Land Yacht build Plans.

These detailed instructions will allow you to construct this land yacht in a few days. This is a great project for the do-it-yourself. The whole family can help in the construction and it will give everyone a feeling of ownership. And the best part: It’s very affordable to run!

The position of the rear wheels axles gives it a low center of gravity and very predictable cornering behavior. And as this land yacht has been integrally designed considering the sail tester results (click on “The Sail Tester” button above), it was calculated to have the best stability for beginners and family use.

You can easily build this land yacht yourself with these comprehensive plans. I’ll give you the 3D CAD drawings and dimensions of every part that needs to be made, along with lists of materials, cutting lists and detailed building instructions. Everything you need to build your own landyacht. Plans and instructions are clear and are very easy to follow.

These plans are high quality C.A.D designs (Autodesk-INVENTOR). They have been formatted to be read using adobe reader. It’s a simple but effective land sailer to build with basic materials. I think you will really enjoy building and riding it as well.

I look forward to helping you with your project. So if for any reason during construction you have a question, just e-mail me.


Get the Landyacht Build Plans

GET the Land Yacht complete and detailed construction plans, instructions and lists of materials (.pdf)

Feel the speed, just 10 cm off the ground..

building a land yacht

The manual include step-by-step progressive construction drawings with sub-assemblies, weldments, angles etc… Basically, you start at the beginning of the plans & work your way through step-by-step. Frame drawings show you how to start by making a tube base frame and then progressively build upon that starting point.

All materials are readily available worldwide. Tube notches are NOT needed to build the frame (they are all straight cuts). Lathe work is NOT needed for this project.

land yacht build 11

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Build a landyacht. lake lefroy mini yacht, ">general ">sail making ">construction ">blokarts ">events & competition.


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I'm starting this post to do a step by step building lesson as I build a Lake Lefroy Mini. I intend to go through it from tools materials, wheels, steels, sails, masts, pulleys and ropes including building hints and "dont's". PLEASE DO NOT POST TO THIS THREAD as it will get too long with repeated questions. Please post all questions, suggestion, or disagreements onto a separate thread and I will endeavour to keep the world in eternal happiness. Lets start with the history of the design. The project started 3 years ago as a challenge to equal or better some of the great design aspects of a BLOKART, without the pricetag. One lesson we learnt was that the blokart actually represents excellent value and is a lot harder to replicate than you would think. The self imposed rules were to use the same wheelbase and sail area as a starting point. Materials were to be sourced as locally as possible and be materials that others could also source in their area. Utililize recycled materials as much as possible. The "final" product looks and sails great and managed to come up to many of the standards set by the BLOKART but certainly not all. This yacht was designed by a team of up to 20 people in WA and SA over the three year period. I am indebted to the input that each person has put in. PLEASE NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION AND IMAGES ARE COPYRIGHT TO PAUL DAY. YOU ARE WELCOME TO USE AND DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION FOR PRIVATE USE FREE OF CHARGE AND WITH MY BLESSINGS. YOU MAY NOT REPRODUCE THIS INFORMATION OR IMAGES FOR COMMERCIAL GAIN. regards Paul Day Photo's and step by step instructions to follow. PLEASE DO NOT POST TO THIS THREAD BUT START A NEW ONE FOR QUESTIONS.

building a land yacht

WHEELS. the yacht will be using 4.00x 8 rims commonly known as wheel barrow wheels. they are the most universally available wheels we've ever come across, usually reasonably priced and offer good rolling ability on a range of surfaces. the Bearing most commonly seen is the 2"OD,1"ID low speed bearing. which is the easiest to build with . with a bit of work the wheels can be retrofitted with precision bearings , which will give longer life and higher performance. In Australia expect to around the $50 per complete wheel. You may have to buy rim/tyre/bearings separately to get the best value . The next post is a photo of what we've got hold of in the last 2 years. as you will see by the details and opinions of each wheel , price does not determine value.

building a land yacht

Wheel 6. Unknown brand ,polypropylene, to suit 25mm solid shaft.. also available in20mm,12mm. Rated Very Poor unsuitable for landyachts or wheelbarrows Wheel 7 Westmix replacement wheel from leading WA hardware retailer. note large quantity of lead glued to rim to attempt balancing. Rated Very Poor. unsuitable for landyachts Kalgoorlie steak knife and Kambalda toothpick shown for size comparison

building a land yacht

Apologies for slow work folks, Ive been off sailing.Almost back in the real worldand promoise to get thing moving soon.

building a land yacht

there might be a delay in th continuation of the 2 minis were building of a few weeks. sorry. due to a slight mishap i qualified myself for the %^#@!$ stupid idiot award of the year by slicing and dicing a few fingers. due to the bulky bandages(refered to as a stump bandage) i wont be able to fit a welding glove on for a month or so . i do apologise to all,but will get the rest of the photos and plans done ASAP. fortunately long term it will only affect my ability to pick my nose ,which may disrupt my bulls**t detecting abilities slightly.

building a land yacht

"Build a Landyacht. Lake Lefroy Mini Yacht" started by landyacht

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Build your own yacht

A yacht isn’t built in a day. For the future owner it starts when after years of dreaming they decide that the time to have their own yacht built is now.

Home › Your Yacht › Build your own yacht

Build your imagination

As a process, having your own yacht built comes close to having your own house built. You have an idea, you talk to an architect, you discuss the intended use, possibilities, materials and budgets. Except that when its done, you can take your boat all over the world.

Building a yacht: step by step plan

After a first contact, usually by phone or email, we make an appointment to meet. Face to face, digital or in the flesh, whatever works best for you. We discuss initial ideas, wishes and demands. We want to get to know you and your sailing intentions, so we understand what kind of boat fits you. When we have a general idea of the intended use, the size, hull shape, riging wishes and budget, that’s when we can start sketching.

We draw our initial designs. Top view, side views. These sketches form the basis of a process that can take anything from a couple of months to more than a year. There are many choices to make. Shape, size, exterior, interior, materials, number of masts, huts, bunks, engine type to name but a few. After each round of schetches we discuss the design choices. If they meet your demands and how they have consequences for other wishes you might have. You can imagine how for example the choice for a lifting keel influences the interior.

Prepare for building

When the final drawings are approved, we can prepare for hull building. This means breaking the whole design down to a list of all parts and materials and checking their availability. Once we know when we can have all necessary materials, we can start planning the build.

Start building

The day we start the actual build is a special day. If in any way possible the owners are present and get the honour of performing the first weld, much like laying the first brick when building a new house.

When the hull is done and it is time to build the interior, we ideally make a mockup of the yacht so we can walk you through it and make sure we’re still on the right track.

Finishing touch

Now it’s time for finishing, electricity, plumbing and then we’re ready for testing.

Before we can launch, we test everything inside. Water, plumbing, lights, gas and if everything works as planned, it time to launch.

Launch time

The moment everybody has been waiting for. Launch time. But the yacht isn’t finished yet. The next step still holds some essential parts.

Getting ready

Mast, rigging and sails are installed. Quite important for a sail boat.

Now your yacht is ready to be tested in the field, or in our case in the lake, the IJsselmeer.

And then, after what usually has been more than 12 months, we can hand the ownership officially over to you.

A custom built yacht is unique. There is no way of knowing beforehand that what looked like an excellent idea on paper, will perform exactly as expected. So after a few weeks of sailing, you might want to come back and have some options changed or added. This is normal and we still have to build our first yacht that doesn’t need a few tweaks here and there before its new owners are perfectly happy.

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Design Process

Translating the customer’s demands and wishes into a comfortable, reliable and safe yacht is basically what the design process entails. It all starts with listening to the customer, what do they want, what do they need and how can we make that happen.

Decades of experience, expertise and many specialized eyes for detail.

Building process.

A yacht isn’t built in a day. For the future owner it starts when after years of dreaming they decide that the time to have their own yacht built, is now.

This is Bestevaer

Every yacht we built is unique, and built specifically for its owner. No two yachts are the same, as each owner has his own wishes and demands.

Bestevaer M/Y

Inspired by its iconic Bestevaer expedition sailing yachts, KM Yachtbuilders proudly presents a motoryacht like no other. With its minimal design in raw aluminium and Scandic design interior Bestevaer motoryachts set the bar for understated elegance. Form follows function, the function being: a go-anywhere yacht offering real comfort in all weather conditions. Where will you go next?

A grey and white with wooden deck Racing Sparrow model yacht built by Eric Rosenbaum from the USA

Build your own radio controlled yacht

Are you ready to embark on the exciting journey of building your very own model rc yacht.

Our comprehensive eBook has  clear building instructions and step-by-step photography for the Racing Sparrow 750mm RC Yacht.

