Voyage to Modification
2003 Mods to the Sneakeasy "Katie"
In my previous articles about the
construction of the Sneakeasy “KATIE”, I described
the slight changes that I made in Phil Bolger’s design.
One was the flat windshield that could fold down, and the other
was recesses to hold my built up seats in place.
The flat windshield was quite low
and did not offer much spray protection. It was nice on really
hot days (yes we do have a couple of hot days a year here on the
coast of Maine) to put the windshield down and get more breeze
in the cockpit. In Casco Bay in the Portland area there is a great
deal of boat traffic causing confused wakes, generated by large
and small vessels alike. The larger wakes splash over the bow
and cause spray to come over and especially around the windshield.
As you will see, the 2003 modifications totally revamped the windshield
with great success.
Katie - before the modifications
As to the seats, it was plain early
on that having the seats stationary was not good. With different
crew it was useful to move the seats in different locations for
balance and walk around room. I filled in the recesses and made
the seats portable. It made all the difference in the convenience
of the cockpit.
In early spring I removed the old
windshield and designed a windshield enclosure that was not only
higher off the forward deck but also had spray protection side
pieces that came back 3 feet along the sides of the boat. I also
slanted the forward windshield, which helped the overall appearance
of the boat. I chose to not curve the side panels, but to keep
them straight to resemble the angle of the drakes tails. I think
this turned out most satisfactorily. I mounted the red and green
navigation lights in the center of the forward windshield and
mounted the “All Around” white light on the starboard
side on top of the windshield.
Katie - After the modifications
As a practical matter the new windshield
has proved to be effective in both the warmth in the cockpit on
cold days and in excellent spray protection. It even deflects
spray for those in the rear of the boat. The boat is much more
pleasant to operate now.
I removed the caned seats completely,
finding that they were not that comfortable, even though they
looked real nice. I bought upholstered front seats that I mounted
on swivel bases, and I made them portable. They are very comfortable
and a big improvement.
Cane seats removed
I did not like the open area in
the back of the boat forward of the transom; there was always
lots of clutter: bucket, sponge, tool box, etc. I enclosed the
gas tank under a deck area extending it forward to the first frame.
I then made a bulkhead there and a lift up seat. The seat accomodates
2 people, lifts up for storage under which hides all the clutter
I had last year. I was at West Marine one day and found they had
70 qt Igloo coolers with cushions available for the top. I bought
one of the cushions and found that it fit perfectly on my new
rear seat. The only thing missing now was a seat back. I went
to Home Depot and bought a 5/4 hard pine stair tread. I cut it
to fit so that it could be removed for easy access to the fuel
filler and motor. I used ¾ round to make guides for the
back, and this nicely completed the job.
All in all, the new modifications
have improved the use of the Sneakeasy, especially effectively
extending the time I can use her. The windshield enclosure keeps
the cockpit warmer , the new seats are more comfortable, and passengers
enjoy the ride more in a comfortable rear seat with all the clutter
stored out of sight under the seat. “Katie” is a lot
of fun and turns heads everywhere she goes. I never put her in
the water but that someone stops by to inquire about her design.
I’m proud to say she is a Phil Bolger design and that I
I close all of my articles
with this sentence. You too can build a boat, sure you can!