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The WoodenBoat School

Elements of Boat Design

Learn the principles and process—then practice on your own design.

WoodenBoat School boat design photoTuition: $750

Note: This is a five-day course ending Friday afternoon.

Would you like to understand how to design your own boat or gain a better grasp of how design affects a boat’s performance? Would you like to better read and comprehend the hull line drawings? Would you like to explore the relationship of construction methods to hull design—which works well with what shapes? Would you like to think, eat, sleep, and discuss boats for a solid week? If so, you’ll find this challenging and fun course with talented boatbuilder and designer John Brooks to be right up your alley.

Whether you want to get a taste of the design process, be able to put your ideas on paper, or start down the road to becoming a professional designer, this course will allow you to accomplish several things. You’ll dispassionately analyze the science of what makes a boat float and move, while gaining an understanding of the role art plays in boat design. You’ll learn what makes a boat seaworthy or not; performance oriented or not; and buildable or not. And you’ll start creating your own design, mainly working on the preliminary and lines drawings, as much as time allows. Before taking pencil to paper, you will research the type of boat you want to design, discuss your initial ideas with John, and learn how to start drawing on your own, using basic drafting skills plus learning new ones required for drawing boats.

WoodenBoat School photo

Various building methods will be explored, from traditional to modern. Any technique can be used for each student’s own “dream boat,” from plank-on-frame to vacuum-bagged and epoxied veneers reinforced with exotic materials. You will learn how to back up your project ideas with sound engineering principles, hydrostatics, and scantlings that reflect the intended use and life of the boat. You’ll also learn about the intricate interplay of various views in a set of plans as John demonstrates how a half model goes together. Students will explore various methods and approaches to designing a boat, from ancient to cutting edge, and have a chance to pick the ones that work best for you.

Students need not have any previous experience with boat design or mathematics; just a keen interest will do. The main focus of the course will be on understanding the concepts and principles that play a part in boat design and in developing an eye for aesthetics. In spite of modern technology, designing boats is still as much an art as it is a science. The eye and judgment of the designer are still the most important ingredients in any design. You will leave Brooklin with a whole new understanding about boats and a new group of friends to share them with!


WoodenBoat School, 41 WoodenBoat Lane, PO Box 78, Brooklin, Maine 04616 USA
Tel: 207-359-4651, Fax: 207-359-8920

© Copyright 2016 — WoodenBoat Publications, inc.

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