Thursday 6 November 2008

The Julie Skiff

Like the Light Trow Gavin Atkin’s new design is long and lean with a pleasing sheer and an even rocker that promises low drag and easy rowing. A rowing boat’s hull weight is proportional to its performance and the Julie, built from 6mm plywood, looks like a feather-weight despite packing sufficient buoyancy to make her seaworthy.

Easily and simply constructed using the stitch and glue method the Julie is not above the novice boatbuilder. As I found with Onawind Blue the only credential an aspiring builder actually needs beyond the basic tools is motivation.

I would be interested to see the two boats along side each other. Though of a similar length (the longest hull shape you can get from two butted sheets of ply) the Julie has a smaller design displacement that, despite her hard-chine shape, gives her
a smaller wetted area. Less water has to be moved out of the way with each oar stroke and, in principle, this combined with her light hull weight would make the Julie skiff the faster boat.

The Light Trow does hold one ace, though—in the hull. Those lines that gracefully converge to form the narrow transom make for a better rowing shape. Gav says that he plans to develop a sailing version with a smallish rig and possibly side decks, which should make the two boats more nearly equal in some ways though they are actually very different designs. While the Light Trow’s ancestors are the obscure workboats of the Fleet—the stretch of water protected by the long arm of Chesil Beach on England’s south coast, the Julie comes from the pedigree stables of traditional rowing skiffs.

As with the Light Trow Gavin has provided free plans and a useful essay on the design and construction—plenty of material for a pleasant evening poring over plans and more than enough to spark that motivation.


Anonymous said...

Again, more plans for free !

Gavin is a designer or a non profit organisation ?


Anonymous said...

Both I think. There are many ways to have fun, and this is one of mine.

Although simple, some of my boats have been popular and have introduced people to boatbuilding who would never have considered it an option.

Also, I get a great buzz from building my own boats from time to time, and an even greater one when someone enjoys building and using them. It isn't any more complicated than that...