Tag Archives: Free boat plans

The virtues of a flat bottomed skiff

The virtues of a flat bottomed skiff

I think this is an impressive video that includes a couple of very nice ideas.

My little stitch and glue skiff designs – the 15ft 6in Julie, the 14ft Sunny and the 12ft Ella – are all ply, not ply with a planked bottom, but they will still have many of the important properties of these boats, including useful rowing characteristics. And the plans are all free…

A sailing Ella skiff in Catalonia

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Catalonia-based writer and sailor Ben Crawshaw (of Light Trow fame and theinvisibleworkshop) has got in touch to say that together with friends a chap called Bosco has built this example of the sailing version of the my 12ft flat bottomed Ella skiff design in his area – so far, Ben has only managed to photograph the boat but plans to sail it soon.

I had no idea – and my jaw dropped when I heard about it, and then sagged even more when I looked at the shots. (Click on them to see a much larger image, by the way.)

Folks are telling Ben that the little boat sails well, but I will of course be very interested in his verdict.

The photo shows that she has been built pretty robustly in the local style, but I can’t say I’m complaining! She looks great to me. Plans for the Ella skiff are here.

Ben Crawshaw’s book Catalan Castaway is available to order

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I’m delighted to be able to announce that Ben’s colourfully illustrated 224-page book will be available from Lodestar Books in a few days and is now available to order, priced at £15 in the UK, £17 Europe and £20 outside Europe. [NB - this book is now debing delivered!]

It tells an amazing and exciting story, as the publisher’s notes make clear:

‘A sail-and-oar adventure in our own boat, one having the inevitable beauty of a form which accurately meets function – this is the dream of many of us. But Ben Crawshaw shows us that the dream is nearer to our grasp than we may think.

‘In Gavin Atkin’s Light Trow design he found an affordable boatbuilding project which would require the most simple and accessible of materials, and just basic woodworking ability.

‘Within months he was afloat in Onawind Blue, and his book Catalan Castaway recounts his day-sails, beach-camping cruises and a challenging longer voyage, over a five year period on the Catalan coast of Spain, where he lives with his partner and young family.

Onawind Blue has been Ben’s passport to the traditional maritime community of the region, so in addition to her own exploits we learn of the indigenous boat types, many now endangered, and the dedicated band of people who keep them alive.

‘Ben’s increasingly ambitious adventures have sometimes made him draw on deep reserves of physical and mental strength, as has his personal battle with the ‘giant octopus’ of serious illness, happily now at bay.’

Read a sample chapter of Catalan Castaway here.

For more posts about Ben Crawshaw and his boat Onawind Blue, click here. Also see Ben’s excellent weblog, Theinvisibleworkshop.

 

Mark Napier’s Julie skiff

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In South Africa, Mark Napier has built a Julie skiff adapted for a sliding seat, and loves it! Here’s what he says:

‘Hi Gavin,

‘I built a rowing boat based on your Julie skiff design. I fitted it with a sliding seat and use it to troll for large mouth bass.

‘Being my first boat, I made a few mistakes. Fortunately, I discovered that my father has a friend who is on his fifth boat, so he gave me tips on local suppliers of decent epoxy and varnishes.

‘Stitch and glue is not big out here in South Africa. The epoxy supplier is nearby in Durban, luckily.

‘The boat has turned out really nicely. I made some minor changes to the foredeck and transom – I wanted to fit two sliding seats on the boat, but I realise now that that’s going to be tight for comfort.

‘I power it with a 2hp outboard as well, which works great, especially when I keep the weight well balanced. I wouldn’t mind getting a sneaker motor later.

‘We have the Albert Falls dam 15 minutes down the road – a wonderful setting. Good fishing too.

‘The sliding seat is just wonderful. I started rowing (sculling) last year, but was looking for something where I could include my two young daughters. I considered many designs, but settled on yours due to its simplicity. It is so awesome to row for brilliant exercise, to be stable in the boat and able to enjoy the scenery around us.

‘Many thanks for making your designs available to the public.

‘Kind regards,

‘Mark’

The boat looks great and the lake is even better! What a handsome lake to have just 15 minutes from your home.