What we cover in our boat building eBook

Download a sample of our eBook

Even those with limited building experience can join in on the fun with minimal materials and a simple toolset. Our eBook by New Zealander Bryn Heveldt covers strip planking, fibreglass strengthening, mould and casting techniques, electrics installation, spray painting and masking, sail making and tuning.

To get started on your Racing Sparrow model RC yacht project, purchase our eBook and download the PDF now.

internal structure - 3d model illustration

Racing Sparrow blog

We share tips and stories from the model boat building community. See all Blog Posts.

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The Design Rationale for the RacingSparrow 750

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Radio Controlled Yacht Electrics - For Beginners

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Model Yacht Design: Pushing the Limits with Racing Sparrow

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Using 3D Programs to Design Boats: A Beginner's Journey with Fusion 360

Free model boat plans.

We provide a number of different boat plans that you can build using techniques covered in our full eBook.

You can download plans for boats of different sizes and specifications.

Racing Sparrow model yacht rc sailboat plans - RG65 schematic plans

What our customers say about Racing Sparrow

Being a complete novice, I purchased your book a couple of years ago and built two racing sparrows. Building on this experience I then went on to build, from scratch, an IOM (Triple Crown design). I've since joined a local club and sail virtually every weekend. I would just like to thank you for your endeavours which have allowed me to enter a world I never thought was in my reach.

John Sterland, Australia

Coming upon your book, "Build your own Radio Controlled Yacht" in the Napier Public Library, I am hugely impressed. The combination of your superb photos and illustrations with your easy writing style make it a standout publication and I hope it does well for you.

Richard Spence, New Zealand

Thanks for an excellent design in your RG65. I trialled her again today in a solid 20 knots gusting higher. Even so in a steep chop and fingers off the rudder she drove upwind remarkably well, balanced perfectly. Very impressed that a model boat can handle that with a large rig. I found the book excellent. Ive built several big boats, plus a few skiffs and without that resource building such a good boat would have been impossible.

Mike Bennett

Boats built by the Racing Sparrow community

We continue to be amazed at the beautiful model RC boats created by Racing Sparrow enthusiasts .  Send your images to

Take a look at the full boat gallery  page. So many fine model yachts!

John Clark , Perth, Western Australia

Nov 22, 2008

building a land yacht

Hamish Coubrey , Auckland

Sep 10, 2013

building a land yacht

Hi Bryn, I recently finished building these 2 Racing Sparrow RS750s which i really enjoyed, it was a great project and kept me busy for a few months. They have been for a successful maiden voyage and sail great and now just need a few tweaks in the sail department to get them sailing even better. Thanks.

Andy Saunders + Son , New Zealand

Sep 9, 2021

building a land yacht

Jonathon Gillham , New Zealand

Oct 11, 2018

building a land yacht

More about Racing Sparrow

When I was nine years old my father, Ross Heveldt taught me to sail down at Bucklands Beach in Auckland. My wee optimist dinghy was called 'The Racing Sparrow', the nickname my uncle Bruce Curry gave to me when I was a small boy. Apparently I had an abundance of energy.

I studied at Whanganui School of Design and have been a designer / developer since 1998. I live in New Zealand.

Best wishes and happy sailing, Bryn Heveldt.

To contact me please email:

Bryn when he was nine years old sailing the original Racing Sparrow Optimist down at Eastern Beach, Auckland

building a land yacht

Sunfish Land Yacht


Introduction: Sunfish Land Yacht

Sunfish Land Yacht

Step 1: Front Fork and Wheel

Front Fork and Wheel

The front wheel is a cheap pneumatic dolly tire and wheel from harbor freight. I think it was $6 on sale. The fork is from a junked mountain bike. I inserted the fork ends into two pipes. I pried the fork wide open with the two pipes then clenched them again around a big pipe. That made the fork wide enough to straddle the fat tire. I cut the fork short, beat the ends flat, and drilled holes for the axle bolt. The frame is a sort of cage that surrounds the bow of the boat. It grips the rub rail on the two sides. It doesn't really touch it anywhere else. It looks pretty complicated, but it's just a bunch of tubes welded together. I first welded up the bracket that grips the rim of the boat. Then I positioned the front wheel where it needed to be. Then I just kept welding more tubes on until the frame was all triangles. Triangles make a strong frame. A rectangle can be squashed by pushing on the corners. But not a triangle. That's why your bike frame gets bent at the front where it's sort of rectangular. The triangular parts of a bike frame hardly ever get bent. Study hard in geometry class to learn why that is. It's useful!

Step 2: Design Paralysis

Design Paralysis

That's not originally what I thought it would look like. At first I thought it would look something like this, but that wouldn't give it enough ground clearance. If only I'd left the fork longer. Oh well. I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to attach the front wheel to the boat. I got kind of stalled and couldn't think of an elegant way of doing it.

Step 3: Rear Axle

Rear Axle

The rear axle was easy. I had a pair of wheelbarrow wheels and found a pair of big bolts the right size to fit them. I cut some lightweight 2" square steel pipe and welded it into a sort of 'M' shape to match the Vee of the boat's bottom. I drilled holes in the ends for the axle bolts and bolted the wheels on. I put two nuts on the axle bolts and tightened them against each other so they wouldn't come off. I didn't over-tighten the bolts so as to not side-load the bearings too much. That went great! But how about that front wheel? hmm.

Step 4: Don't Design It, Just Build It

Don't Design It, Just Build It

Eventually I remembered that I could build stuff without designing it first. So I filled my MP3 player with lectures from the London School of Economics , put on my Jackhammer Headphones , and just started welding stuff around the front of the boat. I had a good collection of junked bikes and broken IKEA chairs to cut metal from. I used my spoolgun powered by the Solar Golf Cart to do the welding. I ran the spoolgun on 18 volts for the thin stuff and 24 volts for the thick stuff. I used .030" flux core wire. I did the tack welds with the frame on the boat to get the fit right. Then I pulled the frame off to complete the welds so I wouldn't burn the boat.

Step 5: Listen to the Caffeine

Listen to the Caffeine

I watched my hands cut, fit, weld, and grind pipes into a complicated structure. Meanwhile, on my headphones, I learned about how regression analysis allows statisticians to predict Supreme Court decisions better than actual legal experts do. And before long, I had a strong lightweight front wheel bracketoganza! And a bit less scrap metal in my way! I tied the axle and the front wheel to the boat, hoisted the sail, and went sailing! It works great!

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Participated in the Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest

building a land yacht


The Pi of Agomotto

Big and Small Contest

Big and Small Contest

Made with AI - Autodesk Design & Make - Student Contest

Made with AI - Autodesk Design & Make - Student Contest

For the Home Contest

For the Home Contest

DIY Boat Building Plans

Yacht Plans & Blueprints

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Download over 500 Boat Plans. Click on the link below.

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Table of Contents

Overview of Yacht Plans & Blueprints

Yacht plans and blueprints are essential tools for anyone looking to build their own yacht . These detailed documents provide a roadmap for the construction process, outlining the necessary steps and specifications required to bring a yacht to life. Without a plan, building a yacht can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Yacht plans and blueprints provide the necessary guidance and structure to ensure a successful build.

Key Takeaways

  • Yacht plans and blueprints are essential for yacht design and construction.
  • There are different types of yacht plans and blueprints available, and it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.
  • Reading and interpreting yacht plans and blueprints requires some knowledge and skill.
  • Customizing yacht plans and blueprints can help you create a yacht that meets your specific requirements.
  • Quality yacht plans and blueprints can be found online, but cost considerations should also be taken into account.

Yacht Plans & Blueprints

Understanding the Importance of Yacht Plans & Blueprints

Safety considerations are of utmost importance when it comes to yacht construction. Yacht plans and blueprints take into account various safety factors, such as stability, buoyancy, and structural integrity. By following these plans, builders can ensure that their yacht meets all necessary safety standards. Accuracy in measurements and specifications is another crucial aspect of yacht plans and blueprints. These documents provide precise measurements for each component of the yacht, ensuring that everything fits together seamlessly. This accuracy is essential for the overall functionality and performance of the yacht. Cost-effectiveness is yet another advantage of using yacht plans and blueprints. By having a detailed plan in place, builders can avoid costly mistakes and rework. The plans outline the necessary materials and quantities required for each stage of construction, allowing builders to budget effectively and minimize waste.

