Years ago, I had built and sailed a 14′ flat-bottomed skiff, but the time had come for something with more capacity, capability, and comfort. A few times my wife Ramona and I had been caught in rough conditions that made me feel more than a bit uncomfortable, and I didn’t feel confident heading out to distant shores with the little boat. And sleeping under a tented boom, well, I’d had enough of that. Still, it was nice to have a boat I could tow home and store in the garage where I could keep it in good repair.Selway Fisher’s Ptarmigan 17, as drawn, met most of my needs and could be adapted to suit the rest. The options detailed in the plans took care of my wants, and the design appears to accommodate amateur builders with a range of skills and requirements. There are drawings for both stitch-and-tape and glued-plywood lapstrake construction. You can also choose between a simple catboat rig and a yawl rig. With all the options for customization, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 10 different boats built from the same set of Ptarmigan 17 plans.

Pat Beninger

The glued-plywood lapstrake construction accentuates the hull's curves. Stitch-and-tape construction without the laps is an option included in the plans.

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