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Lowcountry Degen
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Discussion Starter #1
I’m in the beginning stages of building Chris Morejohn’s Conchfish. I’ll be extending the skiff to 17’8”, and widening the upper chines (spray rails), but only by about 0.5” on each side. I’m also planning on having a straight transom with heavily rounded corners, more along the lines of the Islamarine 10wt than the original Conchfish 16 design.

The plan (for now) is to keep the boat simple – open bulkheads and no floor, and I have a 2002 Yamaha 30 tiller 2 stroke with some serious nostalgia attached to it that I'll be rehabbing and throwing on the transom.

I tried listing the things that were extremely important to me, and the following made up the top five (in no particular order):

Serviceability
Simplicity
Seaworthiness/Safety
Aesthetics (sexiness, if you want to stick with the “S” theme)
Longevity/Durability (I want this skiff to outlast me)

I’ve spent my whole life fixing things, so serviceability is paramount. I strongly feel like every option or feature is just another potential point of failure down the road. Sometimes the benefits of the feature outweigh the failure/service concerns, but usually not. For things right on the line, I’ve found I might be able to tilt the scale by making the service/replacement an easier undertaking.

I’ve also had the unfortunate experience of sinking a 26’ center console over 50 miles from land. Obviously, that will affect some aspects of the design as well.

A few examples of some features/designs that I plan to incorporate into the skiff:

- A goal of zero sheet metal or self-tapping screws in the entire skiff. If for some reason I can’t figure out how to through-bolt something, the screw location will be overdrilled and filled with thickened epoxy.
- Take into account access for all fasteners.
- Zero holes through the hull below the waterline, aside from the drain plug. Absolute minimum of holes above the waterline.
- Positive flotation, in strategic locations.

Fair warning: this will likely be a pretty slow-moving build thread. My wife and I just had a daughter in October, and I feel like the house/car projects are never-ending. I am also really trying to take my time and not rush things. It prevents mistakes and results in a nicer end product, but also has the added benefit of letting me appreciate each step a little more.

For example, I probably spent an average of 45 min or so per station just drawing out the station profile, but I really enjoyed the process. I have lots of confidence in the accuracy, and am very happy with my jigsaw work so far. I also took my time figuring out the additional station, so I’m hoping it won’t require much adjustment, if any.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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1,655 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Figure I should kick this off with a picture:

20190408_074458.jpg


You can see the strongback, the stations, the keel, and the centerline. I built the strongback as square and as level as possible, but I'm still not going to use it as a true level reference if I can help it.

I stretched some dacron backing for the centerline -- at this point, this sets one axis in the X-Y plane (looking down from above). I set a straight edge over the top and got it square to the centerline, so now I have the other axis in that plane (looking down from above). I marked out the 18" station spacing, and will use the laser level to build station supports that are completely plumb, which will end up giving me 11 "planes" that are 18" apart and as parallel as possible. Each station will be able to "float" on the planes, so I'm going to use the laser level to make sure they are all in line with one another looking down the length of the boat as I screw them in.

Figuring all this out has been a pretty fun challenge, and although I think it's a little overkill, it definitely can't hurt.
 

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I now have an additional reason to visit Charleston! Good luck with the build! I just went through re-habbing both of my 25 hp Mercs 2-strokes. Let me know if you have any questions in regards to it!
 

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Hell yes. I can help and bring beer! I'd love to learn and help with this. I'm in Mount Pleasant.
 
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Awesome. Sounds like you have very similar goals to me regarding serviceability. I’ll post up a few of the things I did when I’ve got a little bit of time.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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1,655 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys!

@firefighter813x definitely come on over! The garage fridge is always stocked up!

@Travis Smith All these foam options make my head spin -- I don't love the data sheet on the Carbon Core PE80 when compared to the Divinycell H80, but it might not make any difference once it's all together. I really like the Carbon Core PVC60 since it looks stronger/stiffer than the PE80 (and very similar to the Diab H60), but I worry the lower density stuff might ding too easily, like a surfboard. CoreLite has a PVC 80 as well that looks comparable to Diab H80, but I don't know if it's any cheaper.

No matter what, I'll be going with 3/4" thick foam all around, and modified the stations to use it on the chines as well. I may add some coosa or equivalent higher-density board to the transom and to a few key locations around the skiff, but I haven't decided on all of that yet either.

I'm planning to go with epoxy resin for now. It's a little more expensive, but I think it will be worth it to not have to worry about mat, and to have a little more confidence in any secondary bonding. I know I will need to watch out for the blush though, which is a new thing to me. I've done very little fiberglass work, just minor repairs, so I've got a lot of learning to do.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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Discussion Starter #13
@Gatorgrizz27 I always like seeing other people's solutions! Post 'em up whenever you feel like it. I look forward to sharing some of my ideas with everyone too.

@Boatbrains I'll take any advice you can offer! I have lots of confidence in everything right up until mixing that first batch of resin, then I'm learning as I go after that point!
 
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@Gatorgrizz27 I always like seeing other people's solutions! Post 'em up whenever you feel like it. I look forward to sharing some of my ideas with everyone too.

@Boatbrains I'll take any advice you can offer! I have lots of confidence in everything right up until mixing that first batch of resin, then I'm learning as I go after that point!
Once ya hit that point it’s all easy;)
 

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I live out on Johns Island and want to build a similar skiff one day as well. I would love to stop by periodically to help out and learn. I'll help restock the fridge as well!
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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Discussion Starter #16
I live out on Johns Island and want to build a similar skiff one day as well. I would love to stop by periodically to help out and learn. I'll help restock the fridge as well!
Was actually just out there yesterday afternoon! You're always welcome to swing by. I'll have to post an open invite up on here when I'm planning to spend a full day in the garage, maybe have some microskiffers over for a few beers.
 

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I'm in West Ashley and would definitely like to see the build. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
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Discussion Starter #19
@ReelFisher always welcome! I'm out off 61, but before you get to Bees Ferry.

@Tigweld I was thinking about either buying and rehabbing a used platform, or maybe making my own. I have a small metal fab shop, but we mostly do thin-walled, mandrel bent tubing (we just order the 45s or 90s, we don't do the mandrel bending). We've got a notcher and a cheap tube roller, but no pipe bender at the moment.

As for the trailer, I've got a press that may be able to bend I-beams, and it would be really cool to make my own trailer. I was really impressed with that one you posted about here. I don't know how big of a press is needed to bend those beams though, and it also may not be worth it, especially if I can find a used one that I can restore. Are you Marc, or are you the trailer guy (sorry I can't remember his name) in that same area? Y'all are both great guys, I've dealt with you in the past in a pretty limited capacity.
 
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