Tag Archives: plywood

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.

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.