BucketEars - First Cut Fever

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If you are new to boat building, you may experience what is known as "first cut fever", which is procrastination induced by extreme excitement about a new hobby. There are many different ways that people procrastinate. Here are the best suggestions I have for you to help get past your first cut, and get you to actually building and sailing:

Puddle Ducks are not heirlooms

They are simply plywood boxes with a curved bottom. We build them cheap and fast, so we can get out there to have fun. But keep in mind to try and build the hull bottom with accuracy, some times we use them for very serious racing. We have a handicap rating so class legal ducks can compete in mixed regattas, see the bottom of the home page for copies of the handicap rating.

You will learn more from building your first boat, than from reading anything

Literally. The act of building your boat, you will learn so much about boat building. Even if you screw up and do it wrong, you will still learn tons just by building.

Go look at a real puddle duck

Try contacting a local puddle ducker and see if you can go look at their boat in person. Even just a half hour of chatting with someone and getting to look at their boat will reveal most of the information you need to build your own. Then after you get yours done, you can go sailing together.

You can fix anything later

Don't worry about not doing it right the first time, because repairing, reconfiguring or building a whole 2nd hull is so quick and easy to do. If you waste a bunch of time trying to figure out how to do it right the first time, you will spend so much time, you could have built 3 hulls by then.

Hull numbers are transferrable to new hulls

You can build a simple and quick hull first, then when you have time, can build a fancy hull later and then transfer your number to the new hull. See the class rules page for hull number transfer info.

The Bottom Line

The boat won't build itself, you need to cut wood and nail/glue it together to make it happen. The longer you procrastinate, the more good sailing weather days you will miss and after they are gone, they are gone! You can't go back and enjoy them. However if you build a boat now and it isn't perfect, you can easily fix it between sailing trips. So stop procrastinating -- build your boat and get out there to have fun!

... and if you still can't stop procrastinating

Try building a model of your puddle duck. I personally like to build models with 1/8" thick doorskin plywood, but many people like using cardboard or card stock. Here is a photo essay of Tim Cleary building the Simple 18 from cardboard

After you are done with your model, paint it the way you will your full size duck, and then you can have a model to display with the trophies you will get from duck events.