Flats Stalker 18 - Study Plans
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toddinbr Maurepas Louisiana

I started my build the end of January 2014 and completed it in August. If you are on the fence about building ...
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Flast fishing boat FS18

Another addition to our line of flats boats!

The Flats Stalker is a simple but rugged and easy to pole boat designed for hardcore skinny water sight fishing. It is designed for tiller steering first and has a clean open layout that is easy to customize. It will pole effortlessly into the wind and against the tide thanks to it's narrow and shallow hull. Hull slap is almost nonexistent thanks to the absence of spray rails and low chine design. There is even an option showing a rounded chine towards the bow.

Flats boat, plan

Most of our other flats boats designs have an extra wide beam. This gives us a large water plane and results in a very shallow draft. The best example is the XF20 in which we extended the water plane area in an extreme way: 2" draft in a boat that can handle up to 5 people with gear. There is unfortunately a price to pay when poling: you can't easily pole such a wide boat.
Several of our builders requested a narrow light skiff.
Those boats exist since more than 100 years in the Everglades, the concept is not new. Our FS18 is not as narrow as the traditional Everglades Skiff, but it is easy to pole and more stable.
The FS18 has the same waterline beam and is just as stable as some fiberglass production boats 1' wider at the deck.

Flats fishing boat stitch and glue

This is a tiller boat but many will install a grab rail in the middle, maybe on a central box. Controls and some small electronics can fit on the grab rail. Stick steering could be nice too.

Epoxy plywood boat FS18

The FS18 has a self bailing cockpit. Hull draft at 1,100 lbs is 4" and the top of the sole is located well above that.

The FS18 will easily fish two people and you can fish three if necessary. The front deck is big with room for a casting platform. There is usable storage underneath the front deck, even with a portable fuel tank.
There is room for rod storage under gunwales: cut notches in the frames.

At the bow, the sides raise a little bit above the casting deck. That little edge is not in the way of a trolling motor mount. It is max. 4" at the tip , only 2" where one normally mounts the trolling motor. Most of the trolling motor mounts clear the deck by more than 2". If not, it is easy to make a raised mount from a couple of layers of plywood epoxy glued to the deck. Another solution is to cut a notch where the motor mounts or to cut the sides down and make her a flush deck but the sheer line will not be as pretty.
However, for those who prefer the flush deck (straight sheer) look, the plans include the dimensions for that version. Only the side panel is different.

LOA: 18' 5,50 m
Max. Beam: 54" 1,37 m
Recommended/Max.: 15/25 HP 12/18 kW
Hull weight: 200 to 265 lbs. 90 to 120 kg
Hull draft at 765 lbs: 3.5" 8,89 cm.
Material: Stitch & Glue composite

Boat jig epoxy plywood

The ideal outboard is between 10 and 15 HP. Per USCG calculations. max. HP can be 25 HP but the designer finds this excessive. Don't think in terms of an 18' boat, think of a 250 lbs 4-1/2' wide boat!
Speed predictions:
Loaded at 1,000 lbs, with a 25 HP = 32 mph, with a 15 HP, 25 mph.
At 800 lbs, 28.5 mph with a 15 HP.

USCG tag: max. HP = 25. Capacity persons and gear: 765 lbs or 4 persons.

Hull weight: depending on the skills of the builder and options, between 240 and 265 lbs. The FS18 can be build lighter, see the options paragraph.

Hull draft is just that, the skeg adds 1" but even with the skeg, 3.5" isn't bad.
At a very heavy displacement of 1,110 lbs, hull draft is only 5" .

Building method:
The construction method is stitch and glue. It makes for a very stiff and strong yet light boat. As with all our plans, no lofting is required.

The FS18 is build the same way than our FS12 and FS14: upside down on a pair of 2x4's. The hull panels are installed around the frames and we use the decks as a base. See the FS12/14 study plans for details. There is also a long thread on our forum showing the FS12 assembly with plenty of pictures and comments. The FS18 is build the same way.

Boat jig epoxy plywood

All our boats are very sturdy. This one will be able to crash on an oyster bed at 25 mph without sinking. We could make it lighter but there would be a price in toughness..

Required Skills:
There is nothing difficult about building a skiff this way: a boat like this one goes together fast and easy. There are no plywood scarfs: we use very simple fiberglass splices.

