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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
Joined
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I've fished the skiff enough to give some good feedback for anyone considering building one of these skiffs. Fair warning, this is a pretty long post.

177913


First, a recap on the design and build process -- when @Chris Morejohn started selling these plans, the Conchfish 16 was the only one available. Following the original lines, I extended the aft section an additional 18" and flattened the curved transom. I also added the large radius corners. The 17.5 that he now offers should be extremely similar, but I haven't seen those plans so I can't say for sure.

177915


Another deviation that I made was to the floor -- Chris's plans call for stringers and a sole, but in the interest of simplicity (and the perception of more freeboard) I went without any floor at all. I also wanted a large cockpit, but the result of those decisions was a huge unsupported panel (approximately 4ft x 7.5ft) on the hull. I also used H60 instead of H80, so I was concerned about core failure with too much flex. I think it would have been fine for a sheltered-water skiff, but I have to cross some open water occasionally and didn't want to have any doubts.

To eliminate the vibration/flex that I saw during testing, I had to add another layer of core and a significant amount of extra glass. I admittedly went overboard, but I'm pleased with how solid she feels. I took the advice of someone with some software that's geared towards larger boats in big water (1 meter wave height is the smallest option), so I'm sure it was extremely conservative (FOS of 2 and 90% core derating :oops:). However, I like to have the option of towing this boat as a tender, so I did want to consider the possibility of large seas. DISCLAIMER - I have only built this one boat, and my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it. Do your homework. When in doubt, follow the plans.

177917


Now that the background is covered... my thoughts and "review" of the hull:

I'm absolutely amazed by this skiff. She floats bonefish shallow even with 3 on board, but will squat when I'm solo on the platform (no surprise there). It balances well and floats pretty level with one on the platform and one on the bow. It poles easily and tracks straight, but I can spin the skiff quickly and silently to give the angler a better shot at a fish. She's also very stable, much more so than I expected. Poling is very quiet -- I don't notice any slap even in very windy conditions, and is also very quiet when staked out from the stern. Another cool fact is that the bow doesn't wander in the current when staked out from the stern. I didn't think about that advantage when planning the big radius stern corners, but it is really convenient.

177918


She also handles open water very well. I have been pleasantly surprised with the ride and the performance of the spray rails/strakes. There is a little bow steer in following or rear quartering seas, but it's easily manageable. It would be even less noticeable if I had remote steer instead of a tiller. I can stay on plane at very low speeds, which is nice if I have my wife and toddler on board, or if it's a little rough out. I love the fact that this skiff doesn't seem have a "window" where it's unhappy between idle and plane. The 12x4 Bennett Bolt tabs are a little touchy -- I'm getting better at managing them but will probably cut them down to be a little narrower. At full down they are pretty dang sketchy. I can't think of any situation where I would ever need the full surface area of the tab.

Here are a few links for anyone curious:
Build thread (first launch is on pg 14)
First impressions (floor reinforcement and 50hp)

And for those of you that like numbers:
  • With the 30hp, the skiff sat at 3.25" draft at the transom and 2.75"-3" at the bow (with cooler/gear but no anglers on board)
  • With the 50hp and extra reinforcement, the transom was 4.75" but the bow sits at around 2" draft (same load)
  • With a 240# guy on the bow and 160# on the poling platform, draft at the transom was 5.5".
  • If they swapped (240# on the platform), the draft at the transom was 6.5"
  • Hull weight before rigging was 430# (measured on bathroom scales)
  • Top speed in a creek was 36mph with 2 anglers (200# and 160#) and cooler/gear. I didn't have a long straightaway to really let it wind all the way up, but it's close enough. I don't have a tach, and this is with the aluminum Tohatsu 15p prop. I have to barely touch the tabs to eliminate a little porpoising. I'm sure I need to tune some things as far as trim/height/prop, etc. I'm also getting a funny spray, I think due to engine height.
  • Very comfortable cruise at 31-32 in light chop, and fuel burn seems great.
  • My back deck is about 36" from the transom -- I don't need an extension with the Tohatsu multi-function tiller handle. Sitting further aft gives a more comfortable ride too.
  • My front deck is a touch over 7 ft long. I love having the room up there. Plenty of room for storage as well (all life jackets held to the underside of the deck with bungees).
  • Beam at widest point on deck = 75"
  • Beam at waterline (@ transom) = ~56" (estimated due to rounded corners)
  • Length = 17'9"
177919


Any questions, please let me know. I'm really enjoying getting to fish this skiff, and I'm hoping to get to fish from Chris's Beryllium build this summer to help compare. I would recommend the build process to anyone, but it's important to be honest with yourself about your availability/schedule, your space, your wallet, and your ability. It's completely fine if you don't know how to do something, but be ready to make mistakes and willing to learn from them. You will absolutely end up having to do at least a few things twice (or more) in order to get it right. You will wince as you throw away $$ in the form of kicked resin and cloth that didn't lay down correctly. In the end though (for me), penny pinching and cutting corners will not be worth it. Allow for waste in both your schedule and your budget. My only complaints with the skiff are in areas where I was in a hurry.

