Tinkering School is built on the notion that given an interesting problem, real tools, real materials, and the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them, children can do almost anything. I told the large team of tinkerers and collaborators assembled in the dining room at Elkus Ranch on Sunday night that we have built big things at Tinkering School, and we have built boats, but we have never built a big boat – let’s make something big enough for all 17 of us, and sail it!
Over the course of the next six days, we designed, prototyped, and built a 16 foot long catamaran, with ninety six square feet of deck, eight paddles, twin rudders in a clever steering rig, eight benches, and a sail (all we forgot was a keel). In order to evaluate designs we had to estimate mass of the boat and passengers, and displacement. We discussed and analyzed many different solutions including a monohull, catamaran, trimaran, quartamaran, and pentamaran. As our ideas evolved, we discovered that what we really wanted was to build a boat that would have “buckets of yarr” – and that is exactly what we did.
An amazing crew (left to right): Gever, Serena, Nova, Elizabeth, Gabriel, Yoel, Miles, Frannie, Elijah, Emma, Ben, Liora, Megan, Lauren, Evan, Josh, and Josh.
note: in the word catamaran, ‘cata’ is not a suffix. The term ‘catamaran’ is a transliteration from Tamil, as I learned recently.