How the Raku 30 became 32' LOA and drove home a lesson about the design process that we should have been more mindful of.

Rendering showing the interior layout of the raku 32 catamaran
Working on the layout in the hulls, one of the early arrangements for the port hull

Imagine if Michelangelo had started sculpting David at the feet and gradually worked upward, only to find he hadn't allowed enough marble to include the head. 

Well fortunately that's not the way scultpors and artists work. They start with the whole and gradually refine the details over the entire work, all the while paying attention to how those details fit together as a whole and leaving the fine details to last. That's how designers should work as well, but sometimes we stray from the path at our peril.


Raku 32 began to evolve in December 2017 with a brief from Martin Vanzulli. Marty's request was for a 30' compact cruiser with a bit of pizazz, an efficient sail plan, realistic payload, plenty of wing clearance for coastal cruising and the ability to handle the steep chop in Martin's home waters on the Rio de la Plata.

We set to work and produced the lines that were publshed in Cat Sailing News in January of 2018. The design attracted a lot of attention, but not all of the design details were fully resolved a the time. 

The area around the companionway was a real design challenge

Fact is to incorparate performance, functionality and style in a 30'er is quite a challenge. We took it on with relish but there were some  sticky corners. How to mount the outboards? Where to put the hull companionways wihout messing up the cockpit seating and the helm position in particular. How to close off the saloon when you're not on the boat? A simple but direct steering system? Where to run the sail controls? Galley up or down? Working through these details and others, and the way they interact with each other creates a lot of pieces of crumpled paper and visits to the trash can.


It seemed logical to put the galley, the nav. and the bathroom down in the hull with full standing headroom. We banged away at all these issues all the while neglecting that the hulls we had started out with were really just a placeholder. And while we had a rough idea of the underwater hull shape and displacement we were looking for we hadn't run any hydrostatics.


We were finally starting to feel pretty pleased with the overall result when Dan raised something we had overlooked. The hulls we'd drawn had more rocker than we wanted and more displacement than we needed. But damn, - we were pushing to get 1800mm/6' of headroom in the hulls as it was. The keel rocker and the form of the waterplane are critical to minimising pitching in small boats. Flatten the rocker line and we're losing critical headroom.


No question of a restyle. We were happy with the character of the boat and we didn't want to lose it. Only one thing left to do. Raku 30 already had plenty of beam overall so we pulled up the scaling window, punched in new factors in X and Z (length and height) and voila Raku is now 32. We got the underwater lines we were looking for, she has 1.84m of headroom over the floorboards and she retains the character of the original design.