Exceeding Expectations

If you'd told me in 1994 years ago when I read that article in Australian Amateur Boat Builder and subsequently built our Goat Island Skiff "Gruff" that I'd be still writing about it and having fun in with it fourteen years later I may not have believed you!

In that time I've come to know Michael Storer pretty well, and understand that he's pretty darned good at what he does. I don't have any commercial interest in any of his product, but continue to promote them because:

a) he's a genuinely nice bloke who really knows about this stuff, and

b) everyone else should have the same opportunity to enjoy themselves that I have had.

c) let's face it, I like showing off my boats!

Like many good things, it's taken almost a decade and a half to become an overnight success, but it seems that at last there are boats in the build in all corners of the globe.

While this boat appears to be somewhat traditional in form , in reality that could not be further from the truth.

I cannot overstate how simple it is to build, rig and sail, it's light weight means that anyone can handle it on land or sea, it's a friendly cruiser however if performance is required in can mix it with many fibreglass racing dinghies. Quite marvellous really.

The kids have grown up and married and have begun producing kids of their own, but they still won't let me sell it, they see it as an heirloom. I'm glad I won't be round to see them fight over it!

If indeed it is true that Phillip Bolger's Light Dory is the boat they use in heaven, I don't know what I'll do. I've played in one of those and while I like them in their own way, the Goat Island Skiff wins on every count.

For those unfortunates who believe that "cost effective" means "cheap", and "cheap" means "ugly", and you can work around that by calling it "quirky" let me relate the true story of the time we were holidaying at a coastal town quite near to where we now live.

My then 16 year old daughter and her friend asked me to help them rig the boat and of course I gladly obliged.

Leaving them with sage parental advice about wearing PFD's and not straying too close to the river mouth on the outgoing tide, one can only imagine my reaction when told.."Oh we're not going sailing dad, we're just going to sit beside it on the river bank.

All the guys keep coming up and asking us questions about it."

Our baby is overdue for a refit, but is holding up well because of the epoxy encapsulated construction, and I will build a hollow mast one day if I stop finding other projects..... in the meantime I hope you enjoy our journey, and if you wish to contact me, please do so via the contact button in the header.

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