Merrily Down the Stream

Ronald Mueller has been on the water since 1969, in everything from sailboats and white water rafts to ocean going rowing shells. For years he owned Wayland Marine, his own boat building business where he used Ashlar-Vellum’s DrawingBoard and later Graphite as part of his boat design. Now retired, he still helps people with rowing boats almost every day.

Mueller’s open-water rowing boats are referred as wherries, a term more often heard in the United Kingdom and Canada. Rowing wherries are used for recreation, fitness, touring and racing in events like the R2AK, a 750 mile “no motors, no support” boat race from Ports Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK, that’s described as “the Iditarod, on a boat, with a chance of drowning, being run down by a freighter, or eaten by a grizzly bear."

Coming out of the technology industry, Mueller started his career in the 1960’s selling the RCA Spectra 70 mainframe against IBM. Later he had his own microfilm business. Selling that in 1988, he moved to the Pacific Northwest and started building boats. Ron has been a loyal Apple user since buying his first Apple II computer in 1979.

His first boats at Wayland Marine were sold as kits and called the Merry Wherry. Using flat templates, Ron arranged them on a stack of plywood, drawing around the templates with a pencil, and using a skill saw to cut out 6 unique planks. After routing the edges, he’d pack them to make kits. Wanting to refine and update the design he’d originally purchased from another boat builder, he bought Ashlar-Vellum’s DrawingBoard and MaxSurf, a program specifically for hull design. Over the years, Mueller sold thousands of boats, creating dozens of variations on the Merry Wherry design.

Today, in retirement, Mueller is still designing boats. He takes the hull views developed in MaxSurf, exports them as a DXF file and brings them into Graphite, where he creates layout drawings, specifying placement of frames, floors, bulkheads and rowing equipment. He also takes the 15 to 22 foot blanks designed in MaxSurf and breaks them into buildable lengths so they fit and nest together on 4x8 foot sheets of plywood. The layout is then output to his CAM software to create a toolpath for his CNC machine.

Through the years, Mueller has used other CAD programs including TurboCAD, but he finds it not at intuitive as Graphite.

Graphite offers the exceptional design experience that Mueller expects just as his crafts provide the outstanding rowing experience his customers expect.

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See more designs made Ron Mueller in this Gallery: