Every detail is planned...but half get changed
So what actually goes into creating one of these things? Oh, so much planning. First, the designs come to life when the team sketches the boat out, not on paper but in wood: a rough outline of the boat, drawn, bent, and cut in a process called lofting.
“One of the most challenging aspects of building is lofting, or scaling the real thing from the blueprints,” says Carlisle. “Some things can get lost in translation from one step to the next, so it’s important to constantly be in communication with everyone on the crew to get things done correctly.”
Lofting requires painstaking attention to detail, especially if a marina doesn’t employ the use of CAD drawings (today that’s rare, but there are still holdouts). First the build drafts are split into sections (or stations), and outlined into patterns and frames drawn up by the loftsman. Next, they’re laid out with flexible timbers on a perfectly level lofting floor, but it’s easy to lose proper placement here, so the craftsmen use splines: little weights that keep the wood curved in place, and tempers from getting splenetic. From there, measurements must be constantly checked and rechecked as they are labeled on the floor, and as curves are drawn out. This will be the outline of the boat.
Everything needs to be meticulously accurate on the initial shift from blueprints to building floor, since one slip-up can affect the entire process, and builders might have to take apart already completed work to accommodate corrections. Every step of the project can affect not only what comes later, but also what has come before, not to mention the moods of people who manipulate wood for a living.