Types of Yacht Plans & Blueprints Available

There are three main types of yacht plans and blueprints available: stock plans, semi-custom plans, and custom plans. Stock plans are pre-designed plans that are readily available for purchase. These plans are created by professional yacht designers and offer a range of designs to choose from. Stock plans are a cost-effective option for those looking to build a yacht without the need for extensive customization. Semi-custom plans offer a middle ground between stock plans and custom plans. These plans allow for some level of customization, such as modifying the interior layout or adding specific features. Semi-custom plans provide a balance between affordability and personalization. Custom plans are tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the builder. These plans are created in collaboration with a yacht designer, taking into account the builder’s vision and requirements. Custom plans offer the highest level of personalization but can be more expensive and time-consuming to develop.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Yacht Plans & Blueprints

When choosing yacht plans and blueprints, several factors need to be considered. The size and type of yacht are important considerations, as different designs and plans are suitable for different purposes. Whether you’re looking to build a small sailing yacht or a large motor yacht, selecting the right plan is crucial. The skill level of the builder is another factor to consider. Some plans may require advanced woodworking or metalworking skills, while others are more beginner-friendly. It’s important to choose a plan that aligns with your skill level to ensure a successful build. Budget is also a significant factor when selecting yacht plans and blueprints. Stock plans are generally more affordable, while custom plans can be more expensive due to the additional design work involved. It’s essential to establish a budget and find a plan that fits within your financial constraints.

How to Read and Interpret Yacht Plans & Blueprints

Reading and interpreting yacht plans and blueprints can seem daunting at first, but with some basic knowledge, it becomes much more manageable. Understanding symbols and abbreviations is crucial, as these are used throughout the plans to represent various components and materials. Familiarizing yourself with these symbols will help you navigate the plans effectively. Reading measurements and dimensions is another essential skill when working with yacht plans and blueprints. These measurements provide precise information about the size and placement of each component. It’s important to understand how these measurements are represented on the plans to ensure accurate construction. Interpreting sections and elevations is another aspect of reading yacht plans and blueprints. These drawings provide a detailed view of the yacht from different angles, allowing builders to visualize how everything fits together. Understanding these drawings will help you understand the overall structure and layout of the yacht.

The Role of Yacht Plans & Blueprints in Yacht Design

Yacht plans and blueprints play a crucial role in the yacht design process. They serve as a communication tool between the designer and the builder, ensuring that the builder understands the designer’s vision and requirements. Plans provide a visual representation of the yacht, allowing both parties to collaborate effectively. The importance of plans in the design process cannot be overstated. They provide a roadmap for the construction process, ensuring that all necessary steps are followed and that the final product meets the desired specifications. Plans also allow for adjustments and modifications to be made before construction begins, saving time and resources. Collaboration between the designer and builder is key when working with yacht plans and blueprints. The builder’s input and feedback are essential in ensuring that the plans meet their needs and preferences. This collaboration ensures that the final product is a true reflection of both the designer’s vision and the builder’s requirements.

Customizing Yacht Plans & Blueprints to Suit Your Needs

While stock plans offer a range of designs to choose from, sometimes builders may want to make modifications to suit their specific needs. Making modifications to existing plans is a common practice and allows builders to personalize their yacht without starting from scratch. Working with a designer to create a custom plan is another option for those looking for a truly unique yacht. Custom plans offer complete personalization, allowing builders to incorporate specific features or design elements that are not available in stock plans. This option requires collaboration with a yacht designer to bring your vision to life.

The Benefits of Using Yacht Plans & Blueprints for DIY Projects

Using yacht plans and blueprints for DIY projects offers several benefits. One of the most significant advantages is cost savings. By building your own yacht, you can save a significant amount of money compared to purchasing a pre-built yacht. Yacht plans and blueprints provide the necessary guidance to ensure a successful build, even for those with limited experience. Personalization is another benefit of using plans and blueprints for DIY projects. By building your own yacht, you have the freedom to customize every aspect of the design to suit your preferences. This level of personalization is not possible with pre-built yachts. The satisfaction of building your own yacht is also a significant benefit. The sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing your creation come to life is unparalleled. Building a yacht is a challenging but rewarding endeavor that allows you to create something truly unique.

Where to Find Quality Yacht Plans & Blueprints

Finding quality yacht plans and blueprints is essential for a successful build. There are several resources available for builders looking for plans. Online resources offer a wide range of options, including stock plans and custom designs. Many yacht design firms also offer plans for sale, providing professional designs and expertise. Boat shows and events are another great place to find quality yacht plans and blueprints. These events often feature displays from various designers and builders, allowing you to see different designs firsthand and speak directly with professionals in the industry.

Cost Considerations for Yacht Plans & Blueprints

The cost of yacht plans and blueprints can vary depending on several factors. Custom plans tend to be more expensive due to the additional design work involved. Stock plans are generally more affordable, but prices can vary depending on the complexity and size of the design. Budget-friendly options are available for those looking to minimize costs. Some designers offer discounted or budget-friendly plans that still provide high-quality designs at a more affordable price point. It’s important to research different options and compare prices to find a plan that fits within your budget.

Yacht Plans & Blueprints

Conclusion – Yacht Plans & Blueprints

In conclusion, yacht plans and blueprints are essential tools for anyone looking to build their own yacht. These detailed documents provide the necessary guidance and structure to ensure a successful build. Yacht plans and blueprints offer numerous benefits, including safety considerations, accuracy in measurements and specifications, and cost-effectiveness. When choosing yacht plans and blueprints, factors such as the size and type of yacht, skill level of the builder, and budget need to be considered. It’s important to understand how to read and interpret yacht plans and blueprints to ensure accurate construction. Yacht plans and blueprints play a crucial role in the yacht design process, facilitating collaboration between the designer and builder. Customizing yacht plans and blueprints allows builders to personalize their yacht to suit their specific needs. Using plans and blueprints for DIY projects offers cost savings, personalization, and the satisfaction of building your own yacht. Quality yacht plans and blueprints can be found online, through yacht design firms, or at boat shows and events. Cost considerations should also be taken into account when selecting plans, with budget-friendly options available. In conclusion, yacht plans and blueprints are invaluable resources for anyone embarking on a yacht-building project. They provide the necessary guidance, safety considerations, and personalization options to ensure a successful build. By utilizing these plans, builders can bring their vision to life while saving costs and experiencing the satisfaction of building their own yacht.

FAQs – Yacht Plans & Blueprints

What are yacht plans and blueprints.

Yacht plans and blueprints are detailed drawings and diagrams that provide a comprehensive guide for building a yacht. They include information on the yacht’s design, dimensions, materials, and construction techniques.

Who uses yacht plans and blueprints?

Yacht plans and blueprints are used by boat builders, yacht designers, and individuals who want to build their own yacht. They are also used by naval architects and engineers who are involved in the design and construction of yachts.

What information is included in yacht plans and blueprints?

Yacht plans and blueprints typically include information on the yacht’s hull design, deck layout, rigging, propulsion system, electrical system, plumbing system, and interior layout. They also include detailed drawings of each component and instructions on how to assemble them.

Where can I find yacht plans and blueprints?

Yacht plans and blueprints can be found online, in books, and through yacht design firms. Some yacht design firms offer custom plans and blueprints based on the client’s specific needs and preferences.

Do I need any special skills to use yacht plans and blueprints?

Building a yacht using plans and blueprints requires a certain level of skill and experience in boat building . It is recommended that individuals who want to build their own yacht have some prior experience in woodworking, fiberglassing, and other boat building techniques.

How long does it take to build a yacht using plans and blueprints?

The time it takes to build a yacht using plans and blueprints depends on the size and complexity of the yacht, as well as the builder’s skill level and available resources. It can take anywhere from several months to several years to complete a yacht build.

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Building A Custom Superyacht [Complete Newbuild Guide]

Building A Custom Superyacht [Complete Newbuild Guide]

July 25, 2019 11:40 am

The process of building a large yacht explained.

Placing an order for the build of a large yacht is no small undertaking. It is likely the result of a lifetime—perhaps even generations—of wealth building for such a purchase to become an option. When the time comes, how does the client start the process and where does he or she look for suitable partners? The maritime world is famously full of jargon, and the luxury yacht business is no different. Brokers , naval architects, interior designers, class societies, custom yachts, production yachts, flag states, owner’s supply, surveyors, shipyards, subcontractors, builder’s risk insurance , project managers, tank testing . . . you catch my drift.

Thought-through decisions and complicated contracts should certainly be anticipated, but as a wise man once told me about yachting, “At the end of the day, it’s all about cocktails on the beach.” While the dream of being on the water waits at the end of a newbuild process, building a yacht should be an enjoyable and rewarding process in itself.

