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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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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