Looking Back


Building my Coquina had a much deeper impact than I could have imagined when building her. What was intended as a means to relax after work and to own a classic sailboat turned into much more. I took a sabbatical from my management position in industry to attend the restoration program at the International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS) in Newport, RI to obtain certification in Wooden Boat Building and Restoration and to do for two years what I can’t resist to do: build wooden boats and learn from ground up how to do it right.

Who would have thought...

After the first year at IYRS, looking back at how I built the Coquina, I still very much like what I did, except that I would definitely steam bend the frames instead of laminating, in a small PVC pipe steambox. And then the little things that make a difference, that I now know better or approach differently: sharpening tools, using bung varnish as lubrication when setting fasteners, more skill and technique when measuring, scribing, painting, varnishing.

And I would be very tempted to build in Cedar on Oak in the traditional way - but likely not yield to the temptation knowing that glued lapstrake plywood provides a more stable hull when drysailing and storing the boat indoors on a trailer.

With more knowledge and practice, things would look a bit different, and yet, I had the best of times building with what I knew at that time, building a solid and safe boat that gave me countless hours of enjoyable sailing since.

Bottom line: if you contemplate building a Coquina and have some basic woodworking interest, some patience and some shop or garage space, you definitely can build a good boat without being a professional boat builder.

So, what are you waiting for?

Happy building and sailing!

And here’s a link to my experience at IYRS.