  • Newbuild Process Overview
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  • What Sets One Builder Apart from Another?
  • What Sets A Brand Apart?

building a land yacht


“Production” Yachts tend to be in the smaller range and the process will likely be simpler than for a custom build. With a finished product already in inventory and available, only minor interior design elements need to be added per the client’s choice. A number of yacht builders will begin building larger yachts in anticipation of finding a buyer later, offering “semi-custom” as an option for elements of the interior layout and design.

For the custom build, the process will look something like this:

Vision > Design > Contract > Build > Sea Trial > Delivery > Cocktails on the Beach

The above is an intense simplification. Each stage involves multiple levels of experts and support staff. The client will want to surround him or herself with qualified attorneys, technical advisors, and translators of the jargon. One other important element to mention is that the design and build contract cost will not be the only outlay required to reach the endpoint. Custom yacht contracts mostly do not include items known as “Owner’s Supply,” i.e. tenders and water toys, audio-visual/entertainment systems, loose furniture, tableware, and more. Each of these will need to be procured, stored, insured, and integrated into the yacht itself as part of the process.

building a land yacht


Step one, “Vision,” allows almost anything to be conceived and delivered in a yacht. There are plenty of “concept designs” available on the internet to offer the client inspiration for their vision, but we have seen a few trends in recent years. The “plumb bow,” the explorer yacht, hybrid propulsion, podded propulsion, as well as attention to environmental impact elements of the design and subsequent operations are all topics which have received attention in the industry press.

building a land yacht


As with any high-value undertaking, a large yacht construction project will require numerous partnerships and you may be asking yourself, “Who is involved with a custom yacht build process?” With the client at the top, some or all of the following will be necessary for a successful and enjoyable project experience:

A yacht broker , to advise the client on availability and the suitable market for construction and opening budget concepts. A naval architect for concept design. An engineer for detailed design. An interior designer. Attorneys for contract review, tax advice, etc. An insurance broker . A yacht builder , who may also provide some or all of the naval architecture, engineering, and even interior design services. Flag State , to provide surveyors with approval of safety code compliance. Classification Society, a third-party service assuring the quality of construction. Owner’s Project Manager , to record and represent the client’s interests across the entire project. (Depending on the size of the yacht, this may be one person or a team.) Yacht crew. (Depending on the size and complexity of the yacht, it may be wise to start bringing a crew into the project 6-12 months from completion.) Owner’s supply vendors , for audio-visual/entertainment systems, tenders, spares, and consumable supplies all needed to be managed and integrated into the final delivery.

building a land yacht


The best plans are flexible and organized carefully so that changes or delays do not derail a project entirely. With this in mind, each partnership must be equally flexible throughout the project since an owner’s design needs, the yacht’s delivery schedules, and compliance requirements often change.

building a land yacht


The process of building a large yacht is a long-term commitment and a major investment. A prospective client may consider hiring a project manager to assist with fielding the complexities at hand, protecting the client’s interests in the process and enabling the finished dream to be delivered on time and on budget. For a “simple” project, the project manager may be one person attending the yard on an occasional basis, but for larger builds, expect to see numerous staff on the project management team—some full time and others with short-term specialties needed during particular phases of the build.

building a land yacht


Denison Yachting represents a number of builders in various regions of the United States with dealerships for Hatteras and Horizon, both of which typically build production or semi-custom yachts. Additionally, Denison is currently offering a number of new construction projects from yards Rosetti, Numarine , and Van der Valk , who all offer fully custom and semi-custom projects. Each year, we commit to visiting various yards in Italy , Germany , and The Netherlands to stay up to date on project availability and maintain relationships with the world’s top yacht builders.

Yacht brokerage houses often show newbuilds for sale. This may be a case where a builder has a design that they are promoting to the market, or maybe have even started construction without a specific client under contract. In some cases, clients or builders will start new construction as a speculative investment intending to sell the contract to a third party.

building a land yacht


Boat International’s Builder Directory includes 1,805 separate entries, so the choices are broad. Builders can be found in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Australia, and beyond. Some builders may specialize in a particular material, i.e. GRP, aluminum, or steel, and others may limit the size, the numbers, or the design choices (custom/production.) A client may use any of these to narrow down the selection, but the real distinction between builders will be the manner in which they treat the client. If the client is made welcome in the builder’s facility throughout the process, that builder will more than likely succeed. If the builder is transparent in their process, then they will succeed. If a builder says “yes” to every client request but fails to deliver, then they will likely fail.

Once a client has a particular style of yacht in mind, the selection of suitable builders will narrow down even further and the client’s broker should assist that process with their knowledge of the market. Then the client may consider asking candidate yards to suggest design concepts, then begin the evaluation and decision process. If using an independent naval architect to produce a concept, they may suggest suitable builders for the vision.

building a land yacht


There are innumerable brokerages willing to sell a client a newbuild, and just as many builders who would likely be willing to deal direct. Do all of those companies have the depth of experience, integrity, expertise, and background that is needed to assist a client seeking to embark on such a high-value and complex project? Has that broker taken the time to learn the market options available? Do they have the skills necessary to listen and advise for the client’s benefit rather than their own? Denison has the build and brokerage experience matched with the knowledge and integrity required to take a client to the next level of their yachting dream.

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Spirit of Tradition Yachts Designed In Maine

Home » News » Design » 5 Principles Building Boats Can Teach Us About Building on Land

5 Principles Building Boats Can Teach Us About Building on Land

Posted on January 10, 2022 and filed under Design , Immerst , Marine Engineering , Sustainability , SWD News & Stories

As a design firm rooted in the marine industry, we often reference the great naval architects and boat builders of the past to draw inspiration. Looking back through the annals of marine history provides not only fascinating insight into the past, it also sparks the imagination to find the next great design innovation.

While boatbuilding and marine design may constitute only a small percentage of the larger architecture and design world, it’s increasingly clear that there are many best practices and principles of boatbuilding (both old and new), which can help inspire, innovate, and guide the future of architecture, construction, and interior design on land.

Below is a list of the top principles of what boatbuilding and marine architecture can teach us about building on land.

building a land yacht

The worlds-largest sail assist yacht, Sailing Yacht A, which measures over 143 m and weights over 126K tonnes. Designed by Nobiskrug.

Efficiency and Luxury are not Contradictions

Ocean going vessels by their very nature are limited by the resources they carry, consume, and produce. The value of potable water, power, and fuel become inherent when crossing an ocean. Run out of resources and you perish. Given these high stakes, boat designers place a high value on efficiency in every aspect of design and operation of a vessel.  Lighting, showerheads, toilets, pumps, motors, and cooking appliances are all designed to conserve and optimize. However, in yacht design, success is measured at a much higher bar than mere survival.  Yacht owners want the ability to spend extended time at sea while enjoying the experience in premium comfort and style.

Fortunately, the optimization of efficiency and luxury don’t have to come at the expense of one another.  While sailboats can be seen as the original “green” transportation vehicle, today some of the largest and most luxurious “gigayachts” on the ocean are propelled with sails ,  sail assisted , or utilize hybrid propulsion systems. Waste-heat recovery systems maximize efficiency and reduce CO2 and new efficient desalination and wastewater recovery systems mean long showers are possible even when water supply is limited. 

Some of these technologies, if not developed in parallel, will have already spilled over into mainstream housing design.  However, as climate change places greater pressure on the cost and availability of resources (coupled with a need to reduce carbon emissions) more architects will look to the marine industry for solutions that are effective while also maintaining a level of style and luxury.

building a land yacht

Wood mast and boom on, Italmas, a 44 weekend cruiser designed by Stephens Waring. Photo credit : Alison Langley

Innovative Building Materials are a Win Win

When measuring sustainability, it’s important to not only assess how something operates (resources in and emissions out), but also to measure the footprint of the materials from which it’s built. We recognize that on this topic a reflection of boatbuilding requires a critical eye.  In many cases, boatbuilding is a complex, chemically intensive process which has not always led to the greenest of practices. However, boatbuilders and marine designers have a long history of continual improvement by experimenting, testing, and rethinking materials and building components.

While strength, weight, maintenance, and beauty have always been key factors for material selection, there is one material with an ancient history in boat construction that checks all the boxes. It’s also on the leading edge in the field of sustainable material technology today: wood.

building a land yacht

The 280-foot-tall MjøstĂĄrnet tower became the world’s tallest timber building when it opened in 2019. Credit: Woodify AS / Photo: Vjus AS

Wood products store carbon, helping to mitigate climate change while also providing a good alternative for materials that require large amounts of fossil fuels to produce.  A 2019 study found that a hybrid mass timber building achieved 26.5% lower global warming potential than a concrete building.

