Allen Wyatt owner of Andy Thornal Company in Winter Haven Florida bought the plans 5 years ago from Montana Boats. Allen bought the wood for the project two years ago. In November 2015 a friend of Allen’s Marcus Parker helped him cut out the major plywood pieces for the skiff and “scarfed them”. The skiff is made of Cypress and Plywood. The gunnels were made from one rare 17′ flawless Cypress piece. The “scarfing” technique was used because most plywood comes in 8′ panels. To get long planks, plywood is “scarfed”. In this case epoxy is used to fasten two pieces of plywood together. Allen started the skiff construction using the “stitch and glue” method which then became the “screw and glue” method because when using the stitch and glue method you need to use wire sutures to hold panels together until they could be joined permanently with epoxy and fiberglass tape.
Allen was definitely humbled and has since greatly appreciated those in the boat building business! Allen coated the outside of the hull completely with fiberglass, coating with epoxy all exposed wood to encapsulate the boat frame from water and the sun. The process was completed with a high quality marine paint. The Freestone Skiff is 16 1/2′ X 66″ with oar locks, 60″ in the water. Allen also custom made the 9′ wooden oars. The Freestone Skiff weighs 200lbs and drafts 6″ with two adults. The Freestone Skiff was designed for fly fishing! The skiff has a front brace bar for leaning into to cast and your line will fit nicely in front of it. Allen made an insert on each side of the gunnel for fly rod tips and there are three American made swivel seats for comfortability. The Freestone Skiff was launched Thanksgiving day 2016. The skiff will be used for both pleasure and guided trips.
Chris O’ Byrne and Hunter both employed by Andy Thornal’s, fly fishing school instructors and guides will be the primary guides. The Freestone Skiff is a perfect small lake boat and Allen hopes to get the boat into areas no other boat has been- back into the “Old Florida”. The project took more time than Allen had planned with a total boat construction time of 250-300 hours! When asked if he would build one for resale Allen said: “Yes I would…just don’t be in a hurry”. To book your trip on the Freestone Skiff call Peace Creek Guide Service at (863)837-7028. Also, check out the Orvis Recon & Helios rods, and the TFO inshore and bait casting rods for your next trip on the water…available at Andy Thornal’s Winter Haven, FL and www.andythornal.com.