Another First-Timer (Cont'd)

by Gary Stout


T he process was at the same time both exciting and frustrating. Never having built a boat before I struggled with the terms and nomenclature, and most of all I struggled with understanding the plans. Slowly as I gained experience I gained confidence too. Probably half way through the build I knew what I wanted and had a pretty good understanding of how to go about it. However, the boat could never have been built were it not from the fantastic assistance of a great group of guys on the Glen-L Boatbuilder Forum. They were absolutely invaluable and helped me to solve hundreds of dilemmas that had me stumped. A particular thanks goes to Bruce Dow who painstakingly answered all of my stupid/novice questions and guided me through the process.

At some point in the build process one has gained so many skills that it becomes almost intuitive as to how to complete the boat. In the beginning, I was a complete novice and had to look at the plans for every single step. The plans are absolutely necessary to get the framing......the shape of the boat just right. After that, there is a lot of "builder's choice" as to how to finish off the decking, cover boards, floor boards, seating, side panels, etc. Not to mention engine, drive train, steering, wiring, throttle/shift controls, etc. I'm guessing that in terms of hours, at about the half way point the basic boat was complete. The remainder of the hours it was simply "making it look pretty." Can you say "sanding and varnishing"? Must have taken me 3 months full time on that step!

Yes I made some mistakes. We all do. While not a "show quality" boat it turned out rather nice for a first time project. I get lots of compliments and thumbs up from all sorts of folks. There's some final sorting out to do which shouldn't be too much of a challenge. The build process is fairly straightforward.........challenging but not impossible for the average guy. Probably the most critical and difficult task was drilling out the hole in the bottom of the boat for the prop shaft. Remember, measure twice, cut once, and don't guess at anything. If in doubt, go to the forum and get some help from those who have gone before you. I wish someone had told me in the very beginning that a 350 CI engine won't fit under the hatch covers!

Financially I kept track of every single dime I spent building the boat.......every screw, nail, piece of sandpaper, paint brush, carbon paper, etc. I did no scrounging on E-Bay, nor did I purchase any used parts. Everything was purchased new and I bought the best of everything. I have a total so far of $34,000 including a new trailer, but excluding interior upholstery. It was kind of a shock to see how much the deck hardware stuff costs........cleats, bow eyes, windshield brackets, vents, hinges, lights, etc.

When you think the boat is 90% complete, you must realize you still have 90% to go! I totally underestimated the amount of time to sand and varnish the boat to my satisfaction. I think I spent about 3 months doing nothing but sanding and varnishing, and don't underestimate the importance of "fairing" the boat before applying any fiberglass, resin, or varnish. Every little ding, dent, ripple or imperfection will be magnified in the end product. Sand and fair the boat perfectly first!

I've posted pictures in Customer Photos to show various phases of my construction. Glen-L is a wonderful company and provides a wonderful resource for boat builders. I recommend Glen-L to any and all who are interested in building a boat.

-- Garry Stout
Odessa (Tampa), Florida