2004 Florida Boat Sightings
by Bruce Hector

We're wintering in Florida, and on the weekends we've been driving about. I've come across a number of interesting designs which I'll illustrate here.

(click the images for larger versions)

"HMS" Bounty, She winters in St. Petersburg each year and is a beautiful tall ship. See more HERE if desired. I've joined her winter maintenance crew and I try to give a day a week. So far I've learned seizing, smoothings, coiling halyards, and epoxied a split in the name board back together.
Below is the Bo 'sun's locker on the Bounty. Messy, but they can find anything.

Up near Homossassa Springs, a state park where manatees winter in a 70 degree spring fed bay I came across a mullet boat.
These are very unique, with the motor in a well forward. This clears the aft deck and makes fouling the prop in the nets unlikely.
She has a flat bottom, shallow draft and is very Bolgeresque. By the way, a mullet is an oily fish that is smoked. Very good, not unlike smoked herring.
Another Bolger boat we saw was Captain Lynda's "Mangrove Mistress".
She is a Bolger Tennessee and she uses it for eco-friendly tours into the mangroves and small inlets the deeper draft boats can't venture into. Quite a looker, and very economical to operate.
Would you believe a PT boat! PT 728 is a restored Thornycraft from WW 2. She does 2 and ½ hour high speed tours out of Key West. Wheeee!
On a beach in downtown Key West we saw this beautiful Auray Punt for sale....
...and this very Bolger like kayak
Then I came across this sharpie hulled catamaran, very interesting. And she had a load of glass (er Plexiglas) bottoms on board. Must be great to be paddling along looking down and see a school of 6 foot tarpon below!
Later, we came across this, which appears to be a lap strake Bolger Diablo,

Or at least a scratch build inspired by it. Note the flat bottom section. We just shot this from the highway, so I didn't see inside it.

we spent a day in the Greek founded community of Tarpon Springs. Lots of great boats, including Aegean Cacique inspired sponge boats like this.
Tarpon Springs fishing fleet.
Below is a beautiful 65 footer moored at the Tarpon Springs ship yard. She's make a great retirement live aboard for Elaine and I, no?
A replica of Christopher Columbus's Nina was in Clearwater. She is very small, about 45 feet. All the below deck space was for ballast, cargo and water. The crew lived and slept on deck with the animals. The ship's boat was build by a descendent of a shipwright who worked on the original. Now's that's history.
At a Ulmerton Rd. car dealer I saw this interesting power sharpie. I don't recognize the design. Elaine finally said "What, not ANOTHER bloody boat when I suggested, in jest of course, making an offer.
Captain Memo's Pirate Ship. A couple of hours as a pretend pirate on the Intracoastal Waterway with all the free ale you can quaff. Arrrggghhhh Matey! Nuff' said.
This tiny towboat reminded me of TIMS and gave me some great ideas for her next deployment.

These models were in the Bradenton Museum, and included a mock up of a local boat shop, numerous detailed models from Florida's maritime past.

Then we had to go home for a while. While back in the frozen north we saw this iron and steel three master aground near Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario. I'm pretty sure that she's a theatrical prop for a pirate tourist trap. Either that or something went terribly wrong in her construction or towing.
Jim Meloy, who owns a Dave Carnell $200 Sailboat in Punta Gorda came up to Clearwater to try my Twisted Seagull. He liked it so much he set up a seat box and started rowing his Featherwind clone the next day. Now he's another rowing fool.
Curt Mathews of Tampa is making some great progress on his Bolder Microtrawler "Litte LadY". The standard of finnish on this beauty is amazing. Curt owns a automotive body shop and has been sanding and painting cars for over twenty years. The uniniated will be unable to tell this is a wooden boat. He plans to launch this summer. He built entirely to plans on the exterior, but in the cabin deleted the galley in favor of side by side seating for him and his wife Cathy.

These two mullet boats were sighted in Ft. Pierce. Unlike the west coast boats with their forward motors, this one went with an extreme offset mount at the stern to give room for net handling. I've seen some similar set ups in Ren Tolhman's book on the great Alaskan Skiff. Sure makes room for a decent swim ladder!

John Bartlett has been modifying his Bolger Pelican trimaran houseboat. It's difficult to go wrong by lengthening any design, and on this it certainly made it into a "silk purse"! Speed is up, fuel econmy is up, useful space has exploded afterwards and the wake and draft has almost disappeared.
We spent the day cruising in and out of mangrove inlets in and around Fort Pierce with his friend Werner, from Switzerland. John plans to extend the house aft, leaving a 6 by 8 deck but adding a head and full time double berth.
Werner, by the way, build a Bolger Martha Jane modified as a cabin powerboat, shipped it to Europe inside a container, and putters around the canals of Europe on a miserly 4 stroke 9.9 for the summers!)
Unfortunately he had no photos. Talk about jealous. At least with shipping TIMS to Europe, the hull sections can actually BE the container! I know, the concept needs more work.
Here is your roving boat nut reporter, Bruce Hector, conducting shipping research