In Issue 8 of The Superyacht Owner, Peter Buescher, design project manager at Donald L. Blount and Associates, asks if there is a place for crew contribution in the development of a vessel’s general arrangement (GA).

It’s an interesting thing to go back through memory and notes taken during past meetings with clients, reviewing input that has driven the development of yacht designs, both for new construction and refit projects. Of particular interest is the extent to which an owner will incorporate the wants, needs and suggestions of individuals having various affiliations to a vessel, or roles related to its operation.

Rarely do suggestions made by crew show up in the aforementioned list of contributing criteria. I wonder whether there’s a place for crew contribution in the development of a vessel’s GA? Certainly, I understand that crewmembers aren’t typically at liberty to speak openly to an owner about ‘what the vessel should have, but is lacking’.

There are simply some elements of a vessel’s arrangement that are understood most intimately by the crew. For example, the traffic pattern associated with bringing food and beverage service from an interior galley to an exterior beach deck, or the requisite location of various crewmembers in the handling of tenders and toys during their launch and retrieval. If an owner’s wishes are for stewards and stewardesses to maintain as low a profile as possible while performing their jobs, that intent should be presented to the designer for consideration in development of the general arrangements.

I’ve met owners who intend for staterooms to be tended to daily, but for the guests never to see the crewmember responsible for it; if the arrangement of the corridors, laundry and guest areas are not arranged to suit this particular owner requirement, the difficulty of its realisation cannot be blamed on the crew.

There are simply some elements of a vessel’s arrangement that are understood most intimately by the crew.

Years ago we worked on a design whose interior was driven, in large part, by the necessity for a main deck crew passageway to run along the starboard side of the vessel. The common mooring arrangement would have the starboard side to the quay and a long crew passageway and, while consuming a lot of real estate, would allow the crew to stock the entire boat, from the galley to the day heads, to the staterooms and cabins, without having to set foot in any of the common guest spaces (passageways or large areas). It was important to the owner that the crew be essentially invisible to the guests while performing their jobs effectively and efficiently.

Of course, this is not to say that crew preferences should displace owner intentions. Rather, the point here is that even if all of the owner’s requirements are met and preferences attended to, the project may benefit further by incorporating suggestions made by the crew, who may be more knowledgeable about the relationship between crew/guest interaction and the arrangement of a yacht.

Ultimately, this is simply a suggestion that prior to laying out the general arrangement of a new design, whether new build or refit, it is prudent that an owner take into consideration some level of input from the captain and particular crewmembers, and then work with the designer to elegantly bring as much as possible into agreement with the grand vision that will define the vessel’s character and operational profile.

Find the full article in Issue 8 of The Superyacht Owner.