Building the South Jersey Beach Skiff

Boat building plans for the South Jersey Beach Skiff started as I turned the pages of Howard Chapelle's American Small Sailing Craft. I had already studied the plans for a few other boats. I wanted a boat small enough both to handle on my own, and... one that could make it out through the doors.


South Jersey Beach Skiff 2007

I drafted the design with a few changes giving her a greater proportionate beam and a bit more height to the sheer. Originally, as small fishing boats, these were rowed through the surf to launch and land. I wanted one that would have auxiliary oars and row well, but I planned to sail her more.

Where and how you'll be using the boat is the most important thing to consider.
I like to go on day trips. With her draft of only 9 inches, I can move through shallow waters to explore some of my favorite places. She can be launched and rigged inside a half hour. If I have only an afternoon or a morning, it doesn't hold me back.

South Jersey Skiff on the beach

How much should we improve a traditional design?

While some of the new methods may be distasteful to the purist, glued-lapstrake construction offers an interesting alternative for small wooden boats. In fact,
I would credit a good part of the small craft revival to epoxy! Glued- lapstrake boats are readily trailered. High quality marine plywood planking can be bonded, unlike conventional cedar, and forms a watertight structural shell. Fewer internal frames are required, which greatly simplifies building and maintenance.

The Jersey Beach Skiff has proven faithful to her lineage as a fine and able boat. While we don't usually have heavy surf on the North Shore of Massachusetts, we do have some pretty good power boat wakes. I've trailered her all over from Brooklin Maine down to Cape Cod and Mystic Seaport. And she towed gracefully on the open ocean behind the Lewis Story down to the WoodenBoat Show in Newport, RI. With a nor'easter behind us she carried four grown men safely to shore on Martha's Vineyard.

The South Jersey Beach Skiff, a Brief Historical Perspective

During the 1800s this boat numbered in the hundreds working the coastline from Seabright south to Atlantic City.

Boat Building Plans

I am in the process of refining a full set of plans with offsets and details. They will soon be available through You may also see my piece on Glue Lapstrake Boat Building for construction methods.

Visit the Owner-Built Exhibit at the 2008 WoodenBoat Show!
Mystic Seaport will host a wonderful collection of boats June 27th-29th. Many of us who missed the John Gardner Small Craft Workshop this year will present their owner-built vessels and share ideas and experience.

Use the form below to request information on building plans or for an immediate download the of study plans in pdf format.

The South Jersey Beach Skiff

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