Jimmy Skiff launch photos and story -- 6 months late

Thought I’d share some stories and pictures of my Jimmy Skiff project.

I live in a landlocked town in West Texas where we have dust storms, tumbleweeds, and the terrain is so barren locals quip that you can watch your dog run away for a week; the decision to build a boat was probably “quixotic” at best. But I took on the project as an experience I could share with my 11-year-old sister and my 82-year-old grandfather, Pa. We started building it on his farm during the Christmas holidays in 2015. I thought it would take about two weeks...

A year and a half later we were almost finished. A few sleepless nights (literally — I showered and went to work) prepared us for a launch during our family’s Independence Day vacation. We packed up and drove about four hours to the lake. On the way, I phoned Pa to make sure he’d be there. He said yes, called me “Noah,” and said he hoped it would float. I did too.

My grandpa unexpectedly died of a heart attack later that day. He never saw the finished product or that it did, indeed, float. The boat, previously unnamed, was dubbed “Arkad,” one of Pa’s nicknames and also play on his “Noah” joke. Pa’s enthusiasm for this boat project was typical of the way he encouraged us and invested in our lives, and the Arkad serves as a tribute to that.

On the maiden voyage, the boat outshone the sailors. We swamped it, lost an oar… and then watched that oar get hit by a yacht. Sailing is a work in progress; at least the boat looks good on land.

I think the Jimmy Skiff is the prettiest 3-panel boat on the market, and I’m not alone. Compliments are the norm. My favorite came when a man asked “Who makes that model?” (meaning “What manufacturer?”) and I responded “Me”! Thanks to CLC for such a nice design.

The photos below don’t show details well, but the boat has a “sea green” exterior, white interior, Spanish cedar and mahogany trim, and scuppered inwales.

Thanks to those who responded when I came looking for advice on one or another of the many minor crises I had along the way. 

Finally, I’m happy to say that one of the photos below — taken by my cousin on our Independence Day vacation — is in this month’s competition. Votes would be appreciated, and would go towards a new set of oars.


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RE: Jimmy Skiff launch photos and story -- 6 months late

Thanks for sharing your story and the photos. So sorry for the loss of your Pa. The boat is, indeed, beautiful and he would have been a proud grandpa! You're not the only one to have taken much longer to build than what you expected and now it's time to think about the next one!

George K

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