The Oarsome Chance OC16 skiff made its first foray on the water last week and we take a look back at how the bespoke Oarsome Chance boat design came about.

OC16 background

Based on the experiences of building our first four St Ayles skiffs, we identified that for our programmes we needed a cheaper, quicker, more accessible design. Whilst very successful as vocational education and outdoor education projects, the St Ayles skiff builds required between 750 and 1000 hours of build time - this worked well for outreach and work with multiple groups, however for a lot of our more focused programmes, this proved to be too long and proof of progress too slow.

We felt we needed a boat design that would take less time, could be built within a single school term and would ideally produce a boat that was usable by 2 or 3 young people (rather than the crew of 5-6 required for St Ayles’ skiffs) providing more flexible options for engagement and activities.

The OC16 design
We approached renowned marine architect Paul Fisher, an expert in producing self-build boat designs and he produced a design to meet our brief and the OC16 project was born. 

The OC16 design Paul produced can be built as a simple stitch and epoxy glue model using either hand cut planks, or a CNC cut kit; or can be built in a slightly more traditional "frame and stringer" version on a strongback.

As well as the rowing skiff, Paul designed a simple sprit sail rig to give an alternative method of propulsion for the boat should rowing fatigue set in, as well as providing further building and rigging skills for the young people building it.

Sail rigs were traditionally used on skiffs in fishing communities and the OC16 design pays further homage to traditional rowing skiffs, wherries and gigs with its pretty hull sheer, single chine and wine glass transom.

OC16 build

As planned, the build and development of the OC16 has engaged young people otherwise disengaged in mainstream learning and given them skills that will be with them for life - planning and preparation, hand skills, tool use, project management, not to mention the considerable discipline and effort put in.

The striking paint work was designed and completed by an Oarsome student and seeing his design come to life has given him a sense of ownership, pride and a fantastic sense of achievement. 

Latest news, Feb 2018

Last week we had the 'soft launch' of the OC16 – a chance to see how the newly built boat performs on the water and iron out any teething problems.

The boat will now give other workshop students the opportunity to develop her further with the construction of the mast and sails and will allow many more of our students to access the water and the physical fitness, teamwork and leadership benefits that come with that.

We will now take what we have all learnt from the OC16 design and build process to begin building the OC24… watch this space!