The Port Townsend Skiff is a boat with a mission: Deliver stellar fuel economy in a good-looking, well-performing package. Russell Brown, the energy behind this boat, observes that our society has “gone to a totally absurd place” in powerboat design. “We came from having incredibly good-looking, sea-kindly motoryachts,” he says, and we’ve drifted into a place of having overweight, overpowered behemoths. The Port Townsend Skiff, in part, is a “relearning of what’s already been learned.”The design was conceived in answer to a challenge sponsored by this magazine’s mother publication, WoodenBoat, and its sister, Professional BoatBuilder. In that challenge, we sought a boat of trailerable size and weight that would burn no more than two gallons of fuel per hour while maintaining a 10-knot cruising speed and carrying a family of four—or about 800 lbs. With the design parameters in mind, Russell Brown engaged the talented Seattle, Washington–based design firm of Bieker Boats to develop a boat that could be sold in kit form for amateur construction. And thus the Port Townsend Skiff—and the company that sells it, Port Townsend Watercraft—was born.
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