Before the advent of the outboard motor, rowing/sailing skiffs were common on Chesapeake Bay. They were used for crabbing, fishing, transporting goods, and enjoying summer evenings with a friend. Many local kids could row their dad's skiff long before they could ride a bicycle.
Proper rowing and sailing skiffs are extraordinarily rare these days. With 90% of all flat-bottomed skiffs designed for outboard motors, we may be in danger of forgetting what a pleasure it is to spend an afternoon in a handsome, easily-driven rowing skiff, a boat that glides effortlessly with each stroke without dragging its transom. Don’t be deceived by the Jimmy Skiff’s ample beam and stability; this boat rows well enough to really cover some miles in a day, whether it’s to reach your fishing grounds or just to enjoy an afternoon on the water.
The Jimmy Skiff is light enough to be cartopped or hoisted onto the deck of a larger cruising boat. And even though she weighs less than 100lbs in rowing trim, there’s enough room and capacity for three adults or a family of four.
Under sail, the Jimmy Skiff exhibits perfect balance and impeccable sailing manners in light or fresh breezes. The "leg-o-mutton" sail is quick to set up and strike, with only the simplest controls, making the Jimmy Skiff a perfect boat for beginning sailors. The traditional sprit boom means that the crew will never get whacked in the head during a surprise jibe.
The basic kit is the rowing version. Add the optional sailing rig kit, and you’ll have the components for the mast, boom, daggerboard, trunk, and kick-up rudder. The sailing rig can be retrofitted to the rowing kit at any point, even long after completion.
We called our skiff "jimmy," Chesapeake slang for a male blue crab, because the Jimmy Skiff design is derived from rowing and sailing skiffs once common on the Chesapeake Bay.