Conrad Natzio’s Little Grebe

The Thames Traditional Boat Society’s boats are fascinating and beautiful – but there are lots of us who would doubt our ability to handle that narrow-gutted punt and quite a few who might be nervous of the Thames skiff’s clinker construction. So here’s a nice achievable project for the rest of us: Conrad Natzio’s Little Grebe.

Little Grebe is simple and makes an attractive first home-built project, and because she’s also small and car-toppable she’s also the kind of little boat that’s easy to transport and launch, often by one person. What this convenience means in practice is that she’s the kind of boat that is likely to get a lot of use. Overall, I think she makes a very attractive package for a first project.

For more of Conrad’s designs, see:

Little Grebe Little Grebe

Little Grebe LIttle Grebe


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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Designer and builder Tom Dunderdale

Tom Dunderdale is a designer who draws and builds boats that have some appeal for those of us who admire traditional boats, but not got the time, skills or wherewithal to care for them.

Apple is a sweet-sheered, yawl-rigged, balanced lug day-sailer with a good turn of speed – Tom says her lines reflect modern thinking more than you might guess from the rig.

She was designed as an open day-sailer for large lakes, rivers and sheltered estuary waters that could be built in a modest single car garage on a very modest budget, and certainly hits that target.

The standard Apple is light in weight and not intended for cruising exposed coastal waters in strong winds, but Tom has also drawn up a decked and ballasted version more suited for this purpose in the hands of an experienced open-boat cruiser. I think both versions make a very nice boats.

See Tom’s site at

For more designers see our links page

Tom Dunderdale's Apple