|“Real World” Class|
3: SCAD Boat Project
By George L. Petrie — November 2001
Of course, not all the students' ideas found their way into the final prototype. One of their most ambitious schemes was to increase the deck space when the boat was at anchor, using a molded-in door in the hull side that could swing open like a car door, deploying an additional section of decking in way of the opening. Though the scale model was built with this feature, it was eliminated in the full-size prototype because it would have greatly complicated construction.
Construction. That was the aspect of the project that really intrigued me. It's one thing to put ideas down on paper or even to build a scale model. But the concept of 20 or so college kids actually building a working prototype was impressive. It's also the root of the students' enthusiasm for the project. A third-year student, 21-year-old Chris Wawrousek, explained, "I do most of the CAD work, turning rough sketches into the final design and construction drawings. It gets built from what I draw, so it's got to be right. It's more than just a class; it's the real world."
Other students echo that theme. An energetic redhead and the only woman on the team, Juliet Bell describes herself as a "motivator," the facilitator who gets things done. She states this course is by far "the hardest class I've had all along. It is a challenge with real-world consequences. You have to take the time to do it right."
Helping them "do it right" is a group of corporate sponsors who donated time, expertise, equipment, or services. Intermarine Savannah's chief engineer Gordon Lacy worked up the laminate schedules and helped the team implement a fiberglass construction technique based on the megayacht builder's own vacuum-infusion process. Stingray donated several weeks of time on its computer-controlled milling machines to mill the mold plugs and prepare the mold surfaces, and Vector Works provided technical support in fiberglass fabrication techniques. Volvo Penta even donated a 315-hp V-8 stern drive, along with full installation support.
But make no mistake. Though they had plenty of advice and support from the pros, these students did the work themselves, to suffer the real-world consequences or reap the real-world rewards. Class is out now and the fruits of their labor will debut, for all the boating world to see, at the Fort Lauderdale boat show. And my guess is there'll be scads of designers at the SCAD exhibit, taking photos and making notes to bring a lesson home to the production builders beyond the classroom.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.