first designs, we then have a list with all the options that the product management would like to offer. We then map the extreme loading conditions when a boat is ordered with all the options offered and is then loaded accordingly in terms of weight. In this phase we check whether the boat still floats and functions within a narrow trim range,“ explains Benjamin Stahns and gives an example from the development of an earlier model: „The boat was to be offered with a hydraulic bathing platform, plus a generator, both in the rear area of the boat. That’s about 300 kilos more weight. Actually, this is not a big problem from a construction point of view. But if this option is not bought, there are suddenly 300 kilos less. Because of the constantly rising fuel prices, we naturally try to do without trim lead. We have always succeeded in doing so in recent years. Constructing everything so that the boat floats well in both cases is, of course, the real challenge!"
But that’s not all, adds Fabian Bayer: „Then the colleagues from the production look at it and say: It looks nice, but how are we supposed to build it? That’s much too complicated! So, there is always optimisation back and forth. Production is economically important, but the boat also has to look good and function well.”
Typical for a BAVARIA, clever solutions...
... like the table & sun lounger combination of the SR-LINE.
Once the plans have been worked out so far that everything works theoretically, there is the so‐called „design freeze“. This is the point at which no more changes are made to fundamental things – now, the detailing begins. In the concept phase, many things are only partially developed. You might for instance know there will be a hinge and a gas spring, but you don’t know which hinge and which gas spring yet. „The detailing is the work that consumes about 80 per cent of the design hours,“ explains Stahns. „It is here that whatever has been confirmed in principle beforehand is now implemented in full detail.“ However, it can still happen that this does not work out. Fabian Bayer gives an example, which however only happens rarely: „Especially in the current situation, it can happen that suppliers fail to deliver. Then the planned hatch is no longer available, and the hatch from the other manufacturer is perhaps two centimetres larger, but we don’t actually have those two centimetres available."
An important aid at this stage is the „mock‐up“, a full‐size model of the interior made of plywood, which is already built during the concept phase. This way, various detailed solutions can not only be simulated on the computer, but can also be recreated in vivo, so to speak. It’s not just about the installation of systems or fittings, but also about the basics. Elbow room in the washroom, for example. Or will you possibly bump your head when you get up from the toilet? In which direction should a door open? And much more.
Every detail needs to be carefully considered...
... so that everything has its place later.
When everything finally fits, the first prototype is built. Fabian Bayer explains: „The prototype is like an insurance that everything will work out. If something really unforeseen happened when the boat was already on the production line, that would be bad. The production here runs like a well‐oiled machine, so you can’t just say: Oh, something went wrong here, we need more time now. Above all, however, the prototype is also used for the initial sampling of components from suppliers. And, of course, for the first practical test on the water." After the first two prototypes, production is gradually starting up on the assembly lines. „A oat has about 200 different options, we can’t build them all in advance. That’s why the start‐up phase in production is so important."
At this point, product manager Beate Wirtky has again probably been thinking about new models for a long time. How important is the collaboration with the designer for her? „The cooperation with Marco Casali is very good and the dialogue and open exchange are very valuable for us. It gives us concrete clues as to what we need to consider for our new developments, but also what might not fit our portfolio. Especially with regard to new trends, the designer can provide us with important input from his point of view and his experience. In the end, of course, we as the yard make the decisions, but always taking Marco Casali’s professional assessment into account."
And does she start with a white sheet of paper every time? „No, not necessarily. If the model is to fit into an existing series, it is important to pick up elementary design elements in order to maintain harmony within the model family. This can work with a newly developed hull just as well as with an existing one. However, if you start a completely new product line or even in a new segment, you usually have the blank sheet in front of you at the start.“
In any case, the new BAVARIA SR33 has been successfully completed for Beate Wirtky – and she is already thinking about the next boat. What will it be? She laughs and says that we will find out at the right time.