Auklet I

The following is part of a collaborative project by Richard Myers, Ethan Love, Zachary Guenther, and Matthew Grotzke. Each section is authored by a separate person covering a different aspect of the build. We all contributed equally in our own way to make this project a success.

Mixing it up


Choosing the Auklet

By Richard Myers


Sooo… I was talking to Leigh, my instructor for the first quarter at the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building about little boats. Specifically, talking to him about boats that could be quickly built. I was badgering him with endless questions, and I’m still unsure as to how we got on the subject, but he mentioned Ian Oughtred, one of his favorite small boat designers. It was right around lunch time,so off I went to the library. I didn’t find the book Leigh had mentioned, but I did find a book of Oughtred’s designs. I had to have extensive help from the librarian because I butchered the name at first.


The following week, I was explaining the designs to Dan, my classmate. We talked about these glued lap boats and how I was thinking I could build one over Winter break. Dan was familiar with these boats and spurred me on by bringing in a tiny set of plans for the Auklet. The tiny little Auklet is 7’2” length overall, with a beam of 3’10” and no scarfing needed. It seemed like the perfect build to start building. There was one problem; I had a 17’ Kayak in my garage currently that needed to be fiberglassed. In addition, friends were visiting over winter break.

I am ready for some more planks


I bought the plans anyway. This lead me to a very important change in my life. Before, I would start projects randomly, often without finishing them. Now, when I want to start a project, I must first write it down in a small black book labeled The Project Book. Then, whenever I finish the current project I put all my time into, I can then start a new one.  Fortunately for this project and my friends, I had retired the work on the kayak for the season. Since the kayak was going to have to wait until Spring, and using the cold weather to my advantage, it was a logical response to let Ian Oughtred’s Auklet take center stage. During the first week back from break, I needed to find a team and start building. 


A little about Ian Oughtred: He was born September 15th, 1939 in Melbourne, Australia. The boat school students will graduate the 12-month program on what would have been his birthday this year. After reading Ian Oughtred A Life in Wooden Boats by Nic Compton, I got the sense that Oughtred really didn’t enjoy Australia. I find this funny because the website that sells his boat plans is hosted in Australia now.He grew up with some crazy religious parents who thought model plane building might find him a one-way ticket to Hell. He fell in love with sailing however,  and got to do a large amount of it in and around Sydney.  When he was old enough, he escaped to England and Scotland, where he lives today. I am quite lucky as I get to build two of his boats this year; the Fulmar and the Auklet. The Auklet a shortened version of another boat called the Auk and wasn’t conceived until 2008. The Auk was designed and built for the first time in 1984.  This was before Oughtred moved to America for a short time to work for Wooden Boat Magazine in Brooklyn, Maine. The change from the Auk to the Auklet included shortening the length overall (LOA) to 7’2” . The awesome thing about this is that there is NO scarfing needed.

Whisky plank is all sorts of curvy.

The Auklet is a glued lapstrake sprit rigged boat. We used 4mm plywood to create this adorable little bathtub of a boat. It’s sail will be sewn by our team in Sean Rankin’s shop, Northwest Sails and Canvas Inc. and we will launch this little dream before the end of school. (Hopefully before the end of April.)

Getting closer

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