About the St. Lawrence
The St. Lawrence River Skiff was developed in the
Thousand Islands, at the turn of the century, by guides
who took wealthy patrons fishing. It was built with
an eye toward maneuverability, stability, seaworthiness,
and speed. Often compared to the Adirondack Guide Boats,
the St. Lawrence River Skiffs were not required to be
so portage-friendly, and so could be heavier and beamier,
more comfortable and better able to handle rough water.
About the Annie
The Annie, designed in the 1890s by A. Bain &
Co., is narrower, sleeker, and faster than most St.
Lawrence River Skiffs. Seaworthy, and with a large cargo
capacity, this highly efficient rowing machine has many
racing awards to its credit. David Stookey of "Open
Water Rowing" said of one of Keith Quarrier's Annies:
"A number of us long-distance cruisers agree, the
St. Lawrence River Skiff is the best combination of
speed and seaworthiness ever designed."
The hull is constructed of cedar strips, then fiberglassed
and painted inside and out. Constructing the hull this
way ensures that the boat will be leak-free, easy to
maintain, and extremely durable, while remaining light.
It is both stiffer and lighter than a comparable fiberglass
hull. The beautifully varnished wood decks, seats, coaming,
and trim add the finishing touch.
Specifications: LOA: 17'10"; Beam: 39";
Span (lock to lock): 41"; weight: 105 lbs.
Hull construction: Cedar strip, fiberglass/epoxy.
Prizes & Awards for Keith's
Craftsmanship Award, Thousand Island Shipyard Museum,
Clayton New York
1st place, Oarmaster Rowing Trials, Mystic, Connecticut
2nd place, Blackburn Challenge, fixed-seat class, Cape
2nd place, Oarmaster Rowing Trials, Mystic, Connecticut
1st place, Adirondack Guideboat Challenge, Blue Mountain
Lake, New York
1st place, Blackburn Challenge, fixed-seat single class, Cape
1st place, Blackburn Challenge, fixed-seat double class, Cape
Testimonials from Annie
• More from
David Stookey, former editor of "Open-Water Rowing":
"It's rare to find a boat that takes your breath
away - both looking at it and rowing it.
"Keith Quarrier's ANNIE is fast enough to win
the Oarmaster Trials, seaworthy enough for my long coastal
passages, and good looking enough to draw a crowd anywhere....
Keith Quarrier's skiffs are about the best-looking boats
being built today." (Letter to Keith this year.)
John Mullen, rowing enthusiast:
". . . I still have your beautiful cold-molded
black Annie . . . the only problem for me [is] to restrain
myself from gushing too much. Those lines crafted by
your hands are an idyllic combination of a highly efficient
rowing machine and a work of art." (Letter to Keith
"It was a pleasant surprise to see my boat,
ANNIE, gracing the cover of Issue 15. I recently purchased
her from builder Keith Quarrier. This 18-foot St. Lawrence
River Skiff hull is truly exceptional: single, double,
with or without passenger or passengers, a real head-turner
and very fast. I have always enjoyed the search for
the 'perfect boat.' However, now I am at a loss. What
more could I ask for?" (Letter to the Editor, "Open
Water Rowing," August 1999.)
Keith based the Eliza Q on an early 1900s Canadian
skiff owned by his aunt, who summered on the St. Lawrence's
Scow Island. Keith took the original lines directly
from the old boat; he and his cousin Sid, an avid rower,
then spent considerable time refining the drawings.
The resulting boat, built by Keith, has proved to be
a great rower, very seaworthy and stable, with an even
higher load capacity than the Annie. Keith converted
the Eliza Q to a sailing skiff, and he added a second
rowing station; both modifications work well.
Approximate specifications: LOA: 18'2"; Beam
48"; Weight: 148 lbs.
Construction: Cedar strip, fiberglass/epoxy or cold-molded
with cedar and epoxy.
Built to order; price $7,600.
Keith has experimented with numerous other designs,
from cargo canoes to paddle boats for children. Examples
of a few of these are in the photo section. All reflect
the craftsmanship and attention to detail that are the
hallmark of his work and teachings. He is happy to discuss
custom projects with interested buyers.
Repair and Restoration
Some of Keith's recent repair projects include a
major rebuild and refinishing of a seventeen foot lapstrake
Penn Yan outboard runabout, repair and refinishing of
a lapstrake Thompson, and repair and refinishing of
an antique Old Town motorable row boat.
Starting early in the 1970s, Keith worked off and
on for five years at Ely Boatworks on Long Island Sound,
repairing and maintaining both sailboats and powerboats.
He also spent summers in the Thousand Islands, where
he first fell in love with the St. Lawrence River Skiff.
In 1973, Keith and his brother bought and refurbished
a 41' wooden sailboat, which they took on a year-long
cruise to South America. The trip taught them valuable
lessons in making creative repairs while underway!
After the trip, Keith was commissioned to rebuild
two antique skiffs up on the St. Lawrence. He also went
to college for a degree in Industrial Arts, and through
the 1980s and early '90s, he taught woodworking, drafting,
and metalwork at a regional high school in New Hampshire.
He introduced the rudiments of boat-building to his
woodworking class, and later developed a more advanced
course in which his students actually built canoes,
rowboats, and powerboats.
While working at the high school, he continued to
build and sell boats on his own. He and his wife also
established a commercial dairy farm, milking 65 goats
until 2003. Today, he is building and repairing boats full time.