It's also really beneficial to have a buddy to not only help with the physical work, but to talk through ideas with and to help bolster morale when things seem to be moving slowly. In my case that was @Lmhanagr -- appreciate the tremendous amount of help buddy! Also, don't underestimate the amount of information available to you online. There are several builds on this forum and on IG that are extremely helpful. Chris's blog has great info as well. There is a pretty great "community" of builders that should be able to either answer any questions you have, or at least point you towards resources that will help you figure it out yourself.

Feel free to request pictures of any specific areas if you're curious. I didn't get too much into the "features" of my boat since I wanted to focus initially on the hull design for those interested in building/buying their own, but I'm more than happy to discuss any/all of that stuff in the rest of the thread. I'm really happy with the design decisions I made. The only things I would change are construction-related, mostly things I could do to save time or make certain areas look a little better.

177920


177921


If you didn't feel like reading all that, at least read this -- @Chris Morejohn is the man. I'm floored that this is a home built boat every time I look at it or get to take it out. He's created an exceptional design, and laid the foundation for a build process that allows a homebuilder to make their own skiff that performs as well as or better than one pulled from a mold. Buying his plans was one of the best decisions I've made, and I don't think I've ever been more proud of something that I've built. I think that his designs are an amazing blend of artistry and engineering, and I feel fortunate that I was able to bring one of them "to life" in my own way.
 

Premium Member
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Excellent write up!馃馃徎
 
  • Like
Reactions: bryson

I Love microskiff.com!
Joined
553 Posts
Sitting in LA airport waiting for my flight back to BC after finishing my 鈥 Last 鈥渂uild project the 57鈥 Hawaiian sailing canoe. Ha, I even threw away all my work clothes to make a point.
Reading Brysons post here is very informative for me as designer and for you all that want to build anyone鈥檚 design. It takes commitment for sure. My original goal in providing plans and behind the scenes advice was to show people that...... well we-all can build a nice skiff in our own in our backyards, Garages and still stay married. 32 years for me and Rachel.
I have enjoyed Bysons engineering mind set tweaking this design as he went along.
The only way to improve is to keep trying new ideas.
The only thing I still need convincing with are his short trim tabs. I still like tabs with the actuator all the way on the aft edge.
Glad you are happy, and ....ah the checks in the mail.
She鈥檚 exactly what was envisioned
 

Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
Joined
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sitting in LA airport waiting for my flight back to BC after finishing my 鈥 Last 鈥渂uild project the 57鈥 Hawaiian sailing canoe. Ha, I even threw away all my work clothes to make a point.
Reading Brysons post here is very informative for me as designer and for you all that want to build anyone鈥檚 design. It takes commitment for sure. My original goal in providing plans and behind the scenes advice was to show people that...... well we-all can build a nice skiff in our own in our backyards, Garages and still stay married. 32 years for me and Rachel.
I have enjoyed Bysons engineering mind set tweaking this design as he went along.
The only way to improve is to keep trying new ideas.
The only thing I still need convincing with are his short trim tabs. I still like tabs with the actuator all the way on the aft edge.
Glad you are happy, and ....ah the checks in the mail.
She鈥檚 exactly what was envisioned
Chris, I appreciate the response! Thank you again for your help along the way -- I think one of the biggest challenges was staying happily married during the whole build. And I'm with you on the tabs -- I like the small surface area of the short tabs, but the tab angle gets sharp very quickly. Long and thin would be better, but more obtrusive (not that I fish from that end very often). Maybe I'll switch it up one of these days. Hope everything is going well, and wish you the best in your "retirement" :)
 

Registered
Joined
5,014 Posts
Outstanding review鈥 and just to provide some perspective- you would never have this kind of info years ago when I first started out rigging, modifying, and or restoring a boat here or there. Very valuable site, particularly because of the people that post here.
 

Registered
Joined
29 Posts
Great post. Very informative.
i loved watching your build. I have a couple questions.
why did you switch to the 50?
just to get newer or was the 30 under powered?
I thought You had some issues Getting it running right.
Also, what is the purpose of the edge circled here?

