January 2020 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

In our January issue we take a look at two small skiffs: the Yankee tender, with origins stretching back 100 years to Asa Thompson, and the Jimmy Skiff II, a new plywood kit boat from Chesapeake Light Craft. Reading about Christophe Papillon’s solo row across the Atlantic may leave you wondering why, so keep in mind President Kennedy’s words about taking on challenges “not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” Bunks padded with carpet are standard trailer outfitting, but slippery plastic panels in its stead reduces friction and eases launching and retrieving a boat. Kent Lewis reviews Vintage 3-strand, a traditional-looking rope with the advantages of modern fibers, and gaffer tape, a versatile rival to duct tape. Our editor delves into an uncommon interior arrangement for a sail-and-oar camp-cruiser, and for our Reader Built Boat we take a look at a Barto melonseed skiff that caught his eye.

Slip Thwarts and Side Benches

Sail-and-oar camp cruisers usually have thwarts spanning the cockpit, but those seats restrict where you can plant yourself and get in the way when you’re moving around. Slip thwarts and side benches provide nearly unlimited seating options and clear out the middle of the boat.

Jimmy Skiff II

Redesign adds outboard to sail and oar

Chesapeake Light Craft’s Jimmy Skiff has been popular for two decades, but the design’s success didn’t mean it couldn’t benefit from a thorough makeover. The latest version, the Jimmy Skiff II, has flotation-tank side benches and a transom that can take a small outboard.

Yankee Tender

Classic construction

For the traditional-minded boatbuilder, the Yankee Tender, with its origins dating back a century, is an exercise in classic boatbuilding methods and produces a versatile small rowing skiff.

Across an Ocean

Rowing the Atlantic

After Christophe Papillon served as a paratrooper, he retired from the military and needed to find other ways to slake his thirst for adventure. He had done a bit of kayaking and some freshwater sailing, so the challenge he set for himself was a daunting one: rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean.


Making a Slicker Trailer

HDPE for less friction

Carpet is a common surface treatment for trailer bunks, meant to protect the boat and ease loading and unloading, but it gathers abrasive grit and creates friction. Replace it with high-density polyethylene and using the launch ramp is no longer such a drag.

Gaffer Tape

A duct-tape rival

Duct tape finds its way into almost every boater’s and camper’s repair kit but there are some jobs that are better left to gaffer tape, with its tidier adhesive and soft-cloth feel.

Vintage 3-Strand from New England Ropes

Modern material, traditional look

In boats with a traditional vibe, multi-colored braided cordage looks out of place. Vintage 3-Strand from New England Ropes has not only the right look but also a soft feel and good flexibility and strength.


A mesmerizing melonseed

Noah Seixas’ skiff may be small, but it’s much too pretty to escape notice. The 16’ Barto melonseed built by this University of Washington professor is a standout in a city with a wealth of beautiful boats.

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