Complete free plans package for the flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff




After gardening for much of the day, this evening I’ve spent a couple of happy hours tidying up and sorting out the plans for the Julie skiff. (NB – See the bottom of this post if you need plans for a similar but smaller boat.)

So tan-tara! With an imaginary fanfare, tonight for the first time I offer you – a download of the finalised plans for the rowing-only version of the Julie 15ft 7in flat bottomed skiff for plywood stitch and glue construction, including my explanatory essay on her design and purpose, and notes on her construction.

She swallows up five sheets of ply, and for those those who like to think about these things, at her design displacement and trimmed so that the water just kisses the transom, her wetted area is about 38sqft, with a prismatic coefficient of 0.55. Neither figure would be outstanding for a round-bottomed boat, but the wetted area in particular is not at all bad for a simple rowing boat like this. With a flat-bottomed skiff there’s no easy way to improve on either without making the boat much narrower on the bottom, with all that would entail.

Like this boat? Send your comments to

I think she’s a sweet little boat and I’m very much looking forward to seeing some examples afloat. I still plan to develop a sailing rig, plans for a more traditional chine-log style construction, and I’m thinking also of both longer and shorter versions – the shorter will be aimed at creating a small easy to build skiff capable of being built in a British-style garage.

If you do build the Julie skiff, please send me photos and reports at, and also please let me know how the project goes. At least while the numbers being built are small, if you hit problems I will be very happy to provide advice to make sure your boat is a success.

Download: Julie skiff plans

See all posts so far on this boat:

Complete free plans package for the flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too? skiff – now we can make a model skiff progress
Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

PS – It’s become clear that depending on your build, some folks will find the thwart a little high – if that could be you, it will be a very simple job to make the seat lower if you do so at an early stage.

More free boat plans at

If you’d prefer a smaller project of this kind, check the 12ft Ella skiff and the 14ft Sunny skiff.

This boat is designed to be built using the stitch and glue technique – if you haven’t done this before you might be interested in my book Ultrasimple Boat Building: 17 Plywood Boats Anyone Can Build or one of the other books on this topic available from Amazon.

29 thoughts on “Complete free plans package for the flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff”

  1. Dear Gavin,

    Do you expect to add dxf files of the nested parts to the zipped package? I consider those very very helpful.

    Kind regards,


  2. Hey Gavin, wonderful plans! I've downloaded them, made a model (two actually, really fun for me and my 4 and 5 yr old sons) and had a question. I have worked with fiberglass and epoxy before but Im curious, about how much resin do you think Ill need on this project? I of course, dont want to skimp 🙂 Thanks so much for your help, its awesome to put FREE plans out like that. Brandon

  3. Brandon –

    It's good to hear from you.

    How much epoxy you use depends very much on how much you like to use.

    Here in the UK epoxy is terribly expensive, and we make our fillets about as wide as a table-spoon will form, use fairly light-glass on the bottoms of light boats and apply it fairly thinly everywhere else. On that basis, I guess I might use four-five litres. In other places epoxy is much cheaper, and in my observation some people tend to use it more generously, which of course produces a heavier if stronger boat. Others, however, may be looking for a lighter-weight boat, and so use less.

    I'm glad you enjoyed making the models. You couldn't let me have some photos of them I could put on the site could you please?

    I like to encourage model making, partly because it's fun, partly because it encourages confidence and partly because it helps people to see how the boats go together.


  4. Hey, Gavin,

    I, too, made a cerealbox model. Turned out OK. I was very interested to see how it became more rigid as I finally managed to get the parts fitted. Too, I need to add the knees and the breast hook. (I was assembling without looking at your drawings!)

    I live on a river in the southern US, and have been looking for an inexpensive – relatively – way to get on the river. I hope to build a Julie skiff in the next few months. One question: you mentioned a sailing verion of the skiff. Do you have such a plan completed? I have considered building a small sailing craft, something simple to sail – for a novice.

    1. Haven't worked up the sailing version yet.

      Hopefully I don't have to say how useful the notes and the drawings are – otherwise the various components could confuse a person. The knees and breast hook will add to the rigidity, of course.


  5. I was looking for plans to build a "Chipewyan Skiff" and stumbled upon your beautiful ones instead. They appear very much like the native craft of that area, perhaps certain boat designs are fundamentally self-evident?

    That said, I might just be building an Ella next spring if the wifey can be convinced…

  6. Hi Gavin- Am new to the world of boatbuilding but am fascinated and am enjoying planning my first venture and deciding on the design of my first one. I have attempted to downlaod a few of your free designs from this site but all attempts redirect me back to the original page … no download. any wisdom on this? Thank you again for your huge contributions of wisdom and time to those of us who are new…. smiles. invaluable! I am ordering your book to sit beside me all the way through my first attempt! blessings- Lisa

    1. Rich – thanks for your interest.

      To attempt to answer your question, you'll need the number of sheets of ply indicated, framing, gunwale and inwale timber where indicated (say, 100ft), several kilos of epoxy (how much depends on how liberal you are with it), maybe 100ft of 3-4in epoxy tape, glass cloth to cover the outside (you might cover only the bottom, in which case you'll need a piece about 16ft by 4in, or may prefer to cover the whole exterior).

