George Williams/Triwerx Skiff 18′


These are really good skiffs. George Williams builds them in Falmouth, Massachusetts, for scallop fishermen, striper guides, and the odd recreational boater who knows a good, simple thing when he or she sees it.

I ran this one for five years. Our family took it on week-long boat-camping trips, offshore to the Isles of Shoals (5 miles off the Maine/ New Hampshire coast), used as chase-boat for coastal rowing races, birthday party barge, trash barge, surf hunter – you name it.

It went just fine with that 30 hp 4-stroke as long as it could get up and plane. Loaded with four adults, or with a week’s worth of camping supplies and campers, or with a quarter-ton of shellfish, I wished I had more power. And, yes, it’s a skiff and will surely pound in steep chop and big boat wakes, but no more so than a host of other well-known flat-bottomed hull shapes including Whalers, Pointers, and Carolina skiffs.

The tiller-steering is fast, intuitive, light and simple – just the thing for noodling around inside breaking ledges, rock-strewn rivers, and other challenging water. The samson-post aft is for hanging onto, leaning on, hanging a compass/binocular/hand-held VHF radio/drink-holder box on. Tiller-steering also frees up the middle of the boat for people and cargo. Unlike any center-console under about 25′, this set-up seats six people comfortably, with room to spare!

George uses marine plywood and lumberyard spruce and fir bonded with Weldwood-type isophalic resin glue and stainless-steel ring-shank nails to build the hull. Tools required are a circular saw and a hammer, apparently. The two frames will develop rot eventually but are easily and cheaply repaired or replaced.

While hardly a thing of curvaceous traditional wooden-boat beauty, this skiff hull-shape is just right. The bottom rocker does not porpoise – very important. And combined with that rocker, the freeboard foreword has the height and flare to be dry and the bow shape keeps the boat from burying and tending to broach when piling into the back of a wave – also very important. Launching and retrieving from a trailer is an absolute breeze no matter the conditions.

There are several knock-offs (or rip-offs?) of the George Williams/Triwerx skiff out there, and plenty of home-builts, too, I imagine, but I don’t trust ’em to get that rocker right. Besides, George Williams is a very rare breed of boat builder these days; he builds one type of strong, time-tested, wooden utility boat for a very affordable price. His home harbor of Falmouth and Woods Hole are full of ’em. I support that.

I sold this boat for pretty good money years ago and have had several “better” boats since then. Only thing is,  they weren’t better. So I drove down to the Cape last weekend and bought a neglected George Williams skiff with a gorgeous, nearly new 40 hp 4-stroke engine bolted on the back, tiller model, of course. It’s a blank canvas, and I can’t wait to start making her mine.