Modeling a sailboat28 Nov 2021
I’m going to sail the British Virgin Islands with some friends soon. I wanted to learn more about sailing, so I started by trying to model a sailboat…
Learning Sailboat Anatomy
Here are some helpful resources
- NauticEd.org offers training and their certification; they offer a free basic sail trim
- SailMagazine, which has a “Basic Sailing 101” article with diagrams
- ImproveSailing has a “Sails Guide” which describes sail basics and many sail types (like “spinnaker” vs “genoa”)
Sailboat vs Sail
There are many type of sailboats. But a single type of sailboat could have many different types of sail configuration. We will be sailing a Lagoon 42 (more photos here), which is a catamaran (most boats have one part that sits in the water (the “hull”; a “mono-hull”); a catamaran has two parts that sit in the water(“two hulls”)). (I think two hulls makes the catamaran more spacious and saling more stable than a mono-hull.)
- A basic yacht configuration includes foresail (at the “front” or “fore” of the boat) and mainsail (at the “back” or “aft” of the boat).
- One important quality of a sail is its surface area. More surface area means more wind-power can push the sail and propel the boat. The Lagoon 42 can work with mainsails between 592 sqft and 635 sqft.
I made a mistake on our t-shirt; the “head” of the mainsail.It wasn’t a mistake; the “square-top” is one option of mainsail (where the “head” of the sail is “chopped off”). The “square-top” apparently has a larger surface area, and is more efficient
- The Lagoon 42 foresail is a “Code 0” type (ImproveSailing describes a “Code 0” type of sail). The marketing photos show a nice turquoise “Code 0” foresail with “42” in large letters. Apparently the “Code 0” sail is optional; “Code 0” sails are good for light-wind sailing, and is larger than the mainsail – the “Code 0” is 732 sqft.
3D Modeling a Sailboat
I use Sketchup to model in 3D. There are some great tutorials on building a boat in Sketchup
- The SketchupEssentials makes a simple boat using the Curviloft extension
- Pete’s 3D Design improves on the boat “hull”, doesn’t use any extension (but plenty of triangles!)
- Designer Hacks deconstructs the “Boat base” model from 3D warehouse using the Draw > Sandbox > From Contour tools
I imported the Collada file (
.dae extension) of the sailboat model to Sketchfab. Sketchfab also supports
.obj extension among other types of import, and Sketchfab supports the
.glTF format (“Graphics Language Transmission Format”) (more information on the history of formats and the advantages of the
.glTFformat here, where I learned about the Godot 2D/3D game engine!)