JGC Tovey New Works & Restorations

DSCF3224e birdie launch 11 april 2013 (64) 10ft dinghy birdie orton staunch

Here is a chunky carvel dinghy, the design is inspired by the Savannah Sound dinghies of Eleuthera, Bahamas and created from the fine drawing by Wm R.Johnson, JR. in his beautiful 1973 book on Bahamian Sailing Craft. She is fore and aft planked in the European manner, of some 10ft on the keel 11 ft 6 inch L.O.A. (without  the rudder on).


She is a solid boat, stable and ideal for rivers, lakes, estuaries and creeks or the beach, being sturdy she'll take some knocks but she's light to row or motor and with adequate rocker and deadrise for choppier water and loading. Under the deck and seating there is space for gear or buoyancy depending on conditions expected.


Pictured here this version has a 'Yarmouth Hump', broad stern, low freeboard and a good sized skeg for tracking. She has been fitted out for sailing; with a balanced lug sail by Jeckells.


As described by Wm R.Johnson, JR this design could be adapted for sizes from 9ft to 18ft. With sheer lines and freeboard to suit, the bottom of the rocker would be moved aft in the larger craft and I have seen examples in photographs with narrower sterns and less rocker. The skiff would also suit a variety of materials, for example: Marine Ply or all solid Iroko or Utile. Yellow pine or White cedar was and still is used in smaller boat building in the Bahamas and Caribbean; while, clear pine boards for planking, ash for frames and elm for below waterline were often used in the UK for flat bottomed craft.


Copper and Bronze fastened, this one is built using timber from FSC certified sources as well as reclaimed Iroko, while the thwarts, strakes and sole are plantation grown Red Grandis. She has been painted in greys while the paint scheme gets a bit more thought, The hull is an epoxy free build though we did use it in the mast and to coat the centre board and rudder. prior to painting.


Similar to many traditional flat bottom skiffs and sharpies she could be cross planked. Fore and aft planking requires framing and adds weight, she could also be open or half decked.

Skiff 9- 18ft

©   JGC Tovey   2020


'Birdie' Orton Staunch, River Nene, Peterborough

In 2010, Jim Tovey and Martin Hills were prize winners in the Classic Boat Magazine's Eco fishing boat design competion. At the time, fellow students Martin and Jim were both attending the International Boatbuilding Training College, Lowestoft where they took part in the competition as a learning exercise as well as appealling to their ongoing environmental concerns that are still present today. Since then Jim has been thinking along the Eco fishing boat theme learning about inshore traditional craft, making some computer design models; and, living near the Nene as well as Rutland Water, he has also come up with a couple of designs for dinghies, inspired by traditional craft. Having built two, they were first shown to the public at the Beale Park Boat Show during June 2013.