Scows various...

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Scows various...

Post by Michael4 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:59 am

To avoid hijacking David's Proctor thread, I post a picture of the boat I learnt to sail in. Down 'ere they be called scows.

Imagescow119 by dralowid, on Flickr

Apparently the South Coast type can be identified by shape of bow but I know not how. I think this was a Bembridge one? And aren't there barges called scows just to help matters further.

We await a definition!
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Re: Scows various...

Post by davidh » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:16 pm

Ha, if I is a definitive answer you're looking for, then you'll have fun getting one.

I'll get the pdf of the article and will post it, which will give an insight into how scows came into being, but that won't answer the question either. The Lymington Scow that begat all the other Solent Scows is far closer to a conventional dinghy.....

In the end, the blunt bowed scow hull form pretty much got overtaken by the skiff revolution, but that is not to say that someone won't come up with a new take on the shape - stranger things have happened

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Re: Scows various...

Post by realnutter » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:25 pm

There are problems with the word skiff too...

Wiktionary has skiff as

1. small flat bottomed boat with flat transom, and vertical stem
2. Any small boat that can be handled by one person..

So all dinghies are skiffs, not just the modern fast ones that get called skiffs... And a Minisail, British Moth etc is a skiff too!

Wiktionary is clearer on scow... square ends a must!

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Re: Scows various...

Post by davidh » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:34 pm


I'm sorry but NO! There were definitions in place long before the Wiki version, with many of these having a great deal more in the way of background and credibility.

When the Skiff 'revolution' took place there was a great deal of discussion about what was a 'skiff' - I remember that the German Contender website include the word skiff in the title. Then you had the Topper range of boats from the Iso to the Boss - the question was then one of "were these skiffs?".

I spent a lot of time on this for the article (there is nothing like going into print to bring out the alternative views) and the onlything that one can say with any degree of certainty is that it will mean what you want it to mean. You can have a scow with a pointed end or a blunt one and it is still a scow. And as for a Skiff - is the Wiki saying that the 49er isn't a skiff? I would have to counsel that that sounds something of a minority view to me!

Personally - I like the scow shape - the blunt ended ones, all the more so after finding that Peter Milne had help with the Fireball hull shape......

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Re: Scows various...

Post by Rupert » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:25 pm

These words have been used in the world of boats in various languages for a long, long time. All this discussion boils down to is whether we use historical or current usage, and what current usage is in different parts of the world.

What I love about scows in the Fireball or Minisail sense is the stability and speed you can get from a simple, narrow hull shape. The Foiling scow is certainly something that could catch on - stable when moving slowly, so making it more attainable for mortals, but low freeboard would reduce windage when flying.

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Re: Scows various...

Post by trebor » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:31 pm

I always think when people say
"Skiff" a boat with no Transom.
"Scow" a boat with roundish foredeck, fairly flat hull.
"Pram" a boat with flat section on front.
Their are probably designs featuring all these three features and any combination of other types.
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Re: Scows various...

Post by JimC » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:20 pm

realnutter wrote:Wiktionary has skiff as
Even by Wiktionary/wikipedia standards that's a pretty dreadful page!

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