  And while the use of scarce, tropical hardwoods like teak and old-growth wood from domestic forests are not sustainable, new wood technologies like mass timber and modified wood are providing pathways for fast-replenishing and sustainable supplies. These new wood technologies are extremely durable and strong. Products like LIGNIA can mimic the look of traditional decorative hardwoods. Beautiful, strong and sustainable, wood has brought us full circle from 5,000 year old Egyptian sailing vessels to cutting edge skyscrapers of the future .

Read more about the complexity of sustainable boatbuilding here . 

building a land yacht

Master Suite on 65ft Anna, designed by Stephens Waring. Photo credit: Alison Langley

Small Spaces Can Feel Big

Ask anyone that’s spent considerable time living on a boat and they can speak to their appreciation for every square inch of extra available space.  As real estate prices skyrocket across the country driven by housing supply shortages and soaring construction costs, many building and homebuyers are looking to make more of smaller homes and spaces. Look no further than the popularity of the Tiny Home Market , which is set to grow by USD 3.33 billion between 2021-2025.

Yacht designers are the heavy-weight contenders of space efficiency.  They think about how each wall and surface can serve multiple roles with transformative configurations and compartments.  Yacht builders are also masters of illusions with paint, lighting, and scaling to make even confined spaces feel bigger, more airy, and inviting. As small space magicians, the techniques of yacht designers can help architects create better living experiences for individuals and families living in small abodes around the world.

building a land yacht

Multifunctional cockpit, dining area, and lounge on Isobel designed to maximize comfort, durability, and style. Boat designed by Stephens Waring. Photo credit: Alison Langley

Outdoor Living can by Luxurious 

For many homeowners, it took the pandemic for them to discover and appreciate their own backyard.  Now that they’ve discovered the joys of outdoor living, they’re not going back. Gone are the small decks with faded furniture and a tiny umbrella that barely covers a table. Living outdoors can be a year-round luxury affair.

For sailors, there has never been much of a discussion about spending time outdoors. It’s part of boating DNA.  However, yacht designers have made above-deck life a 5-star experience.  From outdoor dining to lounging and working, marine designers have created spaces that optimize luxury and provide a connection to nature while also being able to handle the toughest elements mother nature can throw at them. 

building a land yacht

Aphrodite, a storied commuter yacht built in 1937 and restored in 2005 by Brooklin Boatyard.

History is Sexy

As we spend more time at home, it is natural that we begin to think more romantically about the places we live. There is a desire to better connect the origin of our homes to history, community, and environment. For historic homes this may be manifested by pulling up floorboards to reveal the hardwoods. For new homes, it may include creating a design that matches the historical architecture and aesthetic of a neighborhood or even to the style of dwellings of the areas indigenous people (the adobe houses of Santa Fe, NM are a great example).

As creators of Spirt of Tradition Yachts   we tend to romanticize history as well. Yacht design is a great way to pay respect and draw inspiration from the past while also building on those legacies with new technology and innovation. The centuries of skills and artistry perfected by tradespeople including masons, carpenters, and skilled builders are quickly disappearing. There is much to be gleaned from these historic trades. There is also an opportunity to combine the artistry of the past with the latest technology and sustainable materials of the present.  When done well, it is possible to design something that transcends time.

Read more about the definition of Spirit of Tradition here .

site by: slickfish studios


Building a yacht: superyacht construction process

Building Your Own Yacht Process, Superyacht Construction, Marina Architecture, Buildings

Building A Yacht Of Your Own

29 June 2020

Building A Yacht Of Your Own – What Is The Process?

29th June 2020 – Imagine building your very own superyacht, designed to your specific needs, tastes and desires. While building a yacht is more complex and may take years of research and planning than buying new yachts or motor boats for sale , it will also be as exciting and fulfilling as all the future journeys you will enjoy onboard it.  But where to start? How do you go about tackling your very own superyacht construction to realise your own new build yacht ?

Building A Yacht Of Your Own

A Look Into Building A Yacht – How To Go About It?

Every custom-built superyacht starts with a vision, based on personal preference and taste, and the type of onboard lifestyle desired. What kind of cruising is required, which luxuries would you like onboard, for example a spa or swimming pool, and is a helipad necessary?   With a world of options to consider, the future owner will naturally be the driving force behind their own superyacht construction, but to ensure the smoothest journey possible, they will need a team of experts to work on such a big project.

The Superyacht Construction Team – Key Players

The process of building a yacht will involve a great number of decisions, so having the support of a knowledgeable and experienced team is imperative.

The owner may wish to engage a respected yacht broker to build the team, knowing that they spend a significant amount of time liaising with key players across the yachting industry.  They will also ensure the owner’s interests are protected, while providing access to some of the world’s most exciting and ground-breaking yacht builders.

Key players will include a professional yacht designer and naval architect, who will be chosen depending on the type and style of superyacht construction required.  An engineer will be engaged for detailed design, and an interior designer will need to work in conjunction with both, designing the layout and cabin suites to meet the owner’s requirements.

You will also need to engage an owner’s representative to oversee the superyacht construction on your behalf. In some cases, the vessel’s future captain may take this role, and offer guidance and reassurance throughout the design and construction stages. They will also negotiate the most favourable terms and protect the buyer’s interests.

Dedicated Project Management Team for Building A Yacht

In addition, when building a yacht, a project management team will be engaged to oversee the day-to-day details, from coordinating the production of the technical specs to running a tender process with shipyards, through to price and contract negotiations.

As the superyacht construction progresses, they will act as the go-between for the different parties involved, and ensure that every element of the project is handled efficiently and to the highest standard. Some will work full time, while others with short-term specialisms may be engaged during particular phases of the build.

Building yacht shipyard Europe

The Shipyard – The Heart of Superyacht Construction

The shipyard is where the superyacht construction finally gets underway, using its state-of-the-art equipment, experienced representatives and skilled craftsmen. Involved from the design stage, the shipyard will work closely with the project manager and/or owner’s representative, as well as both the interior and exterior designers to ensure that the end result not only fits the owner’s specifications, but also meets marine legislation and technical requirements.

With the complexities of changing international legislation, it is the project manager’s job to liaise with all parties to ensure that everyone is kept up-to-date on any necessary design changes or alterations.

The Legalities

An experienced team of maritime lawyers will be engaged to write contracts that set the guidelines for the build and protect the buyer from technical issues and delays.  Detailed build milestones and payment schedules will also be drawn up. On the vessel’s completion, lawyers will advise on flag registration and handle all other regulatory aspects, as well as the operational setup and ownership structure.

Sea Trial – Exciting & Essential

After successfully building a yacht to the owner’s requirements, surveyors will be needed to establish the vessel’s performance and seaworthiness during a sea trial, an essential part of the construction of any new superyacht. During a sea trial, all parties work together to fine-tune the systems and iron out any issues.

Typically a sea trial takes place on open water and can last several days. The yacht’s crew will usually be engaged six months to a year before completion, and will play an integral part in putting the superyacht through its paces. These will include testing the vessel’s speed, manoeuvrability, equipment and safety features.

Also present onboard will be technical representatives from the shipyard as well as those from any major systems used, the owner’s representative, and governing and certification officials.

The certification officials are employed by a classification society, a third-party service that assures the quality of construction – the nautical equivalent of an MOT. The classification certificate they issue will be required for registering the yacht and obtaining marine insurance.  It may also be required before entering certain ports or waterways, and will be of interest to future charterers and potential buyers.

Owner’s Supply

Most custom yacht contracts do not include what is known as the Owner’s Supply – any additional items the owner desires after building a yacht, such as tenders and water toys, audio-visual and entertainment systems, loose furniture, tableware, and decorative objects.   Each will need to be procured, insured, managed and integrated into the yacht itself before final delivery.

Building A Yacht – The Final Delivery

At last the big day arrives: the superyacht is delivered to her delighted owner, and launched with much fanfare and celebration. The proud new owner is now free to enjoy their very own, truly unique superyacht out on the open water.

The process of building a yacht might be a complex, long-term commitment and a major investment, but a custom-built vessel is limited only by the owner’s imagination. For all the effort and work involved, there can be nothing more thrilling than realising a new build yacht that fulfils all your dreams and requirements, enjoying it with family and friends for many years to come.

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Comments / photos for the Building A Yacht Of Your Own – What Is The Process? page welcome

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Build Your Own Yacht

Please refine your search or simply email us or call 1 954 525 5111 and we'll immediately put you in contact with one of our yacht specialists to discuss your enquiry.


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It’s Time To Build Your Own Yacht

If you’re ever trying to rationalize a reason to build your own yacht,  look no further than your dreams. Think of the places you’ll go. The true beauty of a yacht, sometimes forgotten in her size and her solid feel and homelike surroundings, is that she is a conveyance, a mode of transport that can bring you and your family and friends to anywhere you could wish.

