The Joys And Tears Of TurboCAD

For the last few years we have been using TurboCAD for visualizing and designing projects on Morgan’s Cloud. TurboCAD is a great value, with much of the functionality of systems costing many times more, at just US$150, and you can often get it discounted to as little as US$80.00 by shopping around on the Internet.

We have used it for projects ranging from simple wiring diagrams to the computer workstation to go above our salon table, shown in the rendering below.

The joys include:

  • The ability to see pretty much what you will get before cutting the first piece of wood or other material.
  • That it is easy to make changes during the design process.
  • That it is easy to come up with a good materials list thereby avoiding overbuying or the frustration of running out of something half way through a project.
  • A clear and detailed design that will almost always save you money when having someone else, such as a machine shop or cabinetmaker, build something and save you time when you do it yourself.

The tears come in learning how to use it. Expect to spend at least a full day learning the basics before you will be able to complete your first simple two dimensional drawing and a week to become competent in 3D. (Phyllis calls herself a CAD-widow and expects to be answered in grunts for days at a time when I open TurboCAD.) If you don’t like computers, you may be happier sticking with a pencil and paper.

Having shed the tears of learning, we would not be without it. We are even using it to work with the engineers at Hall Spars on the details of our new mast design. So far we have been able to open all the drawings they have sent to me prepared on their full-on AutoCAD system.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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