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Tolman Skiff - Ray's Jumbo launch party

Today we visited Ray & Anne at their official launch party for their new Jumbo Tolman Skiff. Ray's boat looks great with attention to detail and a fine finish showing everywhere. We went for a spin with the diesel and it was impressive. At about 3200 rpm, the GPS was showing 20mph which is about what our Suzuki 140 powered Jumbo does at a little under 4000 rpm. It's a comfortable cruising speed if there is a little chop that would keep you from running faster. Ray says that at those rpms he should be getting 8+ mpg. That would be a good reason to have the diesel. I get just under 5mpg cruising at 20-25mph with the Suzuki. The boat acellerates hard but has a top speed of about 30mph vs. 37mph for my Suzuki powered Jumbo.

Tolman Owner's Gathering PNW 2006

[ TOG_06 PNW Photos ]

The second PNW Tolman Owner's Gathering (TOG, if you count the launching of Stephen's Jumbo as the first...) was a lot of fun. We had five Jumbo's represented including Ray & Anne's diesel Jumbo. Dave Wright brought his standard down and we all braved the 100+ degree heat Sunday afternoon for a TOG potluck. Yes Bruce, there was fresh blueberry pie as well as cheesecake and lots of other good stuff too. Be sure to see the photo of Jesse M. who came prepared to guard his steaks against any clear and present danger.

Visit to Ray and Anne Brown's Jumbo Project

Today I went over to see Ray and Anne Brown's Jumbo. They've been doing a great job. They were actually smart enough to build the inside of their boat before finishing it and using it. I have some lessons to learn from them as the inside of my boat remains unfinished two summers after I started using it.

Ray has the same interior layout I will use. His pilot house is 7 feet long where mine is 6ft. 3in. long. I liked his hanging locker and will do the same in mine. Perhaps a shelf on top as well. You can never have enough little places to put things on the boat. I'll try to track down the nylon hinges and latch he used. They looked great.

New Dodge for towing...

After listening to Bruce brag about his 17mpg pulling his Tolman with his Dodge diesel truck, at the SF TOG, and after stopping every 200 miles on the way back to Portland pulling our Jumbo with our Isuzu Trooper getting 10mpg, I decided to buy a Dodge diesel.

I would not have done this except we expect to be taking some long trips in the next couple of summers and when I saw that this truck had the same shade of red as my Jumbo, well I just had to have it.

The good news is that I'm getting better MPG in the city and on the road with my Dodge than I was with my Trooper. I'm amazed at that. True, diesel still costs more than gas so I don't know that I'm saving any money but there is no comparison when it comes to power. The Dodge has pulling power to spare. Its ride is on the stiff side compared with the Trooper but at least I don't have to feel like I'm working the engine so hard when pulling my Jumbo. On the highway the Dodge is quiet and comfortable. Around town, it's large and noisy. I think in the long run I'll be looking for a extra city car which will keep the stop and go miles off the Dodge.

West Coast Tolman Gathering - San Francisco

We just got back from the first ever, West Coast TOG (Tolman Owners Gathering) held in San Francisco in honor of Stephen Dampier's lanuching. There were three Jumbos there and Bruce Armstrong's Tolman Standard. See Stephen's site for more photographs of the launch and events. I have a few more photos posted on my home page at

We had a great time on Saturday with the launch party and then spent Sunday exploring SF Bay. We crossed under the Golden Gate Bridge and cleared the last point and spent some time on the ocean. The Jumbo did well with the large swells out there and took the mixed chop inside the bay in good stride as well. This photo is by Bruce A. who joined us for the trip out to the bridge. You can see our red Jumbo just going under the bridge. The second photo is of Bruce's boat.

This last photo is of the other two Jumbos during sea trials on the bay.

We towed our Jumbo to SF with our Isuzu Trooper. One of the reasons we built a Tolman Skiff was because it could be towed behind smaller vehicles and in this regard, it did very well. Our Trooper is only a V6 and we did fine on all but the steepest grades where we had to slow down to 50mph. It would be nice to have a powerful diesel truck but it's not a requirement with a Tolman. We also benefited from the Jumbo's thrifty use of fuel. We cruised all over the bay for a good 6+ hours and used less than 10 gallons of gas. I have yet to connect my flowscan but the flow meter connected to my wallet is working fine and it's happy.

South Pacific Tolman

I just got a great email from Jon who just launched his Tolman. He lives on the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia. I think he's built a great boat and the steering lever looks very interesting. Well done Jon! ;-)


I have admired your web site for some time. I have looked at it many times while building mine.

I started building my standard Tolman in January and put it in the water 4 months later. Attached is a picture of me standing in the boat at the bow with my arms raised up… “it’s in the water”! It has already made several fishing and snorkeling trips out on the reef in the lagoon here. In the second picture you can see my wife at the “stick” (it has a stick like an airplane for steering – it is cheep and it works great). Notice the local boy up on the bow…he is the lookout for coral heads and such until we get to know our local waters.

I am living on the island of Pohnpei in the Micronesian islands. We are surrounded by a beautiful lagoon with lots of coral reef. A 20 foot fiberglass boat here costs $4000. I built my Tolman for about $1500 or so not including the engine. I put a Honda 40hp on it and it does great! The local islanders here are very jealous! You canÂ’t imagine how many people here are amazed that I built my own boat!

You know of any other Tolman skiffs in the Pacific Islands?


Ray's Jumbo is turned!

Last year I gave my Jig to Ray Brown and today we turned his Jumbo over. This makes 4 Jumbos in Oregon that I know of. His was made from a Skiffkits kit and he's done a great job. The finish is great and you can tell he's a skillful builder and he'll end up with a great boat. I have several photos but I left the memory card reader at work so I'll have to wait until Monday to post them. OK... now the photos are included! ;-)

The beaming smile on Ray's face looked all too familar to me. I remember just how he felt. The boat looks HUGE when it's rolled rightside up. It seems like you've done so much but then reality sinks in when you have so much to do.

I've made some progress on my boat with some little things but I've been too busy at work to get much done. That will change in a few weeks. Summer is also coming up fast and we'll get the interior finished then.

Photo 3 is Ray and wife. Photo 4 is John, David and Bill, three generations of Tolman skiff builders.

So, now there is an extra jig in Oregon. Who's next? ;-)

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