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Build A Yacht For Your Lifestyle

Imagine spending the day exploring the meandering, shadowed streets of an old world town, having lunch at a sidewalk café, and showing your children or grandchildren the frescoes of a cathedral you learned about in a college art class (was it really that long ago?), returning to the yacht at dusk for dinner on board, and then an overnight passage, where you wake to discover an island laid out before you, with no other boats around, and a selection of snorkeling gear, standup paddleboards, kayaks, and more at your disposal. Only a yacht can deliver this kind of experience.

Yacht Building Is Your Ultimate Creation

But, why build your own yacht? It’s a good question. When you’re ready to make your mark on both the world and your life, there are few better ways to express oneself than through the creation of something wonderful. And, with a team of professionals dedicated to making your dreams a reality, and guide you through the steps of creating something real, and substantial, and beautiful, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. To build your own yacht is to embrace your full understanding of the yin and yang of your personality.

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New Yacht Construction Specialists

New yacht construction includes the technical specifications you lay out for performance and range, speed and hull volume, class and capability, all with the help of the yachting experts at Merle Wood & Associates who have extensive knowledge and new build experience. They have dedicated their careers to assisting their clients in creating something new and unique. Building a new luxury yacht can be a complex and costly event for someone unfamiliar with the process, which is why having a recognized global leader in megayacht construction on your team, before going to contact, ensures that the right elements are covered.

Custom Mega Yachts

Your custom yacht also comprises the beautiful spaces you will create and enjoy with your family and friends, replete with the welcoming social spaces that will offer unmatched vistas, embracing the sea breezes on the aft deck or from the flying bridge, gathering spots for the whole family that will provide the latest in media technology or a respite from it, as you prefer. How you want to divide your available space between stateroom and bath, closets and seating, galley and on-board gym, family and guests, it’s all up to you.

build your own yacht

Build or Buy A Luxury Yacht

Of course, the creative process required to build your own yacht doesn’t happen overnight—and that’s part of the appeal, since the ultimate goal is meant to have an air of timelessness, of real creation, of getting it right. Often a candidate for a yacht-building project will instead buy a mega yacht, and this can be a simpler solution to one looking to step into a situation for the upcoming season. But similar to undertaking the effort to build your own yacht, the purchase process will be aided by dedicated professionals who will look to you for direction.

Luxury Yacht Ownership Awaits

Knowing one’s mind in terms of the required capabilities of the yacht and also the amenities desired will certainly help the process along and may in fact inspire you to consider building your own yacht, especially after one considers the available inventory on the market. After all, it all gets back to you and your dreams. And when you think of the places you’ll go, yacht ownership simply makes sense . The question is not, “ why buy a yacht ? ” The question is simply when and how. So whether you wish to know how to buy a yacht , build your own yacht or buy a mega yacht, the next step awaits.

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Speak To A Yacht Broker

To build your own yacht, you’ll want expert guidance from qualified new yacht construction specialists. Merle Wood & Associates have seen the construction (including those now in progress) of more than 60 yachts ranging from 100 feet to more than 500 feet in length. Because of this, we are globally recognized by our piers and clients as leaders in new yacht construction.

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A Certain Shade of Red A Physics Land Yacht Project in 2006

This project started on 02 Feb 2006 when I was 16 years old as a JC1 student in Raffles Junior College. The final project report is reproduced below almost verbatim, and documents the project quite comprehensively. As for the actual construction process, I quote from my journal (with some edits):

Today for physics we were told of some building thing, which we have to build some land yacht. Similar to Mr. Lim B. H's physics projects, but I think it's not as a good. For one they tell you not to make your own wheel holes (they provide some white bottle caps) because they think a whole group of the smartest 16 and 17 + year olds in the country can't safely handle Basic machining tools like drills, and cannot drill holes properly. Anyway, it's wiser to drill a hole first than to make a wheel, because that's what people mostly do, even with CNC'ed wheels! And do you really trust the lab people to drill accurate holes (they have to, after all drill hundreds of holes dead centre of circles)? So I think my group shall make the wheels ourselves :). Saves them some trouble too.

I formed a group of 4 with some classmates, and on 5th Feb 2006 , I started doing some proper research...

Was doing some research on the Physics land yacht. Actually if it was to make an amphibian vehicle it would be a lot cooler, but no we are just doing it on land, which is not very exciting. Anyway, there is a lot to read about sails and how to make it as efficient as possible. So actually if you take it seriously, it's not exactly very easy after all... but using a fan to generate wind is actually a very bad idea due to the mechanics of how the sail works.

06 Feb 2006 was when I made the first prototype, as you can see in the photograph below. It has a very skeletal construction and was perhaps, a bit too elaborate. Used a good number of bamboo skewers, novel techniques to shape them (e.g. fire to bend the wood for the chassis) and a very light (but flimsy) sail made out of clear wrap.

building a land yacht

Today I made a prototype for the physics land yacht thing. So far it looks promising, but I can't post the details here. It moves in a light breeze . Still have lots to improve .Took quite a bit of time to make Ugh. Need to do my other work now and I'm really sleepy.

10 Feb 2006

Today I rebuilt a 2nd prototype for the physics land yacht with an improved chassis design, using a grand total of 4 satay sticks including the axle. I used a heavier simpler less efficient paper sail (temp) but it still performs mighty well. Flies when using a Delta Focused Flow 120mm DC fan! Design looks more promising, and it's easier to build. Still can't figure out some things regarding sails. I think my chassis design is actually not too bad.

Having got the land yacht design more or less finalized, I built the final model on 12 Feb 2006 , and started working on the aesthetics and project report. The final model is as below.

building a land yacht

Note that I replaced the front wheel with a skid, shifted the sail back, and added a flaming paper decal.

17 Feb 2006 - The Competition (Building part) Day! Although I had already worked on 3 models, the competition required us to build the actual yacht model at the physics lab in a specified time under specific conditions. As I recall..

Today was the Physics land yacht building competition. Since we had planned it quite ok and I had built 3 models already, it was a rather easy task building it. So we spent about 1hr trying to make it look nice. I didn't have enough red ink so in the end I ended up with this paint scheme which I think looks reasonable ok. And check out those flaming hot wheels! Anyway, we spent a whole lot of money (800) though we had a quite a bit of extras leftover. I think it is possible to use some crafty method to make the yacht incredibly cheap and travel a medium distance, yet winning a the competition because of the loopholes in the calculation (distance traveled over cost or something like that). But then that's not the point in the competition. Penetrating power is not exactly very good for ours but I tried to minimize it by using an effective sail shape (hopefully). Decided to use a skid for the front because due to the nature of the design, the force exerted on that part is low, and hence unless a very efficient axle/wheel is used, the wheel might not even spin and hence still act as a skid, while increasing weight. The second advantage is that once the craft decelerates from drag of the sail, the design will case a rotation about the main axle and hence reduce force on the skid, hence reducing friction. But anyway, I'm happy with the design (though less than ideal) and the aesthetics (which we spent quite a bit of time doing). Yacht name is... A Certain Shade of Red ! Perhaps if we're lucky we can win! And by right everyone should have had finished building their yacht. So if you happen to have not built it yet hopefully you won't try and copy the design because then it's not fun and not the point anyway right? =).

24 Feb 2006 - Competition Day

The first half of Physics practical was spent having a tutorial, before we proceeded to a room called Space 1 (I think) for the physics yacht testing. After having heard of how the testing was like, I had quite low expectations for our craft, because it was designed exactly not for the competition (just a fan blowing at it), but rather as a real land yacht with constant wind. Expected to go about 4 metres. The test floor was also much rougher than I expected, but in the end, I think it did quite ok and went more than twice of my expected, which is good. Wasn't disappointed in that (8+m, versus 11+ which some others acheived), but was slightly disappointed that I didn't actually consider how the testing would be like and designed the craft for the competition itself (but it's not exactly the point). Perhaps thinking too much isn't really helpful. But now I do have some great plans on how to make a very good craft that would efficiently perform in that competition setting. Anyway. But I think my craft A Certain Shade of Red does look rather nice. And I still like my design. We learn everyday.

02 Mar 2006 - Results Day

building a land yacht

We had the Physics prize presentation for Physics.. and it was rather funny how the physics lecturer said that our project report seemed to be written for a scientific journal, and how the design was so comprehensively thought out. And surprise! Our class did pretty well. Nike got a commendation prize, and A Certain Shade of Red got Best Design and Report prize of $200! Unfortunately they were Borders vouchers.. I would have preferred cold hard cash. But anyway, it was fun!

