Cullen building her own sailboat

February 5, 2014
Hayley Cullen

PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — Although a hobby to some and a potential business enterprise to others, boat building is something that requires time, patience and knowledge if it is to be successful. Third year student Hayley Cullen developed such knowledge through her coursework at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville this semester and has made substantial progress in the construction of her own sailboat.

Cullen, a mechanical engineering major with a metals minor, hails from Appleton, Wis., and has been sailing boats since she was nine years old. Her father is a boat enthusiast and together with one of his friends has provided Cullen with a base of knowledge and support for her to begin this project.

The boat is a project for Cullen’s synthetic and composite materials class led by professor Dr. Majid Tabrizi. It is about eleven feet long and 1 foot wide, and Cullen constructed most of the pieces herself.

“Making the front was the most difficult,” said Cullen. “It was my first time working with composites, and I didn’t know how difficult it would be to lay fiberglass into a small corner.”

Cullen has spent at least 150 hours on the project this semester. It took her and two others 20 hours to lay the fiberglass alone. Next semester, she will continue her work on the sailboat through a metals class. She is hoping to finish the welding in metals class to make the pieces of metal that go off the side of the boat for sitting as the boat is too narrow to accommodate someone sitting within it.

“Through my work on this project so far, I learned about the difficulty of composites,” said Cullen. “There are so many different materials out there with many differences, and it was very interesting to have the opportunity to explore them.”

Cullen also received guidance from her instructor, Tabrizi. “He is very encouraging and supporting,” she said. “He applies class knowledge to the industry and teaches us how we can use it in our careers.”

Cullen wants to have her boat finished by the end of the academic year. Her goal is to have it ready to sail this summer on Lake Winnebago and participate in some sailing competitions.


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