      You'll then need one coat of primer, two coats of undercoat and two coats of paint all over. You'll need varnish two – six coats is normal for gunwales etc.

      In all it's difficult to say precisely because the total will depend on the qualities you buy, how you choose to build the boat and the cost of materials in your country. What I would say, however, is that there's no reason to think it would be any more expensive than other similar designs.


  7. Unfortunately I saw the another design of July skiff which 15 ft and 7 in and Ella skiff, may I do have them too for my considerations.

    I am 65 and I will not used it for commercial purposes I 'll use it for fishing. Thank you very much


    Yoni, Jakarta, Indonesia.

  8. Hello Gavin,

    I just started off with fishing and buying a boat is quite expensive. Then I decided to make one instead because I don't like to rent one just to go fishing with my son. I just have one question, are there any specific types of wood not to use? I just don't want to waste my money on something that is not going to work. Looking forward to your feedback.

    Best Regards,

    Bradford Fleming

    1. Bradford – There are rights and wrongs in these things. I'd advocate using either:

      – All good materials – five-ply marine plywood, epoxy fillets and covered in epoxied glass cloth, and nice quality interior carpentry

      – OR exterior ply (if you can find some without voids), maybe polyurethane seams or cheap pine chine logs, and a quick and dirty job.

      What I don't advocate is a mixture of both!


  9. With so much appreciation for generosity, I thank you for that free downloads. I am going to use it to learn how to make boat with my 2 sons.

  10. I be long to the John Gardner Chapter of the Tranditional Small Craft Association and
    will want make the Light Trow my project to build with the other members.


  11. Gavin,
    Any thought to finishing the chine log version of this boat? I really prefer them to epoxy fillets. I like this boats dimensions, any idea what the prototype weighed? I will be comuting and need to beach it twice daily.
    Thank you

    1. How heavy these boats turn out to be varies with what builders put into them. A simple stitch and glue job built reasonably lightly is likely to come out at around 35lbs per sheet of ply.

      I haven’t got around to drawing the chine log version, I’m afraid, but it wouldn’t be difficult to do – cut out the panels and wrap them around a reinforced central thwart panel using the traditional skiff-building technique.

      1. I have convinced myself to give it a go without the plans. I like a boat to track well so I am thinking of adding a full length flat keel and maybe some sacrificial bilge keels to reduce the damage of running up on a ramp. I can pull about 100 pounds out of the water so I think I’ll be alright. Thanks for the plans, can’t wait to get started.

        1. In circumstances like that, yes I think some flat keels would be a good idea, though they will slow the boat slightly.

          I’m not sure how the balance will work out, so my usual suggestion applies. Start by making the skeg run from the middle of the boat to the stern in line with the waterline (from the heel of the stem to the bottom of the transom, then launch. The skeg will almost certainly be too big and will make the bows drop away when the boat’s side-on to the wind. That dropping away is undesirable, so the skeg should be trimmed until the boat slips sideways without turning…

          1. You know,
            I have rowed quite a few boats over the last 35 years. I know exactly what you are talking about, it never occurred to me that the skeg could be making the bow bury away from the wind. So is the issue that the skeg holds the stern straight in line with the effort of the oars and the bow breaks free instead of the whole boat moving, or is their something else going on?

            By the way,
            Printing the model on construction paper tomorrow. Will have my design pretty much worked out over the weekend.

          2. The skeg is needed to make the boat track – but if it’s big, when the boat’s side on to the wind you get the effect that the bows blows away down wind, turning the boat stern-to the wind.

            That’s not good boat behaviour – we like to think we’re steering our boats, not the other way round. So a perfectly balanced boat slips sideways in a nice tidy manner, with neither the bows nor stern rushing downwind. Of course we also want good tracking…

            I’m delighted to hear that you’re building the boat by the way. Please contact me at if you have any questions – I will be very happy to help with practical matters via my email account.


  12. Got the model done, will send photos tonight. Even more excited now that I have something to look at!

  13. I was thinking of trying this in aluminum. I work at a metal fan shop and I have access to laser and water jet. I have been wanting a “skiff” style boat that I can build out of aluminum. A coworker built his johnboat and used mostly damaged or untraceable materials and only spent a total of $200. That’s what I what to do. But I like this design better than the Jon boat. What do you think? I was thinking of a model size first to see if I want to make any changes.

    1. It s hould work fine, as long as a skiff is what you want. It will row well, though not as well as a similar round-bottomed boat, but will only take a very small outboard – 2hp is the upper limit.

      I’d also say that deciding design changes on the basis of the model could get you into trouble – with a cheap, easily worked material, I’d suggest building the boat as drawn and getting experience with it before making changes.


  14. I just downloaded the Julie plans. The pictires are fine but there are two that won’t open. I assume they are the instructions. Is there a free program that wll open them?


    1. Hi Robert – it’s great to hear of your interest in my plans.

      As all but two files are either jpeg picture files or text files, I guess they are the ones you’re referring to.

      One is a Word file containing some instructions and descriptions – which should be able to be opened using a copy of Word, or one of the free Microsoft Office clones. You might try or, or if you have a Google account you can use Google docs…

      The .hul file is a file created using the Chine Hull Developer software

      This is a nod towards open design and is for folks who either want to develop a new hull form of their own, or to study the Julie’s form.

      I hope this helps!


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