Voyage to Modification
2003 Mods to the Sneakeasy "Katie"
by Steve Bosquette

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 built her.

I close all of my articles with this sentence. You too can build a boat, sure you can!