2007 BOTY Contest: Tips for Builders

CW senior editor Mark Pillsbury offers some friendly advice to boatbuilders looking for success in future contests.
    • Double-spoke wheels (similar to those on bicycles) are quite attractive, until in a seaway your finger becomes jammed. Ditto for stainless-steel handrails that could either pinch a digit or, if mounted too close to nonskid, skin wet knuckles raw.
    • Anchoring seemed a secondary concern on many boats. Cleats for snubbers were often absent, meaning loads would be left on windlasses. Fair leads for snubbers and secondary rodes were missing on others. And getting the anchor back aboard without dinging gelcoat was a challenge on a couple of boats.
    • Remove rusted propane tanks from the lockers before the boat show. And take a minute to make sure the gasket is in place on all the locker lids.
    • The good news: Manufacturers are taking steps to ensure seams are sealed and finished off. The bad news: The amount of smeared-on 5200 was remarkable on a couple of boats. Better application techniques of this wonder material would help.
    • High goosenecks on the mast that put the halyard or the fixed-sail-enclosure zipper out of reach had judges scrambling up tenuous footholds and mast steps on some of the boats during test sails. This is an area of rigging that could use some creative solutions.
    • If your boat has an emergency tiller, try using it sometime. Judges found some boats that handled easily under duress, but others were a bear. One emergency tiller remained in Scandinavia; another belonged to a different model and wouldn’t fit on the ruddershaft.