Four Weeks of Boat-Building in Four Minutes


David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Very nice, David.  What strikes me is that its seems such a joyful enterprise.  I’ve wondered—and I say this as a “creative artist” meself—whether our society hasn’t got snobbish about elevating the creative arts to the stuff of transcendence and myth, and shorted the idea that making something like a boat with your bare hands isn’t as creative, fulfilling and praiseworthy.  That somehow laying down three chords and a cloud of dust is more ennobling to the human spirit than seeing an enterprise through to the end, with an objective gauge of failure or success:

    One can create a brilliant but flawed piece of art, but the boat must float!

    WD, sir.  With the finish line in sight, I look forward to witnessing the final stages.



    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

      Thanks Tom.

      Here’s the funny thing: Making boats is easier than making movies, or at least making boats that float and work more or less as intended is easier than making movies that cover expenses and provide a reasonable living for their producers.

      But a well-made movie (at least a movie made the way I like to make them) puts a lot of emphasis of being a transparent conveyance of the viewing experience. I want my audience to be lost in the experience of watching my films. not caught up in the existence of the film itself.  A good movie is effortless to watch, and the audience should have no reason to consider how many hours or how much money went into creating it.

      By contrast, boat, even small, build in a weekend boats, have a huge hold on our collective imagination. I have literally receive more effusive, reverent praise over the first, roughly made 12 footer I made than over any of the films I’ve made. So if anything, my experience has been just the opposite, that boat-building is lionized out of proportion with the effort.

      In that’s fine. We fully intend to us the fact that MON TIKI was made by *us* as a selling point, and all the more so that we made it in one Winter. And I have full confidence (and not just because he’s dead) that I’ll never hear Steve Jobs say, “Now anyone can make a 40 foot catamaran.” when in fact, it’s much easier to make a 40 foot catamaran that can cross an ocean than it is to make a 40 minute movie that people will pay to see.  😉


      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to David Ryan says:

        Thx, David.  Let me put what I’m getting at another way, then: the completion of an enterprise.  I meself have produced albums, some I wrote & performed, some I just produced.  Some I engineered and recorded every note, set up the mics, pushed the record and stop buttons, etc.  There was the doing angle involved, not just the creating/conceptualizing end.

        And you too, as a producer/director of films, no doubt have a hand in the editing and the work-work of the shoot, and are in on the “doing” part too.  What I’m trying to get at is the accomplishment end.  And I say this with my wife an accomplished actress, and meself quite happy to front or play in a band with no production responsibilities.  But I think the dimension of producing something [I’ve made an album with these bare hands] is a thrill that I’m not sure people–kids—are aware of.

        The performing or creating part is instant gratification, but producing a product is a more adult pleasure.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          Somewhere on the order of 90% of the man hours in my films is me, so yeah, I know what you mean about the “I made that” feeling, and yes, it’s deeply satisfying.

          I can’t really take any conceptual credit for the Tiki 38. It’s a pre-existing design, with many successful examples built.

          I *might* be able to take some credit for the MON TIKI boat/concept. Step one was imagining a JWD boat being able to pass USCG muster without being turned into something else in the process (it did). Step two is actually building and launching the thing (getting closer!). And step three is actually turning it into a sustaining business (we’ll see.)

          When/if that happens, I’m going to feel pretty chuffed.

          Also just launching the thing is going to feel pretty good.Report

  2. Avatar James B Franks says:

    Have you decided on an exterior color scheme yet?


    • Avatar David Ryan in reply to James B Franks says:

      We have been spending a lot of time on the Pacific Voyagers website study the colors of their canoes. We’re doing a copper/epoxy anti-fouling treatment to just about the waterline that will take on a blackened vert de gris color and tanbark (old fashioned brick red) sails.

      Between I’m not sure, but I’m leaning towards the gold/butter/taupe some of the Pacific Voyager boats show for the topsides, and white for the deck..Report