A Step-by-step Guide on How to Build the Perfect Sailboat


A sailboat is a vessel designed to be propelled over water by harnessing wind power. It is one of the oldest and most ancient types of boats designed by man. The principle of its operation is simple. A sail is stretched and attached over the boat which captures wind and propels it forward, under its power. It is perhaps one of the most ingenious designs of a boat ever.
The procedure to build a boat could easily take a whole book as there are many types of sailboats and different ways to build them. We will give you a generic procedure for building a sailboat, but be aware that designing every part may well take a whole article. So, even though we are going to be excruciatingly brief in presenting the steps, we will give you an outline. We will assume here that you know about boats and words like keel, hull, main sail, etc., make sense to you.
Types of Sailboat
If you have been on any charter vacations, you will know what sailboats are like. Different designs of sailboats exist in various parts of the world. These sailboats are built according to purpose of use, availability of raw materials and of course where they will be sailed. Therefore their designs vary a lot. We will discuss, how to build a wooden sailboat. So here is a list of types of sailboats that you could refer to before deciding on what design to have for your own sailboat. Sailboats could be classified according to the hull configuration.
  • Monohull
  • Catamaran
  • Trimaran

They can be further classified according to keel type.

  • Full
  • Fin
  • Wing
  • Centerboard

According to the overall design, many varying types of sailboats exist.

  • Sloop
  • Fractional Rig Sloop
  • Cutters
  • Catboats
  • Ketches
  • Schooner
  • Yawl
  • Dhoni
  • Dinghy

Choose any one of these designs according to the purpose you want to use it for, which may be sport, fishing or recreation.

Building a Sailboat Yourself
Step 1: Designing
Designing is the most important part of building a sailboat and it will require thorough research. If you have practical knowledge about, that will help you. Research and read as much as you can about designing sailboats and boats in general. There are many books with illustrated diagrams that give you in-depth instructions. Refer to these books and take advice someone who can give you a fair idea about the practicalities of building one. Many companies even supply you with ready-made kits along with detailed plans.
Choose a design that suits your needs. The two important points to remember is that the boat should achieve balance with speed and it should float! Start with the hull and keel design and move upwards. Draw detailed diagrams with measurements of your design. There are many ways to get this task done.
Step 2: Costing and Inventory
After you complete the design, it’s time to make a list of all the raw materials you will require to build your boat. Make a thorough review of what all you need and make an inventory. You may gauge the total cost of the boat by adding up the market prices for each raw material and tool required. You may have to modify your design, if the total cost does not suit your budget.
Step 3: Buying Wood and Other Raw Materials
The next step is preparing yourself for the building of the boat. Shop for the wood, the sail and other raw materials. You will also require carpentry tools and a dry dock or place for building your boat near the shore.
Step 4: Marking Measurements and Wood Shaping/Cutting
Once the raw materials are available, mark your measurements on the wood according to the design. First you will have to design hull and keel. Furnish them with care, as, if there are any mistakes, there is no way you could change them.
Step 5: Making The Sail Ready
Generally, a sailboat requires two sails―main and head. These sails essentially trap the wind to power your boat in the water. The sail material should be tough so that it does not tear under high wind pressure. Special type of fabric, which can withstand high stress, should be used. According to the design, stitch your sail and make it ready for attachment.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
The last step is putting all the parts together to realize your dream design in actuality and then test it in water. Trust us, it is a very satisfying experience and you can’t help but get a high when you sail in your own sailboat!
Building a sailboat is one of the most creative jobs, you could do over a summer. There is pride in building your own sailboat and there is a lot that you can get to learn in the process. Every man who dreams of being a sailor, must know the building of a sailboat, at least. It is a skill that will come in handy, if by any chance you are marooned on an island! Provided, island has trees, providing you with wood and you have a desire of getting back to civilization, as well as ingenuity to build one!

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1 Comment on this Post

  1. Great line up. We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.


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