Ebihen 15/16

By François Vivier - Pornichet - France

Ebihen is a seaworthy, stable boat with good carrying capacity, suitable for family sailing, as well as fishing. Despite its short length, it offers a big and pleasant cockpit. She was inspired both by Northern Brittany fishing boats, especially Saint Jacut (the Ebihens are the islands in front of that port), and by the boats on Normandy beaches, which were clinker built.

First strip planked Ebihen 15, standing lug rigged.

An outboard motor is fitted in a well aft of the cockpit, with the motor handle at helmsman reach. The propeller is just ahead of rudder for good manoeuvrability. A short shaft 4 strokes - 3 to 6 hp - motor may be installed. A heavy steel centreboard improves stability and good windward ability. Many different rigs may be chosen according to your specific needs, from the very simple lug sail to the well canvassed gaff cutter (see drawings).

The first Ebihen was made in 2004 by a home builder . Since then, about 50 Ebihen have been built or are under construction. Icarai boat-builder has already delivered 4 units.

The first Ebihen was 4,5 m long (now named Ebihen 15) and a longer version (4,8 m, Ebihen 16) has also been designed, with the same breadth and depth. Ebihen 16 leaves more space to the crew and also carries more canvas. This last aspect is very fruitful for the standing lug version, the sail area being limited by the boat length. Ebihen 16 is also fitted with a water ballast improving stability and trim. This is very valuable when sailing with a small crew.

If you have not any length constraint, I strongly recommend to choose Ebihen 16 instead of Ebihen 15.

Ebihen may be built either with a strip planked or a clinker plywood hull. The strip planked hull is mainly built with timber, with laminated stem, keel, frames... This gives the boat a very authentic look. This version is to be built with a plan package and full size patterns printed on mylar (polyester sheets).


The clinker version is built on a plywood structure and is preferably built from a NC cut plywood kit which makes construction easy for the home builder. Planking strakes are joined by NC scarves and the only thing the builder has to do is gluing and clamping parts together. Then, planks need only end adjustment.

The clinker version is built on a plywood structure and is preferably built from a NC cut plywood kit which makes construction easy for the home builder.

The average construction time is 800 hours for the strip planked hull and 500 hours for the clinker version using the plywood kit.

A traditional version (carvel planked over stem bent frames) of Ebihen 16 is also available.

Several rig options are proposed. The standing lug (misainier in French) has a single lug sail which remains on the same side of an unstayed mast. It is very simple to use and gives good performance, except by light winds. There is no boom and this gives safety and comfort for the crew. With the outboard motor, it makes a general purpose boat for fishing as well as family sailing.

There is no boom and this gives safety and comfort for the crew.

The lug yawl (bourcet-malet in French) is also based on a standing lug sail with the addition of a jib and a lug mizzen. All this canvas gives good sailing ability in light airs. On a windy day, it is possible to sail under main only. When fishing, the boat may sail under jib and mizzen only, giving a free cockpit for working.

And the lug yawl is a very beautiful rig!

The gaff sloop is a very classic rig. The gaff mainsail and the jib on a short bowsprit give a lively boat, good to windward, which may be chosen for the pleasure of sailing as well as for fishing. He is easy to handle and probably the best compromise if you like a good sail boat.

Ebihen may also be rigged as a gaff cutter. There are two fore sails (jib and staysail) instead of one. It is a universal traditional rig which looks beautiful.

Clinker Ebihen 15, sloop rigged.

You will find inside Ebihen several lockers, a stowing arrangement for oars and pole and attractive bronze hardware. Ebihen is a boat for life, strong and long lasting.

Of course Ebihen is a trailerable boat. She does not need a permanent mooring, allowing to sail in very different areas. She is easy to launch and recover, even for a single person.

A keel version, without centreboard, with a self-draining cockpit is also planned. For more information, ask the designer.

A motor only version of Ebihen 16, clinker planked, is also available.


Plans for Ebihen are available in the Duckworks Store.

Ebihen builders and kits suppliers: France: Icarai: Centre d'activités, 4 avenue Louis Lumière 50100 Cherbourg - phone: 33 2 33 41 38 91
e-mail : - Internet :

USA: Clint Chase Boat Builder: 25 Deblois Street, Portland, Maine - phone: 1 207.879.7782,

François Vivier


To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit our forum