by Clarence Heisler

Like many great debates, the subject of boatbuilding has compelling arguments to be heard and strong positions held about the relative merits of one material over another. We submit that it really doesn’t matter. Ultimately your decision will be a reflection of who you are, what you value, and how you choose to live your life. If like so many others, you are not content to own a cookie-cutter boat that shares a pedigree with the Tupperware in your cupboard then we commend your wisdom and invite you to read on. The idea that a wooden boat has a higher maintenance requirement is no longer true. While rot, peeling paint, and worm damage once gave a small degree of credence to this argument, materials such as epoxy resins, urethane coatings, marine-grade plywood, and hi-tech caulks and glues have long since ended that concern. All boats require maintenance but a properly constructed wooden boat will require no additional effort over an equal boat of alternate construction.

The many natural attributes of wood combined with modern materials offers the best of both worlds. Wood also provides inherent design flexibility which results in hull forms that are light, stable, and strong. This further translates into fuel efficiency for the powered craft and speed for the sailing variety.

In many ways then, the question becomes one of aesthetics and in this area there are few that will deny the unsurpassed, timeless beauty of wood. So why wood… perhaps simply because wood speaks to the heart and satisfies the senses in a way that synthetic materials never will. A wooden boat continues a tradition that spans the centuries and will always be the choice of the nautical connoisseur and those who value the qualities of the natural world.