Category Archives: Modern boatbuilding

Modern and plywood boatbuilding and plans

A warning about changing boat plans

Whenever boat designers get together there’s one topic nearly always crops up – the problems that arise when some builder or other changes plans.

Other groups have also have their gripes – I know touring bands talk about the comfort that is afforded by having the bigger engine option in their vans and office workers complain about IT.

But changing a set of carefully worked out plans goes to the heart of what designers do when they make the mass of small decisions that together make a functioning and often good looking boat. So a designer’s anxiety mounts when someone announces that they’re making a change.

Often, the changer is an experienced person (such as Faversham’s Alan Thorne), the change is minor and everything works out fine  – but so often that anxiety often turns to dismay when an unlooked for modification turns out to be disastrous for the builder’s project.

And so it was in the example Michael Storer quotes in this article. I commend it to first time and amateur boat builders – and I commend Mik’s thoughts on the issue to other designers.

Julie skiffs at Faversham

The skiffs built by schoolchildren at Faversham got launched this weekend! (Click here to read about their building.)

The workshop builder explained about safety, the boats went in the water, the youngsters took turns to get to grips with using the oars, the designer got a turn in one of the, and his brother and wife Julie (after whom the design is named) had a go too.

I should explain that the plans for these boats are free and available from Intheboatshed.net. Well – that was all very good then!

By the way, the little boats are light and easy to handle out of the water and perform just as expected, with little wake and good directional stability – I’d say a little too much and will be arguing that a diagonal cut to the skeg near the stern might be a good idea.

Schoolchildren build two Julie skiffs at Faversham

A group of lucky schoolchildren have built two 16ft Julie skiffs at a Faversham Creek Trust boatcamp led by local boatbuilder Alan Thorne and assistant Malcolm Hazleton at the trust’s Purifier building.

The skiffs are to be launched at the town’s nautical festival around mid-day on the 23rd July. Naturally, Julie and I plan to be there!

See the free boat plans page in the tabs above to download the drawings etc to build this lightweight plywood flat bottomed skiff and two shorter versions at 14 and 12ft.

When I called by on Friday afternoon I met a small crowd of enthusiastic, engaged kids and a clutch of happy parents – and two cool looking boats, Santa Crews and Stormy.  Alan and Malcolm had done a good job, and the FCT’s boatcamp had been a success.

‘Have you had a good time?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ the kids called back.

‘Would you do it again?’

‘Yes,’ they chorused.

A mother turned to me and said ‘My son’s always been a maker and now he’s decided he wants to be a boatbuilder.’

I think she must have been reasonably happy with the idea, as she did not add ‘but I think he should have a proper job as well’.

The following shots are Malcolm’s. Thanks fella!