Model Julie skiff photos from Ben Crawshaw

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Ben Crawshaw’s model of the Julie skiff

Down in Spain, Light Trow builder Ben Crawshaw turns out to be the first reader to come up with a model of the Julie skiff. Well done Ben! I’m pleased that other people are beginning to see this little boat’s potential.

There has been some wild weather where he lives in the last few days, so perhaps he’s taken the opportunity to make the model. He writes:

‘Well done Gav, a pretty design in the best tradition of the lightweight rowing skiff. I like the design, a pleasing form, simple to build, light weight, plenty of buoyancy and possibilities for storage and the opportunity to titivate using pretty wood for the breasthook and quarter knees.

‘I particularly like the way the breasthook sits over the foredeck and the idea of storing an anchor in the slot between the two. The ample sternsheets give it a Ratty and Mole feel and I can imagine a wicker picnic hamper in there somewhere.

‘I’d be interested in seeing a sailing version with the mast stepped aft of the forward frame so as not to compromise the watertight compartment. One thing I’d also like to see on this rowing version is the possibility for two pairs oars and two rowers, maybe with temporary thwarts.’

I’ve been thinking about the same things Ben, and will have a go at working them in.

How about extending the sternsheets slightly forward, adding a seat back, and leaving a space behind the seat and the transom for that hamper?

One issue that I’d like to address a little further is how to balance the boat with a weight in the stern, and a possibility would be to make the central transom removable and include optional second transom further forward.

Something similar might make a second rowing position aft a possibility if the sternsheets were removed, but I’m not so sure that’s the way to go, as a 17ft version for two rowers might well be a much better way to use the rowing power of two people. I need to think about this a little more.

If you build this boat – even if it’s a model – PLEASE let me know by getting in touch via

See Ben’s comments at his weblog theinvisibleworkshop.

Download: Julie skiff plans

See all posts so far on this boat:

Complete free plans package for the flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too? skiff – now we can make a model skiff progress
Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

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Three hundred kilometres in a 15ft boat

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Ben Crawshaw's Onawind Blue cruises on the coast of Spain

Light Trow Onawind Blue tied up somewhere on the Spanish coast

Ben Crawshaw of The Invisible Workshop is back from a 300 kilometre trip in his boat Onawind Blue and, not surprisingly, seems to be simultaneously shattered and happy. Why not leave a comment of congratulations on his weblog?

Here’s a quotation:

‘You can’t travel 300 kilometres over the sea in a little boat without a lot happening. We had our share of calms and light headwinds, we had long sessions of gut busting rowing under a blazing sun, we had contrary currents and large rolling swells; conditions so frustrating and tiring that I was ready to let mermaids lure me overboard into the cool waters. We had a rat stowaway in the forward locker for 24 hours and we ran aground off a small rocky island. We saw the Tramontana wind and helped heave a 30-foot sailing boat off rocks after it’s anchor dragged in the cove where we sheltered from the fierce blow. We had some fantastic sailing with following winds, at one point so strong that I could only continue sailing by rigging the double-reefed mizzen sail on the main mast and then, with only 1.2 metres of sail cloth, we still sailed at 6 knots. I discovered the most idyllic coves, met fantastic, welcoming people, got drunk, ate some great food and let the sea in through every pore in my body so that now, on land at last, life seems impossibly dry.’

Ben has a great story to tell over the next few weeks, and I’m looking forward to it!

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Light Trow Onawind Blue has her photo taken – and is readied for a 50-mile cruise

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Light Trow Onawindblue

Onawind Blue is ready for an exciting and demanding new season

Ben Crawshaw of The Invisible Workshop has had some posh photos taken of his boat for both his friend Mr Mushroom and his sailmaker. He’s also getting ready for his first 50 mile cruise along his section of the Spanish coast. Why not drop by and wish him luck?