How the Solo Skiff came about is kind of hard to explain. The funny thing is I wanted to do something like this many years ago, but I just never did. I in fact did a drawing and built a scale model- it wasn’t Solo Skiff, but you can see where I was going with it. When I did those it was a while before I had started using CAD and unlike now never tied the design elements together. I had written down some design criteria that I just could not seem to tie together, features that I wanted a little boat to have yet…like I said , I didn’t want just another small skiff, I wanted something unlike anything available out there, because I wanted one. In the sea of boats out there, nothing had everything I was looking for. I wanted a safe boat that could take a wave over the bow, I wanted the boat to be one man, I wanted the boat to be stable, yet at the same time very easy to propel, and near the top of the want list I wanted it to be powered in anyway. Whether it was electric, outboard, or human power I wanted to have all the options. I wanted efficiency in case I ran out of gas so I could paddle it home if I had too. Remember when I first thought of a boat similar to this the thing was I wanted to be able to surf launch it so I could cruise just off the beach on calm days safely. Now fast forward a few years, and here I was again thinking about this boat idea of mine.I did some initial sketches that included bottom designs, sheer profile, but nothing stuck. I went on and on trying to think of the skiff I wanted to design. Time went by and I was not coming up with anything that I liked.
One day I was sketching out something my brother-in-law had mentioned to me when the good Lord hit me with the idea…. I spent many, hours at the computer using hull design software and 3D software trying to make it all work, and when I was finished I had the Solo Skiff( to make a long story short). Believe me, the Solo Skiff had gone thru many revisions but I finally had the boat I had wanted. Another funny thing I will mention is the boat started out to be called the Penguin… yes that’s correct, but that’s another story haha. The Solo Skiff had all the attributes I had written down, stability, safety, true self bailing, and could be powered via electric trolling motor, or small outboard, or even paddle, and could be poled, and most of all was designed to go fishing. So I built a skin on frame prototype to test the hull in real conditions and make sure it floated the way I wanted. I tested the skiff in a shallow area with a hard sand bottom where a lot of people launch kayaks. I asked a friend to help me and wanted his opinion also as he was a fisherman and had owned a Hell’s Bay Whipray skiff before and also had a powered canoe so he was a good candidate to assess the new skiff. We put it in the water and I jumped on it and got the feel for it. The prototype being a skin on frame was very light so it was floating a little high but still felt good so I started poling it a little and thought to myself, I like it, a lot. …I knew I was onto something. So then it was my friends turn, he got on it, got comfortable, and took off, ”. I was thrilled as I watched him pole it in a straight line like he had already been on it. He got off and said, “Tom, it way exceeded my expectations”. I then put some weights in the boat so it was closer to the actual real weight of the finished product with a trolling motor and battery onboard. When I got back on I was very happy in how stable it felt and poled it around more. I did more testing over the days, again in the same place, and in a swimming pool. I made some very minor changes, and started building the masters in which the molds would be developed from… the Solo Skiff was born. It has been a lot of fun to develop a boat like this I must say. As the skiff has evolved I cannot help but get excited that I finally made the boat that wasn’t available and I am excited to be able to offer fisherman a skiff that truly fills a need in the market. I mean where else can you have a skiff that actually moves with a 2.5 Hp motor, allows you to stand easy, has a fly rod tube, plenty of storage, easy to add options too, and most of all is safe and instantly self bailing not to mention is just cool looking 🙂