Eric Allen builds and sails a model Ella skiff

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Nereid model of Gavin Atkin Ella skiff

Nereid model of Gavin Atkin Ella skif Nereid model of Gavin Atkin Ella skif

Eric Allen took these photos of a model he made using my Ella skiff boat plans – and I think it’s rather cute. He calls it Nereid, and here’s what he had to say about it:

‘I recently built a somewhat modified Ella skiff sailing version model, and figured you would appreciate hearing about it (as it is built from your design). I tweaked it to give it a Marconi rig and a jib, and added an over-sized bronze keel.

It was built on the cheap, and I have precious little experience, so it may not be the prettiest, best constructed, or most finished model, but it actually does sail. Quite well, in fact. It loves to beam-reach, and can really zip if it catches the wind on a broad-reach.

I am glad I found your website. I was looking for plans to build a simple yet nice-looking free-sailing model, and your plans fit my needs perfectly. Thank you for such a useful site and such well laid-out, logical, and easy to follow plans.


Eric Allen’

Well done and thanks Eric – receiving something like this is a great start to a day.

For more on the Ella skiff, including the full-size and model plans for both the rowing and sailing version, click here and here.

PS Have you used the little logos below yet? They allow you to share this post via Twitter or Facebook, save the link in Google or your own web browser, and finally you can email the link to a friend. Handy, I’d say…

A little classic to build this spring

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Forest & Stream skiff in Sweden

Forest & Stream skiff in Sweden Forest & Stream skiff in Sweden Forest & Stream skiff in Sweden

It’s the LITTLE boat you’re meant to look at,
darn it! Not
the BIG one!

Judging by the mail in my inbox, the boat-dreaming season is giving way to the boat-building season just a little before the buds open.

So I thought I’d pull a rabbit out of the hat – free plans for a little plywood dinghy anyone can build, but which happens to have classic proportions and an appealing, old-fashioned look. It could be built using the old-fashioned method using internal chine logs, or by stitch and glue.

It might appeal to model makers too, and in any case I’d argue that it’s always worth building a model before going the whole way to a full-sized boat.

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About the time I started to play with CAD and hull modelling software, someone – I think it was Craig O’Donnell of the Cheap Pages – kindly sent me some scans of a little sharp-bowed from a copy of the magazine Forest & Stream dating back more than a hundred years. He knew I was interested in understanding sharpies and skiffs at the time, and thought this one would catch my attention.

He was right. Not only was it a sweet boat, but I could see it making a nice early project for someone just learning to work CAD software. Click on the image below for the scan he sent me:

Forest & Stream skiff original scan

Forest & Stream skiff

There was just one snag. Continue reading “A little classic to build this spring”