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Thread: Bolger Sneakeasy?

  1. #1
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    Default Bolger Sneakeasy?

    I was browsing harbor launch photos and ran across an image that I thought was gorgeous. Looks like a Bolger Sneakeasy, but probably the nicest example I have ever seen. There was no information on the photo but not sure it could be anything else. I think it is on Lake Tahoe. Shows what can be done with a little bit of hard work to even simplistic boat. Bolger knew what he was doing for sure


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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Beautiful! I love long and lean.
    This would be a fun build...and, perfect for touring Lake Union and the ship canal here in Seattle.




    One of my favorite Bolger boats.
    Included in the book "Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson".

    more pics...








  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Very pretty, but isn't that really strange to have 8' of the bow up in the air?
    Seems like you might as well not have built that long of a boat.

    Sorry but it doesn't look like somebody knew what they were doing.

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    From Dynamite Payson’s book...

    Phil Bolger explained that the boat was designed for an owner who...
    “...wanted a fast launch to use in the canals of a Florida coastal development and nearby bays and bayous. Aside from some style and character, he wanted a boat that wouldn’t have much wake to disturb a neighborhood in which everybody keeps a boat tied up at the back fence.”

    Dynamite adds...
    “...twelve miles per hour with 7.5-horsepower motor noted on the plans.”

    That’s the way I would run this boat. Low and slow. Fuel sipping four stroke?...or maybe go electric. Put the batteries in the front to keep the eight feet of bow in the water.

    Seriously, though...although it could, and has, handled 35-horsepower, I would think it dangerous at high speed. She could trip on that square chine and pitch you out in a most unpleasant way.



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    Quote Originally Posted by upchurchmr View Post
    Very pretty, but isn't that really strange to have 8' of the bow up in the air? Seems like you might as well not have built that long of a boat. Sorry but it doesn't look like somebody knew what they were doing.
    In context of modern boats riding on the last third of their planing surface, this comment seems odd.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    In context of modern boats riding on the last third of their planing surface, this comment seems odd.
    Might be if this boat was planing, but it is not even close. Sneakeasy is a character boat that is fine for its very limited intended use. Add too much power or too much load and it becomes a safety hazard or a dog like in this picture.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Might be if this boat was planing, but it is not even close. Sneakeasy is a character boat that is fine for its very limited intended use. Add too much power or too much load and it becomes a safety hazard or a dog like in this picture.
    I agree that Sneakeasy is a character boat with very limited use. But, what if you want to be a character...and your limited use boat was used everyday within it's limitations?

    I could take people for custom tours and make them laugh. We would make fun of the other tourist boats in our local waters.

    Last edited by Gopez; 09-02-2014 at 01:21 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gopez View Post
    I agree that Sneakeasy is a character boat with very limited use. But, what if you want to be a character...and your limited use boat was used everyday within it's limitations?

    I could take people for custom tours and make them laugh. We would make fun of the other tourist boats in our local waters.
    Any boat that you like is a good boat in some sense. I could not find what Bolger had to say about Sneakeasy but a few things are obvious. It is essentially a long - narrow - flatbottom - vertical sided boat, much like a flat bottom canoe. Put a lot of happy touring passengers in there and you have a narrow boat with lots of moveable ballast that can be jostled to one side by the wake of a passing boat. Not a recipe for a happy ending in my view, but to each his own. If Bolger were still around, I suspect he might offer the same caution.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    While I had once considered building a Sneakeasy, I decided it was too narrow for my taste and too limiting in where you can take it. The original photo above was mostly to show that even a boat designed to be built by the backyard builder can really be decked out and made into something special. I think with a bit more beam, say up to 5'-6" it would be a lot more stable, but then you get away from the long lean look so appealing in this design. I just think the builder did a really bang up job with a basic box.

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    I've occasionally wondered whether the 4' beam on this boat was a product of the design process, or whether "one sheet of plywood wide" was a starting point.

    I really don't think it would lose any elegance if it were 5'-6' beam.

    I'm sure it's plenty stable at 4', but I'm one of those airline-passenger-hell guys who sits 30" elbow-to-elbow. A 4' wide boat barely leaves room for a dog to sit with me.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    The narrowness and lightness is what gives Sneakeasy its efficiency. Make it a foot wider, and you'll need a bigger motor to push it. Bolger does indeed warn in "Boat with and Open Mind" that too much power will make Sneakeasy dangerous. "Nobody should trust a hull like this when it's going really fast."

