VOYAGE TO TRANSISTION!
PART I      (Click here for PARTII)
BY STEVE BOSQUETTE, SOUTH PORTLAND, MAINE
E-MAIL: SBOSQUETTE@CONVERSENT.NET 

BACKGROUND

IN MY PREVIOUS 2 ARTICLES I DESCRIBED THE DESIGN AND BUILDING OF A 23 FOOT SCHOONER. IT WAS GREAT FUN TO BUILD AND EVEN MORE FUN TO SAIL.

A STRANGE THING HAPPENED TO ME ON THE WAY ACROSS CASCO BAY, MAINE, WHERE I LIVE, HOWEVER. I GOT FED UP WITH THE WORK AND EXPENSE OF SAILING!! LOOKING BACK ON THIS UNUSUAL HAPPENING I REALIZE THAT IT WAS, IN FACT, A PROGRESSION OF EMOTIONS TO ARRIVE AT THE POINT OF BECOMING A POWERBOATER. AFTER BEING AN AVID SAILOR FOR 30 YEARS I BECAME TRANSFORMED INTO AN UNRECOGNIZABLE CREATURE. I WOULDN’T HAVE CONSIDERED EVEN ALLOWING MYSELF TO THINK OF BECOMING A “STINK POTTER” BEFORE THIS PAST SUMMER. 

THE FINAL STRAW WAS THE ANNUAL 10 DAY CRUISE THAT MY WIFE SALLY AND I TAKE. WE BELONG TO A CRUISING CLUB OUT OF MASSACHUSETTS WHICH GOES ON A MAINE CRUISE EACH YEAR. DURING THE 10 DAYS OF THE CRUISE WE SAILED ONLY 15 MINUTES!!! I ARRIVED HOME WITH THE DIN OF THE MOTOR RINGING IN MY EARS WHERE THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SILENCE AND SATISFACTION. SOMETHING SNAPPED IN MY BRAIN AND I GAVE UP CRUISING UNDER SAIL. I SOLD MY CATALINA 22, ITS MOTOR, THE INFLATABLE AND MOTOR, AND THE MOORING! 

CHOOSING A DESIGN

HAVING LOST ALL INTEREST IN SAILING, AT LEAST FOR NOW, I SEARCHED FOR A POWERBOAT TO BUILD. SINCE I AM A BOLGERIST AT HEART I CONSULTED HIS BOOK “BOATS WITH AN OPEN MIND”. AT FIRST I WANTED A BOAT WITH AT LEAST SOME ACCOMMODATIONS AND INVESTIGATED THE MICROTRAWLER. I READ THE CHAPTER OVER AND OVER AND SEARCHED THE WEB FOR INFO ON THIS GREAT BOAT. I PARTICULARLY ENJOYED GEORGE SHANNON’S SERIES ON THE CONSTRUCTION AND MODIFICATION OF HIS MT, CONTAINED IN THIS MAGAZINE. BUT I REALIZED AFTER MUCH THOUGHT THAT I DIDN’T REALIZE ENOUGH FROM THE SALE OF THE CATALINA TO BUILD THE BOAT AND BUY A SUITABLE LARGE ENGINE FOR IT. 

THE NEXT BOAT THAT CAUGHT MY EYE WAS BOLGER’S “SNEAKEASY”. I LOVE THE LINES AND CLASSIC LOOK AND THE FACT THAT IT IS RELATIVELY CHEAP AND EASY TO BUILD. KNOWING THAT THIS WAS NOT MY LAST BOAT TO BUILD I WAS PARTICULARY INTERESTED TO DISCOVER THE IDAHO AND THE WYOMING. THE IDAHO IS A STRETCHED VERSION OF THE SNEAKEASY WHILE THE WYOMING IS A “TWO TIMES” VERSION OF THE SNEAKEASY. 

MY THOUGHT PROCESS WAS TO BUILD THE SNEAKEASY AND USE IT FOR A COUPLE YEARS TO SEE IF I LIKE THE CONFIGURATION. I WOULD THEN BUILD THE IDAHO, TO GET IN SOME CRUISING TIME ALONG THE MAINE COAST AND IT’S RIVERS. BEING ABOUT 10 YEARS FROM RETIREMENT I WOULD THEN BUILD WYOMING AS MY LIVEABOARD IN MAINE DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS. WE PLAN TO RETIRE TO FLORIDA DURING THE WINTER WHERE I WOULD KEEP AND USE THE SNEAKEASY AND THE IDAHO. OH “THE PLANS OF MICE AND MEN.” WELL YOU NEED A PLAN DON’T YOU??? 

CONSTRUCTION

HAVING MADE THE DECISION CONSTRUCTION BEGAN ON “KATIE” MY SNEAKEASY. I BOUGHT THE PLANS FROM DYNAMITE PAYSON AND CUT THE FIRST PIECE OF PLYWOOD SEPTEMBER 15, 2001. BY NOVEMBER 15, 2001 THE BOAT WAS 80% COMPLETE. I AM VERY IMPRESSED WITH HOW WELL DONE AND EASY TO FOLLOW THE PLANS THAT PHIL BOLGER PROVIDED WERE. THE BOAT WENT TOGETHER VERY QUICKLY WITH ME WORKING ON IT 3 OR 4 NIGHTS AFTER WORK AND MOST SATURDAYS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE YOU CAN REFER TO HER WEB SITE AT:

 http://www.geocities.com/sneakeasy2000/index.html 

I CUT THE FRAMES PER THE PLANS AND MADE WEB SECTIONS WITH ¼ LUAN. I USED PL PREMIUM CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE AFTER HEARING MANY GOOD COMMENTS IN THE VARIOUS DISCUSSION GROUPS ON THE WEB. I LIKE IT VERY MUCH. IT IS INEXPENSIVE AND VERY STRONG.

