A smaller 13′ version of the Chesapeake Crab Skiff

Little Crab sailplan

LITTLE CRAB is a smaller version of the Chesapeake Crab Skiff I drew several years ago. Bill Page, boatbuilder and traditional marine hardware tycoon, asked for a 14′ version to use as a tender for his new power cruiser. He wanted a skiff with lots of stability that would be primarily powered by an electric trolling motor, but I was surprised by how well this boat rowed.

LITTLE CRAB is a foot shorter than Bill’s boat, but it will still be a capacious tender for a larger yacht. She will row and tow reasonable well, and will provide reassuring stability when getting aboard.

As a sailing boat, LITTLE CRAB will make a fine weekend camp cruiser, with room for a couple of sleeping bags when the mid-ships slip thwart is removed. She would also make a great boat for young adventurers; light and shallow enough to be pushed off the beach (or that unseen shallow spot), simple and moderately sized rig, rewarding rowing, and good stability.

The boat is intended to be built upside down over widely spaced molds set up on a ladder frame. This is old fashioned technology by some people’s standards – why not “stitch ‘n’ glue”? While the stitch and glue method is conceptually simple and unintimidating, it can produce inexact hull shapes, and in my experience, it is no faster and far less pleasurable than my method. Any time saved in avoiding temporary molds and wooden stems and chines is more than taken up in shmooing and sanding epoxy and fiberglass. In the end, you will take more pride in having learned to shape a piece of wood than you will in the muscles you’ve built sanding epoxy fillets.

little crabLITTLE CRAB will make a fine father & son project (no slight intended, ladies), but take a piece of advice from an old dad – even a small boat takes time, and kids grow up fast. So, plan well, set aside enough time, and make it fun.


LOA – 13′
LWL – 12’2″
BEAM – 4′ 5″
DRAFT, Rowing version, 6”. Sailing version, 9” board up, 30” board down.
WEIGHT – approx. 225 lb.
HULL TYPE – Vee bottom chine hull.
SAIL AREA – 76 sq. ft.
SUITABLE FOR — Somewhat protected waters


There’s a nice review of LITTLE CRAB in WoodenBoat (May/June 2019).



little crabSTUDY PLANS

Click here to download free study plans in PDF format


PLANS SHEETS: On five sheets: sail plan, lines plan, construction plan, building jig, full sized patterns.



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