West Indies born Canadian, Grahame Shannon, is probably most famous being the creator of AutoSHIP, the computer-aided design software naval architects use for designing hulls. The software originated out of his own needs while designing sailboats. Originally a computer engineer by trade, Shannon took a change in career path along with a big cut in pay to pursue his dream of becoming a yacht designer in 1979.

Shannon went to work in the offices of Bruce Roberts Design Group, designing many home-build yachts before leaving to create his own firm. It was during this time Shannon wrote some rudimentary software on his home computer (a Radio Shack Tandy 2000) that would automate the repetitive design calculations involved in hull design. This formed the foundation for what became AutoSHIP which he eventually went on to sell as a product. The company over a space of five years grew into the world’s leading supplier of PC-based hull design software before his exit in 1993.

In 1995 he was part of the America’s Cup design team for America Cubed. He was also part of the design team which created the world’s most popular dinghy, the Walker Bay 8.

Today, Shannon is semi-retired and does custom design work for private clients, and some consulting work for production companies. He is known for his green values, and actively refuses to design request involving fuel guzzlers or mega-yachts. His love is for small simple yachts.

Shannon on reasons to buy/build a boat:

You love the way she looks.
You have a good time just being with her.
You can put up with the expense, the wasted time and the breakdowns.

Links, References and Further Reading

» An interview with Grahame Shannon, by Furled Sails podcasts.
» Avia Design, Grahame Shannon’s design firm
» Grahame Shannon’s Bio, on Blue Book of Boats website

Notable Designs by Grahame Shannon

Roberts Tom Thumb 24
Coast 34 (Roberts 341)
Mighty Mary (Americas Cup Class)
Walker Bay 8