177978
 

Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
Joined
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Great post. Very informative.
i loved watching your build. I have a couple questions.
why did you switch to the 50?
just to get newer or was the 30 under powered?
I thought You had some issues Getting it running right.
Also, what is the purpose of the edge circled here?

View attachment 177978
Biggest reason was that I kind of wanted a 4 stroke. The 30 was good once I got it all sorted out, but at the end of the day it was still a pull start, manual tilt, 2 stroke. Saw a good deal on the 50hp and jumped on it. Since I like to take my wife and toddler out, the 4 stroke is really nice -- quiet, no smoke/smell, electric start... Kind of hated to gain the extra draft, but it still gets plenty shallow, especially when balanced out.

That step is just for flow separation. If it's not there, the water will try to curl around the transom, causing lots of extra drag. It will also probably cause some weird squirrely behavior, and I'm guessing it would end up causing some spray. At poling speeds the small step doesn't matter, but the water seems to separate nicely when running.
 

Registered
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11 Posts
@bryson It was an absolute blast to be a part of this build-at least now that we are on this side of things! It was an incredible learning experience that has caused me to look at boats very differently. I too would recommend this project to most who are interested, but Bryson brings up a good point in being honest with yourself as a lot of sacrifices were made.
This boat fishes shallow water incredibly well, and is such a joy to fish. It has put me on two of my best Redfish on the fly, so thank you very much as well Bryson!
馃嵒
 

Registered
1979 Banana River Skiff
Joined
62 Posts
First of all beautiful skiff and well done. I鈥檇 like to pick your brain on the floor. On the H60 what was the thickness and also what additional glass did you add. I鈥檓 going to run in this issue with my skiff.
 

I Love microskiff.com!
Joined
2,038 Posts
I think I've fished the skiff enough to give some good feedback for anyone considering building one of these skiffs. Fair warning, this is a pretty long post.

View attachment 177913

First, a recap on the design and build process -- when @Chris Morejohn started selling these plans, the Conchfish 16 was the only one available. Following the original lines, I extended the aft section an additional 18" and flattened the curved transom. I also added the large radius corners. The 17.5 that he now offers should be extremely similar, but I haven't seen those plans so I can't say for sure.

View attachment 177915

Another deviation that I made was to the floor -- Chris's plans call for stringers and a sole, but in the interest of simplicity (and the perception of more freeboard) I went without any floor at all. I also wanted a large cockpit, but the result of those decisions was a huge unsupported panel (approximately 4ft x 7.5ft) on the hull. I also used H60 instead of H80, so I was concerned about core failure with too much flex. I think it would have been fine for a sheltered-water skiff, but I have to cross some open water occasionally and didn't want to have any doubts.

To eliminate the vibration/flex that I saw during testing, I had to add another layer of core and a significant amount of extra glass. I admittedly went overboard, but I'm pleased with how solid she feels. I took the advice of someone with some software that's geared towards larger boats in big water (1 meter wave height is the smallest option), so I'm sure it was extremely conservative (FOS of 2 and 90% core derating :oops:). However, I like to have the option of towing this boat as a tender, so I did want to consider the possibility of large seas. DISCLAIMER - I have only built this one boat, and my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it. Do your homework. When in doubt, follow the plans.

View attachment 177917

Now that the background is covered... my thoughts and "review" of the hull:

I'm absolutely amazed by this skiff. She floats bonefish shallow even with 3 on board, but will squat when I'm solo on the platform (no surprise there). It balances well and floats pretty level with one on the platform and one on the bow. It poles easily and tracks straight, but I can spin the skiff quickly and silently to give the angler a better shot at a fish. She's also very stable, much more so than I expected. Poling is very quiet -- I don't notice any slap even in very windy conditions, and is also very quiet when staked out from the stern. Another cool fact is that the bow doesn't wander in the current when staked out from the stern. I didn't think about that advantage when planning the big radius stern corners, but it is really convenient.

View attachment 177918

She also handles open water very well. I have been pleasantly surprised with the ride and the performance of the spray rails/strakes. There is a little bow steer in following or rear quartering seas, but it's easily manageable. It would be even less noticeable if I had remote steer instead of a tiller. I can stay on plane at very low speeds, which is nice if I have my wife and toddler on board, or if it's a little rough out. I love the fact that this skiff doesn't seem have a "window" where it's unhappy between idle and plane. The 12x4 Bennett Bolt tabs are a little touchy -- I'm getting better at managing them but will probably cut them down to be a little narrower. At full down they are pretty dang sketchy. I can't think of any situation where I would ever need the full surface area of the tab.

