A pretty double-ended skiff seen at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

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Small double-ended skiff at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Small double-ended skiff at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

Small double-ended skiff at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

A double-ended skiff that could have been built from the
pages of Practical Boatbuilding for Amateurs

I’ve got lots of photographs from the Beale Park show, but with lots of work to do and a musical engagement I’ve had precious little time to put them up. In fact, I’ve very little time now, but I thought I should quickly share these shots of what was probably my favourite boat from the show – a little double-ender that could easily have been built from the pages of a book I scanned and posted here some time ago, Practical Boatbuilding for Amateurs.

Although it was on the International Boatuilding Training College’s stand, there was sadly no information about the boat’s history, or anything to explain the reason for the double-ended shape, or anything about how it performs on the water. And all their people were so busy I didn’t want to interrupt them!

Nevertheless, I think it’s a real sweetheart and if I was half clever enough, I’d want to build one just like it.

For more information, click here for the freely available plans. As I’ve said before, if anyone builds this little boat I would be delighted to hear about the project.

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A well-travelled skiff

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Venus the well-travelled skiff in Victoria

Venus, a well-travelled Thames-style skiff spotted in Australia by Jeff Cole

Lest we get too doomy, and serious I’ve decided to post this photo of an 1880s single-scull Thames-style skiff hanging in a country nursery at Victoria, Australia. Jeff Cole, who spotted and photographed Venus for us, says the story is that she was imported from Scotland, and was built by the nursery owner’s great-grandfather.

It’s clearly very well-travelled for a small river boat. I wonder what the rest of the story may be – did a River Thames boatbuilder move to Scotland? Did a Scot learn boatbuilding on the banks of the Thames? Or was great-grandfather an amateur who worked from a book? Or were skiffs of this kind far more widespread in the last 19th century than we tend to think?

Whatever the answer, the boat in the photo looks very much like the one shown in this earlier intheboatshed.net post.

Once again, my thanks go to Jeff Cole. To see some earlier material he has sent us, including some mouthwatering shots of early 20th century racing yachts, click here.

For some photos of later skiffs with rather more sheer at Ruswarp on the River Esk in Yorkshire, click here.

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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”