Most of the photos of completed Medway Skiffs on the Selway-Fisher webpage don’t show the built as built to the plans. In Paul’s Fisher’s drawings the boat is a single-seater with buoyancy compartments in the bow and stern. Most of the “as built” photos eliminate these and have conventional bow and stern seating. I like the idea of the chambers which not only make the boat unsinkable (so was the Titanic) but can also be used as water-tight storage areas. If I decide I need seating it can be added inboard of the chambers. If I have passengers bringing the weight a little bit forward where there is more beam to the boat should make the balance better without interfering with the rowing.
Now that I am at the point of closing in the chambers I think I have identified the real reason why so many builders opt for the conventional seating. Its damn hard to get the compound curvature of the decks! Of course some of the fault is mine as I have a slightly different angle on the bulkhead than what is in the plans. On the plan the bulkhead slopes forward. In my boat is just off vertical. That makes a big difference. Since I am down to the last of my plywood and don’t want to buy another 4X8 sheet simply to finish the decks I have tried to make do with what is left over thus far in the project as well as bits from other boat building. The stern was a struggle but I managed to get a fit but in the bow I snapped the last piece big enough to cover the space. I then spliced two other pieces together as I did with the hull but managed to snap that joint as well. To reduce the strain I took out my trusty jig-saw and cut down the curve in the bow to make a much flatter deck which finally allowed be to clamp plywood in place without snapping. I have cobbled something together which appears to work but will need a great deal of epoxy and not a few screws to keep the curve in place.
The plans remind me to paint the inside of the chamber before sealing it so they both now sport a layer of my next to best left-over house paint. Another coat tomorrow and then I will close up the chambers with lots of epoxy and screws.