Choosing a Boat Design

Plans and model of Bevin’s Skiff.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved ships, boats, and water. One of my favorite books growing up was David Macaulay’s Ship which so vividly depicts boatbuilding and archaeology, another early passion. In the pre-Internet days of my youth, I received in the mailĀ Preston’s Of Ships & Sea, a well-known nautical catalog. I don’t remember how it first came to my attention but I loved paging through it, admiring the gleaming brass lanterns and detailed ship models. Around age sixteen, I learned how to sail on Lake Okoboji in Iowa and I’ve wanted to own a sailboat ever since.

I briefly owned a 15-foot Spindrift Rascal sailboat when I lived in Maryland and my desire evolved into wanting to build my own wooden boat. One summer, I built a tiny, take-apart paddle boat that fit into the back seat of my car but it was unstable and didn’t sail. I bought plans for the Glen-L Sabotina but never had space to build it. Over the past few years, I’ve seriously considered building an Oughtred Guillemot or a Bateau V12. Choosing a sailboat that’s relatively easy to build, inexpensive, compact but big enough to carry two or three people, and that looks great is not an easy task: there are thousands of viable designs.

My decision paralysis came to end recently when plans solidified for a family vacation near Glen Lake in Michigan next summer. I want to have a home-built sailboat ready to take out on the lake and I have less than a year to build it. EnterĀ Bevin’s Skiff.

Joe Youcha designed Bevin’s Skiff in the late 1990s as an easy-to-build boat that could be used to teach kids about boatbuilding. This boat meets all of my requirements and I like that the design was named after Youcha’s dog, Bevin. I’ve been reading as much as I can find about the skiff and haven’t found anything negative yet. Looking over the drawings, I feel confident that I can build the boat in the allotted time and end up with a beautiful sailing and rowing skiff that we can take out on Glen Lake.

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