Building a boat is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can take on in their life. There is something quite magical about taking a pile of wood, fiberglass and epoxy and turning it into a fully functional boat that can easily rival commercially built boats in quality and finish. Even better? Today’s boat building methods require no special carpentry skills, knowledge or tools due to the simple methods employed by boat plan designers catering to first time and hobby boat builders. Skiff Life is so much more than simply selling fishing decals, fishing hats & fishing shirts, we are committed to learning the craft of boat building & design and passing that knowledge on. Not many brands can say that, and I’m especially proud of this build.
For this project, we chose Bateau.com‘s stitch and glue method for boat building. Since 1993, Bateau.com’s veteran designer Jacques Mertens has made a career out of developing easy to follow boat plans with step-by-step guides to make building a boat extremely simple. Simple = Fun. No Stress = Fun and the Bateau.com website features dozens of boats to fit any function, all masterfully documented to make boat building as easy as possible.
Constantly innovating, Bateau has designed a way to pre-cut their plans using a CNC machine that make building a boat similar to assembling a jigsaw puzzle with a few big pieces. Gone are the days of measuring, cutting and the stress involved when realizing you made a wrong cut. CNC machined boat plans remove these fears while elevating the level of fun exponentially! These kits also feature options allowing you to only purchase the epoxy and fiberglass measured out to what you need, saving you money in excess supply purchases.
What I love most about Bateau.com is not only do they sell boat building plans and kits pre-cut to assemble, they also feature a fully functional boat building supply website with products specific to building their boats. This sister site, Boat Builder Central offers all the support you need when choosing epoxy, fiberglass, paint and other materials associated with successfully completing a boat build.
For this boat build, we chose Bateau’s Fast Skiff 14 Low Sheer. The FS14_LS fills a gap between Bateau’s wide flats boats like the PH16/PH18 and the smaller motorized fishing paddle boards FS13 and SK14 (See Previous Skiff SK14 Build Here).
The PH16 and PH18 are full fledged flats boats that can take a crew of 4 or 5 persons, the motorized paddle boards are really micro skiffs that can take a small engine. The FS14_LS is a very small and light flats boat that can take a crew of one or two persons and perform well with a small tiller outboard. The moderate vee hull will move her reasonably well through a small chop. The FS14_LS is easy and economical to build.
The FS14_LS micro skiff offers a perfect balance of size, small horsepower requirements and shallow draft needed to navigate our home waters of SW Florida, especially on our low florida tides. Anything under 16 foot in Florida does not require an inspection by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) prior to getting the boat titled & registered, so you can avoid this step. The Fast Skiff 14 Low Sheer (nicknamed FS14-LS) required a maximum of a 25 HP motor, so our 20 HP Tohatsu was a perfect match for the skiff.
As previously mentioned, assembly is essentially simply putting the kit together with zip ties (Stitch portion of Stitch & Glue), filling the gaps and then fiberglassing over the wood. This creates a waterproof boat that is exceptionally light and strong. Review the build pics below to see how simple this process really is. Scroll down for completed pics of the different configurations.
Here is a video of the first splash of the skiff:
My only regret? Not building a boat sooner. I’ve had an interest in boat building since a kid and I bought my first plans around 2008, it wasn’t until recent years I took the leap to start building boats as a hobby and documenting this on Skiff Life. The enjoyment of using the vessel is equally matched by the project of putting the boat together.
“Skiff Life” Tony
The crew at Bateau & Boat Builder Central can provide you all the support you need in selecting plans and getting you setup for success. Here is their contact information:
- 1360 Old Dixie Hwy SW #103, Vero Beach, FL 32962
- [email protected]
- Boat Building Supplies: https://boatbuildercentral.com/
- Boat Plans: https://bateau.com
Here is my gallery of the first splashing of the FSLS_14 Boat Build and a few pics of modifications after: