The Barton Skiff 16ft outboard motor boat – more reports from the first builder Brian King

Brian King Gavin Atkin Barton skiff with tiller extension (though it was too long at this point)

stepping forward lowers the bows, lengthens the waterline and it goes faster Brian King Gavin Atkin Barton skiff at 6mph showing almost no wake


Pioneer builder Brian King has been getting to know his new Barton Skiff 16ft outboard motor boat and shows every sign of being delighted with it. Here’s how he put it when writing to the Yahoogroup gmaboatbuilders:

‘Excellent results today. I was extremely pleased with the skiff today. I am satisfied that I have achieved the goals that I set when starting the build.’

Brian’s been steadily finding out about how to set up and load the boat to get the best performance, first by getting the outboard motor’s angle right (with the prop well forward, probably in line with the outboard-support bulkhead included shown in the plans) and with the crew weight centred, even when the boat is lightly loaded.

To achieve this he’s started using an outboard motor extension made from plastic pipe, though I should explain that he’s made it a little shorter since the photo above was taken.

Both shots were taken near where he launches in Pembrokeshire; in one the motor is running at minimum rpm and the boat is travelling at 3mph. It made 5.5mph at half throttle where there was no wind.

Half a mile away, however, he was on open water and the wind picked up considerably – the wind reached 15 knots and with two miles of clear water upwind there were small waves and a small swell. Brian reported that the boat steered well (much better than on previous outings when he was sitting in the stern) and gave 5.5mph on three-quarters throttle and 7mph at full speed. Into wind and downwind changed the speed by about plus/minus 1mph.

‘7 mph equals 6 knots, which is the theoretical waterline speed for a boat 20ft long,’ he reported. ‘Bingo Gavin …thank you for your excellent design.’

The skiff is under 16ft long and a key aim in working up the hull was to enable it to beat the usual speed restriction on a boat of that length – and it seems we’ve succeeded.

A couple of days later Brian wrote again. ‘The last two evenings have been excellent. The weather has been very pleasant and I had two one hour sessions. Although the boat will go faster, I have been satisfied to motor at about 60 per cent throttle, which gives me 5 to 6+mph, depending on the wind and waves.’ An hour’s motoring used one litre of fuel.

The second photo above shows the boat’s wake at at 6mph – Brian says there’s almost no wake to be seen, which to him suggests low drag and high efficiency.

Thank you for investing the time and materials required to build the first example of this build Brian! It’s always a great pleasure when one of my designs is built the way it should be and then lives up to both the builder’s and the designer’s expectations.

Plans for the Barton Skiff are available free from this website – see the free plans page.

The first Barton skiff will soon be afloat

Brian King's Barton skiff

Brian King's Barton skiff Brian King's Barton skiff Brian King's Barton skiff


The excitement is rising at Towers as launch day approaches for Brian King’s low-powered Barton skiff made from free boat plans available from this website.

My thanks go to Brian for permission to publish his photos.

He plans to use his homebuilt boat for exploring the large natural harbour of Milford Haven. Naturally, I’m delighted and particularly pleased to see that once translated from the drawings into three-dimensions the little boat looks like it means business.

It has a highish, bouyant prow to turn back waves; a little tumblehome to make the water accessible to someone in the boat without having to lean too far out for comfort; and a seating and outboard arrangement intended to make the boat sit well on the water when it’s loaded light with only one person and the outboard. From the builder’s perspective, it also has a central girder construction to ensure the boat comes out the right shape, and which also lends rigidity.

For more on this boat, see earlier posts.

For more plans, see the free boat plans page.

Brian King makes progress on his project to build Barton skiff low-power outboard boat

Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans

Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans


Despite all the tragic news from Japan, the apparently unnecessary attacks on the economy and our right to protest, the horrors in Africa, and the slow, sad procession of those who have inspired us ‘going aloft’, there are still things that please and excite us.

In our household one of them is Brian King’s progress on the first Barton skiff in Pembroke – see our free plans page for more information.

I haven’t much to add, beyond that it looks like the boat I drew (I’m so pleased Brian hasn’t changed anything), that he has been perfectly gentlemanly about a couple of errors that he found, and that, as he builds his little craft, he reports that he’s increasingly sure it’s the craft he wanted.

Myself, I can’t wait to see it on the water with its owner at the controls, sitting on the water as it should and rushing along making the most of its small outboard, as it is intended to do. To follow his progress, join the Yahoogroup gmaboatbuilders.