Boat Design

Apprentice Scott Ryan and instructor Robert Darr out for a sail on Lil Gal.


Above: The 18 ft. sharpie Lil Gal, a simple day sailor for protected waters.

Like all of our classes, the Design Class is avocational, intended for serious amateurs who love traditional wooden boats and wish to help preserve the history, design, and construction methods of this craft.

Applicants must first visit the school by appointment to introduce themselves. From there they can apply to attend a free audit of the class.

This is an ongoing class offering in-depth instruction in traditional sailboat and yacht design. Students learn a simple but sophisticated traditional approach for developing seaworthy and efficient boat designs, and to develop these through lines drawings. Each student designs and prepares the lines drawings for a small boat.


This class is for novices and intermediate level students.


Ongoing throughout the year, currently Wednesday mornings from 9 am. to noon.


$350 (U.S.) per student
Tuition is for twenty sessions. One half payable with registration: The balance to the instructor on the first day of class

Tool needs

Students should have their own drafting equipment – pencils, straightedge, scale, erasers etc. Specialized drafting tools such as fairing battens will be provided


Robert Darr – a boatbuilder, designer and teacher with forty years of experience. He is known for using native California woods in boatbuilding and for his emphasis on self-reliance.