It’s great to see another Julie skiff on the water and to have a builder so pleased with the boat – Julie herself is delighted as well. I trust Mark realises those girls will likely need little boats of their own one day when the can swim well…

Plans for the Julie skiff, a lightweight and easy to build stitch and glue plywood skiff developed from traditional flat-bottomed skiff designs are available here. There is of course no need at all to have the complicated sliding seat arrangement if you don’t fancy it – for most of us a simple thwart, and oarlocks and oars will do nicely.

What’s more if you’d prefer a smaller boat, the Julie has sisters at 14ft and 12ft.

Steel built Forrest and Stream skiff now in service carrying passengers

  

This adapted Forest & Stream skiff built by a bunch of troubled youngsters led by Intheboatshed.net regular Hans-Christian Rieck of the Graf Ship Association is now being used to carry groups of passengers on the canals around Nordhorn in Germany.

These photos were taken by Horst Dudeck on the occasion of a trip by the Neuenhaus Stock Market Club to mark its 25th anniversary.

The story of the Werner Wesemann is remarkable. The original design for a small skiff appeared in the late 19th Century in the journal Forest & Stream. As an experiment in the late 1990s, I decided to draw a slightly enlarged version intended to be built in ply. That boat has been built and used successfully quite a few several times.

However, Hans used the plans in a way no boat designer could have envisaged: he took the drawings and together with a group of troubled youngsters built a scaled-up version of the boat in welded steel. The craft they built is around twice the length of the original.

Now, some years later, the steel skiff boat has been finished, as is in use by the Graf Ship Association, which campaigns to open up the Nordhorn area’s extensive network of canals.

What makes the whole thing a really wonderful surprise is that Hans reports that the Werner Wesemann works beautifully on the water, even when a load of passengers are on board and despite only having a 5hp outboard motor.

BBA student Shane Butcher builds composite copy of traditional dinghy Barnacle (offsets included below)

Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 'Dreamer' Photo - Jenny Steer Dec 2011 Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 2 'Dreamer' Photo - Emma Brice

Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 'Dreamer' Photo - Emma Brice Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 'Dreamer' 3 Photo - Emma Brice

Boat Building Academy student Shane Butcher built a gaff-rigged 10ft sailing dinghy while on the BBA’s 38-week course, and launched it on the big student launch day in December.

Shane’s previous life was in civil engineering, however he has always had a passion for sailing and woodwork, and to him a change of career starting with a course at the Academy seemed an obvious next step.

Shane’s build was Dreamer, a composite-built copy of a clinker-built rowing boat belonging to the Academy.

The BBA folks reckon that Barnacle’s stem hull is a good general shape for rowing and sailing, and Ollie Rees, who was on the 2010 long course also built a copy of Barnacle, although  he used traditional clinker construction methods.

The BBA has kindly agreed to share a set of offsets for Barnacle for anyone who would like to build their own version of the boat. They can be downloaded here: Barnacle 10ft stem dinghy offsets provided by the BBA. It’s nice to be able to get something like this for free – thanks BBA!

João Pereira builds a model Ella skiff

João Pereira builds a model Ella skiff 2 João Pereira builds a model Ella skiff 1

Please forgive me what might seem a bit of self-puffery – but I just love it when people build my little boats, even when they’re models for kids to play with in the shower.

João Pereira’s model of an Ella skiff certainly charmed me, and the Lego people are just about to scale too!

Here’s what he wrote:

Hello Mr Atkin!

I’ve recently come across the intheboatshed web site looking for boat plans and I was surprised by the amount of information available.

The idea of allowing someone to make a model before the real boat was very good.
I tried to build mine entirely with 4mm ply but it didn’t work. The sides didn’t bend easily so I used card-board from a milk carton for the sides and bottom. The frames, deck and gunwales are 4mm ply.

My kids play with it in the shower often because it is glued with Araldite, painted and varnished. I think it is a good test to check for defects and durability.

Best regards from Portugal,

João Pereira

Thanks João! That’s not a bad way to start kids with boats. I hope you go on to build the real thing. If you do, please keep in close touch so that I can help make sure it’s as successful as the bath toy…