Cheap Guitars, Proas, Sailing Canoes, Chinese Lugsails
_•Plywood Boats•
Tube Amps, Wanda the Cat, Odd Sails from Polytarp, This & That & Bamboo

I LIKE Phil Bolger's designs, and I've got plans for his AS19, AS29, and Jinni (a 16' two-masted sharpie). I've built models of the AS19 and the Jinni, equipped with junk sails, to test them out. Phil doesn't seem to like junk sails. But he has come around to the "Chinese gaff", a battened gaff sail with multi-part sheets.

Bolger's Chinese Gaffer

Check out the Honor Roll: a list of Bolger boat owners, below, and the page with some Bolger boats.

Contact him by mail to find out about plans prices or commissioning a design. Also, he has a 96 minute videotape, "Life With Lily," about their electric launch. Narrative by Phil, interiors of his boat "Resolution," tour of the local waters. He warns it is amateurish... $35 postpaid first class mail. His address is:

Phil Bolger & Friends, Inc.
Boat Designers
P.O. Box 1209
66 Atlantic St.
Gloucester MA 01930
Fax: 978-282-1349

JIM Michalak also designs interesting boats, more extreme than Bolger's (in the utilitarian sense: can a boat be more basic and more extreme at the same time?) and Jim likes to work with Bolger's high sided "Birdwatcher" cabin concept. I bought his 12' Twixt plans, because it looked like an interesting cross betwixt a sneakbox and a sampan. Haven't built the darn thing yet.

Contact Jim at:

Jim Michalak
118 East Randall
Lebanon IL 62254

One buck gets you his basic brochure with 16 boat designs: see some here. Read his boat essays on the Web here.


_Plywood for Boatbuilding FAQ

_The Cheap Foil FAQ

_Boats and Bamboo


Tray Boat of Taiwan

Basket Boat of Tongking

and more coming...

_What's Stitch & Glue Building?

Some Nifty Links:

Chesapeake Light Craft
(a zillion small boat kits)

System Three (Epoxies)

(Epoxies: their Rapid Cure is waterproof!)

The Fiberglass Scrap Pile
(? their ISP has vanished - somewhere I have a pamphlet. Hope I can find it.)

General Plastics

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Explains Composites

Bolger Plans from Dynamite Payson

Annapolis Performance Sailing (Blocks and gear and stuff and really good prices)

John's Nautical Links
(Hundreds of links)

John Winters' Web Page
(Hydrodynamics for Poets)


The 12-foot Bolger "Peero", miniature Sailing Canoe, under sail at St Michaels with my prototype Batwing Gunter rig. I can't remember who's at the helm.

Boom and yard are bamboo.
Boat by John Harris. I did the rig. Bolger asks $25 for the plans.

> Plans Plans Peero Plans <

button_Materials & Making Things

- Cleats!
- Bamboo paddles!
- Some Craig Projects:

_St Michaels Sailing Scow
& Other
Short Boats
_The Tacking Proa

button Always trying to locate sources for neat stuff.

button_Cheap Boating & My Boats

buttonHow to Build Bolger's Peero

buttonSome Phil Bolger Designs

buttonSome Jim Michalak Designs

MARC Pettingill's book, Building Sweet Dream, tells you how to build a small, elegant and lightweight canoe from a couple sheets of folded and twisted plywood.


Sweet Dream 3-View

This type of small canoe (not in plywood, of course) was very popular in the USA about 100 years ago, and has always had a following in the UK.

The book is published by Tiller Publishing (to order, 1-800-6TILLER) and any local bookstore can order it.

Marc Pettingill and one of his canoes at the 1997 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

Marc & Sweet Dream

The scanned snapshot doesn't do justice to the finish on the boat, which is a wonderful blue with cream or tan inside.

DAVID Carnell is another interesting guy. His $200 Sailboat is based on Bolger's Featherwind plywood skiff and is designed to use a simple polytarp lug sail or a salvaged Sunfish rig. See his web page here. Plans are $20 from:

David Carnell
322 Pages Creek Drive
Wilmington NC 28405


$200 Sailboat

Email him from his web site here or send a self addressed stamped envelope for photos and information.

Bolger Boat Honor Roll

These people have built their own boats using plans from Phil Bolger, Jim Michalak or other designers. They'd probably be ecstatic to talk about their boat(s) with you. You can email them, or in some cases phone them or connect to their web pages. Some might even have a boat for sale. As you can tell, some of them are true Bolger addicts. Others must have been born under the astrological sign of the Eclectic.

