Please visit our other sites at and for plans, background and focused discussion.

06 January 2014

Mock Turtle Soup

Building it isn't TOO much harder
(a LOT more expensive, though).

Mock Turtle Soup: Models and Mock Ups

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I'd say a model is worth a thousand pictures. I reckon that makes a model worth a million words!

It doesn't have to be a museum piece. Building in scale is important, so you can measure directly from the model. The more detail you build in, the more you'll solve and anticipate problems ahead of time. But TriloBoats are boxes... there's not so much to figure out on that score.

Note bulkheads, deck and framing lines...
almost all layout happens on sides or bulkheads.

We used doorskin (this time) and cardboard, held together by hot melt glue. Crude, but tells us all we need to know. A couple of scale models of ourselves (and a pet or two have since materialized) to picture lines of sight and boarding issues and there ya go.

We laid out the principle (side) component landings, and window cutouts.

Next step is to start marking it up with material counts:
  • Ply Sheets -- Sides, bottom, bulkheads and transoms, decks... each gets written up in place.
  • Copper Plate and Angle -- Sides and bottom; along both chines.
  • Framing -- Chines (bottom and sheer) and nailers, bulkheads and transoms, decks.
  • Nail Counts -- Parallel to framing, one or two sides... How long? How often?
  • Surface Areas -- How much for paint, sheathing, glue?
Writing our results in place beats a list by far... we can see at a glance what we've counted, and what not. Much less likely to over or under count. A different check mark for each pass through lets us check and recheck.

And we can just sit there and stare at it!


Mock-ups are different. The trick here is to be able to get the feel of a feature in full size.

We've got a collection of chairs, tables and counters picked out that we can go to for the feel of things. We might set up a mock 'gangway' to get a feel for how tight things have become in our present state of 'middle age spread'. And maybe a (literal) fudge factor? A strip of plywood simulates the overhead.

Window height has been a big issue for us. Here, we mock up the shortest windows in prospect, in their correct location on the sides.  If these are okay, the rest is gravy.

And it's okay.

Not a bad view for below-decks in a sailboat!


  1. Hi Dave,

    Hey, that's fun to see all the pictures – it sure does help clarify as far as the actual space. Especially with the little model of Anke standing on the foredeck, which is also a lot of fun. That's a long boat! Actually a bit of a walk, to get to the bow. But that size makes sense, for living into old age, and for collapse possibilities. I love smaller boats, but they really do put a limit on how much gear, and supplies, one can carry. This boat, on the other hand, looks like everything can be managed without crowding. It would be fascinating to see the interior model…

    The window is nice too, and the test with the mockup and view (can't beat that view!) It reminds me of the interior of AUKLET – and that if the height of the window starts to feel "high," you can always play around with cushions to make adjustments.

    Thanks so much for sharing the photos – it's fun to see the surroundings inside the lodge, as well as the model itself.


  2. Hi Shemaya,

    It IS a big boat, or at least long for us... it'll be interesting to see how the trade-offs of elbow room vs operation and maintenance play out into old age.

    Good point on the cushion adjustment vs window height, though we're hoping (through these mockups) to nail it before we build. Looks promising!

    One thing we like in a window is a bit of downward view, since a lot of interesting stuff is happening close to the boat at sea-level. That means eyes well above the lower edge. The farther one sits from the window, the higher, relative to the window.

    In our case, the leanbank shelf behind the settee puts eyes about 1.5ft out from the window. On the other, the inner dinette seats put the eyes about 2.33ft inboard. The mockup shows that down angle is ample from the settee and acceptable from the dinette.

    That's Anke's 'art table' for the winter, that the model sits on. You can also see the Eagle, must think its in heaven, surrounded by fish (the walls of this fishing lodge must have a hundred fish mounted roundabout)!

    Glad you like 'em!

    Dave Z


About Me

My photo
Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, our T32x8 ketch. We sail by wind, tide and muscle in the waters of mid- to northern Southeast Alaska. We try to maximize the joys of life, and minimize the chores. ........ We live between the communities of SE Alaska, but drop in to visit with friends. Lately, we've worked, every other winter, care-taking Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warmsprings Bay. This has given us a window on Web. ........ We're working toward a subsistence lifestyle, somewhat impeded by addictions to coffee, chocolate and cheese. ........ We think TEOTWAWKI is looming, and while we won't be ready, we'd at least like comfortable seats.