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Thread: Convertible Skiff

  1. #1

    Default Convertible Skiff

    A friend of mine had a great idea for getting out of the weather in his skiff which I am attempting to copy. Thought it might be fun/helpful to post as I'm sure others have tried or done similar things, and I'm not much of a fabricator. It's a soft top canopy for the bow section of an open skiff, with an elevated floor to keep things out of the bilge. Easily assembled and disassembled on the water. I've got a few bucket list excursions which are not suitable for a large cabin cruiser so I'd like to be able to sleep in the skiff if needed, or just keep gear dry. Here's his setup:

    IMG_5441.jpg

    He used sch40 aluminum pipe for the frame, and they insert into the pin pocket on the boat. The pipe from the peak to the bow is pinned so it breaks apart at the peak. Luckily, I already had pin pockets on my boat and a raised floor in the bow. Here's my progress so far:

    IMG_5902.jpg

  2. #2

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    IMG_5901.jpg

    I had the same friend help me extend my rub rails all the way to the bow in hopes that I could use them (not sealed) in order to attach the cover. He welded loops on the side of his boat so he could run a line through in order to be able to adjust tension holding the cover on. He attached the rear to the frame with snaps, and has a snap on door in the back. I think I'm gonna drill small holes in the bottom sides of my rub rails and use "S" hooks to attach either bungees or a ratchet strap for adjustable tension. I'm gonna do the first iteration out of tarp with many added grommets, and if it works well hopefully take it to somewhere like Nomar and have them make a real cover with a zip window up front for dropping/pulling anchor, and a zip up fly on the back.

    Of course all of this depends on me getting off the couch to finish it... If anyone has any tidbits of motivational wisdom I'm all ears...

  3. #3
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    looks great but i would think about putting any kind of opening up front, just about guaranteed to leak with that shallow angle. Google "dodger on lobster boat" and you might get some ideas on how to improve your design. Sailrite has all the materials and snaps & clips to make your own if you know anyone who can run a sewing machine www.sailrite.com





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    Nice setup. Please let us know how the canvas to rub rail attach goes. There's s lot of history in that layout.

    Those modern layouts look good too. Nomar built a great dodger for my Nexus cuddly skiff with clear panels to see forward while standing
    at tiller.

    For prof of concept canvas layouts you can build from polytarp using edges folded into double side carpet tape overlaid with duct tape and reinforced with grommets. A bolt rope can be ran along fold for strength. Lots of online info under cheap polytarp sails. White poly is available. It's one way to test
    layout without spending much money.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the tips. At least now I know it's called a dodger! Yes, polytarp is the plan for now. Will have to look up those reinforcement techniques. Would like to eventually go canvas but it's not in the budget yet. Just got outfitted with a new Suzi 115 and a flush mounted Garmin gpsmap 527xs - using the 527 for engine gauges as well. Got them talking together via NMEA2000 and am seeing 6ish MPG @ 30mph light. Gonna go up a pitch on the prop and see if I can eek out a little more economy, but am pretty happy with the motor so far. Definitely better than the old gas guzzling V4 2-stroke, even if it doesn't sound nearly as cool. Of course it's pretty hard to sound as cool when it's nearly silent...

    Put the Bluecharts Vision g2 on the 527 (had it already) and it's great in the salt, but man it sucks for inland navigation. Took it on Skilak and it showed us as being on land most of the time. Not even close to accurate. Looking to add the Topo maps package ($99) - according to Garmin it will work on the 527 and I'm hoping it will be much better for rivers and lakes. Anyone know how that will work with both maps loaded? Or will it?

  6. #6
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    You can turn the maps on and off as desired in the software.

  7. #7

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    Just loaded topo maps on the 527. It lets me view both the Bluecharts and Topo at the same time. Pretty neat.

    Upcoming hunting seasons and lots of rain have spurred further work on the gypsy skiff. It's a first draft, but I think it'll work. Have to finish the door flap still.


  8. #8
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    That will work!
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    Excellent cubby in the bow, if your hunting partner snores too much you can bonk 'em with that gaff!

    I have thought about a welded aluminum top that can be bolted on and off the bow of my open skiff. Finally recognizing that it will probably never happen this tarp idea is spot on. I might just give it a try too.

  10. #10

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    May get wet while running, water entering up overhang on tarp, had a canopy on a little 14ft Livingston dry running with top down put the top up and it shot water in boat like crazy kids did not like it. Piece of foam or hose will probably stop it.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuhrerak View Post
    Excellent cubby in the bow, if your hunting partner snores too much you can bonk 'em with that gaff!

    I have thought about a welded aluminum top that can be bolted on and off the bow of my open skiff. Finally recognizing that it will probably never happen this tarp idea is spot on. I might just give it a try too.
    I should probably get rid of the gaff or I will be the one bonked...

    Yeah, pretty much my situation too. Would love a real cabin... time and money... Also, with a rear console a cuddy cabin on the front would make driving difficult without moving the controls forward. I have a friend who has a bolt-on cabin like that and loves it. He has hydraulic steering so he moves his console forward when he bolts the cabin on.

    Quote Originally Posted by kk alaska View Post
    May get wet while running, water entering up overhang on tarp,
    Uhhh, yeah. This is a huge problem that I did not anticipate. Everything that would normally be spray ends up getting diverted under the tarp. Ran through some choppy following seas last night and the bilge pump ran constantly. Gonna try adding tiedowns every 6" and tightening things up. Gonna flip the tarp and add duct tape on all the rub spots to try and add some life to the tarp. Other than that small detail (which could be a substantial problem in big water) it worked great.

    Also, Upstream V's advice on the double sided carpet tape and cord (I used sisal twine) for the edges worked great. I cut everything 2" big, then folded over before adding snaps and grommets.

  12. #12

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    Doubled my tie-downs to every 6 inches, tightened them up as much as possible, and added duct tape to the underside of the tarp on all the wear points. Made a huge difference - little to no splash underneath, and pretty sturdy considering it's a $30 tarp. Weathered last weekend's storm in it and slept like a baby.

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