A Julie skiff powered by small outboard motor


Geoff Jones has got in touch to report on how his Julie skiff performs with a small outboard motor. (Click on the images above to see much larger photos.)

The Julie skiff is one of my designs, and the free plans can be found here.

This is what Geoff has to say:

‘The short version is: Pretty well, with no surprises.

‘The motor is a 1953 Sea King 3hp, which is a lightweight single with a built-in fuel tank.

‘It moves the boat along with good speed and generally good manners. I have an idea that more horsepower wouldn’t be very useful (except with a heavy load and a headwind). Perching a much heavier motor on the transom would be a bad idea, regardless of how strongly it was built.

‘The trim is about right with an adult in the forward seat, except that it pounds in heavy waves. It is better with more weight amidships. With only a single person in the stern, it is completely unacceptable, so a tiller extension or forward ballast is really a necessity.

‘Handling is very good, except that the skeg drags in turning sharply (no surprise), and trying to turn sharply with too much throttle sets up a cavitation. The skeg also prevents the motor from being reversed (it has no reverse gear), although a small amount trimmed from the heel of the skeg might solve this.

‘The photos show her making good speed up the Mississippi against a stiff wind and a strong current at about 2/3 throttle. Note the lack of wake. Speed increases appreciably up to full throttle, and a modest wake develops. I have not made any attempt to measure actual speeds.


Thanks Geoff – you, your crew and the boat look good, and I’m most grateful for your detailed and perceptive report.

With that outboard, your photos have a timeless quality – they could have been taken yesterday or decades ago.

The Edge – a Mouseboat for teens and small adults

Mouseboats Yahoogroup member Tomasz has made me smile with his build successful build of my The Edge stitch and glue sailing dinghy design intended for teenagers and small – to medium-sized adults.

When I drew it, I described it like this: ‘designed to deliver the most fun I can squeeze out of a minimum of materials and construction work. In this case the main constituents are three sheets of 1/4in marine ply and a quarter sheet of 1/2in marine ply, some lumber and a sheet of polytarp’.

He describes it this way: ‘lively, fast and easy to steer. We did not observe her as tippy. You can easy climb into the boat from deep water.’

Well done Tomasz! I must say I particularly like the look of that lateen sail.

Plans for The Edge are at Mouseboats, and also at Duckworksmagazine.


BBA student Shane Butcher builds composite copy of traditional dinghy Barnacle (offsets included below)

Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 'Dreamer' Photo - Jenny Steer Dec 2011 Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 2 'Dreamer' Photo - Emma Brice

Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 'Dreamer' Photo - Emma Brice Shane Butcher's composite dinghy 'Dreamer' 3 Photo - Emma Brice

Boat Building Academy student Shane Butcher built a gaff-rigged 10ft sailing dinghy while on the BBA’s 38-week course, and launched it on the big student launch day in December.

Shane’s previous life was in civil engineering, however he has always had a passion for sailing and woodwork, and to him a change of career starting with a course at the Academy seemed an obvious next step.

Shane’s build was Dreamer, a composite-built copy of a clinker-built rowing boat belonging to the Academy.

The BBA folks reckon that Barnacle’s stem hull is a good general shape for rowing and sailing, and Ollie Rees, who was on the 2010 long course also built a copy of Barnacle, although  he used traditional clinker construction methods.

The BBA has kindly agreed to share a set of offsets for Barnacle for anyone who would like to build their own version of the boat. They can be downloaded here: Barnacle 10ft stem dinghy offsets provided by the BBA. It’s nice to be able to get something like this for free – thanks BBA!