Tag Archives: plan

Chebacco boat designed by Phil Bolger, built by Academy ex-student Connie Mense

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One exhibit at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show made the case that the recently deceased designer Phil Bolger should be remembered for his very pretty boats as well as his boxy easy-to-build plans.

This is an almost-complete Bolger Chebacco boat, as built by an ex-student of theBoat Building Academy down at Lyme, Connie Mense. I think it’s a terrific-looking craft and that Connie has made a very nice job of building it. The boat was on the Water Craft stand because editor Peter Greenfield is currently building a Chebacco boat from the same moulds.

There are precious few Bolger boats in the UK and I’m always interested in them, so when it’s on the water, can Julie and I come for a sail please Pete?

PS – Don’t miss the ad for Water Craft in the right-hand column of this weblog. It’s well worth a subscription!

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Thames double skiff for sale

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I fouled up badly at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show: my mistake was to believe the weather forecast and went to the show on the day it rained most.

On the following day it was supposed to rain from dawn to dusk – but instead the sun shone – I’ve seen photos to prove it. Every sailor, gardener, farmer, camper and boat show organiser has had the same kind of experience, and all one can do is smile and make the best of it, which in my case meant taking a lot of photos of gently rain-spattered boats and people.

I’ll be putting a lot more shots from the show up over time, but I thought I’d surprise the folks who came to the show to sell this splendid 1902 Thames skiff by putting up some shots of their boat – and perhaps helping them to find a buyer.

I told them I’d do it, but like so many others they were sceptical. I think they imagined I needed to be paid – but I don’t and it’s not in my plan. Give me a good story or some pics or both and I’ll put them up, though if they’re not, I won’t. Even if this site someday becomes truly commercial, I doubt I’ll ever want to charge contributors money for providing information for a good post.

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Sunny skiff 14ft plywood flattie plans

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The Sunny skiff

Another evening, another boat. Here’s a set of fairly basic but functional plans for building a 14ft lightweight flattie, the Sunny skiff. Download them here.

I think they could be just what many people are likely to want – a boat big enough to be comfortable for an outing for two, small and lean enough to row reasonably well, and a good size for building in a small garage or shed. Like the Julie and Ella skiffs the drawings present a rather basic boat – one can build simply or add gingerbread such as beautifully varnished breasthooks and knees, gapped inwales and the rest at will.

Like this boat? Send your comments to gmatkin@gmail.com.

I’d better add my usual warnings. I am not a qualified boat designer and the Sunny skiff should be regarded as an experimental design. The designer of the Sunny skiff accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage that may occur during building this boat or in its use. You build it and use it at your own risk. The Sunny skiff is intended for use on flat sheltered water with no strong currents. It is not intended for use with outboard power.

If you do decide to build this boat please build a model first and send me photos of your model and the completed boat, together with a report on how the project goes and how the boat performs on the water. Whenever I am available, I will be very happy to provide help and advice if needed along the way; if I’m not around, the online forums can be very useful, but it often helps to search the archives before posting a question.

Finally please use the comment button to let me know what you think. This collection of elegantly simple skiffs with classic hullforms seem to me to have a lot to ‘recommend them. What developments, options etc would you look for, bearing in mind that these are not outboard skiffs?

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.

For more on the Sunny skiff, click here.

Looking for something smaller? See the Ella skiff.

Looking for something longer and faster? See the Julie 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.