Creating a model of a boat before building it is a common procedure, and one I find very useful. For a 23′ boat, I chose to build a 1:4 scale model; this worked great since the 7′ 8″ model was big enough to use as a tender. For a nesting kayak that I designed, I started by building a full-sized model (also known as a mock-up) out of cardboard, to test for accuracy before cutting expensive plywood. The cardboard parts would be used for patterns.

Photographs by the author

The plywood panels for the V-berth could be built into the mock-up, fitting only straight edges and right angles. The curves of the perimeter can then be traced precisely with a batten bent fair around the frames.

My latest project is a 17′ pocket cruiser. The design challenge was to create accommodations for two with an acceptable level of comfort. Working with drawings and scale models was not going to definitively prove the success of the design or the many small construction details that would need to be considered when building the finished boat. My solution was to build a mock-up strong enough to climb aboard.

Read this article now for free!

Sign up here (No credit card required) to finish reading your article now.

— OR —

Subscribe now for $29.99 a year! You'll have access to our new issues as they are published, and access to our entire archive of back issues, starting with our inaugural issue in September 2014. Subscribers can also post unlimited classified ads. This is an extraordinary value!