    One boat did 32 mph with a 35 h.p. engine. He later drew a revised bottom for a customer who wanted a Sneakeasy suitable for sometimes choppy Galveston Bay.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    I would be tempted to put a slight Vee in the bottom.
    Gerard>
    ​Freeland, WA

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Bolger eschewed the V because, he says, it would create the wake that wasn't wanted by pushing water out the sides. The later modification for choppy water involved creating the cutwater style bow he used in his step sharpies. This diminishes to a "keel bottom" further aft. Study plans for both models can be found in "Boats With an Open Mind," which seems to be available still.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Bolger eschewed the V because, he says, it would create the wake that wasn't wanted by pushing water out the sides. The later modification for choppy water involved creating the cutwater style bow he used in his step sharpies. This diminishes to a "keel bottom" further aft. Study plans for both models can be found in "Boats With an Open Mind," which seems to be available still.
    I guess you are referring to his "Box keel" designs. I usually get a headache trying to visualize the water flow over and around all these sharp angles under the bottom. Its instructive to note that Bolger offered a revision for the bow sections of some of his box keels for people who got tired of all the noise under there. Also interesting to see that the revision was mainly turning the box into a V with a flat center section. Good for Bolger that he was able to charge $xxx for the revision. Everybody's got to eat.

    I have nothing against box keels in general, just when they are used at high speed.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Seems like this design might be a great platform for one of the new electric outboards.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default

    Abslutely, I've seen that at done.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gopez View Post
    (Note: I know very little about outboards and am probably talking drivel here.)

    Then you will be allowed to live. Go and sin no more. That is a classic and nothing could be done to it that would not diminish it.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    That motor is a beauty. NO WAY I would touch that other than to keep her running. A fine example of a well cared for motor. I had the pleasure of seeing a PRISTINE Johnson Sea Horse 10HP this past weekend at a relative's home. I had no idea he was into vintage outboards either.


    Figment, you don't think widening the beam to 5'-6" would make it look weird? I might throw the plan view for a Sneakeasy in CAD and scale it up in the right proportions to see how it looks.

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    define "weird".... we're already well into "unusual" territory with this one.

    I'd have no problem with extending the hull 6' or 8' to keep the proportions on the kooky side of slender.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gopez View Post
    How 'bout an old Evinrude?
    See vid below for cool conversion to electric!

    We are in different territory here. Older Johnson/Evinrude engines are so ubiquitous and maintained in operating condition by those who actually use them instead of just admiring them. Older Mercs are not the same. Most of the 1950 Mercs were more like a Ferrari compared to a Ford or Chevy. I have a 1953 Mark 20 in pristine condition that just sits and a 1980 Evinrude 25 that gets used a lot. Parts and info on older E/J's are easy to find and inexpensivebut not so much for Mercs. Also got a 1946 Johnson 2.5 and a 1955 Evinrude 7.5 that should be taken by someone and made to run again since I will never do it.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    If you've never run one of those vintage 2 cycle outboards, brace yourself for the shock of seeing it spew gobs of oil and gas into the water and smoke into the air when you start it up. The pollution lessens as the thing warms up, but it's not a pretty sight. I have a '53 Mercury 5 horse that could easily be put back into use, but the thought of the mess it makes is to too much for me to consider.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    If you've never run one of those vintage 2 cycle outboards, brace yourself for the shock of seeing it spew gobs of oil and gas into the water and smoke into the air when you start it up. The pollution lessens as the thing warms up, but it's not a pretty sight. I have a '53 Mercury 5 horse that could easily be put back into use, but the thought of the mess it makes is to too much for me to consider.
    Many, if not most of the older outboards can use the new and far better marine oils at much higher ratios. I use 50:1 in my Evinrude. That is still some pollution but much better than 32:1 or 16:1.

    By the way, I will give the older Sea Horse and Evinrude to someone who really would like to bring them back to use. Both were running at retirement over 25 years ago and given to me when the owner had to move. They are not broken but would need some work to get them going. Gotta pick them up in coastal NC of course.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Many, if not most of the older outboards can use the new and far better marine oils at much higher ratios. I use 50:1 in my Evinrude. That is still some pollution but much better than 32:1 or 16:1.

    By the way, I will give the older Sea Horse and Evinrude to someone who really would like to bring them back to use. Both were running at retirement over 25 years ago and given to me when the owner had to move. They are not broken but would need some work to get them going. Gotta pick them up in coastal NC of course.
    Tom,

    I'd love to take the old Evinrude and/or Sea Horse off of you. I have been wanting to build a Glen L Squirt for my daughter that I already have plans for but have been putting it off until I got an engine. I think either of those engines would work well for me ad I'd be more than happy to get them running again and use them. I live just outside Charlotte so a trip to Oriental is a day trip for me. Please let me know if you're still willing to part with them.

    John

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Martin View Post
    Tom,

    I'd love to take the old Evinrude and/or Sea Horse off of you. I have been wanting to build a Glen L Squirt for my daughter that I already have plans for but have been putting it off until I got an engine. I think either of those engines would work well for me ad I'd be more than happy to get them running again and use them. I live just outside Charlotte so a trip to Oriental is a day trip for me. Please let me know if you're still willing to part with them.

    John
    John,

    They are still here. I will probably be going to the Georgetown wooden boat show October 18 and could bring them along if you could come there. Its a great show and well worth the trip.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gopez View Post
    Good info thanks!

