Bob Abramson, Instructor for the Stonington [CT] Village Improvement Association writes "Every summer after school closes, the Stonington Village Improvement Association sponsors its annual Build-A-Boat program for local boys and girls, ages 8 to 13. There is no charge to the participants. This year [2003], from June 23 to July 3, six girls and two boys built a Ken Swan design, Little Gem, in 36 hours working four hours per day that included layout, assembly, and painting. Little Gem is a plywood flat bottom rowing skiff 13'7" LOA with a 4'4" beam. (Ken Swan design). Only marine plywood, luan lumber, bronze screws, 5200 and latex paint were used in the construction. The children use no power tools (only a battery operated drill/driver) - no epoxy, fiberglass, or resin is allowed. Stem, knees, breasthook, etc are shaped by the instructor using power tools. After completion, the boat was launched from the beach into Stonington Harbor, where the kids (with PFDs) had an opportunity to test their handiwork during near shore 'rowing trials' while parents and grandparents snapped away. The boat is auctioned to the highest bidder at the annual Stonington Village Fair. Bob's email is

Design Specs

Designer Name: 
Ken Swan
Little Gem
Builder Name: 
Bob Abramson and Build-A-Boat program
Home Port: 
Stonington, CT
Launching Date: 
July 04, 2003