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The Masthead
March 2012 Page 8
Sept. 2012 Page 8
Surf and other computer applications.
Changing jobs from finish carpenter to
boat designer involved five dangerous and
grueling transition years as a Sea Urchin
diver in the Bay of Fundy - work that's
done in the Canadian winter months and
in tides over 25' where we live - but that
gave me a unique perspective on how wa-
ter moves and how things move through
water . . . especially in 6 knots of current,
at times. It also gave me a way to enter
local boat shops at ground level, so to
speak, and not show up as the so-called
expert who tells builders what to do from
on high. Though my interest has always
been to design cruising and racing sail-
boats, the reality of the past 11 years has
been that most jobs involve commercial
fishing boats. I've been fortunate to live in
an area of Canada (Southwest Nova Sco-
tia) that has some of the most creative
workboat builders imaginable: where any-
thing gets tried . . . at least once. The
power boat work has been both varied and
interesting, but also at times extremely
challenging . . . especially when it comes
to the application of some government
regulations (I'm being polite).
Lately, work has
become really
interesting -
some for pay,
and some on-
spec: from a
Pilot Boat for the
Gulf of St. Law-
rence; to an en-
try in the last WoodenBoat design competition (the 6m cata-
a collaboration with industrial/multihull
designer Michael Schacht); to a really fun playground sub-
marine built by Tern Boat Works for the Halifax waterfront;
to a small but powerful solar electric catboat cruiser; to a
motorsailer cruiser for the coasts and inlets of the Carolinas.
More multihull work is in the offing, which has been a long
time coming and is really great.
I mostly use a neat design program called TouchCad 3D that
allows one to almost 'sculpt' amazing shapes, and also to
send movies and pictures of work to clients in a really help-
ful way. This Fall I will be on a panel of Naval Architects and
Westlawn / Profiles Laurie McGowan
LeBlanc 32 Pilot Boat: Using a demountable female mould first used on a
jet Lobster boat for off Cape Cod, this 32 footer is used on the north
shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to bring pilots to iron ore ships near Sept
Isles, Québec. It has turned out to be very able design and is also used for
hand-line halibut fishing there. Built to LeBlanc Brothers' high standards.
LOA - 32.44’ (9.89m)
Beam - 11.53’ (3.51m)
Draft - 1.82’ (0.55m)
Displacement - 10,000 lbs. (4.54t)
Power - Twin Volvo stern drives 220hp (164kW) dual prop
Top Speed - 35 knots
Halifax Submarine Climber: 50-ft.
wood/epoxy playground climber beside
the Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax,
Nova Scotia.