Max Stropkay


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When I was a kid, I learned how to sail on Sunfish sailboats at summer camp. I really enjoyed sailing and knew that it was something that I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life; however, I don't live on the water and I don't have space to store a boat year round. 

The goal for this project was to create a small sailboat that is easy enough for a novice to use, but still having the vintage aesthetic and beautiful details of larger yachts. 

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I sourced the design for the hull from a vintage issue of a popular mechanics magazine. I found a relatively simple design that was intended to be constructed by bending plywood over an internal form. 

I modified the hull to work with the stock rigging and rudder hardware of a Sunfish. This would ensure that a novice, such as myself could easily rig and sail the boat. Also, using factory components makes them easy to replace if they break. 

To achieve the look of vintage sailboats, I made a strip and caulk deck, used a clean and classic color scheme for the hull and sail, and sourced upscale chrome and brass hardware. 

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Through the process of building this boat from scratch, I learned about bridging the gap between an idea, which can have vagueness, and a concrete physical object, in which every detail must be carfeully considered and executed.  


The finish details are much of what sets this boat apart from other sailboats of the same size. I created edges for the deck out of some U shaped vinyl inserts for the cockpits and long mahoganay strips for the outside of the boat. I also sourced chrome hardware and a white sail to complete the vintage look. 


Take Aways

Through the process of building this boat I learned about structure, construction with wood, and finishing techniques. The process gave me a greater appreciation for constructive processes and craft in design.