At the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building
By Don Gutzmer – GBI Technical Advisor
After attending the 2012 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, I visited the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, Washington. School instructor Bruce Blatchley was excited to show off their one-of-a-kind boat project, Sliver. The 62-foot double-ended daysailer was designed by well-known yacht designer Robert Perry and commissioned by Kim Bottles of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The Northwest School students of the 2011 and 2012 contemporary boatbuilding classes worked on the project. For a school that teaches traditional wooden boat building, learning to build a hybrid of wood/composite construction using epoxy was a unique challenge.
Sliver’s hull is strip-planked with 1”-thick western red cedar and sheathed with one layer of 24-ounce tri-axial cloth on both the interior and exterior using WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. The bulkheads were fabricated by building a sandwich composite using a high-density foam core and fiberglass using epoxy.
The boat was constructed by two different classes in which the build team varied; the first class consisted of 12 students and the second had five. Over the two-year period, students built a PT 11 Nesting Dingy designed by Russell Brown, a Joel White “Bangor Packet,” a flat-bottom skiff, and two Joel White “Nutshell Prams” in order to gain experience and fulfill the course curriculum requirements. Graduates of the 12-month curriculum receive an Associate Degree of Occupational Studies (AOS). Currently, there are three graduates working on 62-foot daysailer in order to help keep things moving along while students are not in class.
Proud owner Kim Bottles visits every Monday to check the progress of his new boat. While he was growing up, his family-owned wooden boats, so he appreciates the benefits of using wood in the construction. It was nice to hear designer Robert Perry comment after seeing the progress of Sliver, “When I stand in that shop and look around at the pieces of the boat, I am really glad we ended up with the build team we have. I can’t imagine how it could have been better.”
SLIVER is the largest boat project the NWSWB has taken on. It sure will be an eye-catcher when completed.
LOA: 61’ 11”
LWL: 55’ 4”
Beam: 9’ 10”
Displacement: 17,718 lbs.
Draft: 10 ft.
Sail Area: 976 sq. ft.
Check out the complete photo gallery of the Sliver build at NWSWB.