OBAN SKIFF

This is an outstanding and eye catching boat by virtue of its beautiful round stern, fine lines forward flowing into strongly flaired sides.

She is aimed particularly at family sailing, with a roomy inside and loose footed lugsail main, no boom to hit heads and a jib set on a long bow sprit. She will be equally happy at festivals and raid events, being easily launched and trailed behind the car.

She is based on a boat built in Oban in the 1880s but is similar to other fishing boat types which were common on the whole of the west of Scotland. The boat her lines were taken from having retired from fishing was still used in the Oban bay weekend regattas when she was 50 years old!

Length over deck 18ft 4
Beam 5ft 11
length on waterline 16ft 6
Sail Area 192sq ft

Built from quality Scottish larch and oak using all copper and bronze fastenings. We offer her in a gloss varnish yacht finish with bronze fittings or alternatively a working boat finish with galvanized fittings and a traditional oil and pine tar wood treatment.

The Oban Skiffs have proved themselves to be quick, slable, well balanced and remarkably good to windward. With ongoing developments such as a hing down mast and adjustments to both main and jib sails she gets better with each one built. The mast can be lifted or lowered by one man with the standing rigging left attached. Once folded down it is can be left in this position whilst towing.

This feature combined with the Wycombe Matyne furling gear means that the boat can be rigged and ready to sail in a few minutes.

A recent email from an owner is printed below the pictures, interesting reading.

This is followed by a few words on the Oban Skiff from Iain Oughtred the well known small boat designer.

At 8.30 this morning I got the last of a series of Photos taken on Wednesday as I sailed round Inchcolm. A beautiful sail!! I have enclosed the snaps.

Also the YES skiff at the anniversary of the Forth Road Bridge last September. 

I have to say how much I am enjoying the Oban Skiff. Every where I go people want to see her and say how beautiful she is, which she certainly is. I have put a cleat on the back of the centre board case for the jib sheets, and a cleat on the aft face of the mast at the pivot for ropes. I am finding the mainsheet a bit of a guddle and might rig it the way you had planned originally. 

Other than that she is sailing like a dream.  I put 300lbs of pea gravel as ballast, which is working well. The best way to sail her when you are beating is with two or three lee strakes out of the water. Any more and she is over pressed and docent sail any faster. This means early reefing with such a large mainsail. One reef in a force 3. Two reefs in a force 4 or earlier with a light or inexperienced crew. I am surprised at how well she sails and points with just a reefed mail, with almost no weather helm. Went out  a couple of times in a force 5 rising 6 initially on jib alone which felt safe but didn't point to well, but not as bad as you would think. I then sailed with 2 reefs in the main and no jib and she was great heading into 4/5ft seas about 8 miles down from the forth bridge.  It's better to sail a bit slower and hold in the gusts than constant luffing. You actually get there just the same. I think the wee centre board so far forward and the very fine entry makes her point so well. We were beating up the forth yesterday and were pointing better than a 30 foot bermudan astern of us. Made Cramond to Dalgety bay 5KN in a force 3 in just over an hour.  

I stripped and rebuilt the seagull engine last winter with lots of new parts and it starts 1st time. I am now a seagull boffin!! I hardly use it. If I have a crew we just row in and out of Harbour. Saves fiddling about.

Sailed round in Loch Creran and Loch Melfort early July with a nice sail up towards the Cuan sound and right round Shuna from Craobh Haven.

Perhaps next year you can come out for a sail?? We should organise a west highland skiff regatta, out of Tarbert or Oban.

Anyway I will stop blethering and send you the photos.

All the best 

Stan

The west coast skiffs are broadly of similar form; the boats from Loch Fyne to around the Clyde. there is a profile reminiscent to the Zulu's, with straight stem and raked stern post, though shallower draught, and considerable drag to the keel. Fishermen and boatbuilders can recognise local variations, and on seeing any boat can quickly pin down where she comes from, and probably the builder. The Oban Skiffs have extraordinarily full round stern, almost semi-circular sometimes. This stern is very buoyant and helps the boat when well-laden and running for home before a hard breeze. I found it difficult to imagine planking up the stern of Adam's boat, with its severe bending  and twisting of the planks into the stern.

Indeed these skiffs are particularly able craft in rough weather, as they need to be to survive on these rocky coasts with little shelter available, they also need to be quick and handy.

I was pleased to find Adam's new Oban Skiff, and to have the opportunity to sail her, In a mixed fleet, we fairly soon found that we were leading the fleet, I began to wonder if we should not be trying too hard, and giving the impression we were showing off. We had not been trying that hard, really! - just sailing along... but found that the boat was performing very well indeed, and was well ahead of two of my own light plywood boats. (another reason perhaps for not being too ambitious). The untraditional centreboard certainly helped her when close-hauled, and she was surprisingly close-winded, tacking quickly and positively, and altogether turned out to be a very well-tempered and comfortable wee boat to sail. The breeze was moderate, but she certainly gave the impression of being able to handle a lot more.          

- Iain Oughtred