This is new release of the sailing
version of the Ella skiff, and the Mk2 version of the Light Trow.
Gavin has released new versions of both of these boats and if
you downloaded either or both in the past, you will want the new
Length - 15' 4" Beam - 4' 4"
It's cheeky, really, to call this a trow. Along the South Coast
of England, a trow is either a heavy barge, or a heavily-built
rocker-less flat-bottomed rowing boat traditionally used on the
Fleet, the protected stretch of water behind Chesil bank.
This lightly-built rowing/sailing skiff is not very much like
either of these, but its shape does owe something to the Fleet
trow. Drawings of the traditional Fleet trow seen in the
classic text 'Working Boats of England' by Eric McKee provided
the inspiration for a craft formed of flat panel materials that
would be almost double-ended, but for a small triangular-shaped
transom, as seen in some trows.
The intention here is a light and elegant rowing craft with the
advantages of a fairly long and narrow waterline. However, the
hull flares to the knuckle sufficiently to allow it to stand up
to a small sail, albeit at a fairly steep heel.
The lower part of the hull is designed to be built in the same
way as a conventional flat-bottomed; builders might even consider
external chine logs, but the upper part is intended to be assembled
by tack and tape. I haven't seen this composite approach anywhere
else, but I can't see much against it.
Another fairly novel idea is that extra removable thwarts may
be used for camping purposes. The principle is that the thwarts
are stowed in the bilges and held in place using elastic cords.
Incidentally, the thwarts are intended to be supported by an inwale
fastened to the upper edge of the lower chine and planed flat
to accommodate them before the upper chine is assembled into place.
At least two versions are envisaged: an open rowing skiff, and
a half-decked version for sailing, much like a sailing canoe.
I'm also contemplating drawing up a smaller version for people
with small areas for boat building, such as the typical British
A free a zip file containing all the drawings and a table of
offsets can be found here additionally, there is a zipped
file of sailing rig details here. I should warn potential
builders that, although I forsee no particular difficulties in
building this boat, to my knowledge no-one has built it yet. If
any of you do build it, however, do please let me know how you
got on with it and send me a picture!
Ella Skiff Sailing Version
12ft length overall by 4ft beam, by 400lbs displacement,
designed for stitch and glue construction using 1/4in or 3/8in
4ft by 8ft plywood
If you build this boat PLEASE send me a report about
how the project went and how it works on the water, together with
photos! I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org, and will usually be available
to provide online advice.
At last I've managed to find a few hours to make up a plans package!
I hope it was worth the wait. In a mass of material like this
there will no doubt be an error or two, so if you find any, please
let me know and I'll put them right.
For previous posts on the development of this little boat, click
here and here.
From the notes:
The Ella skiff as laid out in these plans is a lightweight
general purpose stitch and glue flattie skiff for use
in sheltered waters with no strong currents or tides. It is not
suitable for use on the sea or in hazardous waters.
It is meant to be a simple and quick stitch and glue building
job of a size that is convenient for building in domestic garages
made to take a small to medium-sized car, which probably describes
the building area available to most people.
The boat is designed with rowing primarily in mind, though it
could also be used with a VERY small outboard of NO MORE than
2hp. Too many accidents take place because outboards of the wrong
size have been used, and far too many of these are fatal. If a
small outboard is to be used, the transom should be doubled to
ensure it can support the weight of the engine.
||The name came from my daughter, who has taken
rather a shine to the boat –
Compared with the Julie
skiff, the form of a boat like this must be
strongly influenced by the need to work in a decent amount of
displacement into a shorter hull, as anyone who compares the lines
drawings of the two boats will quickly see. The Ella skiff
is therefore a more curvy boat than her big sister, but I
hope that her more jaunty sheerline lends a certain cuteness people
will like. The stem is angled somewhat in order to turn splashes
and ripples downward, for I know that dryness is an important
part of comfort in small craft, especially for those unused to
Sailing enthusiasts will note that I have not drawn any details
for a sailing version of this boat and I would prefer that no
builder should add a sailing rig to this bare design. Boats like
this should not be converted for sailing without serious thought
about the safety and construction issues.
However, my daughter has asked me to develop a sailing version
for her, and at some point I intend to do so. The design for this
boat will feature a good amount of built-in bouyancy for safety,
will be half-decked, and will probably have a balanced lug rig
for ease of sailing.
My daughter Ella has made her own model Ella
skiff and told me that she’d like to build the real
thing some day. That sounds like a really nice project, even if
we already own too many small boats and she lives hundreds of
For more photos of models of the easy to build 12ft Ella
here. If you make one, please send photos for my
collection to email@example.com!
For plans drawings for use in making models of the Ella skiff,
here and for more on my Ella skiff design
here. However, if you’re looking for something
longer and with a bit more performance, try this.
This boat has been designed by an amateur with no qualifications
in boat design or boatbuilding and should be regarded as experimental.
The designer accepts no liability for any loss or accident that
may result from following these instructions or plans or from
any loss or accident that may follow from using this boat.
Click here to download the latest version of the free Ella
PS If you're looking for a longer, sleeker but equally easy to
build rowing skiff, click