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Free plans to build your own epoxy-ply Western Skiff are available to download for amateur builders anywhere in the world. Nic Compton reports. The Nigel Irens 14ft Western Skiff is designed for rowing or sailing � but can also be powered by a small outboard motor if fitted with a well modification.

When Nigel Irens designed the Western Skiff 22 years ago, boatbuilding as a hobby was enjoying a modest but significant revival in build your own boat swim platform foundations UK. Designers such as Iain Oughtred, Selway Fisher and Andrew Wolstenholme were developing expanding portfolios of plans for amateur construction, and a highly successful amateur boatbuilding competition ABBA was established, which is still going to this day.

Browse the complete set of eight articles in this series online. Designer Nigel Irens sails the prototype Western Skiff in The boatbuilding revolution has indeed progressed as Nigel predicted, and most of the boat plans offered by Oughtred, Fisher, Wolstenholme and others are now available in kit form through the likes of Jordan Boats and Fyne Boats.

The design Nigel came up with all those years ago was a slender 14ft clinker plywood dinghy, with an upright stem and elegantly raked transom. In fact, the sweeping tiller in two sizes: a long one for sailing and a short one for rowing was one of the defining characteristics of the designs. There was no provision for an outboard, and the transom was deliberately raked at such an angle to make it very difficult to fit one � although I eventually found a way around this!

Much of the detailed drawing work for the boat was done by up-and-coming young build your own boat swim platform foundations Ed Burnett, who was working for Nigel at the time. It was an idealistic rather than a pragmatic design, and quite different to any other boat on the market. The plank joints, for example, were made up of long fingers, designed to maximize the glueing areas, which were slotted together in batches before being popped out of the sheets of ply.

This not only speeded up the process but also ensured the planks were lined up correctly. Instead, the angle between the planks was filled with epoxy, creating a series of incredibly strong and foolproof joints which also helped to stiffen the boat fore and aft. Living in Lewes in East Sussex, I rowed the boat regularly up and down the River Ouse, and I also had some great sails down as far as Newhaven, shooting bridges on the way, and then out to sea along Seaford Beach.

On one memorable occasion, a non-sailing friend came with me and, halfway down the Ouse, produced a flask and some china teacups and proceeded to pour us both a cup of tea as we careered down the valley past the point where Virginia Woolf drowned herself with the outgoing tide and a following breeze.

Build your own boat swim platform foundations my skiff really came into its own nearly 20 years after I originally built her, when my family and I moved to Devon in One notable afternoon I sailed with my son off nearby Galmpton, with a seal shadowing us for several minutes, before the rest of the family dog included climbed on board build your own boat swim platform foundations we drifted home on a zephyr, the whole river bathed in gold by the evening sun.

Over the years, the skiff has attracted a lot of favourable comments and Nigel has received repeated requests for plans to build the design. The simple clinker ply construction. Credit: Nic Compton. A lively conversation ensues with Ed Burnett discussing the merits of copyright, as well as the compromises needed to design a boat that rows well and yet still sails tolerably well. The original drawings were specifically intended to be fed into build your own boat swim platform foundations CNC cutter to produce parts for the kit and it was no simple matter to convert them into a set of construction build your own boat swim platform foundations. So the drawings stayed buried in a computer, and the idea of relaunching the design remained just an idea.

It was the response to my skiff restoration article in PBO June that provided the impetus to get the idea going again, and this time we found a willing partner in the shape of Jack Gifforda former GL Watson draughtsman who had recently set up shop on his own in Falmouth. Jack agreed to turn the drawings into a set of PDF files, complete with full-size templates for many of the parts, which could be sent out to aspiring amateur builders.

PBO has also agreed to distribute the plans free of charge. The only thing we ask is for you to make a voluntary donation to the fund set up in the memory of Ed Burnett see justgiving. Anyone wanting to build the boats for profit, will need to contact Nigel directly at nigelirens. The addition of an outboard in a well has allowed the family to explore further afield.

See PBO June Credit: Zennor Compton. The Western Skiff was always conceived first as a rowing boat, second as a sail boat and not at all as a motor boat! For rowing, a long pair of oars is build your own boat swim platform foundations � the original kit came with a pair of 8ft oars, which seemed to do the job nicely.

With one person rowing the boat is a bit light, and some form of ballast up forward � in the form of bottles of water, rocks, an outboard or, in my case, a dog! The challenge for new builders is to design an improved rig, keeping the rig strictly within a set sail area the build your own boat swim platform foundations size is yet to be decided � but it will be smaller than the current set-up.

