Why I don’t indicate “skill level required” on my plans ?

Most of sites dedicated to boat building plans suited for homebuilders gives an indication of the skill level required to built a plan, which is a wise practice.

Some of them push this process further, giving an amount of hours needed to launch the boat or to build the hull.

I don’t give these indications in my plans.

detail in scala 1:1 on idea 21 plans (italian edition), deck-hull joint




Why ?

There are some reasons that I become aware of in this ten years that suggest me to avoid this indications:

  • try to keep it simple“: I tend to avoid too much complicated building system; for example: I love cold molded hull, diagonal planking on three-five layers of wood soaked and epoxy glued, I find that probably this is the best way to do a modern wooden hull, but IMHO it’s by far the most time consuming way to do it, if you’re not a professional builder.  So I tend to avoid it , and concentrate my effort on keeping things easy for the builder starting form the building system; it’s the whole project that must be suited to non professional builder’s skill , I can’t require to a homebuilder the skill level of a professionist
  • drawing quality may be a trouble enhancer or a trouble eraser in itself” : if you as a boat designer choose a wise building system and you struggle to produce a good, detailed, self explanatory set of drawings , you’re by fact lowering the bar of the skills required to launch a boat. That’s all, plain and simple. I often read plans that are undoubtlessly not enough detailed, clear and readable to be completely and easily understood by a homebuilder;
  • time amount required to complete a whole boat is a really unpredictable variable“: I’m deeply convinced of this fact, since I saw some design like my Petrel 28, non exactly a dinghy, being built and launched in less 18 months, and a very much easier and smaller boats like Saltaspiaggia took 36 months to be launched. There too many personal factors involved in a homebuilder’s life to give an estimate of how much time it will take to built a boat.
  • “beginners are often surprising (and inspiring too)” : I work with shipyards, building 6-10 millions euros yachts, I’m a part  of high level professionist teams, but I learnt that the level of quality and commitment of homebuilders is often underestimated, and they often produce works of top quality on their boat, no matter how much previous experience they have; so who am I to say “you’re not enough skilled to build this boat” knowing nothing about the level of stubborness, commitment and craftsmanship of a homebuilder ?


beginners at work 1:  IDEA19 interiors




beginners at work 2 :  Achille placed a column drill on the the hull in order to bore the perfectly vertical holes for the steel keelfin in his beautiful Petrel 28


petrel 28 drill