Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

I want to start my first boat project, but I do not know what of these three boats build. I want basically a good sailboat that goes well upwind, and fast on lightwinds (well I do not want to compete with a Hobbiecat or a Laser). Also I have no previous experience on boatbuilding, so what do you recomend?


Thank you very much.

9 replies:

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RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

The Jimmy Skiff is the easiest to build, especially from plans. It's a reasonably fun boat to sail and can carry a good-sized cargo. I've sailed it with 3 people on board. It would make an excellent first timer's boat since there's nothing really complicated about it.

The Skerry, to my eye, is the prettiest of the bunch. It needs a bit more work, especially from plans, because of the individual planks and the strongly curved sides, but it's still well within the capabilities of a first-time builder. It's a real joy to sail, well-mannered with no surprises. It moves through the water with a gurgle, rather than a slap-slap.

I don't have any experience with e NE Dory. Maybe GeorgeK, who built the beta version of the kit, could hop in here with some dory wisdom.



RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

I'm building the Skerry from plans and am almost finished. I find it a very well thought out design and well within the reach of anyone. The construction was 100% fun and never have I found myself stumped or confused over the plans/manual.

If I were to do it again, I would consider buying the kit as it eliminates the drawing out and cutting of many pieces. 

My advice: go with the boat you like the most. In the end you'll be happiest!

Happy boatbuilding!



RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

Laszlo pretty much summed it up. The Jimmy Skiff is two sides and a bottom, very easy to build. If you're going with a kit, the NE Dory would be the easier build between that and the Skerry. John designed it to be an easy build for first timers and succeeded fabulously! The main difference in construction would be the gains needed on the Skerry, none needed on the Dory. If you've never cut gains they can be a challenge. That said, there are hundreds of first time builders who have had no problem with them and have beautiful boats. I've sailed both the Dory and Skerry single-handed in pretty stiff winds and the Skerry is definitely easier to handle. It tacked well against tides and winds and feels real comfortable in a strong heel. The Dory, with the extra two feet, is a bit more boat to handle as it adds a jib, i.e., two more lines to worry about. It's very fast, stable, but I had a hard time bringing it about in a tack due to my light weight and had to jibe a few times. If you're experienced, no problem. With two people on board it handles great.

So it really comes down to which boat do you find yourself drawn to. All three have their merrits, all three are attainable for a first time builder. The Skerry is quite possibly the best looking of the three, but at times I find myself just sitting and looking at the lines on the Dory. Mr. Harris done good on that one, too.

George K

RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

I agree with the others that all three are great designs, and each has its particular strengths.  I chose the Jimmy Skiff primarily because of the size of my workshop, but also because of its versitilty.  Sailing, rowing, or motoring, the JS is great fun.  I don't have a lot of experience on other sailing boats, but I can't imagine a boat which would be easier or quicker to tack or jibe.

The Jimmy Skiff can handle swells and chop well, but I imagine that the Skerry and NE Dory would give a smoother, dryer ride when things get rough.  The JS has pretty low freeboard, which is great for rowing, but can get some spray inside when the wind and waves kick up.

If you ever want to use a small motor, I think the Jimmy Skiff is the easier choice, with the wider stern.  You could use a canoe type mount with the motor off to the side of the Skerry, or build a motor well into the NE Dory.


RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

So, how does the passagemaker dinghy fit into this thead (or doesn't it).  I am now building a Ches 17 and am already thinking about a sailcraft.  I am new to building and have no sailing experince, so not sure how to start thinking about selecting a boat.  The above info is appreciated, can you talk about the Passagemaker?

RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

Never had any experience in the Passagemaker but I learned to sail in a pram. They're easy to handle, stable and a lot of sailing clubs use them to teach sailing. As far as building one, I'd place it between the Jimmy Skiff and the Skerry. A lot depends on if you're going with a kit or scratch built for any of the four boats here.

George K 

RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

Thanks, George.  Anyone else have any input on this?



RE: Skerry, North Eastern Dory or Jimmy Skiff?

I just started a dory from plans and it's going well. Very good plans and geat design but I think the skiff would be easier to build and a kit would be easier still. The sail rig you choose will be a factor in ease of sailing and the dory is the most advanced with the sloop rig. Good luck with your 17 and have fun with whatever you build. SEEYA Jack

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