Specmar: Refining Metal Boat Designs

At the risk of stating the obvious, the processes involved in composites, metal, and wood boatbuilding are worlds apart. And yet each method exists to achieve the same result. Material properties drive the methodologies. In some respects, metal boatbuilding seems the simplest. As reported in PBB No. 164, a Rovings item about Liquid Metal Marine in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada, described owner Kristi Benwell’s wrestling with stock designs versus custom. This prompted former metal boatbuilder and now designer Stephen F. Pollard of Scappoose, Oregon, to write, saying modification of stock designs is increasing in popularity.

Pollard, a graduate of Westlawn and author of the well-known book Boatbuilding with Aluminum, founded a small-boat metal fabrication shop called Unimet in Tacoma, Washington, back in 1969. His projects ranged from sailboats to salmon charter boats, workboats, and a few yachts. Citing difficulty keeping a crew of seven busy year round, he “turned over” the business to his foreman, who renamed it Almar; he in turn sold to North River, which continues to sell Almar designs.

27' Specmar sportfisherCourtesy Specmar

Specmar’s Steve Pollard says this 27′ (8.2m) sportfisher is one of his most popular models; it can be configured with various drive systems.

Fifteen years ago Pollard founded Specmar Inc. as a CAD lofting-and-design firm, offering a large inventory of welded-aluminum stock boat designs. Currently, he has two other designers working with him. Pollard says one of their most popular models is the 27 (8.2m) sportfisher, shown in the photo. Design #1262 can be configured for inboard/outboard and outboard power and with several cabin designs. Pollard wrote: “The stock design, as shown on the website, requires a purchase weight of 5,293 lbs [2,398 kg] of aluminum sheet and plate to construct, plus about 10% more weight for standard extrusions. Our fee for the use of the design to construct one boat is $3,450. The provided CAD cutting files include all precut parts made out of aluminum sheet and plate material.”

Specmar Inc., P.O. Box 1081, Scappoose, OR 97056 USA, tel. 503–543–7562, website www.specmar.com.