Monday, May 15, 2006


When building a boat, the sequence of events is crucial to a successful outcome, as is the case with many activities involving the putting together of materials and objects, such as when building a house, manufacturing a car or laying down a road; therefore it’s useful when the boat designer includes with his plans a sequence of construction. Matt Layden, the designer of the Paradox sailboat I’m currently building, does include such an instruction.

A flow chart drawn in preparation for building a boat could be a useful aid; for example, start with a comprehensive study of the plans to understand the building process, then note such things as: materials and tools required to complete the task; a rough timetable of when stages may be arrived at and what those stages comprise. Each stage will have its own sequence; perhaps all the small items should be built before assembling the hull, as was my course of action. Every individual item comprised of three or more parts, has to have an order of assembly; the parts themselves have to be fashioned then joined, before being protected by paint, epoxy or fibreglass.

A very useful feature of Paradox is that the sequence of building naturally flows, enabling each part to be shaped and joined to the previous ones. Get the initial parts right, then the other parts will determined by them. Measuring and checking before cutting wooden components is essential. Double checking and perhaps triple checking brings rewards, because errors are thereby avoided, saving materials and time.

I have made a few errors while building my boat, but fortunately none have been too costly in time, money or effort to put right. One thing I have become very aware of is the sequence of the building process. Get that right, the task becomes easier and building the boat is more rewarding.

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