John Shuttleworh Yacht Design.


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John Shuttleworth Biography

John Shuttleworth Photo

John Shuttleworth built his first boat when he was twelve. Since then his love of sailing has taken him all over the world, sailing thousands of miles on his cruising and racing designs. After his first major success with Brittany Ferries GB in the 1981 Two Star, John rapidly gained a reputation for designing fast, strong, and safe boats. His meticulous attention to detail and careful engineering, and his interest in aerodynamic efficiency resulted in a new style of multihulls. These light weight, beautifully styled, streamlined yachts proved to have outstanding windward performance, and with their wide beam, have built up a fine record of fast and safe long distance cruising. Many of his designs are consistent race winners, and several have broken and still hold some of the toughest long distance ocean sailing records.

John has written many articles on his design philosophy, and has often been an invited speaker at yachting symposiums and conferences. He has an engineering and computer design background, and in the early 1980's he developed a new way of looking at yacht engineering, using a computer, which he called "Integrated Structure". This innovative approach resulted in boats that were lighter, stiffer, and stronger than any previous multihull designs, and put John firmly in the forefront of the field, with his trimarans taking line honours and third over the line in the 1984 Singlehanded Transatlantic Race, setting a new race record. In 1988 his trimarans won class 3 and class 6, breaking the class 6 record by over 6 days.

John then successfully transferred this knowledge to cruising designs, an area that is under continual development at his design office in West Sussex, England. His cruising designs have many ocean crossings behind them and Zeepoes (a 63 ft cruising catamaran) is currently on her second around the world voyage.

John is now using this structural design technology and his fast aerodynamic hull shapes to design power multihulls, and to develop sail assisted power boats, where significant savings in fuel consumption and increased range can be achieved. John is convinced that these efficient, environmentally friendly boats are the future of power multihulls.

Early history. John writes....

I have had a keen interest in yachting since childhood. I learned to sail at the age of nine and built my first yacht (a small sailing dinghy) when I was twelve. I became actively involved in sailing multihulls in 1971-1972. Throughout this period, I cruised extensively in multihulls along the coast of Southern Africa and the Coast of South America throughout the Caribbean and on an Atlantic crossing. Prior to the cruise, I completed a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree, majoring in engineering. My engineering background and work experience in the computing field greatly assisted the analysis of the technical characteristics and performance of a multihull which I carried out during the cruise, and in my subsequent practice as a professional yacht designer which I commenced in 1976.

thumbnail40 ft Trimaran "Sweet Painted Lady"

I built my first multihull (a 40 ft trimaran)in 1974. From 1976 to 1981 I lived afloat and cruised extensively, around the UK and the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, throughout the Caribbean and along the East Coast of the USA, participating in local racing in a number of places. I designed my first monohull in 1975 and my first multihull the following year. Between 1976 and 1978 I worked for Derek Kelsall of Kent, England (a professional boat builder and designer) designing multihulls and monohulls. Great Britain IV was was one of the most successful designs we produced during that time. In 1976, Derek Kelsall and I derived a new method of predicting multihull performance, and my mathematical formulae (known as the MOCRA Rating Rule) was used for many years for rating multihulls in the UK. During this period, I was invited to join the Multihull Offshore Cruising and Racing Association (MOCRA) Rating Committee as mathematical advisor on multihull performance, and subsequently I delivered a paper on the subject at the 1980 World Multihull Symposium in England.

Brittany Ferries GB

In 1980, I designed a 65 ft trimaran, "Brittany Ferries GB" specifically for entry in the 1981 double-handed trans Atlantic race. "Brittany Ferries GB" was sailed by two well known English yachtsmen (Chay Blyth and Rob James) and won by more than 16 hours in a 14 day race, breaking the East West transatlantic record.

Since then, I have designed more than 50 other multihulls including:

    Fleury Michon VI
thumbnail"Fleury Michon VI"
  • "Fleury Michon VI", a 56 - foot racing trimaran which was first across the finish line in the 1984 single handed trans Atlantic race, breaking the race record.

    Fleury Michon VI
    Renamed "Elle Et Vire", she still holds the record for the fastest single handed voyage from New York to San Francisco around Cape Horn.

  • Great American
thumbnail"Great American"
    "Great American", a 60 - foot racing trimaran which holds the record for the fastest sailing vessel to sail from New York to San Francisco, around cape Horn.

  • Novanet
    "Novanet" which was the largest racing catamaran (80ft) in Britain when she was launched, and holds the around Ireland record.

I have been a regular contributor to Multihulls, a US publication, Seahorse, - the magazine of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Multihull International, both UK publications. I have published an article on hull shapes and resistances to motion in catamarans and trimarans, as well as technical studies on the performance characteristics of multihulls. I have regularly given papers on multihull design and performance at international symposiums and was a member of the 'Distinguished Panel of Designers' at the second World Multihull symposium in the USA in 1984, and again in 1988 in Newport Rhode Island. In 1988 I gave a paper on Multihull Design Considerations for Seaworthiness at the New England Sailing Yacht Symposium (1988) sponsored by the US Coast Guard. In addition, I have raced in multihulls in Britain, France, and the USA, as well as in a trans Atlantic record attempt with Chay Blyth.

In 1988 I was invited by the New Zealand Challenge to coordinate and oversee their computer performance prediction and data gathering methods for the Americas cup. We conducted an extensive tank test programme, extensive on the water testing, and probably the most advanced computer performance prediction work to date on multihulls.

My commitment to ongoing development of our multihull designs involves tank testing, computer modelling, testing of materials, and sailing. In recent years I have been racing in the UK, and cruising with my family mostly in the Mediterranean, and Bahamas.