The weather is slowly getting hotter and this only marks one thing: summer is about to arrive in our tropical country. It’s that time of the year where numerous family outings and company excursions are being planned. Some of them go out of the country while those who are on a tight budget prefers DIY domestic trips. But for the Gadgets team, it seems like summer came early as we joined a one-of-a-kind activity: sailboat building.
Organized by Philippine Home Boatbuilders Yacht Club (PHBYC) in the country, the Family Boat Building Weekends (FBBW) happened last February 15 to 18, 2017 at Taal Lake Yacht Club. Aiming to expose Filipino families in boat building while fostering camaraderie and creativity in a worthwhile and rewarding project, the program enables people to have a firsthand experience of assembling their own sailboat. The program originated in America which was pioneered by WoodenBoat Magazine.
10 groups from different families, organizations, and schools toiled and jammed on the tents as they participated in the three-day event. Spearheaded by Mr. Roy Espiritu, one of the PHBYC’s member and the father of FBBW in the Philippines, the program started with a short yet concise discussion of assembling a sailboat. Mike Storer, the designer of the flat-bottom Cajun-style pirogue, explained further the purpose of each parts of the boat.
Upon registration, each team was given some instruction booklets on how to build their own boat. Since this is purely a DIY project, different groups were assigned with brilliant and skilled instructors who will guide them along their boat-making journey. All of the tools were provided by the event sponsors such as Pioneer Epoxy, Polymer Products Philippines Inc., Hyde Sails, and Santa Rosa Marine Plywood.
If you’re thinking to join this unique outdoor activity, then I have to warn you about getting dirty and gritty. Pieces of wood were literally cut in pieces wherein members of our group should assemble it like a giant puzzle. It really tested everyone’s patience, hard work, attention, and teamwork as each and one of us should put and screw the wood pieces together, seal it perfectly with the epoxy, shred the excess wood, sand the plywood, glue the fiberglass, make some knots, and tie tightly the sail. But despite of these challenges, it’s fulfilling to see the result of our collective efforts.
Tough and rough, depending on how fast your team is, the labor to build a boat may take up to three days. Thinking that our group consists mostly of girls, our phasing was quite fast because it only took us two and a half days to complete everything. Thanks to our beloved instructors, we were able to finish just in time. On the otherhand, other troops unleashed their creative talents through designing their sailboat with enamel paint.
Since we’re too excited to sail, we decided to test our finished product in the blue, calm, and peaceful waters of Taal Lake. It did not disappoint us. With our sophisticated craftsmanship, our first and very own boat successfully sailed with might and glory. Maneuvering the sail and going against the wind was a thrilling experience. You can really feel the adrenaline rush as your boat go with the waves, shaking and tilting the whole small water vessel. The hardest part that we encountered was making a U-turn and getting back to the shore since it takes a strong man to pull the whole sail in the opposite direction of the wind while keeping it balanced. Falling down is inevitable and normal as professional sailors told us.
Nevertheless, everyone had a good time and we would surely forever cherish this memory in our hearts and minds. We hope that you can conquer your fears of water and try it too this summer!
Words by: Jewel Sta. Ana
Video by: Jerico Lutrania
Also published in Gadgets Magazine 2018 March Issue