Rolex Yacht





Entirely hand-built. No CNC or 3D printing.

This racing yacht was built during my second term at Art Center College of Design. Our class was instructed to design and construct our own sail boats with a 20" long hull. The boats had to be complete with deck details and without the use of a CNC machine or 3D printer.


Photo credit Tatijana Vasily (


For my boat, I chose to design an updated version of the America's Cup racing yacht, made up of two hulls, aero-midsection, two part wing sail, cloth jib, dagger foils, rudders, and grind stations.


Inspiration for the design came from a combination of nature and high end racing machines.


I started by sketching the top profile of the ship. Silhouette number 5 was chosen.


Several sketches of the side profile were made, but it was ultimately a doodle using white pencil on brown scrap paper that inspired the shape of my hull. This was then imported into photoshop where I refined the shape some more. Finally, I applied a graphic layout choosing Rolex as my premium sponsor along with Ciroc and Mobil as my secondary sponsors. The build process could now begin.


Using a bandsaw, the hulls were cut out of 30lb modeling foam. These were then glued back together and a vertical mill was used to sculpt out the crew cockpits. Another pass through the bandsaw using a template gave me the side profile.


For the midsection, I cut and stacked two sheets of styrene plastic together, clamped them into a curved position using quick grips, and applied styrene glue in between. After hardening overnight, I next cut and layered thinner sheets of styrene to give the aerofoil shape of the wings. Several A-clamps were used to hold everything in position while more glue was applied. Once dried, I used a table router to round the front of the wings.


To sculpt the curvature of the hulls, I used a belt sander and then hand sanded them under a spot light. I next shaped and smoothed the midsection using bondo before test fitting everything together.

I used epoxy to attach the midsection to the two hulls. Bondo and an old gift card were used to fill in any gaps. Finally, I applied grey  primer to the entire boat.


A large fiberglass fishing rod was used to create the main mast. I cut it based on a template I designed of my rib layout. I measured each section of the rod where the ribs would connect using a digital caliper.


All 118 ribs were designed individually in Adobe Illustrator based on their hole diameter and length. These were then laser cut out of thin black acrylic glass and test fit.


Using the template I printed out earlier, I aligned the front 59 ribs on the fishing rod mast, and the rear 59 ribs on a flexible aluminum rod. Each rib was sanded several times to prepare for shrink wrapping later.


To hold each rib upright and in position, I designed and laser cut several comb shaped jigs out of flexible PETG plastic. The front half of the wing required thicker and stiffer comb jigs made of 1/4" acrylic due to so much variation in rib sizing.  End pieces were then laser cut, primed, and painted using satin black paint. I used a syringe needle to epoxy glue the ribs and end pieces together.


Both halves of the wing sail completed.


Several PETG connectors were created to help mount both halves of the sail together.


Test fitting everything together. A carbon fiber tube was used to create the spinnaker pole. 


Clear RC airplane shrink wrap called Ultracote was used to cover both ribbed wing sections. I first used a vacuum to remove any dust which might prevent the Ultracote from clinging to the acrylic. Next I laid the cut out wrap into position, "tacked" it in place using a small iron, stretched out all of the wrinkles using a heat gun, and finally cut away any excess wrap that remained.


With the wing's overall shape now formed, black and blue graphics on the wing were created using another RC airplane material called Monokote trim. Before applying them, I used a coat of windex to help reposition the graphics and an old gift card to squeeze out any bubbles.


Test fitting everything together.


I used a combination of sanding, bondo, and spot putty to smooth the body of the boat. Afterwards, I used Guide Coat and wet sanding to help uncover and smooth out harder to see imperfections.


The middle fin, which I sculpted out of 30lb foam, was epoxied into position on the underside of the boat. Using bondo, I sanded in some connecting fillets with the help of my spot lamp.


Covered in a few coats of flexible primer. Almost ready to paint.


For the front soft sail (or "jib"), I used layers of ripstop nylon fabric from an actual sailmaker. These were first laser cut to size, test fit with tape, and finally connected together using spray adhesive.


To give the sail a blown open look, I hemmed brass wires along the front and bottom edge and sealed them in place using super glue.


To create the dagger foils (which help lift the boat out of the water), I cut two sections of styrene mirrored from one another, and heated them over a buck made out of MDF to give them curvature. These were then test fit on the sides of the boat.


For the rear rudders, I designed and printed a template, and used that to cut the pieces of out of styrene plastic. These were then test fit, sanded, epoxied together, and finally sanded to prep for painting.


The steering wheel columns were built using an aluminum tube, hot glue, and 2 pickup truck steering wheels found at a hobby store. The wheels had to be modified using sandpaper to look less like wheels out of a truck.


The rudders and steering wheels were painted using blue hobby paint. This was the same shade of blue used on the wing sail graphics.


To build the grind stations, I referenced photos I found online and created an illustrator layout. This was then used to laser cut the tiny acrylic pieces which I sanded smooth, coated in grey primer, sanded again, and coated in a combination of black gloss and satin paint. The handles were created using brass wire, and masked off using vinyl tape for a second coat. This created a split line where each racer's hand would go. Each piece was then epoxied together and held until it dried.


To paint the body of the boat, I used black automotive paint which I sprayed out of an air powered paint gun. Next I masked off the section to be painted blue using vinyl tape and sprayed on the same blue hobby paint used on the rudders and steering wheels.


Next I sprayed clear coat to protect the paint and give the boat a gloss sheen.


After waiting 36 hours for the clear coat to dry, I masked off and painted the top midsection using satin black paint.


Next I applied chromatech transfer stickers onto the body and wing.


And finally with the body, wing, jib, and deck details all completed, I connected and epoxied everything together.


Special Thanks To:

Nathan Allen

Jussi Timonen

Elliott Davis

Edward Sanders

Lewis Mauk

ACCD Model Shop Staff

Omar Rehman

Marcel Santos

Geoffrey Marshall

H2O Sails

Tatijana Vasilj



Copyright © 2018 Geoffrey Bochicchio