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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marblehead Development

A sneak preview of our next RM design: Katana.


Katana is an evolution of Octave, incorporating improvements in several key areas.
The individual changes are small, but sufficiently numerous to cumulatively warrant a new designation.
This decision has been made with existing customers in mind as it will give them a clear option when placing an order. Those who have ordered recently were naturally briefed on the upcoming transition so they could make an informed choice based on the characteristics of the two boats.


As always, we make a clear distinction between development work that we carry out in house or in collaboration with like minded skippers, and commercial series production.
Committing to production involves significant investment in tooling on our part and requires a high level of confidence to guarantee a known performance profile to the customer who does not wish to risk investing in an unproven design.


The nature of our business is such that we are always developing and looking to the next performance gains. We must therefore be disciplined in structuring R&D with respect to value for money from the point of view of the customer. 
There are several key tests that we apply to a new idea as it progresses from intuition, to vague notion, to sketch, to virtual model, to quantitative analysis, to prototype... 
At each stage the value of the idea must stand up to tests which cover performance as well as reproducibility, cost, compatibility with existing items, durability, and especially the relationship between these key attributes.


Over the 18 years that we have been developing RC yachts, we have been careful to structure development and series production accordingly, and our repeat customers are a testament to the effectiveness of our approach. 
In competitive performance applications, risk cannot be eliminated, but it should be estimated and managed. 
There are always compromises to be made with respect to performance in different conditions and circumstances. We therefore make an effort to narrow the uncertainty so that we can inform the customer of the characteristics and suitability of each product.


It is fascinating to study the overlap between the passion for that elusive perfect design and the real world constraints of technology, cost, and commercial consistency. 
As I have stated previously, successful projects incorporate such real constraints in the design brief and in the project management process to create the best result in the real world.

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