The first model of an Ella sailing skiff

Ella skiff sailing model 4

Ella skiff sailing model 3 Ella skiff sailing model 2 Ella skiff sailing model 1

Matt Morello’s Ella sailing skiff model photos reader Matt Morello has sent me some photos of a model of the sailing version of the Ella skiff he has been working on, and once again I’m pretty chuffed.

One of my intentions with this series of designs was that they should be simple, conventional and easy to build, and that they should look ‘right’ – and although I haven’t had time to make a model myself, to me this little boat seems to fulfill my criteria.

Here are a couple of quotations from Matt’s emails:


‘Enclosed are some photos of my progress on an Ella sailing skiff model. She’s not quite done, but is close to finishing up nicely. I began it out of scrap balsa among other model boats I’ve been working on and I’m quite pleased with how she’s turning out. I can imagine that building her full-size would not be a difficult project to handle…

‘Thanks, Matt Morello, Connecticut

‘PS I wanted to let you know I enjoy your site immensely… Your site and the progress of your designs have been a source of endless entertainment, information, and encouragement for me.’

Thanks Matt – it’s a great pleasure to see and share these photos, and I’m very pleased you think is a force for good! I love the choice of background packing cases, by the way…

Seriously, I appreciate for feedback on my plans, both in relation to building and using the boats, I’m always pleased to receive photos, and grateful too for news of the adventures on which the boats sometimes take their owners.

To download the construction plans for the sailing version of the Ella skiff together with the drawings Matt has been working from, click here.

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8 thoughts on “The first model of an Ella sailing skiff”

  1. Man, that looks cool. I need to get started on my model. Well done to both of you, I think that is an awesome looking boat. I don't know what 'chuffed' means, but I think I feel it too. πŸ™‚

  2. Very nice!

    makes me wonder about a couple of things.

    How close will building these kind of models bring you to the actual boat? What I mean is, would this be something called a good practice when designing and building your own boat (or adapting plans from others…) to investigate or familiarise with the actual lofting and construction?

    Secondly (I am merely a starting boat builder and haven't built models other than the prefabricated plastic models as a kid πŸ™‚ )

    what kind of glue to use on models this size. I think I have an understanding of what tools to use to cut out and shape the pieces.

    Keep up the good work! These kind of public projects ooze being chuffed (if Google doesn't put this page in the top 10 links when searching for chuffed I don't know anymore)

    1. Building a model builds confidence in the builder and in the design. It shows how the design works, and reveals which parts of the project will be difficult and which will be easy.

      I think building a model is always the best first step.

      What you won't learn is how to make joints or epoxy fillets, and you won't find out whether you will enjoy completing a real boat build – real boats take a bit longer, need a bit more determination and require more investment in materials!


  3. Hello Gavin, I am newbie to boat buildung and after finding your website it brings much information and inspiration to me! Thank you for that.

    As a first attempt in later real boat building I started to build an Ella model for my little daughter. Well she wants a pirate ship, so I have to make still some changes… πŸ˜‰

    I printed the pdf in format DIN A 3 (this means a 41 cm Ella) on a cardboard and glued the hull for getting practice. While doing this I noticed, that side panels are a few longer than the bottom, ca. 0.5 cm. So the printed first frame lines are on the the same level , but going to the back, the side frame line is more and more behind the bottom line in the plan. Is there a reason for this, maybe it's because I use thin cardboard?

    Regards from Germany,


    1. I'm sorry you're having trouble; I'm always very pleased when someone builds a model or even a real boat from my plans.

      I really don't know why the bottom should be longer than the boat, and – noone else has mentioned a problem, as far as I can remember. For the purpose of making a model, I guess you could trim the bottom to fit the rest of the boat?

      Do you see a similar problem with the full size plans?


  4. I am not experienced in CAD applications, so I use the pdf files for the model. It is not a real problem, I just shortened side panels, cutting half cm of them. Because its my first stitch & glue model I tried to find out, whether there is a misunderstanding of the plans from my side before cutting plywood panels.

    Here are four pictures to illustrate the growing distance between frame lines in side and bottom panels:

    4 Pictures in Picasa


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