The Skerry

Model: Skerry
Hull Weight: 95 pounds
Beam: 54 inches
Max Payload: 450 pounds
Rowing Draft: 5 inches
Sailing Draft: 30 inches
Sail Area: 56 Square Feet

So why did I choose The Skerry for my first boat building project?  I think it’ll be easiest to provide the answer in a list.

1.  It is beautiful!  The lapstrake design is wonderfully appealing to the eye, have a look for yourself!

2.  A great first time build.  By most accounts, Skerry is a good build for a first time boat builder.  There may be some challenging things, definitely things I have never done before, but I am up for the challenge.

3.  Perfect size and weight.  The boat is 15′ long and weighs about 100 pounds.  I can trailer that with my 4cyl Honda Accord.  Also, building in my single car garage, I think this may be the biggest thing I’ll be able to get away with.

4.  It is a John C. Harris design and supported by Chesapeake Light Craft.  Mr. Harris’s small craft designs are proven and thousands of his boats are being rowed and sailed today.  The company he owns, CLC has an excellent reputation and from my experience I can tell you that they really care about their customers.  That must be why they have so many repeat customers!

5.  Simple unstayed mast and rig.  While some may think the stock sprit rig looks funny, it is very well liked by most users.  It features an unstayed mast which can easily be removed or set.  This was a very important to me.  The high boom allows for movement about the boat without difficultly.  It also permits the boat to be rowed under sail.

From the Chesapeake Light Craft Website:

The Skerry design combines elements of traditional working craft of the British Isles and Scandinavia, with a little bit of American Swampscott Dory thrown in. The blend of historical antecedents yields excellent performance under sail or oar, along with good looks and ease of construction in plywood. This John C. Harris design fuses excellent rowing and sailing qualities into one attractive craft. Sail when there’s wind, row when there’s not. You’ll cover the miles either way.

It’s an ideal first boatbuilding project, and a good boat in which to learn to sail or row. The Skerry will take you for a relaxing afternoon sail, or it has the capacity and performance to go “beachcruising”—sailing or rowing by day and pulling up on a secluded beach each evening to camp. The Skerry’s feather-light weight and shallow draft mean that you can poke into quiet waters, pull the boat over a sandbar, and explore that hidden cove.

“This Skerry is a beautiful boat. . . There is not an ugly line on this boat. The sheer is beautiful and accented by the lines of the chines. The chines add interest and eye candy to an already appealing boat.” read entire review –Sailing, June 2003

The flaring sides make the Skerry stable and dry under sail. The stock sprit rig was chosen because it’s easy to set up and handle, powerful for its size, and stows inside the hull for transport. Windward performance is excellent. The boom is out of the way of the crew—no bonked heads—and the boat can be rowed with the sail up. This is such an important and practical feature for small boat handling that it’s bizarre not to find it in more smallcraft. Under oars, the Skerry has a long, easy glide and excellent tracking. Two rowing positions permit the Skerry to be rowed with one, two, or three adults on board.