In issue 66 of The Crew Report, vice-president of Trinity Yachts Billy Smith admitted that shipyards and designers should allow crew to play a bigger role in the design of a superyacht, noting: “Any intelligent builder quickly realises the crew is what determines whether the owner enjoys his boat or doesn’t enjoy his boat [and] the more input the designers can get from the crew the better it comes out, and I think the crew don’t have the change to volunteer enough.” On this basis, SuperyachtDesign hears from crew via various debate platforms on about whether they feel they should be involved in the design of a yacht, and what they would do with the responsibility.

Crew cabins was one area of design that a number of crew had opinions on, though it is important to remember that with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) and Large Yacht Code (LY3), there are a number of restrictions in place when it comes to designing and building crew cabins. One crewmember called for “Small but private cabins for each crewmember, with two sharing a bathroom”, while Simon Harvey, principal and programme director N2 People Skills said: “I would look at going with a very small or no official crew mess – just a table to eat at – and more cabins that did not have to share.”

The need for a space that allows crew to relax was evident, with one crewmember simply requesting that yachts should have a crew gym, while Harvey elaborated, stating that yachts with big tender garages could double these up as gyms when toys and tenders are being used. Harvey also added that outdoor space for crew could be worked into a yacht’s design: “Maybe a screened area on the bow that crew could use, hidden from other parts of the yacht; a place where crew could relax above the decks and even take their meals there.”

“Maybe a screened area on the bow that crew could use, hidden from other parts of the yacht; a place where crew could relax above the decks and even take their meals there.”

Galley layout and design was another area that saw strong opinions, with one chef explaining: “I’m a chef and some galleys I’ve worked on were really badly set up and not made with chef knowledge” – another crewmember simply noted that windows in the galley would do much to improve the already confined space.

It is important, however, to remember that while crewmembers in most cases have accurate knowledge of the possibilities of a yacht’s operation, translating this knowledge into a practical and applicable design isn’t always that easy – especially when the crew themselves won’t be the ones paying the bill. “The crew should be able to put their ideas forward with reasons why the design should be changed and what advantages this would have on the working operating of the yacht. The only problem is convincing the owner who is picking up the bill.”

“Experienced crew can add much value in their department’s design to make a vessel operate smoothly and efficiently. However not all crew have the skill to translate that experience into practical solutions with a designer,” explained Captain Paul Brunton. “Should a designer who hasn’t worked on a yacht get input? Absolutely yes! Who qualifies as experienced and able to give good input needs to be scrutinised to achieve a satisfactory result.”

View The Crew Report's interview with Billy Smith in issue 66 here.

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