At last – free online plans for a skiff and a racing punt

Another piece of excellent news today was these two sets of free online boat plans from the Thames Traditional Boat Society. They are nice drawings too. What a great bunch of people! Thanks to Mark Albanese for letting me know they were online.

How about these for a project for next year? If you build them please let us know at – we’d love to put up a post or two about your project.

Thames skiff

Thames racing punt


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14 thoughts on “At last – free online plans for a skiff and a racing punt”

  1. Hi!! We are setting up a very simple pretend boatyard in our primary school! I am writing to ask if you have any plans or blueprints that we could put up on the wall, simply for ideas and general discussion! Our four to seven year olds would be delighted and would not be attempting to copy your designs!!

    Thank you,

    Anne Smith

    Barry Primary School,

    Barry road,


  2. Anne –

    I'm sure we can help, but I have to rush to work this am.

    How about a little model-making exercise with the kids to add to the experience?


  3. Gavin, I am looking at building a boat of around 20ft. Owing to domestic considerations it must have some sort of cabin. Owing to the fact it is to be sailed on the Broads, it must be manoeverable. Owing to a silly fantasy about venturing off the coast it must be seaworthy. Owing to limitations on skill and time it should be hard chine ply. It should be chine logs, nail or screw and glue. And finally it should be reasonably cheap and though it will require some sort of ballast, preferably in manageable, ie non-cast, form.

    So, I have looked at lot of designs. Karl Stambaugh's Catbird, the Great Pelican, the Core Sound 20 from BandB. The Pelican and Catbird seem too flat bottomed and too beamy for my purpose though I might end up with one of them. The Core Sound, its unballasted, and I'm not too sure about stitch and glue at that size. I am nervous about 5 gallons of epoxy, being allergic to lots of things.

    Anyway, I finally realized that were I to design it myself, I would start with Nigel Irens Romilly, and would just do it in hard chine ply as near as possible to the original but with obviously some compromises, with a flat 12 or 15 inch laminated keel plank, and two large planks per side in a V sharpie type configuration. A five plank design in all. I know I could build that in reasonable time, and could also minimize epoxy in favor of rescourcinol. I would probably collect old wheel weights from the local merchants here, and put them into a fabricated external steel box in the keel, securing them with resin. Or maybe put them into internal ballast alongside the cb trunk, in long ply boxes, suitably secured. I would keep the Romilly basic rig, but might adapt this somewhat – carbon spars seem a bit excessive for this type of compromised design. I had thought of an aluminium flagpole for the unstayed main mast, but the same high peaked lug rig. If it had to be carbon fibre, well, maybe, depending on price.

    You have a commendable talent for simplicity and buildability. Would you feel like sketching out such a thing? I thought we could call it Ramillie, with a nod to the Duke of Marlborough's famous victory. What do you think?

    There are study sketches of the design on the net someplace. I have lost the link but downloaded the pdfs if you would find that helpful.

    1. I really wouldn't be able to take on a project like this – through being too busy, I'm afraid there are already several of my own that I'm neglecting! And of course I'm not a naval architect and would be reluctant to get into a big project for someone else for fear that it might fail for some reason I wouldn't know about.

      Scratching my head… I think that the rigs Irens has designed for his high performance day boats is very appealing. You might consider transposing something along those lines and applying it to an established design of the right kind of size. How about something like this:

      With a tall Irens-style rig, I think she'd be super on The Broads and the Essex Creeks.


  4. Understand. Been thinking again, and perhaps the Norwalk Islands Sharpie would be a choice? The flare appears to be 20% or so, the beam about 7 ft. It should be fairly straightforward to build, as all sharpies are. Sides might even come out of a couple of 10ft ply sheets. Ballast could probably be internal instead of a cast sheet. As long as you kept to a ketch or yawl rig, the exact form of the mainsail should be fairly forgiving in terms of balance.

    I have also thought about a Long Micro, but feel deeply uneasy about vertical sides. Why on earth would you do without the reserve righting moment that you get from flare? I have a 16ft sharpie, and know for sure that without that progressive resistance I'd have been in the water more often than I care to think. Guess you could build a Long Micro with flare, but it seems to be a bit of a waste. Also, the long keel probably mitigates against manoeverability. The NIS 18 is sounding better all the time!

    I do like Parker's designs a lot. Its an idea.

  5. Hi Peter

    I’ve just come across your post while pocking about on Gavins site as I do, & realising it is now six months later, if it is not too late I have a design to suggest. I am quite envious actually, because your situation describes a place I would like to find myself in the not too distant future, and, for which I believe this boat is pretty near perfect.

    The design is called “Bird Watcher” by Philip Bolger. I did a quick google search to see where you might get plans. This revealed a number of sites with various details. I had a brief look at the one below which is a build log of the Bird Watcher II version.

    I too am very fond of the Broads & think this boat would be ideal for the low bridges, canals, & shallow broads. With both oar & outboard power you couldn’t get a more versatile craft, which would not be out of place cruising the islands & inlets of North West Scotland or any other picturesque coast line for that matter.

    If you haven’t yet decided, I hope this suggestion is of some help.

  6. I am looking to build an oxbridge style punt. I am from Australia and after looking at the websites it is a bit expensive for the drwings. are there any plans that someone has drawn up which i can use to build my very own punt down here in oz. any help would be fantatstic

  7. Hi guys, I’m a professional Punt builder specialising in the Cambridge style Punts. I usually build the big 12 seater ‘ferry punts’ but i have built a number of 6 seater ‘single’ punts in the past. Feel free to get in contact if anyone wants any friendly advice on Punt building!

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