Schoolchildren build two Julie skiffs at Faversham

A group of lucky schoolchildren have built two 16ft Julie skiffs at a Faversham Creek Trust boatcamp led by local boatbuilder Alan Thorne and assistant Malcolm Hazleton at the trust’s Purifier building.

The skiffs are to be launched at the town’s nautical festival around mid-day on the 23rd July. Naturally, Julie and I plan to be there!

See the free boat plans page in the tabs above to download the drawings etc to build this lightweight plywood flat bottomed skiff and two shorter versions at 14 and 12ft.

When I called by on Friday afternoon I met a small crowd of enthusiastic, engaged kids and a clutch of happy parents – and two cool looking boats, Santa Crews and Stormy.  Alan and Malcolm had done a good job, and the FCT’s boatcamp had been a success.

‘Have you had a good time?’ I asked.

‘Yes,’ the kids called back.

‘Would you do it again?’

‘Yes,’ they chorused.

A mother turned to me and said ‘My son’s always been a maker and now he’s decided he wants to be a boatbuilder.’

I think she must have been reasonably happy with the idea, as she did not add ‘but I think he should have a proper job as well’.

The following shots are Malcolm’s. Thanks fella!

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This Bridlington-built rowing boat is beautiful – but the owner needs help

This lovely rowing boat built by P Siddall of Bridlington – but its Dutch owner, Ton Jansse, is in need of knowledge and advice on how best to proceed. He has already asked how to replace the missing bits of strake, how the interior should be laid out, what kind of paint to use and what colours would have been used originally.

He’s clearly the kind of chap who wants to do it the right way.

If anyone can fill in some of the gaps in terms of paint and colours, interior and so on – and if anyone has photos of similar boats, please let me know at gmatkin@gmail.com, as usual.

But perhaps the biggest question, I think, is the one about how to obtain the necessary boatbuilding skills. Short of going on a course (desirable, probably, but not always practical), what do readers think an amateur’s best sources are these days?

Philip Burton’s Julie skiff

Oxfordshire-based Philip Burton is building a Julie skiff – and once it’s done we’re naturally very much looking forward to being able to call by to see it in action on the river. Here’s what he says:

‘I have spent the last few months building my first boat which I choose to be a Julie skiff.

‘I live in Oxford uk and I’m sure you will be aware that the river Thames runs right through our beautiful university city, so I’m really looking forward to getting the boat in the water very soon.

‘I am very impressed how easy it was to follow your plans and the basic hull came together relatively quickly, and I learned a lot about stitch and glue and fibreglass techniques.

‘I used 6mm marine ply and I was quite surprised by how much it weighed, and also how much it blunted my planes and chisels. But I guess that’s the price to pay for using ply that will last a long time in wet and soggy conditions.’