Donald L Blount: 1935 - 2022

July 22, 2022

Yachting Journal

Donald L. Blount, an international esteemed technical expert in the field of high-speed craft hydrodynamics died on July 14, 2022 at the age of 87.

Donald was driven all his life to do one job: design high-speed powerboats that could comfortably and efficiently run through rough water. His fascination with hydrodynamics began when he was a Virginia Tech co-op student working at the David Taylor Model Basin, the Navy's premier hydrodynamic research facility.

Donald’s research contributions and engineering leadership significantly advanced the US Navy's high performance small vessel fleet to achieve high levels of technological innovation, system reliability and personnel safety.

Following his career with the U.S. Navy, where he managed the Combatant Craft Department, Donald formed DLBA in 1988 “as a naval architecture and marine engineering firm, specializing in the technical development of high-performance marine craft consulting services related to the design, evaluation, testing, and construction management of motor yachts, custom sportfishing boats, production boats, commercial, military and paramilitary vessels.”

Donald was an avid promotor of technology and worked tirelessly to bring new technologies to the waterfront. He was passionate about sharing knowledge which led him to author over 50 technical publications during his career. The hydrodynamic methodologies he developed for high-performance vessel design and testing have long been accepted as best practices within the field. In 2014 he published a book containing much of his extensive research - Performance by Design: Hydrodynamics for High-Speed Vessels. His legacy lives on with this publication which he developed to aid designers with information presented in a format that is easy to understand and use.

Donald was an unbelievable mentor with a calm demeanor and piercing smile that would raise anyone’s spirits when they were struggling with a complex technical problem. He took great pleasure in watching the lights turn on when his understudies connected the dots during technical consultation.

The Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers (SNAME) recognized Donald’s distinguished career in 2015 by awarding him the David W. Taylor medal for “Notable Achievement in Naval Architecture and/or Marine Engineering”. Also in 2015, Donald was recognized by The Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology of Old Dominion University and presented the Outstanding Alumni and Friends Pioneer Award which is presented to “an outstanding pioneer or innovator in the engineering profession, industry, and/or the local, national, and international community.”

Donald L. Blount & Associates, Inc, lives on today as the DLBA Division of Gibbs & Cox, Inc, which is now a Leidos Company. Donald will be missed by all of those at DLBA, and the world-wide high-speed craft community. Our team intends to march forward with great pride to perpetuate the legacy that he created for the maritime community.