A Most Straightforward Skiff


This little skiff is a wondeful example of one of my favorite kinds of boat- a flat bottom skiff with a pointy bow and straight sides running back to a full width stern. The bottom is slightly rockered for planing over a chop, and the sharp bow cuts the solid water of a small wave. In lieu of a keel or skeg, a simple ‘shoe’ running the full length under the bottom planking keeps the hull from sliding under power without interfering with landing on a sandy or rocky shore. The extra thick bottom adds the necessary bouyancy and toughness required of a working boat negotiating a range of conditions. Easy to build, repair and maintain, such a flat-bottom skiff is well suited to fishing or crabbing in protected bays, clamming the shallow sloughs, carrying a load or ferrying passengers. A low-powered outboard, like the 15 HP pictured above should push her along at about 8-10 knots without burning too much fuel. Oars are the auxiliary power.

As yet another salmon season kicks off along the Sonoma Coast, I’m seriously considering building such a skiff for fishing and crabbing Bodega Bay.