Our building method involves cutting plywood panels flat on the shop floor with moderate precision, from the dimensions give on the plans. Long panels are made of smaller pieces joined with fiberglass splices. We use standard plywood sheets only. No lofting, no calculations, no delicate beveling or scarfing.

No woodworking skills or special tools are required.

Boat jig epoxy plywood


Besides the grab rail and stick steering mentioned above, the builder has complete freedom to change the layout as long as he keeps 3" wide frames where we show them. Decks can be made longer or shorter, a central box containing a bait well will be a nice addition.

Fishing boat epoxy plywood

- Light weight: You could build an FS18 without a deck, just with a rubrail and get the weight down to 160 lbs. With a small engine (15 HP) and 2 person onboard, that would give a hull draft of 2.5 " at level trim.
- Cut transom for 15" shaft. The standard transom is designed for the most common shaft in that size, 20" but it is easy to cut the transom 5" lower if you want to use a 15" shaft.
- straight sheer (flush deck)option. The plans show dimensions for a side panel cut down to create a straight sheer. This will make the Flats Stalker look like some fiberglass production boats.
- Central bench: the plans show the dimensions for an extra frame in the middle of the boat used to support an optional thwart (seat across the beam).
- Zero hull slap: the plans show a rounded chine option. Note that with that low chine and no spray rails there is almost no hull slap with the hard chine but for those who want the ultimate, we show an optional rounded chine.

Flats boat stitch and glue round chine

This rounded chine is a simple transition from plywood sheet planking to strips, at the chine, close to the bow. No need to purchase strips, we cut 3 slits in each panel, topside and bottom, round the corners of the two forward frames and that's all there is to it.
The round chine extends almost 7'. This is not really necessary since only the 3 last feet of the chine are above the waterline but it produces a smooth transition.
The aft part of the chine is the classic planing boat hard chine. It gives lateral dynamic stability at planing speed and since it is below the waterline, produces no hull slap.

That option is easy to implement for anybody who has a built at least one stitch and glue boat. All the dimensions are on the plans: each slit is shown.

Flats boat FS18 round chine

To make the boat unsinkable by pouring two part foam under the sole is a highly recommended option. For a professional builder in the USA, it would not be an option: all boats of that size must have upright floatation. This is achieved by pouring foam under the sole, filling some space under the aft deck with foam and gluing foam sheets under the gunwales.

Boat jig epoxy plywood

Bill Of Materials:
(Excerpts from our BOM)
The BOM list materials based on our standard layout and includes a 15% waste factor for resin and fiberglass. For plywood, we use standard sheets 4' x 8' (122 x 244 cm). Please read the building notes and see the plans for detailed specifications.
We recommend marine plywood, Meranti or Okoume for this boat. Okoume is lighter but more expensive. Marine fir or quality exterior with no voids is acceptable but may cost more if you want to avoid checking. To keep fir from checking, you will need to cover the entire surface with a layer of epoxy/fiberglass. This of course adds weight, cost, and time.

Plywood 4x8' (122x244cm)
1/4" (6mm) 6  
3/8" (9mm) 3  
Fiberglass (totals)
Biaxial tape 150 yards 145 m
Biaxial Fabric 13 yards 12 m
Epoxy, total 6 gallons 27 Kg

Our BOM's are based on material usage by a moderately experienced builder. First time builders will use more resin and waste more glass.

The cost of materials varies depending on your location, your choice of epoxy brand, plywood type and options. Use our Bill Of Materials with the local cost of materials or add our kits cost.

All materials are available for purchase online from the web sites below:
Epoxy, fiberglass, foam, paint and more: BoatBuilderCentral.com
Plywood: Plywood store at E-Boat.

Despite the cost of shipping, those materials may cost cost less online than purchased locally.

The average construction time for the hull is 70 hours ready for sanding and paint.

Visit our message board, help pages, tutorial pages and read our FAQ: most questions are answered there.

Boat jig epoxy plywood

Plans Packing List::

  • B279_1: Specifications
  • B279_2: Nesting of all parts on standard plywood sheets
  • C279_3: Hull lines, stations, stringers, transom dimensions.
  • D279_4: All hull and deck panel dimensions.
  • D279_5: Construction: sections and exploded perspective view with notes, lamination schedule.
  • B279_6: Rounded chine option showing cuts to make in bottom and side panels plus rounded frame corners.
  • B225_c: Detail drawing for seat locker lid with framing and assembly view.
  • Specific building notes for this boat
  • Bill Of Materials (included in the notes)
  • Help files reference list and more

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