A 14' 9" Flat-Bottomed Sailing Skiff
By John Atkin
Erika is a larger, slightly modified version of my father's highly successful sailing skiff Dicky. Concerning Dicky, he wrote, " ... The trouble with about 95% of the flat-bottom boats built is that they are simply 'built,' little thought having been devoted to their ultimate shape.... When a builder works without well-thought-out designs, the boats turned out row hard, will not sail properly, and push hard under the power of an outboard engine."
The sail plan is designed for handy sailing and for neophyte sailors. The area is 75 square feet. It is to be made of lightweight (3 ounces or less) Dacron sailcloth. Be sure to go to a good sailmaker for sails -- which, after all, are power and therefore should be efficient if you expect good performance.

Erika is 14 feet 9 inches long, 13 feet 9 inches on the waterline, and 4 feet 2 1/2 inches in breadth. She has 3 1/2 inches draft with the centerboard up. The freeboard at the bow is 1 foot 9 inches and at the stern 1 foot 4 1/2 inches. Erika is designed to refute the notion that a flat-bottomed boat will always row hard and sail indifferently.

The bottom is much narrower than the deck, the topsides having generous flare. Any kind of skiff that is as wide on the bottom as it is on deck will have no reserve stability -- thus it tends to be on the dangerous side. Generally speaking, the more flare in the topsides, the safer and better the boat will be. Unfortunately, you will find few skiffs of the latter kind -- most are nearly slab-sided, more's the pity.

Erika could very well be built of 3/8 inch-thick marine plywood -- which has the advantage of staying tight if the little boat will be left out of the water for extended periods
Plans for Erika are $100




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