Rules are meant to be broken and, although the boat was not designed to carry an outboard, there are ways and means. After 15 years, I eventually succumbed to the inevitable and fitted an outboard well on my skiff � and it performs extraordinarily well under motor with a very small outboard the 3. Being so easily driven and yet impossible to plane, it would be a natural contender for an electric outboard, budget permitting.

Neither the plans nor the kit include the outboard conversion, which will vary greatly according to what outboard is chosen, but they will include a description of how I did. There is also now a Facebook group: www. The motivation for this new initiative is simply to get a lot more of these wonderful boats on the water, giving pleasure to many more builders and owners.

Even with large-scale and full-size PDF drawings to work from, cutting the parts for a 14ft dinghy can be a daunting task. To make the boat even more accessible to the amateur builder we teamed up with Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats to produce a MkII kit � as was originally intended.

This approach means the builder can source the remaining parts and materials according to their budget and inclination.

Some might like a simple, build your own boat swim platform foundations rowing boat, build your own boat swim platform foundations might want a bright finished sailing version, with the corresponding difference in build time and cost.

This might be a carbon fibre-sparred version of the original lug rig, or a completely new approach � Nigel is currently favouring using a windsurf rig, but it will be interesting to compare sail plans. Alec Jordan � the founder of Jordan Boats � has the rare distinction of having learned to sail on the Kalahari Desert.

After spending most of his childhood in St Lucia, he trained in IT and got a job in Botswana where he made his first solo sailing foray in a Finn dinghy on Gaborone Dam, on build your own boat swim platform foundations edge of the Kalahari Desert. Back in the UK, he settled in Aberdeen where he built a Sprite dinghy from a kit supplied by Jack Chippendale, which gave him the boatbuilding bug.

The Oughtred-designed St Ayles skiff is his most successful boat, selling upwards of kits to date. The Western Skiff is the latest addition to his range. Thanks Build Your Own Boat Lift Joint to his boat-mad father, Jack Gifford grew up thinking it was quite normal to dig up year-old boats from the mud and restore them, and from an early age became addicted to classic yachts. He spent his teens working for Dragon-meister Peter Wilson in Aldeburgh, before studying naval architecture at Southampton Institute.

He worked for several years at the offices of GL Watson, working on projects such as the motor yacht Malahnefor which he helped design a new tender. Inhe set up his own office in Falmouth to provide a range of naval architectural services such as stability assessments, coding and 3D scanning � as well as new boat designs.

Recent projects include designing a new gaff and topmast for the Fife Metre The Lady Annecreating a new interior for a Nicholson 34, and designing five 26ft rowing boats for an Outward Bound organisation in the Lake District.

More info at jackgifford. Around this time, he designed the 80ft catamaran Formule Tagwhich set a new hour record of miles in with Mike Birch at the helm. Alongside this mainstream success, he found time to build your own boat swim platform foundations in traditional boats, designing the 29ft lugger Roxane infollowed by her little sister, the 22ft Romillyand of course the Western Skiff in So I think messing around with different shapes and sizes of sail plans for different sized people could and should be a lot of fun.

In case there was any doubt about his story, he pulled from his phone, with all the flourish of a magician, a picture of he and his skiff yachting along on an Austrian lake. I say good for him � and good for anyone else who likes to mess about with boats, in whatever way takes their fancy. We estimate. Instructions for free Western Skiff plans � click here to download. Overview pdf of Western Skiff plans 10 pages of A4 � click here to download.

Full set of pdf plans of Western Skiff build your own boat swim platform foundations pages of A0 � click here to download. Build your own boat swim platform foundations an outboard well during skiff restoration inby Nic Compton.

Here is a selection of photos from the full original kit build by Nic Compton. Let us know at pbo ti-media. The completed jig viewed from astern, mounted on trestles. Note the black-edged parts: the burn marks from the laser used to cut the original kit parts in the s. The free set of plans calls for two of the thwarts to be fitted to the building jig. The frames then slot into the thwarts. The Jordan Boats pre-cut kit suggests a different method of aligning the frames thanks to extra features on the building jig.

Drilling holes to fit the plastic cable ties. Less is more at this stage � too many ties force the planks into unnatural shapes. The garboards and bottom panel fitted over the frames and two of the four thwarts. And the centreboard slot is aligned with the slot cut in the forward thwart. Note the overlap at the apron and the plastic cable ties helping to shape build your own boat swim platform foundations planks.

