I built a Bolger Spur II a couple years back, but lent it away to a friend; so I now wanted to quickly slap together another 'family use' light weight rowboat for playtime this summer.
Starting with the lines drawn by Bolger as "Cartoon #5" in an old issue of "Small Boat Journal" I inputed his hull shape 'give or take a couple inches'
into Gregg Carlson's Hulls.exe program. This worked well for the calculation and the layout of the strakes and the frames. I used the frame and seat detailing ideas shown by Phil Bolger for his boat Spur II, applying them to the 'Cartoon #5' \ double ended shape.
I have come to realize that plywood lapstrake construction can be as fast or faster than plywood panel construction, *if* you can avoid being too worrisome about the precision, the finish quality and the detail work. Take a step back and you don't notice the defects.
This boat is
very light in weight. I skipped fiberglass altogether, saving lots of
time, weight and cost.
[with the exception of two small pieces on the interior where your
feet step on the bottom.] The strakes are made of 1/8" el cheapo
luaun ply. I don't own a scale, but the boat is easy to pick and
carry single handed I guess around 60 lbs.
$60 of wood.
$40 of paint.
$20 of sandpaper.
1 gallon epoxy.
Started May 29 finished June 12.
This boat is not rugged, but that weakness is well worth the value added to have a very light weight row boat. It rows excellent! Carrying up to 700 lbs, two adults and three kids.
She rows so slippery that you can't really call it exercise
[until you approach hull speed]. Tracks very straight,
but not so tight to make maneuvering hard.
Much sweeter rowing as a single instead of with two people,
as the space between the forward rowing station and the
middle seat is perhaps 6" too short for comfortable leg
extension. Rowing from the center seat feels great,
with me and my long legs.
Two hours fishing with my daughter on Father's day morning,
no fish, but we found and retrieved a beach ball from the tulle's;
which we will take to Lake Bereyesa this evening for three
days camping, [waterfront camp spot] at Spanish Flat Resort,
with me and four girls and five Bolger boats. Teal, Cartoon 5,
Tortoise, Yellowleaf and Kotick, our own messabout.
...still I got one puncture of the top strake
when my youngest kid rammed me with
the pointy bow of my Kotick, [well above
the waterline.] Also I got several cracks
in the frames due to jarring and jostling
loading and carrying the boat on the
trailer on bumpy roads. The boat still
functioned fine with the cracked frames
and this all will be an easy fix with epoxy
and scabbed on patches. Two of the
thin battens forming the seating surfaces
got cracked when people stepped on them,
again an easy fix. The paint could already
use a renewal due to scratching while
dragging the boat around up the beach and
across the parking lot, and there is a
2 inch spot with major gouging due to
pressure point abrasion on the trailer.
None of the 'glass ballon epoxy' lap
joints show any hint of failure, though
I do have a nagging 'pin hole' leak somewhere
probably due to a hole left from a pulled
I hindsight I *still* wouldn't add epoxy sheathing
or heavier wood due to the weight issue as
ease carrying the boat makes a huge
difference in the 'fun factor'.