Sketches for a sailing 15ft Julie skiff

Julie skiff sailing version

Sketches of the proposed sailing version of the 15ft 8in Julie skiff. Click on the picture for a larger version on the drawings

I’ve been away for a few days, and took the opportunity of a couple of quiet days to noodle these initial sketches for a sailing version of the Julie skiff.

The hull remains the same as the rowing version, but is half-decked and fitted with two standing lugs, much like those many readers will have seen fitted to Onawind Blue. The sail area is 100sqft or so divided two-thirds and one-third between the mainsail and mizzen respectively. I think that’s probably quite enough for a narrow hull like this, but also that it could be quite some fun on a windy day. I should add that it’s rather a one-man boat despite its length – I suspect that it will perform best with a crew of up 300lbs.

What do you say? Is anyone out there in reader land interested in this boat? Polite answers please either to – or if they’re really clean to the comments link below!

For more on the Julie skiff, click here, here and here.

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7 thoughts on “Sketches for a sailing 15ft Julie skiff”

  1. Hmm. Definitely an interesting thought. Sort of like a sharpie-yawl. Any thoughts on what sailing performance might be like?

    Definitely an interesting candidate for a sort of inland camp-cruiser, for European canals and waterways and such, especially if fitted with a teensy outboard for when lazy-me is too lazy for rowing, and simple tabernacles for dropping the sticks along 'bridgey' passages…

    I'm assuming it's stitch-n-tape with a few stations occupied by frames?

    1. It's really a boat for flat water – slow-moving rivers and thin none-too-tidal water will be fine, but if you want to travel on anything lumpier other boats including possibly the Light Trow will be a better choice.

      I think the performance should be pretty good, particularly on anything from a close reach to a run or near-run. Upwind she won't keep up with a modern bermudan-rigged plastic dinghy of the same length, but you can't have everything. I'd far rather row this boat than try to paddle the other kind!

      One of my ideas for this boat, however, is a boxed-in forward section forbouyancy and a lid that raises for camping. And yes, a well for a very small outboard mounted in-board would certainly be a possibility. You might call it a one-man camp cruiser for someone with a clear idea of the boat's limitations.

      On a tabernacle – I can't recall seeing an unstayed mast with one. In any case, it won't be needed, as the mast is quite small and I think will be capable of being lifted out.

      Btw, the Light Trow won't really do if you want to use an outboard. Also, be aware that there's a 19ft version of this skiff up my sleeve also – it would be too big to row on one's own for long but would certainly be a useful sailer supported by a small outboard.


  2. Gavin, looking at the drawings before reading the comments, I was thinking this was evolving into a nice boat for modest camp cruising. I wold have expected slightly more than flatwater, like maybe upper Chesapeake, but even at the apex it can get up to 2'-3' . Anyway she's very clean lined and lovely for that. Look fowrard to the 19'. Need I say I like the rig? Bravo.


    1. I'm all for adaptations for overnighting, but whatever one does in that direction this will always be a light-weight un-ballasted flattie with fairly low freeboard, with the benefits and limitations that brings.

      It's stable enough to stand up to a sail in a small narrow hull form that's good to row, it's easy to build, and light enough to be (relatively) easy to move and manage on land. But on the other side, it's not a boat for the sea except on a good weather prospect and areas of water where you know that tidal currents aren't going to knock up some rough water.

      There are many places where a boat like this would be perfectly useful: a good guide might be to look at areas of water where people use small flat-bottomed boats on a regular basis.

      However, despite some of the things that are said on the forums, the flattie skiff is not usually the first choice if great seaworthiness in wind and waves is your aim. In any case, super-seaworthiness isn't always the right attribute to look for. Huge numbers of boats are built and sold each year for use sunny days, with reasonable winds and good weather forecasts – the very conditions in which most of us use our boats…


  3. Gavin,
    I shouldn’t have looked! I like the idea a lot for trolling on the weekend. I’d use both sails to get out to the edge of the bay and then use the mizzen as a vertical rigger. As it happens, I just read on here that you feel their aren’t enough cat yawls in the world. How about it? Move the mast way up forward and hang the mizzen all but off the transom to open up the cockpit and make it more “cattie”? I’ll do a model this weekend.

    1. I’m sorry – I don’t expect I’ll get a chance to do the drawing work for some time, if ever! I have work, family and music to consider, and mean to go sailing myself…

      From my perspective, although a sailing Julie would share the same hull, I would want to design the interior very differently, with lots of internal bouyancy and somewhere comfortable to sit the boat out when beating.


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