The very first completed build your own boat swim platform foundations by Anton Fitzpatrick minus gunwales and inwales at Devon Dinghy Workshop in Note the side buoyancy tanks fitted snugly between frames either side of the centreboard case. Skip to content �. Home boats. Nic Compton reports The Nigel Irens 14ft Western Skiff is designed for rowing or sailing � but can also be powered by a small outboard motor if fitted with a build your own boat swim platform foundations modification.

Under sail off Brighton. Alec Jordan. Jack Gifford. Credit: Emily Harris. Renowned designer Nigel Irens. Once printed, join together individual sheets by matching the corresponding numbers in each corner and aligning the target marks.

Make point:

a conflicting vital selections. These come from not as big - dual newcomer sizes, however this is a initial vessel I've built given I was Thirteen, this content attests to a fallacies of ideas about expansion attributed to utilitarian mutations as well as healthy preference, right. A program could be bowt rarely in effect as well as when we get starting with build your own boat swim platform foundations, Tack as well as glue vessel skeleton.

Or stand, toes awash, and cook some burgers, as did Harding. Submerge the platform all the way and even a kid can drive a jet-powered RIB or PWC right into the chocks, touch a button, and lift it out of the water.

Outboard-powered tenders demand more caution; the prop of even a horse motor can do a number on a fiberglass platform. A submersible platform that extends an integral, molded-in deck is ideal. More on this later. They look complex, but submersible platforms are basically multi-jointed arms, usually fabricated of marine-grade stainless steel, bolted to the transom and capped with the fiberglass platform itself. Each arm is raised and lowered by a hydraulic cylinder, and is cleverly designed to keep the platform level as it rises and falls.

The hydraulic pump is mounted inside the boat, along with the control boxes, wiring, and so forth. A number of reputable aftermarket fabricators build submersible platforms that a competent boatyard can install; some companies will install the platform, too. Florida Bow Thrusters, for example, offers one-stop-shopping.

Company President Tom Gillikin says he has a number of fiberglass molds on hand to build platforms for many production boats, or he buys the platform from the boatbuilder. Gillikin says he installs platforms primarily on boats 40 feet and up.

Nautical Structures is well-known for building first-class davits, cranes, and passerelles, but it has also built a slew of hydraulic platforms for boats from express cruisers to megayachts. And there are others: TNT Lift Systems has built more than 2, hydraulic lifts for yachts from 28 to over feet, according to its website.

Using just a single cylinder has several advantages, says Stephen Johns, the founder of SeaLift. A single cylinder removes that issue. And, adds Johns, most dual-cylinder lifts actually have four cylinders: two to raise and lower the platform, and two locking cylinders. When the platform is raised all the way, the locking cylinders engage some kind of mechanism�hooks, latches, cams, whatever�to lock the platform securely in place.

The dual-lifting, dual-locking design dates from the s, when hydraulic platforms first became popular, says Johns. But the four cylinders mean eight hoses and the associated connections to inspect and maintain. Platforms tend to be heavy, especially when paved with teak. Overloading a boat, especially with weight concentrated abaft the transom, is a very bad idea. Too much weight not only stresses the transom, but can also create handling and trim issues, and risks swamping the platform, the tender, and maybe the mothership, in following seas or when dropping off plane.

A platform for even a smaller boat typically weighs several hundred pounds on its own; put a tender on the chocks and the forces from the combination of weight and leverage can be considerable. Throw in high-speed running in rough water, and a weak transom may not be able to take the strain.

How much weight is too much? Gillikin suggests a maximum of 1, pounds for a boat of 40 feet or so, even if the platform is rated for more capacity, but many experts are more conservative.

TNT Lift Systems guidelines suggest pounds max load on boats from 33 to 39 feet, pounds up to 48 feet, pounds up to 58 feet, and 1, pounds up to 68 feet. TNT assesses boats larger than 68 feet individually.

For most boats in the to foot range, the company recommends pounds or so, and 1, for those 50 to 60 feet. For instance, the optional submersible platform on the Sea Ray Sundancer is rated for pounds, while the one on the slightly shorter, narrower, and lighter Monte Carlo 5 is rated for about This rendering gives a fair idea of how the S.

Submersible platforms can be fitted to conventional transoms, integral-platform transoms, boats with propshafts, and boats with stern drives. But outboards? Not so easy: How do you work around the motors? Opacmare is the Italian builder of some very sexy swim platforms, installed as factory options by many boatbuilders worldwide.

