Tolman Skiff

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Tolman Standard Skiff under Golden Gate Bridge, California

The Tolman Skiff is a boat design of Dory heritage created by Renn Tolman of Homer, Alaska. Tolman authored two books, initially in 1992 and a revised version in 2003, describing advantages of the design and construction method Stitch and glue using plywood, fiberglass cloth, and epoxy. Many of these boats have been built and used around the world, garnering a reputation for being economical, seaworthy, and durable.[1] [2]

Renn Tolman on Lake Michigan March 2012

In addition to the designs described in the book, precision cut kits and detailed, full sized plans are commercially available. Tolman skiffs are light compared to fiberglass or aluminum boats of similar size and strength. Renn Tolman developed three different design versions of the Tolman Skiff, ranging in size from 18 to 24 feet.

Designs include:

  • Standard: Semi-Vee design constructed from marine plywood and epoxy/fiberglass cloth.
  • Widebody: Similar to the standard, but longer with 3" wide chine flats on each side of the bottom.
  • Jumbo: Longer and deeper than the Widebody, with 4" chine flats on each side of the bottom.
  • Great Alaskan Offshore Skiff: A larger design, up to 28 feet in length. This design was not created by Tolman.

Many builders modify the basic design of the boat to suit their needs. Although not documented in the original design, some builders have stretched the Jumbo to a length of 27 feet. Many builders have voyaged far in their Tolman Skiffs. Friedhelm Würfel of Hamburg, Germany documented his 2009 tour of the Gulf of Bothnia in his book. [3]

Renn Tolman died on July 5, 2014. [4]


  1. ^ "A Skiff for All Seasons", Renn Tolman, 1992, ISBN 978-0-9668711-0-4
  2. ^ "Tolman Alaskan Skiffs", Renn Tolman, 2003, ISBN 978-0-9668711-1-1
  3. ^ "Die Schwedische Bottenküste", 2010, ISBN 978-3-86805-623-5
  4. ^

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