Email This Page to a FriendHow to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 1 – An Idea is Born With Eric Blake
June 22, 2016
In this first video, Eric introduces the skiff building project for local Brooklin kids that he and Havilah Hawkins are launching this summer. Get the picture here and then go along for the ride as the series gets underway.
The plans are now available, and you can purchase them here.
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Over many years, WoodenBoat magazine has published a great many articles on skiffs. Some are planked with sheet plywood and others use real wood like cedar, with bottoms that are either cross-planked or laid fore-and-aft. Our favorites are the Asa Thomson Skiff and its near-sister called the Yankee Tender, Bob Baker’s depiction of the Westport Skiff, Maynard Bray’s Lumber Yard Skiff, and Harry Bryan’s Daisy.
For more, just visit the WoodenBoat Index and search on “skiff.”
Until how-to-build drawings for the Hawkins skiff become available, here are a couple of alternatives: The WoodenBoat Store sells plans for the plywood Babson Island 14 for $90 (or kits for around $2,000). Building instructions from WoodenBoat magazine's "Getting Started" series are available as a 2-part digital download (part 1 & part 2) for $1.95 each from the WoodenBoat Store. Maynard Bray (PO Box 52, Brooklin, ME 04616) can furnish drawings for his Lumberyard Skiff design (pictured below) for $35. Building instructions for the Lumberyard Skiff from WoodenBoat magazine’s “Getting Started in Boats” series are available as a digital download for $1.95.
– [Narrator] The first time that I ever sat in a boat that I had built myself changed my life. It was an experience unlike anything that you can really describe. I came to boats through building and through getting out on the water and taking voyages a little further afield each time and kind of learning as I went and it was more the adventure side and the idea of a vessel that could take you places that was my appeal to boats. Having worked on waterfronts for the last 20 years, I have two toddlers and a 10 year old. Introducing my kids to the water in a meaningful way is something that is weighing on my mind heavily these days. I’ve spent a lot of time daydreaming about what might be the ultimate youth waterfront program. My focus was to create a place, an incredible waterfront facility that would foster this kind of program. And the more time that I spent over coffee break with Havella Hawkins. He talked me into the idea that it’s not a place that you need. What you need is a project. While Havella’s focus seems to be on big gaff rig vessels, his real passion lies in the flat bottom skiffs that you see him towing behind Veila using to get kids on and off these islands. Havella has taken the last 10 years to pair the design elements and the construction details of these skiffs down to their bare elements in a way that anyone can put one of these together and get out on the water and learn the basics. And to build something that is beautiful and useful, something that can take you places, giving them the skills they needed to eventuate, is magical. I feel like it’s all come together. We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna build one of Havella’s great little cedar skiffs with local kids and make a full video series about it so lots of other people can see exactly how to build one too. This is a real, salty, seaworthy boat that will appeal to people of all ages. We’re gonna show you that with a group of 10 year olds. This is important to me and it’s important to everyone here at Off Center Harbor. I have no idea how this is gonna turn out. I think it’s gonna be a blast, I’m incredibly excited to get to spend some time with Haddy and some local kids putting together something special and I hope you enjoy following along with us.
– [Male Voice] I solemnly swear
– [Children] I solemnly swear
– [Male Voice] To have a really good time.
– [Children] To have a really good time.
– [Male Voice] And if I fall in sitting on the bow
– [Children] And if I fall in sitting on the bow
– [Male Voice] I will not complain.
– [Children] I will not complain.
– [Male Voice] I will smile and laugh.
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