Help me pick a skiff

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by cdubb, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. cdubb
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 28
    Likes: 1, Points: 3, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: michigan

    cdubb Junior Member

    I’m looking to build a trailerable fishing/crabbing plywood skiff for protected waters. I’m looking in the 18-22’ range and of a traditional design yet still simple to build. I’d like to have console steering and be able to use a 15hp outboard and controls I have from another project. Links at the bottom couldn’t get hyperlinks to work.

    There’s four designs I’m considering, I would like to hear opinions on these designs or suggestions for other designs I may have overlooked or would be a better fit.

    1) Old Wharf Lumberyard Skiff
    This is my favorite right now, the 20 footer seems a good fit and also seems to check all the boxes for me.

    2) Bolger’s Work Skiff (aka Clam Skiff)
    I’ve always been a fan of Bolger’s designs and this seems to be the simplest of all the designs I’m listing. My concern is mainly how narrow the beam is from a functional standpoint and that it’s on the bottom of spectrum in terms of length (I assume it could be stretched some)

    3) Lady bug Skiff
    Seems a lot like LYS to my untrained eye, I also like the options on lengths offered. Really just unsure of its linage, LYS, Simmons and the Work Skiff are old and proven designs, I don’t know much about the Lady Bug in that regard.

    4) Simmons Sea Skiff
    Good range of sizes and a “salty look”, I’m a fan of clinker boats but I am unsure of building one in terms of difficulty/learning curve.


    LYS Plans — Old Wharf Dory

    Work Skiff
    Workskiff – 18′-0″ x 5′-3″ – H.H. Payson & Company

    Lady Bug
    purchase-plans | Lady Bug Boats

    Simmons (not much in link)

    Simmons Boat Plans | Cape Fear Museum | New Hanover County | North Carolina
  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 10,401
    Likes: 1,035, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Realistically, a 15 hp outboard means you really don't have the option of a planing boat that has some speed potential, or at least the ability to use that potential, with that kind of boat, in that size range.
  3. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 3,080
    Likes: 1,201, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    As Mr E says, for a boat like this you will really need to fit a larger outboard engine to make the most of what it is designed to do.
    Especially so for a boat like the Lumberyard Skiff.

    Bolger's Workskiff with a flat bottom might give you the most 'bang for your buck' with only 15 hp, but I would not want to fit a console on it and drive it while standing up.
    Have you also considered Bolger's Diablo? There is also the Diablo Grande.
    Diablo 15′-0″ X 5′-0″ – H.H. Payson & Company

    And in addition to the links you have shown, have you considered any of the skiffs mentioned in the link below?
    Spira Boats - Wood Boat Plans, Wooden Boat Plans
  4. jbo_c
    Joined: Jul 2017
    Posts: 67
    Likes: 11, Points: 8
    Location: Gainesville, GA

    jbo_c Junior Member

    Jacques Merten’s Indian River skiff is smaller than your thinking, but looks appropriately salty. would work well with a 15hp, and I know one has been built with a center console.

  5. cdubb
    Joined: May 2012
    Posts: 28
    Likes: 1, Points: 3, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: michigan

    cdubb Junior Member

    I was afraid of that. What would be a better fit? Like a 25?

    I agree on the work skiff, I saw it was drawn up with a console and have seen examples with them but I think it’s gonna be to narrow for me.

    I have looked into the Diablo but didn’t know of the Diablo Grande til now. The DG is long enough for me and good enough looking but I wonder about interior configurations. On this project I was envisioning a very open deck that was more or less flat with the gunwhales coming up to around the knee or thigh area, the end goal would be the be able to walk about freely with having to step over anything. The layout I’ve seen on Diablos seems too cramped to do this. Now what I don’t know is this an inherent part of the the design or just a popular lay out?

    Yes Spira has several dories I like. The Winchester and Albion are two of my favorites as well as the Caladesi and a panga called Tiburon. I’d like to hear your (and everyone’s) thoughts on these boats as well.

    That is a fine looking boat and I like that my 15 would work with it. My concerns (besides the length of course but comprises are a part of this) is that most I find look like bass boat. As with the Diablo I wonder if this is just a builders choice or an inherent part of the design.
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,613
    Likes: 418, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Have you considered the PT Skiff. It is in the same size range you are looking at, is designed specifically for lower power outboards, and is a fairly easy build. See PT Skiff It comes as a kit. Plans are not available last time I checked. I have seen them in action at Port Townsend and they are a really nice looking boat and perform well with low horsepower, I think they recommend 20HP.
    bajansailor likes this.
  7. Pericles
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,011
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1307
    Location: Heights of High Wycombe, not far from River Thames

    Pericles Senior Member

    In the dim & distant past, the construction of an 18' version of Walter Baron's LYS was posted, either here or Wooden Boat Forum, but I've not been able to track it down. I was so taken with the craftsmanship & the yacht quality finish that I saved a copy of it as inspiration for when I started my build. I still have my set of plans from 2007, but no LYS as yet. If anyone knows about the builder, perhaps they could advise me please. I think he again deserves recognition.

    hoytedow and bajansailor like this.

  8. Pericles
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,011
    Likes: 139, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1307
    Location: Heights of High Wycombe, not far from River Thames

    Pericles Senior Member

    hoytedow likes this.
Similar Threads
  1. JonnyBoat
  2. West Denny 33
  3. corkobo
  4. Jeff Weems
  5. StandedInMx
  6. nbehlman
  7. urisvan
  8. bdelnas98@gmail
  9. nc2sea
  10. chriscraftnate
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.