So this is the story of my little land yacht project! And as mentioned above, here is the project report:


In this project, we were faced with the challenge to design and build a land yacht, with size (to fit inside a paper ream box for 2500 sheets), material and construction (must be constructed inside the physics lab in 2 hours) limitations. A land yacht is a vehicle that moves on land and is entirely propelled by wind. The main performance will be characterized by 3 main techniques (competition): Distance [ distance traveled when propelled by a fan ], Distance per cost [ cost effectiveness, since we will need to 'buy' the materials ], and Aesthetics. Hence a few goals were set to achieve these as well as possible:

1. Design of chassis and sail will be as aesthetically pleasing as possible 2. Materials used will be kept to a minimum, to reduce cost 3. Made to travel as efficiently as possible, as a land yacht model

Materials provided are as follows: bamboo sticks, ice-cream sticks, light string, straws, super glue, scotch tape, sail material (plastic, paper, aluminium foil) . Most efficient use of the materials is important to reduce cost, and yet being beneficial to the performance characteristics of the entire vehicle.

Main Chassis Design In order to make a most efficient design, the chassis would have to be designed as efficiently as possible. After research, it was noticed that most designs were similar, with 3 main contact points – two rear wheels and a front wheel. Three points define a plane; hence to reduce weight, a chassis with 3 contact points was designed from the beginning. The chassis had to be as stable as possible, and include a mast. In order to maximize efficiency, the chassis was designed to fit just under the size limit. In order for the craft to be stable, its base area was designed to be as large as possible. Hence the main axle length was made to be 20cm long, with the 3rd point as far away as possible from the rear axle. After some consideration, a minimalist design was created to be as strong as possible, yet using as little material as possible. Material choice of the chassis was limited to bamboo sticks, ice-cream sticks and straws. Bamboo sticks were chosen for their exceptional material properties (light and strong), and material dimensions (they are long, hence does not require joining unlike ice-cream sticks). Once the chassis was created (diagrams below), a mast had to be attached. The mast was placed near the rear of the base, this provides greater stability compared to a yacht with the sail situated close to the front, because a much greater force would be needed to provide sufficient torque to tip the yacht over about its front end (which would act as the pivot point in that case). The chassis had to be made as rigid as possible – flexing is detrimental as energy would be spent flexing the members instead of accelerating the vehicle. Hence the use of triangulation was used extensively in the minimal frame, resulting in a very strong, rigid yet lightweight frame. By Newton’s second law a = F/m . Hence given a force of equal magnitude, a less massive vehicle will experience greater acceleration, allowing it to reach greater speeds and hence cover more distance in a shorter period of time. Vehicle Component Design Sail Design

Before designing the sail shape, research was done to find out how competition land yachts had their sail designed. It was discovered that sail design was a main factor in yacht performance. A well designed sail can accelerate a vehicle to almost three times the speed of the wind due to an airfoil shape which creates a low pressure at the front of the sail. Most land speed record sails were rigid, thin and high, and were most efficient in constant strong wind. However, these required precise sail shaping and acceleration was slow (though with high top speed). We were constrained by materials and hence a different option had to be taken. While sailing downwind, water yachts frequently deploy an extra sail specifically for use in downwind, called a Spinnaker. It resembles a parachute somewhat in both construction and appearance, and when deployed, it fills with wind and balloons out in front of the boat. One main difference when compared to a normal sail is that a spinnaker is a type of airfoil and does generate lift. Lift and drag generated by the spinnaker act both to move the craft forward; hence lift-to-drag ratio is not important. The goal is then to generate the maximum possible lift with no consideration of drag. Hence most spinnakers have extreme amounts of camber, making them nearly hemispherical in form. The large camber maximizes the low pressure on the downwind side of the sail, generating the lift. Material Choice of the sail was limited to aluminium foil, mahjong paper and plastic sheet. The lightest material was chosen for the sail to reduce the overall weight of the yacht. Hence paper was chosen as it was the lightest per surface area, cheapest, and easy to decorate (aesthetics). With the same net force acting on a lighter craft, there is greater acceleration, and speed is enhanced. The general shape was triangular with a smaller sail area at the top of the yacht. This will lead to improved stability under strong wind. We tried to make it as similar to a standard spinnaker design as possible. A vertical half-fold was made and further cuts and folds were made (refer to physical model), giving the sail curvature, resembling an air-foil. Although in a general case scenario, a land yacht is supposed to be designed to move in constant uniform wind, not a strong but decaying wind from a fan. That means the wind strength will decrease as the craft is further away from the wind source (during competition). In order to better satisfy the greater distance performance test, drag of the sail was designed to be minimal. Air resistance is a force opposing the motion of the yacht, reducing the net force acting on it to move it forward, and hence slowing it down ( a = F net /m ); the larger the surface area of the sail, the greater the drag/air resistance experienced by the yacht. Thus we did not set out to make the sail as large as possible. Furthermore, the vertical fold along the middle of the sail gives it a “cutting” edge, allowing it to “cut” into the wind, i.e. air meeting the edge travels smoothly over the surfaces on either side of the fold (similar to an airfoil). In this way, drag is greatly reduced, as opposed to a sail with a full surface perpendicular to the wind.

Wheels, Axle and Bearings

An important factor in efficiency was to reduce the energy losses in due to friction. All moving parts were designed to be as efficient as possible (low friction). Wheels were made using a thin but stiff laminated wood sheet, which exhibited excellent rigidity yet being light and strong. Having lightweight wheels is especially important because the weight of the wheel has to be accelerated both forward and around its centre. Also, F s,max =μ s FN. Hence, wheels/vehicle of smaller mass would experience a smaller normal force and hence lower F s,max. This will lead to increased acceleration with the same amount of force applied. After experimenting with some designs, it was decided that a skid was to be used for the front of the vehicle instead of a wheel, because due to the nature of the design, (where the main body of the yacht is situated towards the back and the front consists solely of a long shaft,) the force exerted on the front end of the vehicle is low. Hence unless a very efficient front wheel is used, it might not spin, thereby acting as a skid while increasing weight. [This was verified experimentally. Furthermore, it was difficult to construct brackets to support the front bearings without adding significant weight, which will increase weight and construction time]. The second advantage is that once the craft decelerates from drag of the sail, the design will cause a rotation about the main axle and hence reduce force on the skid and reducing friction. Bearings were made using rolled paper tubes. This was possible because our sail was to be made using paper, hence leftovers were used to make the paper tubes. To reduce friction, the bearings were made a short as possible, 1.6cm long. To reduce bearing and axle friction, graphite from a 6B pencil was used. Axle was made using a single bamboo skewer.

Aesthetic Design Aesthetics is no doubt important. Since the entire yacht design is very minimalist, there is very little of the structure to decorate, except the bamboo members of the frame, the sail and the wheels. The name of the yacht was decided to be A Certain Shade of Red, with primary colours being black and red. The wheels were coloured bright red using a marker, and the frame coloured black. One advantage of the sail being made of paper allows it to be easily coloured using markers instead of paint, which is heavier. A red black and white flame scheme was then applied using markers to the white sail with good results, yet not significantly increasing weight.  


Chassis Construction Since the entire mainframe is made using bamboo sticks, one of the most important factors in ensuring frame rigidity and strength lies in the joining of the different structural members of the structure. The structure is only as strong as the weakest link, which more often than not, is the weakest joint. The adhesive material of choice is Cyanoacrylate superglue, which is a strong acrylic resin. In order to create maximum bond strength, contact surfaces were cut to have a maximum flat area (such as joining at angles, whereby the ends of each bamboo stick are cut to the exact angles to ensure a flat bonding surface), and hence maximum area for the glue to bond. Although time consuming, it proved to be an important factor in ensuring greater structural strength. Hence less material would be needed to be used. [Please refer to diagrams below] The main base was constructed using a single 258mm long bamboo stick. An 85mm stick was glued perpendicular to one end of the stick at the middle, with two 105mm sticks originating 21mm from the end of the long stick, acting as the main lateral supporting structure. A 255mm bamboo stick was glued 31mm from the end of the long stick at a 63 degree angle, supported from the sides via two 70mm sticks. The main axle was a 198mm stick which was affixed to the ends of the lateral supporting limbs using a bit of tape and superglue, via paper bearings. The complete craft, including the axle, required 936mm of bamboo stick, or roughly 3.7 stick lengths (each 10 inches), which is very economical (sticks come in packs of 5). This results in a very lightweight craft (efficient) and economical, satisfying two of our goals. Wheel, Skid and Bearing Construction Wheels are very important as a perfect circle with a true centre is required for the smoothest possible travel. Wheels were first cut out from a stiff laminated wooden sheet. A 2mm hole was drilled. The wheel was then attached to a mandrel and spun at 15,000rpm using a rotary tool. Sandpaper was then used to grind the wheel down until it was as perfectly round as possible. Both wheels were grinded down at the same time to ensure that they are of the same size. The hole was then subsequently enlarged using a pointy grinding bit to fit on the axle tightly. The wheel was then glued to the axle using a small amount of cyanoacrylate. The completed wheels are 31mm in diameter. Bearings were made by rolling up a 60 x 16mm wide strip of paper, which was first rubbed with a large amount of graphite from a pencil to act as a lubricant. The result is a relatively smooth running axle. The skid was made using a small bamboo stick triangle, with a strip of bamboo acting as the main skid. Lubrication is done using graphite. Sail Construction The sail was made from paper. An isosceles triangle with base 240mm and height 275mm was cut out. Three triangles (refer to scale drawings below) were cut out, and the paper folded and then taped together, to form a curvature. As few cuts were done as possible to reduce weight gain, as taping the edges together requires more tape. The sail is then affixed to the chassis. The top of the sail was taped and glued to the top of the mast, while the other two edges were connected to the ends of the lateral limbs, near the wheel bearings. Effective sail area is about 300cm 2 . Total Materials Required: - 93.6cm of Bamboo Stick (~3.7 sticks) - 300cm 2 of Paper for sail - 19.2cm 2 of Paper for bearings - 6B pencil (graphite) for lubrication - Cyanoacrylate Superglue - Small amount of tape - 2 Wheels, Bamboo skid - Decorating materials (markers)  

