Auklet III

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.

Working hard on a cold day in the garage.

Hours Spent on the Auklet

By Zachary Guenther

I was not back from the holiday break more than a week before I was approached by Rick with an idea. An idea to build a little boat he had been wanting to build for a few months. It was a little 7’2” Aucklet designed by Iain Oughtred, the same man who designed the Fulmar, the boat that Rick was getting ready to work on in his contemporary class.  The hull of the boat was to be made out of 4 mm marine grade plywood, in the glued lapstrake style. Given the fact that I was going into the Traditional Large Craft program, this boat seemed to be a wonderful opportunity to get some experience with both a small and a contemporary built boat.

Rick had also approached Ethan and Matt G. about joining the project as well. Both agreed, and we had our team. Rick ultimately wanted to keep the boat for himself, so it was decided that Rick cover all of the costs of building the boat along with the shop space (his garage) to do it in. Matt would estimate/ buy and keep track of all the materials we would need, Ethan would organize and manage the days we would work, and I would keep track of the hours spent on the project. It was quite the lofty goal for a research project, but what the hell, were in boat school. Might as well build a boat on the weekends!

Putting up molds

The first few weekends went well, everyone did their respective jobs, our team got along and worked well together, and we were rapidly progressing on the boat. After a few weeks however, things started to taper off. We realized just how busy we all actually are, and how hard it can be for four full time students with full lives to consistently get together and get work done. Out of all the days that we worked, all four of us were only there for two of them. None of us were surprised. Nonetheless, the boat still got worked on from time to time, and only about 5 weeks after starting the boat the whiskey plank went on.

So my job for this build, besides the actual work on the boat, was to keep track of time. To do so, I created a google document that everyone on the build has access to. I made this with the idea that people would open it up after a work day and write in at the very least how many hours they worked. I learned that it is not always that simple. Especially on a build like this one, a nonchalant weekend build that gets worked on when there is time for it. Everyone has a lot on their plate, and keeping track of the time we spent on the build quickly went way down on the priority list. In the beginning of the build things were good, I was given the data I needed to keep track of everything. After that, I did not see any more emails containing updates on hours until this past week (first week of March.) In the end, I did get most of the data I needed, a good 90% of the hours spent on the Aucklet. In hindsight, I would have simply printed out a time sheet for everyone and had them fill it out themselves and hand it in to me. I would imagine that that would have been a lot more consistent.

All in all, I am happy to be part of the Aucklet build. I am glad to be exposed to the glued plywood lapstrake building style, and to have more experience with epoxy and lamination. Building a boat outside of school has also helped me to troubleshoot, solve problems, and figure things out on my own; without aid from an instructor. It has really helped drive some things home that I have learned in school, getting out there and figuring it out for myself. It has also been good experience for all of us to learn about managing a boat building project outside of a school setting.

Starboard Garboard going in to place

The boat is now to the point where it is almost ready to be flipped over and have its interior finished out. I am excited to see this boat through. It will continue to give me invaluable extra experience in boatbuilding outside of the curriculum if the Traditional Large Craft program. Our team works well together, and there is a healthy amount of enthusiasm and drive towards finishing this thing, even on top of our already busy schedules. There is nothing quite like seeing a boat evolve from a drawing on paper to a real boat, and with this little boat, it is evolving quickly!

Skeg all glued on

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *