This is the 21 century, the emphasis on accredited skills has reached the point of stupidity.

So you want to become a Wooden Boat Builder. You should have a Degree in Naval Architecture with honours in Hydrodynamics and Aerodynamics as well as a Credit in Structural Engineering and a Masters in Drawing and Drafting. Some study of Botany to choose the right timber and of course a Degree in Environmental Studies and Conservation would be helpful.

Now you are qualified to draw the lines. Of course, a Certificate in Sculpture and an Arts Degree just to hone the visual skills. Also Credits in Research and History to help choose a style of craft to be built. What about some Degrees in Meteorology for the weather and waves to understand local conditions a boat may encounter!

To help design the boat, you might need to use a computer, so a Degree in Computer Science would come in handy, with majors in CAD (Computer Aided Design).

A specialized session in lifting so you can move the timber around, you know, a short course of about three to six months should do to start with. Plenty of Occupational Health and Safety!

You are now ready to make something but before you can cut out the moulds, a Mastery of Tools and Machinery in wood is vital. A Degree in Carpentry and Cabinet Making would help, and an introduction to metal work and of course Metallurgy as well as a study in Electrics and Electronics so you don't blow the prop off in the first twelve months through electrolysis.

To ensure the boat is stable, a Certificate in Tank Testing and knowledge of righting moments would help.

Now a short course in Steam Bending with the appropriate Certificates! Maybe even a Boiler Operator Certificate, just to be safe. Before we get too advanced a Masters in Paints, Glues and Adhesives, Bedding Compounds, Preservatives and Finishes is a must, so when the wood and fittings are fitted they can be properly coated, sealed and bedded.

Now the backbone timbers need to be moved into place, a Mastery of lifts and slings or a Fork Lift Licence to make things legal at this stage. Can't go back to the Stone Age using levers and fulcrum points, pry bars and grease! Much too unsophisticated and simple!

A Course in Caulking is useful if the boat is to float and the deck is to be watertight.

That should take care of the woodwork but an engine would be nice. A Degree in Engineering, Plumbing, Tank-making and Electric's should suffice, oh and a Higher Degree in Electronics to set-up all that gear.

We are doing well. You might want a sail. Back to Uni and fmish a course in Wires and Ropes and the variety materials and fibbers for all the rigging and cordage with a Degree in Rigging and a Course on Sail Making, and throw in Canvas Work and Upholstery to finish things off.

Now we are nearly ready to go, just a Ph D in Business Management skills, a Doctorate of Psychology, so you have an understanding of Work Ethics and the Skill in Communication so you get on with your clients and staff. A Doctorate in Philosophy and a Major in Human Relations to round things out. Wouldn't want to upset the clients!

Of course you could 'just build a boat'. Didn't you know you were so clever, did you? All those degrees and courses can only pass on others' experience to you, and then only if you can absorb them. The paper proves you can copy and research. 'It provides the testers with an income'.

Lads building the Enterprize decided to get their bit of paper and the day came to be tested. They all passed with flying colours, then the tester said he was new into this game of testing, ticking the boxes. He was a qualified hair dresser by trade! "We do live in a bullshit world"!

I wonder who taught the Vikings how to build boats. Beautiful long ships, the skill and balance of good looks and versatility, longevity, aesthetics, durability, efficiency all in such a harsh environment and all by hand with no power tools.

Imagine how skilful they were, I mean really talented. First, make the tools to create the tools to do the job, then get on with it. Not only were they fine craftsmen, they could navigate, and had some really good times visiting the neighbours and passing on some of their experience. You know, a bit of rape and pillage etc. Well, one had to do something when you go on holidays. Not like these days of footy hooligans, was it!

I concede the point one has to learn from somewhere, we aren't all geniuses or visionaries, so books can help, but there's no substitute for first hand, hands on experience.

I hear and forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand, 'simple as that'.

Call for Contributions

Have you recently had a great day on the water, voyaged from A to B successfully, or completed a small project such as a locker lid or new spar? Our members would love to hear about it!.

Please send a short paragraph and a picture to the Shavings Editor, preferably by email to, so that we can include your account in Shavings.

We also encourage members to share their achievements and experiences at club nights. Bring along photos, drawings or examples and feel welcome to talk about these as part of the meeting.

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Coming WBA Events

Sun Dec 12 @11:30AM -
Sailing Day and WBA Christmas Lunch - Note new details!
Sun Jan 23 @10:00AM -
Sailing Day - Albert Park Lake
Wed Feb 09 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Mid-week Boating - NEW!
Wed Feb 16 @ 7:30PM -
Club Night - The boats of HMAS Castlemaine
Sat Feb 26 @10:00AM -
Participate in APYC's 150th Anniversary Celebrations
Wed Mar 16 @ 7:30PM -
Club Night - Alma Doepel - TBC
Sun Mar 27 @ 8:00AM -
Sailing Day - Rye
Sun Apr 24 @10:00AM -
Sailing Day - Yarra trip
Sun May 22 @10:00AM -
Sailing Day - Albert Park Lake
Sun Jun 26 @10:00AM -
Sailing Day - Albert Park Lake
Sun Jul 24 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
AGM and Sailing Day

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