A reader builds a model Julie skiff

New reader Roland Beverley got in touch yesterday with these pictures of a model Julie skiff that he’s made. Plans for both the real and the model Julie skiff are on the free plans page – see the tabs above.

Here’s what he wrote:

‘Hi Gavin,

‘I just discovered https://intheboatshed.net/ while searching for some free model plans. I am itching to build my own boat but don’t currently have the space. I used to build model aircraft and boats in my teens, so thought I’d dust off my skills and build a new bath/pond toy for my son (who is 6).

‘My Julie Skiff is made from 1/16in balsa with a 1/4in transom (in case I ever mount an outboard!). It is waterproofed with 3 coats of cellulose dope and modified with rowlocks from a picture hanging kit and oars from Sainsbury’s bamboo skewers (paddles already provided!). All of which I had lying about (some items for many years). To waterproof inside the rope locker, I’ll use a spray can of lacquer to ensure its well coated and may coat the outside too.

‘I am very pleased with it, though you’ll notice there are dents in the bow where I should have spread the load from the clamps used to hold it while the glue dried – lesson for next time. Also the playmobil pirates are a little small – but I know my son won’t mind that. He’ll probably use lego people and turn it in to a battleship 😉 He returns from his grandparents’ tomorrow – I hope he likes it!

‘Thanks ever so much for the excellent free resources!’

And thanks to you Roland – it’s always great to hear about these boats being built, either as models or as the full-sized item.

Teach a man to fish – sustainable fishing, and a cute model boat

Simon and Cat Holman are taking the interesting step of building a sail-powered boat with the aim of using it to make a living from inshore fishing on the sea out of Portscatho in Cornwall – and they’re chronicling the whole thing at the weblog Teach a man to fish.

It’s an admirably low-impact idea, and no doubt the local restaurants and others will be pleased to take their catches. I’m sure we all hope they’ll bring enough back to make a living and that the wind never fails to bring them home after each trip.

The weblog describes their activities, which have included learning about fishing and the fishing trade, and their studies of examples of sustainable fishing. Simon Holman happens to be a marine designer, and the couple are now building a boat he drew up for the purpose – a pdf kit for making up a rather nice paper model of the proposed boat can be found here.

The Holmans recently completed a two-year voyage to the Mediterranean in their 28ft Heard gaff cutter named Planet, which is also described in a weblog.

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…