"That's why I design boats for open water, so I can get out there, sit in the swell, and just look out..."
--a comment to my wife about the shared need for salt air and long horizons
The old way was to draw the boat in paper-and-pencil on the drafting board, create a 1/4-scale model (pictured is the Deblois Street Dory) to check lines, transfer adjustments back to the lines plan, and then loft the boat full size to create patterns for molds, frames, and other parts. We still draw quarter scale lines plans from time to time to prefair lines measured from existing boats that have no lines plan. Otherwise....
If the boat is already drawn on paper, we input the drawing straight into the computer using CAD software. CAD stands for 'computer aided design'.
The result of the CAD work is a 3D model of the boat. From this 3D rendering of the hull, we generate 2D shapes. These shapes are the planking, the molds or bulkheads, and any other parts that can be cut out of plywood or drawn full size to make patterns, for example knees, tillers, decorative items for the boat.
The parts above are the 2D representations of the parts that were modeled in 3D space. The software unfolds or flattens each plank, bulkhead, etc. We then carefully click and drag each part onto a computerized sheet of plywood. The parts can be nested very closely allowing as little as 1/8th an inch between parts. Every scrap or plywood can be used. Many boats built from kits require 1 or more fewer sheets of plywood than 'scratch' built boats.
Now that we have 2D shapes, a CNC cutting file can be made. "CNC" stands for computer-numerical-control. Pictured is the cut shop at Harbor Sales who cut and ship our kits. Their software imports our cut files and they are prepared for the CNC router, which follows the orders put out by the computer.
Seen above is one of Harbor's CNC routers cutting to our specially prepared boat files. A quarter-scale model is first cut and assembled to test the parts before the expensive wood is cut and the first full size CNC-cut boat is produced. A full size boat -- such as the Goat Island Skiff test build pictured below -- is produced from the first-cut kit before they are released for general sale.
With this thorough but critical process, we can produce the best fitting boat kits available on the market for boats up to 30-feet. Our exclusive NC Scarf (shown below on the cut table) is another important feature that enables our kits to work as well as they do. Complex boat shapes can result from precut planking because of these highly refined, jigsaw puzzle joints.
The process to produce the cutting files could be a week or more of work. After this is over, another 40-or-so hours of work ensues to write a comprehensive building manual for the boat. It is tireless work, but very satisfying to bring new, beautiful boat kits to the North American market that were not available before.
The next beautiful boat to get such a treatment is the Calendar Islands Yawl. To learn more...
...an 18'8" open day boat for the family or a RAID!
Design Project in the works
- An open boat capable of taking on open water
- Safe and stable for the whole family, possibly some fixed ballast
- A feeling of safety with side decks an depth amidships
- Rigged as a sloop-yawl or Lug-yawl (consider a high-aspect standing lug and carbon mast!)
- Can be rowed for auxilliary power but best with a Torqueedo motor on transom bracket
- Exciting sailing is a must, but control and safety is as well both in shore and in open water
- plywood-epoxy construction
Clint's Unique Design Approach
- Scaled Sketches are made to the design brief made with customer
- A typical 1 1/2" = 1' scale lines drawing is created
- The lines are lofted to 1/4-scale
- A Quarter Model is built to line off the planking, check the sheer, and make sure all lines work well together, such as the dory model below.
- The lines plan is modified and refined. Chine boat lines are redrawn to represent the actual plank lines (laps). Round bilged boats are redrawn to capture corrections and 'tweaks' determined through the modeling process.
- Customers receive their plans in 1/4-scale form, 3" = 1'. This enable them to make their own 1/4-scale model and proceed right to construction without lofting.
- Customers can choose to get plans in typical 1 1/2" = 1' scale if needed
Sail Rig Design and ModificationBelow is a sketch of a new rig for a Beachcomber Dory. Many traditional designs can be reorganized to take more modern wigs. We modified the Goat Island Skiff to take a mizzen. We have altered the interior construction of other designers' boats -- adding decks, moving structural elements slightly, and changing the centerboard -- to better suit the owners needs. Clint can do this sort of work because of a his on-water experience and knowledge of the subtle effects different rigs and design elements have on the boat's comforts, looks, and performances.
Custom Design of Small Boats
Measuring Old Boats
We can take lines off of an older boat and reproduce these lines and build replica. This sort of work is typically done for historical restoration and, recently, was done for a family needing more of a boat that was built by an ancestor but plans were not available from which to build (pictured below).
- Modifying plans for a traditional boat for glued-plywood, glued-strip, or cold molded construction
- Designing oars to match rower and boat
- Designing new sail rigs for traditional boats
Other Designs in the works
- A 20' family daysailer with cuddy and sliding gunter rig (lines complete from Paul Gartside's course at Wooden Boat School)
- A 15' sailing dinghy with standing lug (lines complete)
- An 18' tidal waters canoe for exploring estuaries and inshore waters with a sail rig (preliminary sketches)