Tag Archives: stitch

Free plans for the intheboatshed.net Ella skiff now online and available to download



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12ft length overall by 4ft beam, by 400lbs displacement, designed for stitch and glue construction using 1/4in or 3/8in 4ft by 8ft plywood

If you build this boat PLEASE send me a report about how the project went and how it works on the water, together with photos! I’m at gmatkin@gmail.com, and will usually be available to  provide online advice.

At last I’ve managed to find a few hours to make up a plans package! I hope it was worth the wait. In a mass of material like this there will no doubt be an error or two, so if you find any, please let me know and I’ll put them right.

For previous posts on the development of this little boat, click here and here.

From the notes:

The Ella skiff as laid out in these plans is a lightweight general purpose stitch and glue flattie skiff for use in sheltered waters with no strong currents or tides. It is not suitable for use on the sea or in hazardous waters.

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.

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

The boat is designed with rowing primarily in mind, though it could also be used with a VERY small outboard of NO MORE than 2hp. Too many accidents take place because outboards of the wrong size have been used, and far too many of these are fatal. If a small outboard is to be used, the transom should be doubled to ensure it can support the weight of the engine.

The name came from my daughter, who has taken rather a shine to the boat – readers of intheboatshed.net will find photos of a model she has made.

Compared with the Julie skiff, the form of a boat like this must be strongly influenced by the need to work in a decent amount of displacement into a shorter hull, as anyone who compares the lines drawings of the two boats will quickly see. The Ella skiff is therefore a more curvy boat than her big sister, but I hope that her more jaunty sheerline lends a certain cuteness people will like. The stem is angled somewhat in order to turn splashes and ripples downward, for I know that dryness is an important part of comfort in small craft, especially for those unused to boating.

Sailing enthusiasts will note that I have not drawn any details for a sailing version of this boat and I would prefer that no builder should add a sailing rig to this bare design. Boats like this should not be converted for sailing without serious thought about the safety and construction issues.

However, my daughter has asked me to develop a sailing version for her, and at some point I intend to do so. The design for this boat will feature a good amount of built-in bouyancy for safety, will be half-decked, and will probably have a balanced lug rig for ease of sailing.

This boat has been designed by an amateur with no qualifications in boat design or boatbuilding and should be regarded as experimental. The designer accepts no liability for any loss or accident that may result from following these instructions or plans or from any loss or accident that may follow from using this boat.

Click here to download the latest version of the free Ella skiff plans.

PS If you’re looking for a longer, sleeker but equally easy to build rowing skiff, click here.

PPS There’s now a 14ft version, the Sunny skiff. Click here.

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.

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Jamie Poynton and friends build a stitch-and-glue runabout

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Jamie Poynton and friends built this 14ft vee-bottomed stitch and glue
marine ply and epoxy runabout at the Boat Building Academy

Boat Building Academy principal Yvonne Green has sent us still more great photos from the Academy’s  student launch day in December, this time of a stitch and glue runabout built by Jamie Poynton and friends. Thanks again Yvonne!

Jamie lives in Axmouth, near Lyme Regis and for a while commuted weekly to Eel Pie Island in London to work with his grandad, who was renovating a 1950s tug.

City & Guilds awarded him a full bursary to enable him to join the course at the Boat Building Academy.  With help from fellow students Seb Evans and guitar maker Rob Murphy, Jamie built a  14ft vee-bottomed stitch and glue outboard runabout in marine ply, based on a V-shaped ski boat.

Yvonne calls this the Chanel boat because of it’s clean, simple look, posh laid mahogany deck and beautifully finished black and white paintwork, black carpet and white leatherette seating, and adds that the photo at the top (Jamie in the back, Rob and Seb in the front) sums up the atmosphere in their particular part of the workshop during the course.  ‘It was fantastic seeing them thrilled by their own achievement and looking cool on launch day’, she says.

The form of the boat was created by Academy instructor Mike Broome, who also designed Bob Hinks’s boat Cirrus. Jamie wanted to build a ski boat, so Mike produced a lines drawing (14ft  loa, 5ft 4in beam, 22 degrees deadrise, 12ft lwl). The bow was a conical development and the panel shapes were generated by first building a panel half model at 2in:1ft from modelling ply. The finished design in terms of deck layout and interior evolved as the boat was built.

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PS Don’t forget to ask for a pdf copy of the Academy’s prospectus for the coming year, as it makes interesting reading. Email Yvonne at office@boatbuildingacademy.com and I’m sure she’ll send you a copy.

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Ella, a 12ft stitch-and-glue skiff

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Preliminary drawings for the Ella skiff

I’ve decided to develop plans for a little 12ft stitch and glue skiff using Greg Carlson’s excellent Chine Hull Developer plywood hull development tool (scroll to near the bottom of this page).

This small project will take a little while to complete, and follows my 15ft 6in stitch and glue Julie skiff, which has attracted a lot of interest. However, boats like the the Julie can easily be a bit too much of a project for many people: they’re too long to be built easily in the average garage (in the UK at least), and they’re marginal when it comes to car-topping.

So these preliminary drawings show the very beginnings of the 12ft small skiff, which I’ve chosen to name after my daughter Ella. It will bear some similarities and of course quite a few differences compared with the larger boat, not least because the lines of a short boat like this must be rather fuller than those of the larger model and can’t benefit from the same hull form features aimed at reducing drag due to the formation of eddies.

However, like the Julie skiff, it has been conceived with rowing, not outboarding or sailing primarily in mind. For those who take an interest in figures, ratios and the rest, the wetted area here is 31sqft, maximum beam at the gunwales is 4ft, the design displacement is 400lbs, the righting moment is 254ft-lbs at 15 degrees of heel, and the prismatic coefficient is about .57.

Anyway, I’d be delighted to hear from people interested in the project – you can reach me at gmatkin@gmail.com.

PS I made a train journey this pm and took the opportunity to make a bit more progress. I’ve made up a lines drawing, and sketched some internal joinery, including what will be a removable centre thwart to allow the rower to row from a forward position when there’s something or someone heavy in the stern.

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