One of the better-known trailerable boats in Southcentral Alaska is the Tolman skiff. Designed by the late Renn Tolman of Homer, Alaska, in the early 1990s, the three models of the skiff have become a common sight in Alaskan waters. The beautiful power-dory-inspired lines and stitch-and-glue construction made the design very popular for new builders. Even those with little or no woodworking skills can take on these easy-to-build boats.Renn’s book, Tolman Alaskan Skiffs, details three models: the Standard, a 20′ open skiff; the Widebody, a 21′ 4″ version of the Standard with a console, a cuddy cabin, or a pilothouse; and the 22′ Jumbo, a cruiser that can support a full cabin with pilothouse. In recent years, the Jumbo, stretched by many builders to 24′, with its comfortable overnight accommodations, has been the most popular of the three Tolmans because of its usefulness in Alaskan coastal waters. Although the skiffs were designed for that area and the Pacific Northwest, they have been built and used from the California coast to the Florida flats and other parts of the world.The plans for the Jumbo and the two other models are in Tolman Alaskan Skiffs. The book has no shortage of drawings and pictures to build by; it’s also an enjoyable and interesting book for those who have been contemplating building their own boat and need bit of inspiration and encouragement. The author takes the intimidation out of getting started by eliminating the lofting and supplying all of the measured drawings required, including those for the bottom, sides, shelves, and transom with options for the transom depending on the motor chosen.
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