View Full Version : St. Ayles Skiff by High School in NC

02-01-2015, 05:49 AM
I don't plan on this being a complete build thread, but I thought members might enjoy a few pics of HS students in Davidson, NC (USA) building a St. Ayles Skiff.
We are in the early stages, but hope to finish this spring if all the stars align.

This is a kit project CNC cut by Hewes and Co. in Maine. Ian Oughtred designed. for costal rowing in Scotland, the builds of these boats have made it across the pond and around the world. As far as we know we are the first group in the Southeast to build one.
Lots of information out there:
St. Ayles Skiff (http://jordanboats.co.uk/JB/stayles.htm)

Please feel free to ask questions or volunteer suggestions. This is my first lapstrake build and biggest project to date.

Kit arrived well protected and very timely from Hewes and Co. I'm very impressed with the care that has gone into all aspects of Hewes end of things so far. Thank you Gardner P.
We had to rearrange the shop to accommodate the build. It is still going to be tight because classes must go on simultaneously.
CNC cut pieces (station molds in this case) are tabbed in and only need to be cut out.
Station molds assembled with egg crate design for speed and accuracy.

We are a little further along and I will try to post additional pics as we progress.

Peerie Maa
02-01-2015, 06:39 AM
Good Shout.

You are all going to have a blast.



02-01-2015, 07:05 AM
^ Agree wholeheartedly. Great to see young folks take on this type of boat building project. All the best to the lot of you.

02-01-2015, 08:25 AM
Following for sure. Y>

02-01-2015, 09:57 AM
Here is the box router jig for scarfing the douglas fir hog to 17'.

Here she is as she stands today with bow and stern stem jigs, stems, and frames temporarily clamped.

02-01-2015, 12:11 PM
What are the plans for this boat after completion? Does she have a buyer already? Does the school have a rowing team? Fundraising raffle?

02-01-2015, 12:16 PM
What are the plans for this boat after completion? Does she have a buyer already? Does the school have a rowing team? Fundraising raffle?

yah...thats what I was thinking. Boats are fun to build , but they are expensive. For a program To be sustainable the finished product must generate some value to be put back into the program. Fundraising raffle sounds good.

02-01-2015, 01:16 PM
I'd buy a few tickets...

02-01-2015, 07:05 PM
My hope is to start a rowing program here at the school and hopefully inspire a second build in our area for competition. The course I teach is a Wood Arts curriculum, so my primary goal is to bring the art of wooden boat building to as many students as possible. I think this dovetails nicely with what we do and feeds my own fledgling addiction. The rowing program is secondary. There is a community sailing and rowing program on the southern end of the lake and with a little more progress I hope to stoke their fires about the project and perhaps one of their own. (We could give them the molds and save them some money.)

We are located adjacent to a large lake here in North Carolina (Lake Norman). It is a literal stones throw from our front doors, so I would like for the school to be able to hold onto her in the long run and develop a rowing program. I am not a proficient rower, but I have a teacher here at school that rowed collegially and has interest in help our kids get a start.

Ultimately, I think we could even adapt it to sail and perhaps offer another avenue to get kids on the water. Lots of opportunities, but a bit early to assess them all at this point.

Hunky Dory
02-03-2015, 02:26 PM
Good to see more of these boats built with kids. We have been doing the Bevin's skiff with our groups , but I have been trying to get the financial support to build a St. Ayles skiff and develop a rowing program. All our youth rowing programs around here are for shell on lakes. I want to see kids out on the bay learning some seamanship as well.

02-03-2015, 04:26 PM
Hog initial shaping done off the bench.

Hog now on and to be glued to frames and stems tomorrow.


Final shaping after that and then time to scarf planks.

02-03-2015, 04:34 PM
for several years, i used boatbuilding as an incentive for my junior high students


math, reading, chemistry and of course, WOODWORKING...

Larry Westlake's YUKON & Phil Bolger's NYMPH were a couple of our favorites

it was so easy getting the interest up, when they knew that one lucky kid was going to get to take the finished product home, at the end of the year(i just held a drawing for all the kids who earned their ticket)

keep us posted on the build and add in any special observances...



02-03-2015, 05:31 PM
Great job, introducing boatbuilding to the yutes! That is a very nice shop space you all have.

Great choice of boat, too.

Best of luck,


02-04-2015, 02:29 AM

02-04-2015, 03:54 AM
The Isle of Mull (pop 3,000) is just finishing the second skiff- certainly they have generated a lot of enthusiasm.

02-04-2015, 07:27 AM
I think it is great that you are doing this with your students. It would be really good if some of the other area high schools could do the same and you could all get together at Lake Norman to show them off and have some roiwng competitions.

Good luck to you all,

02-04-2015, 07:39 AM
Regrettably, there aren't too many school in the area equipped to take this kind of a project on any more. Most have done away with woodworking. I will say, however, that the use of a kit like this one would make it far more attainable with even a basic shop.

There is a non-profit on the lake that teaches sailing and rowing as well as does some repairs on donated boats so they would likely be able to pull one off. I'm going to be reaching out to them a little later in the build to try and generate interest.

