Does she look like a boat yet?

They used to say a ship was born when her keel was laid. Back in the days of big wooden ships, that kind of made sense.

The Starwind 860 has no keel, though. At what point should we stop looking at her as a pile of parts, and start seeing a boat instead? Perhaps sometime soon, since the first of her three hulls is now taking shape.

We begin with the jig, the backbone that'll hold everything together during assembly.

To that, we add the bulkheads of one of the amas (outer hulls).

Each of the bulkheads is marked with two 6mm holes, aligned in two straight lines along the length of the hull. When all of the holes are aligned and plumb, all seven bulkheads are correctly aligned. It's a very easy trick, provided you build it into the computer model in the first place.

We were going to laser-align the bulkheads, but as fate had it, the only two visible-spectrum lasers available that day were both dead. Thankfully, the old standby – a tensioned length of light string – works nearly as well, getting us to the ~2mm tolerance we're looking for on these hulls.



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