People ask, “Is it hard to build a sailboat?” They find it surprising to learn how to do it, at least in the factory. It takes fabrication, in three parts. The fiberglass hull is laid up with a mold, and the interior gets built separately. They add parts inside and out until the decking drops in place on top of the other two parts.
I’ve been to the Catalina factory in Los Angeles and the Hunter factory in Florida. One thing that’s surprising is the size of the woodworking facility. Production boats have close specs for the fiberglass, but the wood has to be even more precisely cut and requires fine woodworking skills.
The big breakthrough for sailboats came in the 1980s when Catalina, Hunter and Bennetau evidently went to Detroit to find out how automakers keep cars from leaking into the passenger compartment. For eons, the excuse was “Boats leak.” That was in part due to the bending and creaking that fiberglass does under the stress of water and wind, but it was no excuse. They fixed the problem and today cabin interiors remain dry. That reduces mold greatly and makes for more pleasant sailing in general.
Klaus Hermanns and Candice Davies had a better time sailing near Williamsburg than they did near Raleigh. She related, “The instructor had us on a 19-foot Flying Scot with no bimini or shelter from the sun. We went for 8-1/2 hours with no bathroom, either.” But they evidently learned a lot, because they heeled 15-30 degrees in 20 mph winds. “Woooo-eeee!”
Oregon is unique as the only state without a U.S. military base, as related by Paul and Carol Wild while sailing near Williamsburg with their children. There’s Fort Stevens on the Columbia River, but it’s on the Washington side. “Part of the reason is that the state wasn’t founded until after the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-06),” John said. “Ao there wasn’t any military activity in the first place.”
In more contemporary news, “The University of Oregon was the only college to make it nearly all the way in both NCAA tournaments for football and basketball last year,” John added. Check out the video below for what it’s like to sail the Oregon coast.
Let’s Try Building a Sailboat
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