Moving back home to Eastern Washington after being away for decades required that I get a boat. Lakes Coeur d’Alene, Priest, Chelan, and Roosevelt, together with the Columbia and Spokane Rivers, needed to be re-explored. Alright, as my wife correctly noted, “required” is too strong a word. Nonetheless, the move gave me a good excuse to buy or build a boat.My requirements were simple. The boat would have to be light enough to tow behind our four-cylinder SUV, small enough to fit in the garage, and capable of getting two of us and our gear the 50 miles from the south end of Lake Chelan to Stehekin on the north end and back again in the afternoon when the lake gets rough.Although there are many affordable aluminum and fiberglass boats that would serve my purpose, I wanted something distinctive. Fond memories of my uncle’s 16′ Thompson Sea Coaster, with its lapstrake hull and mahogany deck, prompted me to look for a small wooden boat to restore, but I didn’t find one nearby. While searching for an old boat, I came across the Peeler Skiff, a 15′ plywood kit boat from Chesapeake Light Craft.

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