Charles Andrews
P. O. Box 3135
Kent Ohio 44240
  • Light Schooner (Scooner)
  • Black Skimmer
  • Elegant Punt
Bill Samson
Dundee, Scotland
Chris Noto Sweetwater, TN, USA
phone: 423-337-0221  
  • Bolger Teal, built 1983,
    sailed and maintained continuously since.
Ed Heins
Ed's web page: Chebacco and Tween
  • Jim Michalak's "Tween",
    8' foot dink with a 50sq ft lateen rig:

    michalak tween

Gregg Carlson
Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Micro
  • Bee
  • Brick
  • Pirogue
  • Sneakeasy (a classy-looking speedboat,
    see also Idaho, its cousin)

    Gregg's web page

Ron Eikamp
Pierre, SD 57501
  • Bolger's Rubens Nymph
  • Building a 15-ft Michalak Scram Pram
Tim Fatchen
  • Nymph 7'6" (1989)
  • Light Schooner 21'6" (1991)  
  • AS29 29'6" (professionally built 1993)
Tim's home page is a treat: don't miss it.
Patrick Crockett
Durham, NC
John Bell
Kennesaw, GA
phone: 770-429-5431 days
Jamie Orr
  • Elegant Punt, 8'
    belongs to 8 year old son, Alan  
  • Chebacco 20 under construction, sheet ply  
  • Cedar strip canoe, 16'
    David Hazen Micmac design
  • Cedar strip canoe, 9'
    from Sairy Gamp offsets in Atwood
    Manley's book on Rushton. This one is
    12 year old daughter Lindsay's, built
    when she was 9.
Chris Crandall Lawrence, KS
40 miles west of Kansas City
  • Bolger Teal - 12' row-and-sail sharpie
  • Two 6-Hour Canoes
  • Michalak Harmonica - a mini shantyboat
Carl Noe
Southeastern Vermont
(nobody knows where Putney is)
  • Featherwind
  • Elegant Punt
  • Tortoise
  • Micro  
  • and a Brick.
Daniel Pike
Iqaluit Northwest Territories, Canada
  • Jinni - 16' sharpie daysailer
  • June Bug
  • want to build Fast Motorsailer
Craig O'Donnell
Box 232 Betterton MD 21700
  • Peero (Pirogue 12)
    12' sailing sharpie canoe,
    loaned by John Harris  
  • One ama, based on "Tarantula" design  
  • One Proa, inspired by the Dynamite Sailboard
  • Jinni plans; model; in pre-production
bolger jinni
  • Snark
    - plastic lateener rebuilt for lounging
  • Coleman 15 Canoe
    - has been used as a junk-rigged sailing canoe; now it's a proa with that Bolger ama attached.
  • Hobie 16 ...borrowed
  • Birdwatcher
Burton Blais
  • Gypsy, named Hummingbird - launched June, 1996  
  • Chebacco 20 - hard chine version under construction
Ned Asplundh
Feasterville, PA
18 miles N of Philly
215.357.2670 fax
  • Pointy Skiff
  • Instant Kayak
  • Shoebox
    finishing up this summer (promise!)
Bolger 2 Build:
  • Birdwatcher or...
  • something in 16' range
    (Crab Skiff, Windsprint, or BYYC Weekender) to fit a way-old gaff sloop rig (20's or 30's?) I found in a Michigan junque shop last month.
Non-Bolger (Sold and Sadly Missed):
  • Florida Bay Mud Hen
Nigel Cameron
Hertford, UK
  • Pirogue
    (variously described to differentiate from the 'Payson Pirogue' as... Common Sense Design, Elrow La Rowe, sailing, 16ft and no doubt other prefixes)
  • Selway Fisher Stornoway 12
    (have the plans, getting ready to build)
John C. Harris
Harbor Drive
Chester, MD 21619
John's Cool Boats page

  • Windmill racing dinghy (3)
And as a boatbuilder:
  • Sea Kayaks (20... and 1000+ kits)
  • Melonseeds (3)
  • Oughtred Whitehall
  • Miniature Tugboat
  • Strip-planked dinghies (2)
  • Other stuff...

See John's work in the photos on the Chesapeake Light Craft pages, and in the WoodenBoat - "Building the Mill Creek" - and other articles. CLC sells his John's Sharpie and Eastport Pram designs with more to come.

Bob Cushing
Cazenovia, N.Y.
  • Microtrawler
  • Fast Motorsailer
  • High-side Chebacco Motorsailer
Michael Galvin
Muskegon, MI

I've built two Bolger designs:

  • Nymph
  • Pointy Skiff

Happy to show them to anyone visiting Muskegon.

John LuValle
556 E. Sacramento St.
  • Refitting a second hand sailing pirogue (launch this month)
  • Designing a crusing proa
John Tuma
Fremont, CA
  • Windsprint (launched 6/94)
  • Catfish Beachcruiser (launched 7/96)
  • Light Dory (2, launched 1/97 and 6/97, both sold)
  • Shoebox (2, launched 5/97, built one each for my sons, ages 5 and 7)

Sadly, I had to sell the dories to feed my habit--just got too crowded around here. But they sure are fine boats.

