Bolger Stitch and Glue

As it looked in the USED CAR LOT
As it looked in the USED CAR LOT.

After sailboats 30′ and up, I never thought I’d enjoy having a small skiff but then I found this small wooden “stitch and glue” oar/sail Gunther rigged skiff at used car lot in Charlotte.

I thought it to be an Otter 16 but the guys at the Wooden Boat forum have convinced me it’s a Phil Bolger Gypsy design. TheWooden Boat forum is definitely a big help.

Of course, sailing it is different than bigger boats. No room to stretch and move around. No place to get out of bad weather. No space to stash several months provisions. But it’s fun to sit closer to the water and closer-to-nature. And there’s virtually no maintenance hassles. It’s very easy to row and I’ve set it up for a small trolling motor though have never put one aboard. What really makes it special right now is that I can sail the reservoir behind my house when the urge to sail hits and I’m unable to make the three hour trek to the sea.

There’s something about wooden boats versus fiberglass (plastic) that’s magical—as if you’re part of a living thing and it, the boat, is part of all living things around you: water, sky, fishes, birds, animals, etc. It’s a “close to nature” vibe.

I beefed up the mast step, added additional bench and deck boards (with finger holes to lift them up for storage underneath) and then gave it a paint job.

It’s now Pineapple Hill’s official Tongan War Skiff.

— Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill













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