Slicer Utility Launch
Design #492 by Phil Bolger
29'0" x 5'2"
Weight 800 lbs. Bare. 1700 Ibs. Full Load
Slicer was designed for choppy water,
to keep going without being slowed down much or slamming hard
in, say, a 2' chop. Ed Haile ofChamplain, Virginia, the owner
from whom we got the most useful reports, says she is "quite
elegant" in a 2' chop but "a bit out of her element
in 3' and 4' seas," slamming and wet. He reports good steering
manners, "holds her course in all seas starting at 3kts
on up," with a 30' turning circle if she's loaded aft,
it increases as the weight is moved forward. Top speed with
a 15hp 4-stroke is 15 knots. At 12 knots she gets 15 nautical
miles per gallon of gasoline (15 nautical miles equals 17-1/4
statute miles or 27.8 kilometers).
She was intended to be efficient with a wide
range of motors, the man who originally commissioned the design
wanted a boat with considerable carrying capacity that could
run reasonably well with a motor that he could remove and carry
away on his shoulder on account of a major theft hazard where
he meant to keep her. We reckoned that she would do 7 or 8 knots
with a 6 hp 2-stroke and not be slowed down in a small chop.
That may be conservative as Ed Haile's boat can make 11.5 knots
with four adults with 9.9hp.
The designed construction was 1/2" sheet
plywood, though not laid out for instant prefabricated construction,
she had to be lofted and set up boatbuilder style. The first
one built that way did not report any problems, though we'd
suggest that it might be worthwhile to plank the forward end
double 1/4" to make forcing the sheets up on to the stem
easier to do and less of a stress on the sheets.
Ed contracted with a small boat
shop to build her for him. The builder went to a naval architect
to do a CAD rendering of the shape so the panels could be prefabricated.
This was supposed to save lofting and construction time, but it
seems that the N.A.'s CAD program wasn't able to handle the designed
shape of the hull, which is not quite a true developable surface.
Whatever happened, when they set her up, nothing fit. The boat
showed unfair places and the sheet lengths did not come out right.
The builder tried to fudge it,
resulting in a lawsuit and the-transfer of the work to another
shop, Craig Watson of North Beach, Maryland. Watson built her,
with our approval, of 3/8" Coosa Bluewater foam coring with
skins of 10-oz. glass cloth and mat. She came out fair and clean
from Watson's hands and may be lighter than the plywood hull,
though we don't have a reliable figure on that.
This boat is one more illustration
of the distinction between long and narrow. The reputation of
boats that are narrow for their length for rolling easily and
deep is due to the fact that many of them are narrow for their
breadth, height, and weight. The man who commissioned this design
intended her to replace a 14-1/2' Jon boat, which he described
as a stiff boat. Slicer is the same beam as the Jon boat, and
she might be described as the Jon boat with a 14-1/2' cutwater
added on to its bow to let her slice through a small chop. The
added length was quite pointy so it did not add to her capacity
in proportion to the added length, but I take it that nobody will
argue that if the after 14-1/2' is a stiff boat and a good carrier,
that adding 14-1/2' to its length is likely to make it tender!
Still, I can hear many, "yes, buts" coming...
Plans of Slicer, our Design
#492, are available for $100 to build one boat, sent priority
mail, rolled in a tube. Phil Bolger & Friends, Inc., P.O.
Box 1209, Gloucester, MA 01930.