For example, the Transformer platform aboard the Evo 43 we recently tested nests in the extended cockpit sole and opens to become a dive platform, a boarding aid, and a submerged swim platform with steps. And now the Opacmare design team has devised a submersible platform for outboard-powered vessels.

The S. Passageways on either side of the outboard or outboards lead from the cockpit onto the platform, which lives aft of the motors. Instead of hydraulic arms bolted to the transom, the platform is supported by a lifting apparatus housed in the hull sides.

The platform must be raised above cockpit level to permit the motors to tip up. According to Opacmare, the S. Really though, most submersible swim platforms are less complex than the S.

Add one and divers, swimmers, and watersports enthusiasts will like the easy entry and egress from the briny that results ever notice how dive tanks get heavier every year? Driving it onto the platform is so much easier. But the best feature, we continue to think, is the ability of everyone to use the platform to walk on water.

How much does a yacht tender weigh, and how big a tender can fit upon a swim platform? That leaves enough clearance for docking misadventures without damaging the tender. At least with any luck. The true limiting factor, however, is weight, not length. If we were to build the whole thing on the driveway, we would not be able to lift it to the water. So, we compromised. We constructed this deck in phases to carefully manage the weight of the structure.

We began construction on the relatively flat driveway to keep the rim-joist frame as square and level as possible. To ensure a flat, level frame on which everything else would be built, we assembled the four rim joists on the driveway. The 2-by-8 rim joists comprised the outside perimeter of the dock. We centered each of the plates mid-height of the joists, and we found that it helps to clamp the plates in position while you drill the holes for the bolts.

You can always tighten the nuts and bolts with a socket wrench, but we used a powered impact wrench that saved us hours of labor. When assembling, it is critical that each rim joist is square and level so take any means necessary to make sure this happens.

We used everything from scrap lumber to landscape pavers as shims to keep the frame in shape while we fastened the four corners. Once the square perimeter of rim joists was complete, we carried the dock frame closer to the lake onto a paver patio where we installed the interior joists. When building a dock such as the one shown, there are two things to consider when determining joist placement: 1 the size of your deck boards, and 2 the mounting locations of your flotation devices.

Full 2-by deck boards can be installed over joists spaced oninch centers. First, we measured the distance between the mounting holes on the dock floats, and fastened the corresponding joists so they exactly matched the spacing of mounting locations.

Once these critical joists were installed, we located the remaining joists 16 inches from their centers. The dock joists install with heavy-duty plates and through-bolts as well. It helps to clamp the hardware in place while you drill the bolt holes. Make sure to locate the joists so they match the mounting holes of the flotation devices. Like the rim joists, the deck joists were installed with a combination of lag bolts, nuts, washers and galvanized plates.

The plates include an L-bracket to fasten the joists to the rim lumber, as well as two smaller plates that sandwich the joists to the bracket.

The hardware provides a solid and secure connection that resists tension and twisting within the dock frame. To provide some extra structural integrity, we cut blocking from 2-by-8 material and fastened the blocks between the center joists of the dock that would not be bridged by the flotation devices.

Notice the old storm-wrecked dock in the background�the motivation for this project. With all the joists assembled, the dock had accumulated a great deal of weight. At this point our team of five Extreme How-To staff members carried the completed dock frame even closer to the lake, where we attached the six flotation devices to the joists. The flotation units added even more weight to the structure,and the dock was upside-down.

We needed to flip over the dock to have the floats on the bottom. To do so, we recruited a Jeep with a front-mounted winch. Once flipped, the dock was roughly 8 feet from the water in preparation of launch.

The winch was critical to manage the heavy weight of the structure. We needed to install at least some of the deck boards overland to provide a working platform on which to install the remainder of the decking on the water. We fastened each deck board with stainless steel deck screws from GRK Fasteners, two per joist. Driving the fasteners with an impact driver proved to be the quickest method of installing the decking.

For bowed boards, we used the board-straightening BowWrench from Cepco Tool, which clamps over a joist to leverage the bowed board in straight alignment with the installed decking www. A BowWrench is a handy tool to straighten bowed decking boards. At the time of construction the water level was low, so rather than sliding the dock easily into the water, we had to make the transition over the sheer ledge of a 3-foot seawall. This was an awkward affair in which we used 2-by-8 boards as makeshift ramps and the winch to keep the weight of the dock manageable as we eased it into the water.

Once in the water, we completed the remainder of the decking. The property had two piers.

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