A template is a gauge or pattern, cut out in wood, metal or other suitable material, used to help shape something accurately.
Looking at a well planked wooden vessel, it does not matter whether it is a clinker or carvel construction, but all the planks will look ‘right’. However, if you could peel off a single plank from the boat, the resulting shape of the plank may be a total surprise. In the process of planking, the boat builder is taking a flat object (the plank) and wrapping it around a 3D structure (the hull), and in doing so an oddly shaped plank will be required.
In this case, the template being taken is for the garboard plank on a Fowey river sailing dinghy. For larger vessels see the other section covering making patterns.
Using a spar gauge to mark out a tapered mast for a small sailing dinghy. The technique can be scaled up to suit any sized spar.