A Boat on the Side

Selkie – Our New Starlet!

Last week we were commissioned to design and build a superlight tender for a Scintilla 24 - her owner was looking at those amazing cloth bound skeleton boats.

The idea of course is a modern take on an ancient method used by various sailors through the centuries. Both the Welsh coracles and Irish curraghs, for instance, utilise a light wicker or timber framework with tarred or tanned hide or cloth as a skin. The modern versions use a similar method, substituting cedar and chemically treated shrink wrapped cloth.

The skeleton boats are marvelously light but to me, somewhat disconcerting to use so I suggested a cedar/ply/foam alternative that would come close to their weight and be capable of taking the everyday knocks and scrapes encountered on a day in the life of the working tender.

The client wanted a seven-footer, I wanted an eight for aesthetic and practical reasons so I suggested one at 7’6” which was accepted so off I went.

The little boat proceeded rapidly and as I write she’s had her chines built up, faired and fibreglassed with the first coats of primer going on the hull today.

I’m thinking of doing a kit for maybe six or seven hundred dollars with a finished boat for around four thousand. If you’re interested, let me know.

The new model is called Selkie – well chosen by her owner. She can be rowed or electric outboarded but I’m also designing a simple lug rig for her.

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