Before the actual model was made, several test models were also built to find out if there were any major flaws in the design. Due to the low weight of the vehicle, yet large sail area, the craft was able to catch a lot of wind (force) and because F=ma and m is very small, the resultant acceleration for our vehicle was great, and also lead to a high velocity because v = u + at. Hence our craft was both fast, and quick to accelerate. The simple symmetrical design also contributed to the fact that the vehicle travels straight. This is beneficial in the test whereby a fan is used to generate wind. The only drawbacks in our design are that the skid is only good for certain surfaces, such as smooth concrete floors. Secondly, the craft’s low mass also results it being able to slow down quickly. Taking force F to be drag, the resulting deceleration from drag (once the craft travels far from the fan) is also rather large. To solve this problem the entire yacht could be made heavier, but then initial acceleration will be affected. However in normal land yachting, wind is supposed to be kept constant, and not like a table fan, whereby the wind decreases away from the fan. We have taken measures to reduce frontal drag (as mentioned above). Therefore vehicle performance will increase in a constant uniform wind. .

Black: Wheels Brown: Main Frame Green: Mast + Supports Blue: Axle Red: Sail Grey: Paper Tube  

building a land yacht

[Figure 2, Scale Blueprint Plans]

Above is an accurate 1:2 scale technical blueprint of the actual yacht model (including measurements),  including to-scale drawings of the sail plan as well as top & side design layouts. *My scanner isn't working at the moment, so I just took a photograph of the plans*


building a land yacht

Done by Gao Guangyan, Daniel Lo, Cheryl Quah and Nicole Quah of class 07S06R of Raffles Junior College, Singapore. Physics project report – land yacht building competition 2006. [Project Report: 23 Feb 2006]

First complied on 08 December 2008, Monday.

Back to main page (c) Gao Guangyan 2008 Projects Contact: loneoceans [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Pre-K & Kindergarten
  • Teacher Resources
  • Request a meeting

Can a land yacht sail into the wind? Investigate how invisible forces can change an object's motion and how this force acts from a distance.


  • Review the online student material. Use a projector to share this material with your students during the lesson.
  • Make sure that you've covered Newton’s three laws of motion in an earlier lesson.
  • Consider the abilities and backgrounds of all of your students. Differentiate the lesson to make it accessible to everyone. See the Differentiation section below for suggestions.
  • Set up the fans on the floor, allowing at least 3 yards in front of each, so the land yachts have room to move. Use a strip of tape to mark a starting position in front of each fan (perpendicular to the fan).

( Whole Class, 5 Minutes )

  • Watch the student video here, or access it via the online student material.


  • Facilitate a quick discussion about which force makes a land yacht move.
  • Which forces did you see in action when watching the sailboat and kite in the video? (pull/push)
  • Which force made the sailboat move? (It was the push force of the wind.)
  • In what situations does a sailboat not work? (If the wind is blowing straight toward the sailboat, the boat can't sail directly forward into the wind.)
  • Tell students that they're going to build a land yacht, and investigate how wind force can change its motion.

( Small Groups, 30 Minutes )

  • Ask the students to work in pairs to build the Land Yacht model. Tell them to take turns, one partner searching for the bricks while the other builds, switching roles after each step has been done.
  • You can find support for building in the Tips section below.
  • Direct them to the three experiments in the student material, and distribute the Student Worksheets (Teacher Support – Additional Resources).

Experiment 1: Downwind

  • Ask the students to set their land yachts on the starting line, facing away from the fans.
  • Tell them to turn on the fans and to let their land yachts blow downwind (straight away from the fans) and to make observations about their movement. To optimize the land yacht's movement, the sail angle can be adjusted by turning the small gear. The red bushings can also be moved to change the shape of the sail.
  • Challenge your students to find the best sail angle and shape for making the land yacht travel the farthest distance.
  • Have them record the best angle and shape on their Student Worksheets.

Experiment 2: Crosswind

  • Ask the students to set their land yachts on the starting line at a right angle, 90 degrees perpendicular to the fan.
  • Have them turn on the fans to see if their land yachts move to the side of the fan. (They'll have to adjust the angle of the sail again to optimize the land yacht's movement.)
  • Challenge your students to find the best sail angle, and record it on their worksheets.

Experiment 3: Into the Wind

  • Have the students turn their land yachts slightly off the starting line and toward the fan to see which sail angle can make the land yacht drive “upwind” toward the direction the wind is coming from. They can use the angle measurement tool from their sets to measure the upwind angle of the land yacht from the line. With the right adjustments, the students will be able to make their land yachts move upwind, but not directly into the wind.
  • Gather your students together to review and discuss their experiments.
  • Which angle was best for each experiment?
  • What were the limits? (Too much wind at the wrong angle can make the land yacht tip over. That’s why sailboats “reef” their sails to reduce the surface area of the sail, so the boat doesn’t blow over and capsize) .
  • Why can’t the land yacht go more than 45 degrees upwind (toward the fan)? (The sum of the force vectors acting on the vehicle pushes it downwind.)
  • If time allows, explain the forces at work (force vectors) in detail.
  • Allow time for the students to disassemble their models, sort the bricks back into the trays, and clean up their workstations.

( Ongoing Throughout the Lesson )

  • Give feedback on each student's performance.
  • Facilitate self-assessment.
  • Use the assessment rubrics provided to simplify the process.

Observation Checklist

  • Measure your students’ proficiency in describing how different forces can change an object's motion.
  • Needs additional support
  • Can work independently
  • Can teach others


  • Green: With some help, I can describe how an invisible force can change an object's motion.
  • Blue: I know I can describe how an invisible force can change an object's motion.
  • Purple: I can describe and explain how an invisible force can change an object's motion.


  • Using the brick scale above to score each other's performance
  • Presenting their ideas and giving constructive feedback


  • Have the groups start testing as soon as they finish building. They should take turns as they make sail adjustments to ensure that everyone has a chance to try out the models.
  • Choose ONE fan speed setting for all of the tests. Any speed will do.
  • If your fan is too big or too powerful, try moving it farther back from the starting line. You could also use a piece of furniture to block some of the fan's airflow.
  • If your fan is too small, move it closer to the models or try moving the fan by hand, following the models.


Simplify this lesson by:

  • Having your students set the sail at 90 degrees for each of the tests

Increase the difficulty by:

  • Encouraging the students to adjust the shape of the triangular sail
  • Challenging your students to figure out how to make the land yacht move upwind


(Note: This will require additional time.) To incorporate math skills development, have the students let their land yachts go at a 60-degree angle from the starting line, and measure how far they travel by counting how many revolutions the rear wheels made before they stopped. They can use the angle and distance traveled to calculate the area of the triangle that was created.

Rear wheel diameter = 43.2 mm Circumference of the wheel = (Ď€ x D = C)


Teacher Support

Students will:

  • Understand how wind force acting from a distance can change an object’s motion
  • Explore the relationship between energy and forces
  • LEGO ® Education BricQ Motion Prime Set (one for every two students)
  • Masking tape
  • Medium-sized tabletop electric fans (ideally, 1 for every 10 students)
  • NGSS MS-PS2-2

Lesson extension

Student Material

Student worksheet.

Download to view and share the student worksheet.

Share with:

Google Classroom


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