By Gary Baigent - New Zealand

I built this 4.5 metre (15 ft.) sliding seat rowing skiff to my own design in a couple of weeks in our backyard. Constructed in 3mm tensioned klinki over Port Orford (white) cedar (a plantation tree in New Zealand) backbone and gunwhales with three klinki bulkheads plus bow stemhead and transom in double laminated klinki, everything epoxy coated with some glass and carbon reinforcing.

Sliding seat rowing skiff

This is the third to this design (the first two were for women with fixed seat rowing positions) I’ve built and the light construction plus the semi-monocoque makes them easy to handle and also decently fast rowers with stability to catch a big snapper and not capsize. Also the three buoyancy compartments make the boats unsinkable and capable of open Hauraki Gulf passages.


This one is for my own use and the odd concave curve in the aft end deck is to swing a caught fish aboard into a half tube and also to allow the crew to push off from shallow water and get aboard keeping the centre of weight down a bit lower. The first two required the owners to step aboard over the gunwhales and this was slightly awkward for small women, the boat rocking until their weight was centred. Not that it mattered, the wide, flared beam gave safe heeling without capsize anyway, but just slightly alarming at first.

Half tube

The fine stern requires weight to be central in the hull and stops stern dragging and the resulting lower speed, hence the fairly long after deck. The inverted half cone area forward of the rower’s seat position is to allow the rower to lean back without destroying his or her back on the bulkhead.

Sliding seat

The hatchet shaped blades are also in double laminated klinki with stripped white cedar and hollow shafts.

Finished hull

The sliding seat has furniture castors for rollers and these are filled with epoxy glue to stop them swiveling, then glued into routed areas set into the laminated ply seat base.


Hi Chuck, Here are a couple more photographs of the shifting and transportation of the boat, carried through the house and into Jacques' VW. Since launching I've shortened the sliding distance of the rails - and made different footrests. The slender hull rows very quickly and surfs the upper Waitemata Harbour waves easily and makes a very attractive wake.

Cheers Gary


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