A History of the boat by Peter Brown for compactyachts.com
In 1976 Royal Lowell designed a pocket lobster boat for inshore fishing. Royal had great success as one of the first designers who capitalized on converting traditional wooden boats into fiberglass. Bruno and Stillman in Newington, NH, who had begun building fiberglass Friendship Sloops, commissioned Lowell to design a 42’ lobsterboat. Soon they added a 35 foot boat and a 55 ft boat all of Lowell’s design.
As with any successful venture, it wasn’t long until a couple of employees split to form their own venture. Sisu Boat Company was formed in 1976 with a new Royal Lowell 22’ design. All designers develop their designs by evolution. Lowell had taken the successful 42’ and directly scaled it down to an 18’ size, and although this was a successful boat that is still being built by Eastern Boat Company, Lowell thought that in scaling it down the boat was too narrow. He corrected this with the Sisu 22, stretching the beam to 7’10” (sheer to sheer). Sisu built about 150 of these boats from 1976 – 1982. About 1/3 of them were inboards. The rest were outboards, with a few inboard/outboards.
The majority of these first boats were work boats. They were part-time lobster boats for people who ran 100-150 traps and would tend them after work at a day job ashore. Sisu caught the eye of Boating magazine, who did a feature article on the use of the boat as a pocket cruiser or sport fishing boat. Sales steadily grew in this market, but sport fishermen wanted more speed. Sisu quickly discovered that outboard power over 120 hp could make the boat unstable at high speed and limited power to 115 hp.
In 1982, Sisu made new molds adding a full length spray rail that ended at the transom about 2” above the waterline. This corrected the stability issue and power limits went up to 150 hp. Between 1982 and 1988 nearly 600 boats were built. The molds were leased to Portsmouth Boat Company between 1988 and 1992.
Rosborough Boats purchased the molds in 1992 and moved them to Halifax, NS and introduced the Seaskiff 22. Rosborough, already established as a premier fiberglass builder with the highly successful RF-246, took design cues from the 246. They raised the sheer and added an enclosed pilot house with Rosborough’s signature pilot house doors. Successful 246 construction techniques upgraded the boat, allowing for foam floatation, and ample space below decks for fuel , water and waste. The innovative pilot house provided space for a galley and full protection from the weather, either sun or cold.
By combining the brilliance of the Lowell 22’ design with the innovative use of space of the Rosborough, the Seaskiff 22 became an ideal pocket camping/cruising boat. The size is not daunting to trailer. A ½ ton pickup, SUV or crossover can handle the 5,000 lb. load. The galley, while complete, is compact and out of the way, leaving space for the people. So many little boats try to be bigger than they are by stuffing too much furniture and equipment into too small a space making the boat cramped and uncomfortable to go for a boat ride.
The Seaskiff 22 offers room to be comfortable on a boat ride with plenty of glass in the pilot house to enjoy the fruits of your explorations. At the end of the day swinging at anchor, the cockpit provides ample space to sit and enjoy a sunset.* Peter Brown (and further info on the Rosborough Seaskiff 22′) may be reached at Rosborough Boats at: firstname.lastname@example.org * Take a look at the Rosborough RF-246 here!