Bolger Micro

December 14, 2010 at 8:51 pm  |   Boat Building Projects,

The Micro is a big little boat – a big cockpit and lots of interior volume in only 14 feet. Almost no draft – pull up on the beach and step of into ankle-deep water. Self-tends itself to windward over about 6 or 7 knots of breeze. Believe it or not, our racing version with retractable bowsprit has done over 10 knots with 4 nervous adults aboard – creeeaak, groooaann! Sadly, we’re thinking of offering her to a good home one of these days to make room. 1995 on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees near Tulsa.

Keel
I enlarged the lateral area of the lead and potted-in #8 lead shot with polyester. Even this wasn’t enough volume, the ballast ending up short. I added an iron shoe, 1/4 by 2 inch by 14 feet by 25 lbs, to the bottom on the keel. Still light, the keel was enough to right us after a knockdown in about a 25 knot breeze. Turning it over with the ballast in place just about killed us!

Mast
I ordered a 25 foot piece of VersaLam, which is essentially Douglas Fir plywood, 1-7/8 by 11-1/2 inch by whatever length you want, normally used for architectural beams. I ripped two pieces (killing one circular saw) and glued and screwed the mast with Weldwood plastic glue and temporary sheetrock screws. I finished by band-sawing the taper and router-rounding the corners, producing a rigid and strong but heavy spar. Scraps built a strong mast partners.

Sprit
The bow sprit is a 2 by 2 by 100 inch spar going through a square hole in the bow transon and another in the first watertight bulkhead. Rigging inside the cabin extends and retracts it, and a martingale line between the end and the bottom of the bow transon guys it under use. Easily deplayed/doused from the cockpit, the reacher will quickly plane the boat, while the crew scramble aft to prevent plowing and water gushing in the bow transom steps.