News Column

Tech students construct classically built sailboat

May 2, 2014

By Kelley Christensen, The Montana Standard, Butte

May 02--Raylynn Driskell wanted to build an airplane, but lacking vast resources, he settled on building boats instead.

His latest creation, created in partnership with his girlfriend and fellow Montana Tech mechanical engineering student Krystal Klietz, is an 11.5-foot gaff-rigged cutter, a classically built sailboat. They showed off their creation Thursday at Montana Tech's third annual Techxpo Design Showcase.

Modern sailboats, while having good performance and safety, lack the elegance and style of their vintage counterparts. Driskell and Klietz's sailboat has all the flair of an 18th century ship, but it's a whole lot safer.

Driskell built his first boat for the Helena Regatta. It was a cardboard affair, but seaworthy enough to win two races. His next boat was a plywood creation that floated, at least for a while.

The ship he and Klietz built is modeled on the Lulworth, a racing yacht built in England in 1920, only much smaller.

"It's a fast, stable boat," Driskell said. "It was built so it won't topple over. Boats are relatively easy to make but not many people do it."

Driskell and Klietz used time-lapse videos they found on YouTube of ship construction and books with diagrams of gaff-rigged boats to figure out how to build one of their own.

They spent three months designing the ship and three months building it from scratch in their garage. They used redwood, pine and 350-year-old purpleheart wood found at an estate sale. The ship is coated in epoxy, fiber glass and varnish.

"It's been a learning process," Klietz said. "Our first boat sank so hopefully this one won't."

The couple plans to set sail on their ship's maiden voyage this summer on Delmoe Lake and then at Canyon Ferry Reservoir, east of Helena.


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Source: Montana Standard (Butte)

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