I DEVIATED FROM THE PLANS SOMEWHAT BY MAKING A KEELSON TO WHICH I SET UP AND FASTENED THE FRAMES. I USED TRIANGLE PIECES OF PLYWOOD TO HOLD THEM IN THE CORRECT POSITION. I FOUND THIS TO BE A VERY EFFECTIVE METHOD OF ASSEMBLING THE SKELETON OF THE BOAT. I NEXT VERIFIED THAT EVERYTHING WAS SQUARE AND TRUE AND INSTALLED THE CHINE LOGS AND SHEER STRINGERS.

IT WAS BEGINNING TO LOOK LIKE A BOAT NOW. 

THE TRANSOM WAS MADE FROM 3 LAYERS OF ¾ INCH PLYWOOD. TWO OF THE LAYERS ARE ¾ INCH LUAN AND THE INSIDE LAYER, WHERE THE MOTOR CLAMPS ON IS ¾ INCH OAK PLYWOOD. THIS MAKES FOR A VERY SUBSTANTIAL TRANSOM. THE NEXT PARTS TO BE ATTACHED WERE THE DRAKE’S TAILS. WHAT A NEAT FEATURE OF THIS BOAT! NOT ONLY DO THEY EXTEND THE WATERLINE GIVING MORE SPEED BUT THEY ALSO ADD TO THE STABILITYOF THE BOAT BY PROVIDING ADDITIONAL BOTTOM AREA. WHAT I LIKE BEST ABOUT THEM IS THE UNIQUE CLASSIC LOOKS THEY PROVIDE.

I USED ¼ INCH LUAN FOR THE SIDES AND THE DECK. I LIKE WORKING WITH LUAN BECAUSE IT CUTS EASILY, IS USUALLY OF ACCEPTABLE QUALITY AND FINISHES NICELY. I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT THE EXTREME CURVATURE OF THE DECK. I NOTICED OTHER BUILDERS OF SNEAKEASY HAD SOME DIFFICULTY PUTTING ON THE DECK WITHOUT CRACKING IT, ESPECIALLY NEAR THE BOW. I HAD MADE A SLIGHT ERROR IN THE CURVATURE OF THE FORWARD PART OF THE DECK FRAMING WHICH WAS FLATTER THAN DESIGNED. THE DECK WENT ON SLICK WITH NO CRACKING. I COVERED THE EXTERIOR OF THE HULL WITH 5 OZ GLASS CLOTH AND USED MAS EPOXY. 

THE MAIN STRUCTURE OF THE BOAT WAS COMPLETED NOVEMBER 15, 2001. THE NEXT TWO WEEKS WERE CONSUMED BY THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE COAMINGS AND THE WINDSHEILD. THE COAMINGS WERE MADE PER PLANS OUT OF MAPLE STAINED WITH “VERMONT MAPLE” MINWAX STAIN. THIS COLOR IS REDDISH AND LOOKS GREAT UNDER MULTIPLE COATS OF MINWAX SPAR VARNISH (ACTUALLY POLYURETHANE). I DEVIATED FROM THE PLANS AGAIN BY MAKING A FLAT WINDSHIELD. I WANTED TO BE ABLE TO LOWER THE WINDSHIELD TO GET THE WIND BLOWING IN MY FACE, YOU KNOW, THAT SENSE OF SPEED!! I USED MAPLE FOR THE WINDSHIELD AS WELL AND LEXAN FOR THE GLASS. STAINLESS STEEL EXTERNAL HINGES AND STAINLESS LATCHES WERE INSTALLED.

I WANTED PERIOD TYPE SEATS FOR THE BOAT. I SEARCHED THE NET BUT TO NO AVAIL. I WAS IN THE LOCAL MARINE STORE, HAMILTON MARINE, AND FOUND CANED CENTER CANOE SEATS WHICH WERE PERFECT. THEY WERE PRICEY, $70 EACH, BUT I BOUGHT 4 ANYWAY. I THINK THEY ADD ADDITIONAL CHARACTER TO THE BOAT! THE BOAT WAS THEN COVERED AND STORED OUTSIDE OUR TWO CAR HEATED GARAGE (WHAT A LUXURY) FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. 

I WORKED ON THE 15 HP MERCURY OUTBOARD THROUGHOUT DECEMBER MAKING IT ELECTRIC START AND REMOTE CONTROLLED. 

THIS BRINGS US TO THE END OF 2001. PART TWO OF THE SAGA WILL DESCRIBE THE COMPLETION OF THE BOAT AND LAUNCH DAY!! I CAN’T WAIT! AS I HAVE DONE IN MY PREVIOUS ARTICLES I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO BUILD A BOAT! THERE HAS BEEN HARDLY ANYTHING MORE SATISFYING FOR MY NEED FOR CREATIVITY THAT THIS!! YOU CAN BUILD A BOAT…SURE YOU CAN!!

(Click here to go to PARTII)