Boatbuilding Alfresco

Tom Baugher is building a 15ft. center console power boat in his backyard.  What  is so remarkable is that Tom has built the boat totally outdoors without any roof or sidewalls to shelter  the construction.  He had to plan around rain, snow, cold, and the noise he might make.   That’s the way he has been working on it for the past four years.

Tom’s home  sits on a narrow city lot, a block from the Goodyear blimp airport.  His single car garage space is devoted to lumber, yard maintenance and woodworking  tools.  No room for a car, what’s more a boat.  But he did have a narrow outdoor space next to the garage.  And that’s where he began.

The reflection of the ladder shows off the flawlessly smooth finish of the topsides.

Tom started building the Alamitos 15ft. vee bottom dory on a flat bed trailer similar to those used by landscapers.  He screwed the strongback to the trailer’s plywood bed and built from there.  A large heavy tarp, bungee cords and easily bent wires secured the developing boat from the elements.

The hull is built of ½” marine plywood sheathed in fiberglass cloth set in epoxy.  The boat designer, Spira International, specified easily sourced materials such as conventional 2 X4s for much of the framing.  Once the hull was painted and ready for the interior work, Tom’s neighbors helped him turn the hull and move it onto a conventional boat trailer.

The center console took shape indoors during the winter and rainy weather.

When the weather wasn’t cooperative, Tom worked indoors on the console.  He sourced a complete gauge package and sized the console to his personal preferences and requirements.  He found a used 70 horse engine, mounted it, and rebuilt the engine control unit in his basement.

The remaining construction will be a long downhill run.  Flotation, decks, and a floor have to be added, then wiring and installation of the console.  As for a timetable for launch, Tom is mum.  He’s having fun and to him that’s all that counts.

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