Inshore Skiffs

Gartside Dinghy, design #130

A better option, to my way of thinking, would be, say, the Doug Hylan Point Comfort 18, a small skiff that can handle inshore chop while getting around nicely, like Davenport’s design, on a low horsepower outboard.  Joel White’s 15’6” Jericho Bay lobster skiff would be another small, easy-to-build boat with the lines and handsome hull shape that comes out of the long tradition of inshore work boats.

Something larger?  David Stimson’s 19’6” Ocean Pointer has been on my “Skiff List” for years now, a boat I wouldn’t hesitate to take through one of the Mag Bay bocas and out into the open Pacific.  Hylan’s much bigger Point Comfort 23 could also take you easily from one end of the bay to the other, regardless of tides or weather.

Tamalita, Bahía Magdalena

Then again, should it come time to put down some real money for plans and materials, I’m going to be awfully tempted to build Paul Gartside’s 17-foot Bosun, design #190.  I’ve built two Gartside designs, a 12-foot clinker dinghy (design #130) and, most recently, his 6 Meter Centreboard Lugger, design #166.  Both are beautiful boats, with design elements that translate into levels of performance I never imagined possible in small boats.  Gartside, a builder as well as a designer, comes out of a school of boatbuilding that favors traditional materials and joinery over modern plywoods and epoxies, while at the same time inviting newcomers into the craft with small-boat projects manageable in busy lives.

Of course, there’s always the argument that time spent building a boat might be better spent actually fishing.  And wooden boats require more maintenance—sanding and painting and varnishing—than fiberglass boats—time that, again, takes away from time one could spend out on the water.  Arguments like these, however, are nonsense to the serious home boatbuilder, who lives by the motto, suggests Gartside, “the slower the boat, the longer the pleasure.”

Gray’s angling editor, Scott Sadil, sailed and rowed his first boat, Tía, a Chesapeake Light Craft Northeaster Dory, from Astoria, Oregon, to Lewiston, Idaho—470 miles up the Columbia and Snake rivers.