    I have a desire (someday) to restore an old outboard in the 15 to 25 hp range. Probably something around twenty years old. Just for fun...and the experience. I see lots of books on how to do this at the library. I guess the old Evinrude/Johnsons would be a good place to start? So many trashed outboards on craigslist. I guess the starting point is learning what to look for and weeding out the "un-fixibles". Probably a book out there on this as well.
    I consider Max Wawrzyniak's book "Cheap Outboards" to be the bible on old Johnson/Evinrudes. Full of practical information to keeping old outboards running rather than making them into museum pieces. Breakaway Books, Halcottsville, NY. Published in 2006

    A small fun book to read even if you are not actually rebuilding an old outboard. Available from both ABE Books and Amazon. Most of the Johnson/Evinrude motors shown are from the 50's and 60's but the basic designs did not change much into the 80's. I run a 1980 Evinrude 25 but it is still the same basic engine that I had in the 1950's.
    Last edited by Tom Lathrop; 09-12-2014 at 09:54 AM.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    John,

    They are still here. I will probably be going to the Georgetown wooden boat show October 18 and could bring them along if you could come there. Its a great show and well worth the trip.
    I do plan on attending the show. My daughter has softball that weekend but I have missed the show the last several years do to coaching her team and she has moved to a different team and I no longer have to coach, so I finally have the chance to go. I will send you a PM with my contact information. What size motors are they by the way?

    John

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    By the way, I will give the older Sea Horse and Evinrude to someone who really would like to bring them back to use. Both were running at retirement over 25 years ago and given to me when the owner had to move. They are not broken but would need some work to get them going. Gotta pick them up in coastal NC of course.
    We should be coming through that area next week - and I could certainly use a tiny little outboard motor, if the offer is still good.
    Dave

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    We should be coming through that area next week - and I could certainly use a tiny little outboard motor, if the offer is still good.
    Dave
    Still good Dave, The Johnson is a 1946 2 1/2 HP and reincarnated in a 1995 Evinrude 3HP that I have.

    The Evinrude is a 1955 7 1/2HP that John may want.
    Tom L

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Tom,

    I'd love the Evinrude. If you bring it to the Georgetown Show I'll meet up with you there. I sent you a PM with my contact information.

    John

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Martin View Post
    Tom,

    I'd love the Evinrude. If you bring it to the Georgetown Show I'll meet up with you there. I sent you a PM with my contact information.

    John
    OK, will do.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Tom, great meeting you, and thanks for your generosity! That's a lovely little old motor, and I hope I can get her running again. Nice place you have there, too, and the Bluejacket is just great.
    BTW, I saw my 4th ever Austin-Healey bug-eyed Sprite while driving through your town. We had one when I was a kid . . . until Mom decided her hairdo was more important than having a convertible (or so the story goes).

    As fro the Bolger Sneakeasy - I kind of want one, but aesthetically speaking they seem disturbingly narrow to me.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    Tom, great meeting you, and thanks for your generosity! That's a lovely little old motor, and I hope I can get her running again. Nice place you have there, too, and the Bluejacket is just great.
    BTW, I saw my 4th ever Austin-Healey bug-eyed Sprite while driving through your town. We had one when I was a kid . . . until Mom decided her hairdo was more important than having a convertible (or so the story goes).

    As fro the Bolger Sneakeasy - I kind of want one, but aesthetically speaking they seem disturbingly narrow to me.
    I will be waiting to see the little Evinrude on one of your nice smaller floatables in the near future. Got my Evinrude 3 running well yesterday and discovered that the shop that did a carb clean apparently did not actually do very much and left it in poor shape that took a lot of work to refurbish a few small critical bits to get it going. Its not full of 93 octane ethanol free with Stabil added. Maybe I will be more careful to run it more often.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Figment View Post
    I've occasionally wondered whether the 4' beam on this boat was a product of the design process, or whether "one sheet of plywood wide" was a starting point.
    Normally he build the bottoms out of ply planked transversely though that still makes most efficient use of the 8 foot lengths, though only half the boat is max width so you could pick up some use from any waste later.

    He had a theoretical set of dimensions for the power sharpies, and so Tenn. comes out at 6 feet wide, though not some similar ratio, but obviously more wasteful of plywood.

    I have at times wondered whether Phil knew how people build boats. I have been building pretty seriously for 37 years. Quality cheap D-fir was never available around here in marine grade. So just cutting stuff at maximum efficiency from the fewest sheets, ring shanking it all together onto guitar grade stringers, and then hitting it with some paint, was never an option. Every instant type boat I have made was made out of lessor grades of underlayment and doorskins, and was epoxy coated. The cost of the plywood is nothing, but it can't survive without the epoxy and glass. Some of them have been in the weather for 30 years. But the point is, I could care less what the plywood costs, what costs is the sheathing and filleting. Of course if one is building out of 1088 and then sheathing it, apart from not having got the memo, one is pretty much the kind of person used to the tug of both belt and suspenders.

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    Default Re: Bolger Sneakeasy?

    I will confess that I am not generally a big fan of Bolger. A few designs, like Kingfisher, amuse me although I can't imagine owning one. The OP is just drop dead gorgeous and would be a credit to anyone. I like that very much! Thank you for sharing.

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