Tag Archives: plywood

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!

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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…

Building a Connecticut-style outboard skiff

This, British chums, is how they build a flat-bottomed outboard skiff on the other side of the Atlantic.

I’m sorry about the odd layout, but it seems to be how the latest version of WordPress and Jetpack seems to be doing it – no doubt they’ll change it shortly as the revisions usually come pretty rapidly.

The Brits tend to believe that flatties don’t work as boats because there are so few in our boatbuilding and boat-using tradition, but it ain’t so. Admittedly the British coast is probably not the best place for a beamy flattie like this one, but it represents an easily built, inexpensive and affective model for more sheltered areas.

With a building method that involve using a Spanish windlass to form the stern, you might say it’s another fine example of how people elsewhere in the world do things in very different ways!

In fact, this is an example of the famous plywood Brockway skiff being built by – among others – Tim Visel, aquaculture coordinator at The Sound School at New Haven.

The Brockway skiff was in production at the Brockway Boat Works in the Floral Park section of Old Saybrook, Conneticut for more than half a century, and became popular on the Connecticut River, New England and the Chesapeake Bay.

In 1982, Mr. Earle Brockway agreed to have plans produced for the 16ft extra-wide version of the skiff to be used by US aid and Peace Corps efforts. I think this boat has a remarkable pedigree!

Plans for the Brockway skiff are available here, some additional material is here, and Google Images reveals some nice photos of finished boats here.

My thanks to Susan Weber and Tim Visel.