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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Nested panels for the stitch and glue Ella skiff

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Ella skiff nesting

Nested panels for the sailing Ella skiff

Readers interested in the sailing version of the Ella skiff may be entertained by this glimpse of how I’ve nesting all the various panels for the half-decked sailing version onto six sheets of ply.

I’ve placed the bottom, daggerboard and rudder components together because it seems to me natural that they should be made from the same 3/8in ply; the other panels I think should be in 1/4in.

Free plans are on their way. The next job is to plot all those coordinates for cutting out…

Sunny skiff 14ft plywood flattie plans

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The Sunny skiff

Another evening, another boat. Here’s a set of fairly basic but functional plans for building a 14ft lightweight flattie, the Sunny skiff. Download them here.

I think they could be just what many people are likely to want – a boat big enough to be comfortable for an outing for two, small and lean enough to row reasonably well, and a good size for building in a small garage or shed. Like the Julie and Ella skiffs the drawings present a rather basic boat – one can build simply or add gingerbread such as beautifully varnished breasthooks and knees, gapped inwales and the rest at will.

Like this boat? Send your comments to

I’d better add my usual warnings. I am not a qualified boat designer and the Sunny skiff should be regarded as an experimental design. The designer of the Sunny skiff accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage that may occur during building this boat or in its use. You build it and use it at your own risk. The Sunny skiff is intended for use on flat sheltered water with no strong currents. It is not intended for use with outboard power.

If you do decide to build this boat please build a model first and send me photos of your model and the completed boat, together with a report on how the project goes and how the boat performs on the water. Whenever I am available, I will be very happy to provide help and advice if needed along the way; if I’m not around, the online forums can be very useful, but it often helps to search the archives before posting a question.

Finally please use the comment button to let me know what you think. This collection of elegantly simple skiffs with classic hullforms seem to me to have a lot to ‘recommend them. What developments, options etc would you look for, bearing in mind that these are not outboard skiffs?

PS – It’s become clear that depending on your build, some folks will find the thwart a little high – if that could be you, it will be a very simple job to make the seat lower if you do so at an early stage.

For more on the Sunny skiff, click here.

Looking for something smaller? See the Ella skiff.

Looking for something longer and faster? See the Julie skiff.

This boat is designed to be built using the stitch and glue technique – if you haven’t done this before you might be interested in my book Ultrasimple Boat Building: 17 Plywood Boats Anyone Can Build or one of the other books on this topic available from Amazon.