Crystal River TSCA chapter builds 14ft Chappelle skiff the traditional way

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Bill Whalen of the Crystal River Boat Builders chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association in the USA has been in touch to say the group is building the 14ft flattie skiff recorded and published by H I Chappelle that I mentioned here a couple of years ago. At the time I suggested that it might make a worthy and good-looking boatbuilding project for many people, and I still think so as this year’s boat-dreaming season hots up.

Chappelle includes the lines and a description of the boat in his classic American Small Sailing Craft, which is thankfully still available.

From the photos above it’s clear Bill and his pals have built themselves a splendid boat shed, and are using a gratifying amount of white lead and suitably good looking timber in line with their motto ‘Our emphasis is on tradition… ‘ .

See what they’re up to at their website:

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.

14ft flattie skiff Sunny – new free boat plans from Gavin Atkin in the making

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Sunny skiff – as usual, click on the thumbnail for a
larger and more useful image

We’ve worked hard this weekend, what with the shopping, the boat maintenance and the gardening. But in response to one or two requests, I did manage to find a few hours to start work drawing up a little 14ft skiff for those who find the Julie skiff too large and the 12ft Ella skiff too small.

Julie is my wife and Ella is my daughter, so this one’s named after my dear mother, Sunny – she was almost always known by this name, though the name on her birth certificate was the much more exotic Sunya.

Anyway, if you’re interested in a quick and simple stitch and glue flattie skiff in the style of the Ella and the Julie but at 14ft, keep your eyes on!

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