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Atlanta wooden boat association membership
The fibreglass boat is included on the course to introduce students to this method of boat building. There was talk that it would race on Monday 8th August in the regatta at Beer, which is Justin’s village home, though I see how Justin did from the regatta website. Jim worked in journalism, marketing and communication before dipping his toe in the water on one of the BBA’s eight-week woodworking skills course, which lead to him joining the 38-week long course. To see a photographic diary of the build click here, and for the Fox 14 website click here.
This is John Krause on a fishing outing in his recently built Julie skiff made from ply and epoxy. Norman Fuller took his rowing skiff Ella to this year’s Home Built Boat Rally event at Barton Turf Activity Centre, which gave us an opportunity to meet him and to try out his new boat built to my Ella design. Like the design itself, the Ella is named after my daughter Ella, and turned out to be a cute and simple little skiff, just as the drawings in the free boatbuilding plans package promised – download the plans here. When it was my turn to try the little skiff I was pleased to find she was easy and light under oars – not exactly effortless, but something that even a sedentary desk-jockey like me could expect to be able to row all day.
One thing about the event made me a little nervous, however – rowing enthusiast Chris Partridge was on hand.
In the event, he climbed in, sat down and casually made the little boat fly for a while while we all watched in anticipation.
I’ve got some video of Chris rowing the Ella to put up when I get a chance to edit it.


Builder Norman recently managed to pick up a 12lb-thrust electric outboard for ?30 at a sale, and so later in the afternoon we had some fun with that. Another exciting development is that the first boat built to the sailing version plans is currently in build in the USA – and Ella and I are very keen to see photos of that one!
This boat is designed to be built using the stitch and glue technique – if you haven’t done this before you might be interested in my book Ultrasimple Boat Building: 17 Plywood Boats Anyone Can Build or one of the other books on this topic available from Amazon.
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Classic Sailor is a new magazine about traditional and classic boats from ex-Classic Boat editor Dan Houston and colleagues that promises rather more coverage of the traditional craft around our coast.
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Our Faversham-based friend Alan Thorne can help with boatbuilding projects - constructing to plans in very tidy stitch-and-glue or more traditional techniques. That's very simliar to one of the plans I've had for a while now and just haven't gotten around to building.
If looks really don't matter, Jim Michalak has a number of plywood rowboat designs (some of them are not ugly, actually). 65lbs, 600lb capacity, easily buildable in two or three weeks for just a few hundred dollars .


It was designed for short- to medium-length coastal regatta rowing races, and has a solid fibreglass layup in chopped strand matt, built in buoyancy tanks, a modern pin gate oarlock and a fixed seat rowing set-up. He has now set-up a business in Devon called Fox 14, which is making and selling the boats. He adapted the 15ft-something rowing skiff’s transom slightly for use with an electric outboard, but it still looks pretty well, don’t you think? You can’t say that of many 12ft flatties including those based on old-fashioned small American skiffs as this one is, but this boat was drawn with a narrowish beam of 4ft to ensure it would be as good a rower as it could be. Like most of the journalist tribe Chris is usually pretty clear in his opinions, and is known to be generally unenthusiastic about flatties, so naturally I was a little nervous – what might the author of Rowing for Pleasure have to say to readers and other HBBRers about the Ella design? Try scrolling down, clicking on the 'older posts' button at the bottom of this page - or try the search gadget!
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