Interview with Warren Messer of Red Barn Boats

When did you become a boat designer and what was your first real design?

It was during the fall/winter of 2005 that I started on the 8ft Nuthatch Pram and it was the first boat out of my computer. Took about 50 models before I figured out how to manipulate Bezier Curves in my 2D drawing program. Once I had a handle on that part of the design process they came quickly thereafter. I did a splash test in March of 2006 and was so excited, that I was out in the rain on launch day; shown in the photo.

Which designer(s) had the greatest influence on you?

I like the types of hulls that Colin Archer, Bill Garden, Bill Crealock, Olin Stevens, and Olle Enderlein drew in the past. Beautiful boats with style and sea worthiness, and fast for their times, and boats I would still sail around the world in.

How many boat designs have you drawn in total?

I probably have about three times the hull models drawn than I have completed plan sets for sale at Duckworks. It’s easy to come up with a new design the way I work, but it seems to take forever to do all the construction drawing details to finish them off for the build set. I’ve gotten to where I can take an existing hull design and stretch it to what ever length/beam I need, and make about three or four models of that new hull to adjust any lines that did not scale correctly. I have several versions of the Granville Bay with various transom widths and shapes, and in multiple lengths.

Which of your designs is your best seller, and which is your personal favorite?

The 8ft Nuthatch has been a popular hull, along with the 10ft Nuthatch, but I would say my fly fishing hulls, the Nymph, FlyCaster, and Hudson Springs Pram (HSP) are my biggest sellers. My personal favorites are the 10ft Nuthatch and the 12ft Granville Bay (GB12). They are the one’s I love to take out sailing, and can speed through the water in moderate winds; especially the GB12.

Do you have a design philosophy – certain themes or principles you adhere to?

It has to look good to live up to my personal belief of “Stitch and Glue and Stylish Too”. I also want safe boats, and so I make sure that they have enough beam for their length to carry the weight, and be stable. I see too many short skinny hulls on the web, and it makes me nervous to see people out in these boats. I made up a chart when I started out designing boats, with the beam widths I want for any length of hull I design. I do have some designs that are narrow for their lengths, but they are in the kayak/canoe style family’s like my Electric Motor Craft designs.

What key tips would you give to builders of your designs?

Down load the PDF model, and the free study plans Chuck has posted at Duckworks. Just by making the model, you pretty much know how the boat goes together, and my plans almost always have 50+ pages of drawing details along with the lofting measurements. Also watching any of my how to build a boat videos at my site, will show you all the things you need to know to get started, and how I build the hull and fit out the interior of several different types of hulls. There are a couple video series where I gut out the interiors of some hulls to change up the seating.

What do you have on the drawing board now?

I have finished models of a 16ft version of the Leland Lake, and my take on a 12ft SUP; that I call the What’SUP hanging in my kitchen to be sure I’m happy with them before I do the detail drawings.. I also have a 16ft version of the Granville Bay to finish this winter. The Granville Bay 16 (GB16) will have a rotating centerboard and cockpit seating along the sides. I’m trying to give it a wineglass transom, and that’s been slowing things down a bit. I’ve been thinking of a small cabin sailing hull too. I’ve been thinking of just putting out a set of the lofting dimensions, and sell those for “Master Builders” only. All I have when I start a new hull is one page with the lofting measurements to make the hull and the interior is what ever I want it to be. My building method is the “outside in style” of hull construction; where anything goes on the inside as long as the hull is not over weight or out of balance. The shell comes before the chicken.

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