I really want to see a second built in the area because I can only imagine the fun of the rowing competition aspect.

02-08-2015, 10:51 AM
Hog glued to frames and stems. Final shaping just about complete. Need to start gluing the scarfed panels next week.

03-02-2015, 12:00 PM
Any updates on the build?

03-02-2015, 12:47 PM
We have been gluing up planks and getting ready for the garboards which will hopefully go on tomorrow. Pictures to come...

03-05-2015, 05:49 AM

Garboard planks are glued in place. Big step as these were challenging. Hopefully progressing to the rest of the planking starting right away.

03-08-2015, 08:44 AM
Plank #2 on both sides are in place. Dory lap used on both ends. Little challenging, but thank goodness for thickened epoxy.

Love the fact that the kit came with so many "plank clamps" cut out of the extra material by CNC. Nice little bonus. Thanks Hewes and Co.

03-19-2015, 07:41 AM
"Whiskey" plank is now on! Feeling and looking like a skiff. Keel and paint prep next week.


03-19-2015, 08:31 AM
This is really great! Those kids must be learning so much and feel quite accomplished. That is a beautiful hull, I sure hope someone else will build one for competition.

Many programs could learn from you.

Must be regional differences though,.... I would never call that a skiff.

03-28-2015, 05:52 AM
Keel and outer stems are on.
Choose to bend and Glue the stems in place. Happy with results.
fairing and paint next week.

03-28-2015, 05:53 AM

03-28-2015, 09:40 AM
I'm glad to see at least some school shop activity out there. The demise of educational hand work in this country is well documented, and alarming. Great project!

04-01-2015, 05:10 AM
Outer stems are trimmed. Hull sanded, prepped, and primed.
First coat of Total Boat Flag Blue today.

04-02-2015, 10:42 AM

Two coats of flag blue are on the skiff.(Top strake is going to be white) We are on break next week, but it will be turned upright the week we get back.

04-02-2015, 01:42 PM
looks nice! hope to see it on Lake Norman soon!

04-02-2015, 01:45 PM
What jbarr89 said! :ycool:

04-03-2015, 06:40 AM
Great progress for only two months time! Y>

04-04-2015, 11:48 AM
I could use some recommendations for a keel strip for added protection.
While it sits up side down would be the time to put it on in my opinion. I have been told to do it after the keel was painted and then pre-drill and epoxy fill holes used to keep it in place.

On other builds, I have seen everything from no strip, to half oval, to plastic (?), but never having done this before I would love a point in a good direction.
Thanks in advance for any assist.

Peerie Maa
04-04-2015, 12:08 PM
My Peerie Maa has stainless flat bar. Tough as old boots but tough to drill and countersink. Brass half round is really nice, but be sure to pre-bend it and fit it to the stems before drilling for the screws.

You can see the flat bar and where the half round then continues up and over the top of the stem to be secured to the back of the stem

04-04-2015, 12:53 PM
The price might be right on that stainless flat bar too. Thanks for the suggestion.

04-15-2015, 11:44 AM
Four oars are roughed out and being refined.

Skiff was flipped and interior finish work begins this week.


04-22-2015, 09:30 AM
Lots of sanding and scraping of the inner hull.

Working on the gunnels.

Coming along well.


04-23-2015, 02:15 PM
More progress. Gunnels completed.
Still scraping and sanding. Benches go in next week.

04-23-2015, 03:11 PM
Looking really good!!

05-13-2015, 12:53 PM
Catching up on the tread a little bit...
Rudder roughed in...

Interior painted...


Oars made ready....

05-13-2015, 12:55 PM
She lives!

Built by Community School of Davidson Students (and teacher) in four months to the day.
So proud of these guys.
Launch is set for May 22nd. Hope we will have a nice crowd for them.

Peerie Maa
05-13-2015, 02:22 PM
Well done all. She is hansom.

05-13-2015, 02:52 PM
Beautiful job!
You and the students should be very proud of the build, and done in record time!
I can't wait to see the smiles on launch day. Please post some pics of the launch.

05-14-2015, 01:41 PM
Great job done by all! Would love to come to the launching, but I will be out of town for the weekend. :(

05-16-2015, 12:49 AM
Splendid looking boat! Congrats to all the builders.

Hunky Dory
05-16-2015, 08:58 AM
Nice work and on schedule, these two things seldom mix. You need to find a bagpiper for a proper launch of a boat with Scottish heritage.

05-16-2015, 05:20 PM
I'm a bit short on bag piping contacts...BY:D are you volunteering?
Seriously it would be neat. Might be possible.

Hunky Dory
05-17-2015, 10:36 AM
We gained one of those students for that class through the Big Brother Big Sister program. The Big brother just happened to be a bag piper so we lucked out. They are a great organization and many of the big brothers find the Bevin's Skiff program a good activity to share with their younger brothers.

05-22-2015, 08:24 PM
It's official! the launch went off today without a hitch.

Couldn't be more proud of these guys.


Here is a link to the entire build photo album since it appears that I have changed something and lost it.