Entry 2

Break-Apart Skiff
Rob Rohde-Szudy


I chose to go with a nesting two-part design, as it seems this wife would be turned off by being rowed around in a boat that did not perform well. She seems to want to have her cake and eat it too, so this poor guy will have to be willing to endure a little inconvenience…until he gets her hooked on messing about in boats!

The aft end nests inside the fore, as the thwarts lift out. I’d have them fit over pins. All rowing is done from the larger half. I call it the fore half, but rowing solo it’s the aft. No motors – this wife would not tolerate grease or fumes. I gave ‘her’ thwart a backrest so she doesn’t recline back into the stem and throw off the trim. It is important that her space is small. This will encourage her to nag to you build a bigger boat!!!

The mating bulkheads are also 1/4" ply, reinforced at each edge with 1x4. They are held together by 4 bolts with rubber washers on both sides. This is pretty quick with a ratchet. Use 7’ Michalak oars.

(click to enlarge)

Sails can come later, but I’d add a mast step and partner to the mating bulkhead and rig it with a small sharpie sprit rig. Jim Michalak’s page has all you could ever need to make one. I’d favor a canoe-style clamp-on leeboard, unless/until sailing became the dominant pursuit.

I chose to avoid epoxy, as the mess would certainly cause marital strife. This is a traditional ?” ply nail-and-glue skiff, as these can be worked with hand tools that won’t generate noise complaints. Since this is a pretty well-known method, stems, chines, wales and breasthooks are not shown in profile or plan views. The stems can be formed by whichever method is convenient, but I would form an inner stem from 1x or 2x and cap the finished stem with a strip. You’d only need a friend with a power saw to rip the chines, wales and stringers – possibly cut the panels. PL premium for glue and latex paint. Don’t even TRY to varnish in ‘her’ space!


Rob Rohde-Szudy holds a degree in music and lives in Madison, WI. He has built a Michalak Piccup Pram, and can personally attest that a small boat can make a wife desire a bigger boat. (What a beautiful thing!) He has written several articles about the building of the pram, available in Michalak’s back issues, and is currently working on paint research (latex vs. oil!) for a future Duckworks article.