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Offsite at Chesapeake Light Craft Shop, Annapolis, Maryland

Build Your Own Skerry Daysailer

A beautiful lapstrake double-ender for oar or sail.

Tuition: $875 (partner: $425)


  • Rowing version — $1,529
  • Sailing Sprit — $2,728
  • Sailing Lug — $2,928
  • Sailing Sloop — $3,028

Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.

The name skerry comes from the Old Norse sker. In the Orkney Islands, skerry is the local name for “a rugged...sea-rock, covered by the sea in high water or in stormy weather." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was also the name given (circa 1540) to "little punts or boats that will carry but two apeece." Whatever the origin of the name, John Harris’s Skerry design evokes the beautiful and capable traditional boats of the Baltic and the North Sea.

Skerry on the water

The Skerry is that rare boat that combines excellent rowing and sailing qualities into one attractive craft. This is the perfect boat in which to mount an expedition in protected waters, cruising from beach to beach and camping on shore. Sail when there's wind, row when there's not – you'll cover a lot of miles either way. The hull is stable and buoyant, whether you're running in choppy seas or lifting over motorboat wakes. The skilled oarsman will savor the Skerry's smooth glide and rough-water handling. Capacity is three adults.

With the help of boatbuilder John Staub, each student will assemble his or her own Skerry from a Chesapeake Light Craft kit. The hull utilizes CLC's patented LapStitch construction method, in which stitch-and-glue techniques are used to create lapstrake hulls of traditional appearance. First, the Skerry's seven hull planks are glued to length using scarf joints. The planks are wired together to create the hull shape, then bulkheads are inserted before the planks are neatly "welded" together with epoxy. The students reinforce the hull with fiberglass cloth and mahogany rails, then add the daggerboard trunk and seats. (The sailing rig is optional, but the class will proceed under the assumption that the boat will be used for both rowing and sailing.) As with all of our courses in which students build their own boat, this will be a busy week. By noon on Saturday you'll have an assembled hull, ready for sanding, spars, and foils.

Skills conveyed in the course include advanced epoxy and fiberglass techniques, basic marine carpentry, and an overview of what will be required to get your boat rigged and sailing. With a completed Skerry you can contemplate placid afternoons on the local lake, or a dream cruise on your local waterways.