Bob and Bruce Lanham's Tolman Skiff - Jumbo

Collection of Bob and Bruce Lanham's Tolman Skiff Jumbo Adventures

I had my first Tolman Skiff ride yesterday, and this morning I'm still giddy. Met Bob and Bruce Lanham at the Martinez Marina and immediately got an eyeful of beautiful Tolman Jumbo. Now, I've seen this beauty up close and personal sitting in Bob's driveway, but this had not really prepared me for the stunning view of a Tolman in it's element. It's so incredible looking I think I'm going to build me one<grin>!

Cruised around the Sacramento River (a mile or so before it dumps into the SF Bay) and Bob put her through the paces. Wow, with three guys the boat just takes off and is on plane before you know it. Bob and Bruce pointed out there's still a little cavitation on hard Starboard turns, so I suppose there's still a little setting up to do. But man o'man does the skiff perform nicely in a teeny tiny wind. Can't wait to see how it behaves on the ocean with a four foot swell and a two foot wind wave.

Bob and Bruce have done an awful lot of very unique modifications to Renn Tolman's design. Many of these modifications are subtle and many are maybe a little less subtle. First and foremost the boat is built extra heavy duty to accomodate the brother's diving habits. Starting at the transom you'll notice that the 100 Horse Yamaha fourstroke is off center to the Starboard side, to the center is a kicker mount and to port is a diving door. The center bulkhead that comes off the transom (between dive door and main motor) has currently installed, a rather huge and extra heavy duty davit mount. You could probably haul up three or four commercial crab pots up at a time with this hardware. Because the boat does not (currently?) have a splash well, the port side corner at the transom is the premium place to hang over and bounce jigs for big ling cod. Yep, the boat is also built for fishing. The transom motormount is extra heavy duty (read that as thick!) and is backed with diamond plate. This boat will not be stressed at the business end.

Forward of the transom you'll also notice wider than normal side decks, of which the port side right at the transom, has yet another davit mount. This one is not quite as heavy duty as the big one. Several holes are drilled for some fancy stainless steel rod holders to be installed at a later date. The fishing deck is spacious, no doubt due to the fact that there's no splash well, and because this boat is 23' 7". Yes, Renn's 22' foot is not in this builder's version.

Update: Almost Ready to Launch!

Went on over to Bob's house this past Sunday to check out his progress and got an eyefull of beautiful Tolman Jumbo. Here's a few pictures. We're just days from launch folks.

Went to Bob and Bruce Lanham's Jumbo turning this Saturday (April 26th, 2003) and was blown away with all the nice details of the skiff. Bob and Bruce (B&B) have customized the Jumbo to accomodate their special diving requirements. The transom is the most obvious departure from the standard design and shows the cutout for their diving door and offset motor. Because they'll have a large/heavy duty davit for hauling up stuff from the depths, the transom is built extra heavy duty and features a motor mount made of a laminated wood beam. This is perhaps the strongest special duty transom yet put on a Tolman Skiff. Other features include a bow and keel strake not made of the specified UHMW, but rather being a holeless, molded strake that's just plain sexy looking. Stringers are taller than normal to accomodate a 60 gal fuel tank and they have an interesting cutout from the wheel house back, which will allow for a slightly elevated wheelhouse deck. At station six are a pair of knees that extend from the sides to the stringers, which obviously help with the supreme rigidity of the hull. B&B's Jumbo was a bit more rigid at the turning than my own Jumbo was at it's turning.

Other interesting features include: Shelves (top deck or tops of gunnels) made from laminated plywood instead of the spec'd (super nasty) subfloor plywood. This Jumbo is longer than the standard 22 footer and comes in at a healthy 23.5 feet.

The turning was a total pleasure. Everyone worked together very well and before you could say boo!, the hull was turned. Everyone was then free to hang around, ask tons of questions and admire B&B's very fine handwork. And to top off the days festivities, your's truly was treated to Bruce's fine home brew stout, and Bob's wife filled us up with very excellent Abalone and burgers fresh off the grill. Bob, Bruce and family put on a fine boat turning shindig and their hospitality was absolutely fantastic.

Stephen Dampier

Life is Good!!!