Here are a few links for anyone curious:
Build thread (first launch is on pg 14)
First impressions (floor reinforcement and 50hp)

And for those of you that like numbers:
  • With the 30hp, the skiff sat at 3.25" draft at the transom and 2.75"-3" at the bow (with cooler/gear but no anglers on board)
  • With the 50hp and extra reinforcement, the transom was 4.75" but the bow sits at around 2" draft (same load)
  • With a 240# guy on the bow and 160# on the poling platform, draft at the transom was 5.5".
  • If they swapped (240# on the platform), the draft at the transom was 6.5"
  • Hull weight before rigging was 430# (measured on bathroom scales)
  • Top speed in a creek was 36mph with 2 anglers (200# and 160#) and cooler/gear. I didn't have a long straightaway to really let it wind all the way up, but it's close enough. I don't have a tach, and this is with the aluminum Tohatsu 15p prop. I have to barely touch the tabs to eliminate a little porpoising. I'm sure I need to tune some things as far as trim/height/prop, etc. I'm also getting a funny spray, I think due to engine height.
  • Very comfortable cruise at 31-32 in light chop, and fuel burn seems great.
  • My back deck is about 36" from the transom -- I don't need an extension with the Tohatsu multi-function tiller handle. Sitting further aft gives a more comfortable ride too.
  • My front deck is a touch over 7 ft long. I love having the room up there. Plenty of room for storage as well (all life jackets held to the underside of the deck with bungees).
  • Beam at widest point on deck = 75"
  • Beam at waterline (@ transom) = ~56" (estimated due to rounded corners)
  • Length = 17'9"
View attachment 177919

Any questions, please let me know. I'm really enjoying getting to fish this skiff, and I'm hoping to get to fish from Chris's Beryllium build this summer to help compare. I would recommend the build process to anyone, but it's important to be honest with yourself about your availability/schedule, your space, your wallet, and your ability. It's completely fine if you don't know how to do something, but be ready to make mistakes and willing to learn from them. You will absolutely end up having to do at least a few things twice (or more) in order to get it right. You will wince as you throw away $$ in the form of kicked resin and cloth that didn't lay down correctly. In the end though (for me), penny pinching and cutting corners will not be worth it. Allow for waste in both your schedule and your budget. My only complaints with the skiff are in areas where I was in a hurry.

It's also really beneficial to have a buddy to not only help with the physical work, but to talk through ideas with and to help bolster morale when things seem to be moving slowly. In my case that was @Lmhanagr -- appreciate the tremendous amount of help buddy! Also, don't underestimate the amount of information available to you online. There are several builds on this forum and on IG that are extremely helpful. Chris's blog has great info as well. There is a pretty great "community" of builders that should be able to either answer any questions you have, or at least point you towards resources that will help you figure it out yourself.

Feel free to request pictures of any specific areas if you're curious. I didn't get too much into the "features" of my boat since I wanted to focus initially on the hull design for those interested in building/buying their own, but I'm more than happy to discuss any/all of that stuff in the rest of the thread. I'm really happy with the design decisions I made. The only things I would change are construction-related, mostly things I could do to save time or make certain areas look a little better.

View attachment 177920

View attachment 177921

If you didn't feel like reading all that, at least read this -- @Chris Morejohn is the man. I'm floored that this is a home built boat every time I look at it or get to take it out. He's created an exceptional design, and laid the foundation for a build process that allows a homebuilder to make their own skiff that performs as well as or better than one pulled from a mold. Buying his plans was one of the best decisions I've made, and I don't think I've ever been more proud of something that I've built. I think that his designs are an amazing blend of artistry and engineering, and I feel fortunate that I was able to bring one of them "to life" in my own way.
Such mad respect for you and others who have the skills to do this. She's beautiful! Please let me know if you ever want to sell her! :).
 

Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
Joined
1,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@MikeChamp12 the core was 3/4" for the whole skiff, then I added an additional 3/4" when I wanted to stiffen up the floor. I ended up going with approx 2.3mm inner skin (3 x 18 oz) and 3.0mm outer skin (3x10 + 3x18 oz).

Certainly overkill, but the boat feels so solid. There was definitely a weight penalty, but for how I use the skiff it was worth the compromise.

@Rob_Alexander thanks man, yeah absolutely! I'd love to get to check it out, and for you to run around on the Conchfish too.
 
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