A 14-Foot Flat-Bottomed Racing Skiff

Willy Winship is a flat-bottomed racing skiff. Her design is based on the excellent and shipshape sailing "flatties" made famous by the men who hand-raked shellfish on the Jersey coast some 75 years ago. These boats were smart sailers -- able, safe, capable of carrying a good load, and altogether first class.

In designing this boat, I wanted first to create a superior kind of boat in which to learn and second to produce an ideal one-design for yacht club use. Furthermore, I thought that she should be a boat that would serve well as a comfortable and safe daysailer. For this, she had to be driven easily by a low-powered outboard motor and transportable by trailer. Further, it was important that she require a minimum of time and expense on the part of the owner. Willy Winship is all of these things, and best of all, she can be built for a fraction of the cost needed for a first-class round-bilged or V-bottomed boat of equal dimensions. She thus reflects well the philosophy that was my father's and has also been mine these past 35 years.

Do not get the notion that flat-bottomed skiffs are inadequate sea boats or that they slap and pound. When such boats are heeled over, the sharp corner formed by the side and bottom acts as an easing V. To be sure, a flat-bottomed hull will slap under adverse conditions, but this is a small compromise in light of the numerous advantages!

Willy Winship is 13 feet 9 inches overall, by 12 feet 8 inches on the waterline, with 4 feet 10 inches beam and 5 inches draft. Freeboard is 1 foot 11 1/2 inches at the bow, 1 foot 1 1/8 inches at the lowest point of the sheer, and 1 foot 4 1/2 inches at the stern. The breadth is carried well forward, while the stern is pulled-in somewhat more than usual. The bottom is narrow over its entire length. This produces generous flare in the topsides and the assurance of a dry hull, for the combination of the flare and the plank laps keeps the spray down. She has a big centerboard, which, unlike a daggerboard, will pivot up in shoal water. The sail plan shows a total area of 92 square feet with 62.3 square feet in the main and 29.7 square feet in the staysail.

The many advantages of a flat-bottomed skiff include ease of construction with minimum materials. Little wood is wasted in building such a boat and fastenings may be galvanized or copper boat nails. Working drawings include a plywood construction section showing 3/8 inch waterproof marine plywood on the topsides and bottom. Bottom frames will extend athwartships with this construction.