The first strip on the boat is the most critical because it defines the flow of all the rest of the strips. If the first strip is not fair and smooth, all the other strips will also be out of fair. With these boats (a microBootlegger and a new solo version of the same) I want the side strips to run parallel to the waterline instead of following the sheerline, so I am keeping the strips flat on a horizontal plane. This is a little easier than some designs where the sheer has a lot of curvature and there is a sharp angle between the deck and the hull. With the strips I am installing here, the part-line between the deck and hull is fairly flat and smooth so I don't need to create a rolling bevel on the first strip.
Since I am book matching the strips on these boats, I have reference lines I marked across all the strips to help line up the grain. I use these line to be sure the grain ends up in the same place on both sides of the boat as well as on adjacent strips.