Norman Fuller has launched his Ella skiff built using free boat plans from this website – and has pronounced it a success.
He launched the boat on Wroxham Broad, not far from his home in Norwich. Here’s what he had to say about the project when he emailed me late last evening:
‘Hi Gavin, after a slow start I finally got under way, having not been on the water for many many years.
‘Once I sorted the collars on the oars, worked out where they needed to fit and then nailed them in place, the Ella skiff performed very well. As you see I left the forward hatch open because thats where I kept the nails and hammer.
‘The boat’s very easy to handle and I think the skeg was doing it’s job, as I found I could row in a straight line, which could be some sort of indication the bottom is not skidding.
‘Only one was a little bit awkward, and that is the angle of the rowlock’s. I set them in the gapped inwale following the line of the side of the boat, but they need to be more upright, so I think I will change them. My friend Jenny was so proud of what I had done she took me for a carvery, not bad eh?
‘Till next time!
From the pictures, I think the problem you had with the rowlocks is that they could be higher – the choice is between lowering the thwart and raising the rowlocks, or both.
I’d start by screwing a 4-6in by 1 1/2in by 1 1/2in block with chamfered ends onto the gunwale for the rowlock to fit into. It’s easy to do, you see it done very often, and when the block wears you can replace it. Small people and kids won’t need them, but I should add these blocks to the plans. Here’s an example of how it would work; and here’s another from intheboatshed.net reader David Luckhardt.
The Ella skiff is a lightweight general purpose stitch and glue flattie skiff for use in sheltered waters. She’s 12ft long overall by 4ft beam, by 400lbs displacement, and is designed for stitch and glue construction using 1/4in or 3/8in 4ft by 8ft plywood. It is meant to be a simple and quick stitch and glue building job of a size that is convenient for building in domestic garages made to take a small to medium-sized car – which probably describes the building area available to most people. For more on this boat and the plans, click here.