Having never built a boat, I started out by building a model. I followed through all the step in the book using a scale of 1 inch to 1 foot. This really helped me to learn how it all fits together. I used balsa wood and had to rationalise on the plank thickness a little bit. The sail is made from a light linen.
My little model has had a little sail in Moreton Bay. I had to use a fair bit of balast.
While building the model I made a few mistakes that would have been expensive to fix in the real boat. It was an enjoyable and profitable experience.
The model now sits proudly beside my monitor.