Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

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Preliminary drawings for a 15ft 5in flat-bottomed light rowing
skiff, 500lbs displacement

Although the 15ft light-weight American-style flat-bottomed plywood rowing skiff has become an elegant design classic, it’s perhaps surprising that there aren’t more sets of plans around. So, after some prompting by Win Cnoops of the Slipway Cooperative early this summer I’ve started work on one. It’s high time I got around to some designing again!

Here are some snaps of my early results. The waterline here is at 500lbs, and the discerning eye will be aware that the bows will be just out of the water most of the time, and that will also have noticed that the panels at the entry are quite straight, while those at the stern have more shape.

Boats like this can be relatively easy to build particularly if you go the stitch and glue route and aren’t too fussy about the finish – but they can more than repay the effort that goes into a more traditional construction and a good-quality varnish finish. They also row well and are a natural river boat, but must be used in fairly gentle wind and wave conditions.

My intention is to work up two or maybe more versions of this skiff based on the same basic hull – one will be a vanilla stitch-and-glue job that almost anyone might be able to build, while the other would have additional ‘gingerbread’ in the form of a more traditional build, more elegant seating arrangements, a shaped transom and so on.

See the whole series of posts on the intheboatshed.net skiff Juliealmost complete plans, our model, drawings for model-making, rough nesting, lines and initial drawings.

If a tender is what you’re planning to build, check out my Light Dinghy plans.

PS – It seems I’m not alone in cooking up a new set of plans. Check John Welsford’s site for what sounds like an interesting design project.

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2 thoughts on “Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff”

  1. An interesting concept. Looks as though it should be a good craft from which to fish. Any estimate as to the weight of the craft?

    Jerry Fletcher

  2. Thanks for your interest.

    Weight is always a good subject to talk around. Built from 5-6mm ply, I'd expect it to weigh in at around 100-120lbs, but it could be built more heavily or more lightly depending on the thickness of the ply and how much epoxy you decide to use. I usually estimate these things at about 35lbs/sheed of plywood used!

    I'd argue that there's little point in building very lightly, as a boat this long doesn't make a very convenient cartopper, even if one gets its weight down to 70lbs or less. Most people will find they need to have two two to get it on and off the roof.

    If you need a lighter and smaller boat, there are many boats that you could consider, including my Light Dinghy, which I've linked to above.


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