Phil Rappa
Apt 816
5901 Mount Eagle Drive
Alexandria, VA 22303
  • Nymph
  • Models of the Black Skimmer and Sparkler

Still trying to find a building space for the full size Sparkler in VA.

Mark McCracken
Elk Grove (Sacramento), CA
  • June Bug (03/96)
Dan Gonneau
Shelter Island, NY
  • Long Micro
    Dan's Photos & his excellent FAQ.
Gary Blankenship
Tallahassee, FL

Bolger boats:

  • Tortoise punt
  • Zephyr
  • Custom 30-foot dipping/balanced lugger
  • 19.5-foot daysailing catboat
    (enlarged from 14.5-foot plans published in Small Boat Journal)

Non-Bolger boats:

  • Steve Redmond Elver
  • Jim Michalak Roar II
    (with friends, in a day and a half)
  • Jim Michalak Piccup Pram
Joseph Chan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Windsprint
Bill Derby
PO Box 121032
Fort Worth, TX 7612
  • I am the proud owner of a Tim Webber and Family built Bolger Micro!! They have done a superb job, I essentially only have to set the mast steps and paint her.


  • Glen L Kid-yak
Ramon Gandia (was at):
  • Seven Stars
    48' Bolger aluminum junk-rig ketch
    under construction. It was at:
    but seems to have vanished.
Meyer Rafael
Melbourne Australia
IMR Systems
  • Bolger Windsprint "Zevulon"
Alan Pike
Toronto, Canada
  • Bolger Teal
Chuck Merrell
Seattle, Washington
  • Micro
  • Jessie Cooper
  • Shoebox (2)
George Staples, Jr.
Fairfax, Va.
  • 12' Tern (a sailing scow)
Mike Wagenbach
  • built: Yellow Leaf bateau or canoe
  • bought: Gloucester Gull with sliding seat
James Richardson

James Richardson Designs built:

  • 32' atlantic proa Paradox
  • 6' 2" dinghy Dilemma
    Popular Science Plywood Design Contest prizewinner
Bob Cavenagh
Dickinson College
Carlisle PA 17013
717-245-1508 (voice)
717-245-1456 (fax)
  • Caretaker of Bolger SHARPSHOOTER
  • Owner of a Nymph
  • Owner of a San Francisco Pelican
  • Other boats too numerous and commonplace to name....
Dave Carnell
Email to Dave
322 Pages Creek Drive
Wilmington NC 28405

The only Bolger boat I have now is the "$200 Sailboat", a modified FEATHERWIND. The original was my first Bolger boat. Then I built OTTER II.

Other Bolger boats:

  • TORTOISE, a very good dinghy that you can climb back into without swamping
  • ZEPHYR, built frameless with what Jim Michalak calls a "Carnell flange" gunwale.
  • LIGHT DORY, built frameless and very light (70 lbs).
  • I am thinking of building a Payson Pirogue.
Joe McWilliams
  • I built a Bolger Nymph summer '96. Construction photos may be seen at
  • Presently restoring a 40-year old hot-molded plywood Thistle
Michael Jennings
Simsbury Connecticut
  • Bolger Windsprint

    I am in the process of painting and the end is now in sight.
Doug Eilertson
500 Lake Of The Woods
Akron, OH 44333
  • I found your site doing some research on a curious boat I bought. The boat, "THE BORROWED TIMES", I discovered was one of the only three 31 foot Folding Schooners built by Harold H. Payson. From what I understand this early Bolger design has legend status.

I am looking to learn how to restore the boat to like new condition. Anyone knowing anything about this boat or any other working folding schooners please e-mail me.

Tim Smith
Bronxville, NY


  • Diablo skiff, stretched to 18 feet
  • Elegant Punt



Frank Gundaker
I'm in Decatur Ga., and would be more than happy to speak to others anytime.


  • "Annie's Angst" - Skimmer - the poor man's whaler in Payson's book "Build the New Instant Boats".

I'm in the process of looking at building Micro Trawler, Glen-L's Cabin Skiff or an enlarged Diablo that I may be able to attach some sort of cabin to.

Peter Bevan
Kinross, Scotland
01577 863040

Having a Birdwatcher built by Nat Wilson, boatbuilder, Loch Broom, Ullapool.

Birdwatcher Web site to appear shortly.

Currently sailing a Selway Fisher designed Wren canoe with home designed sailing rig. Built by Tyrone Currie of Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland (

Dave Collins

Bolger boats built (bbb)

  • Brick, in '88 or '89.

Other boats built (obb)

  • Glen-L Marine in '83
  • 10' jon-boat type from plans out a Boys Life magazine; in the mid-60's . the Top

Jim Michalak's Jinni Memorial

This is a Jinni.

However, the rig and the cabin top are Jim Michalak's own additions. Jim's built three or four Bolger boats over the years and he likes to experiment. Since I created this page, Jim has trashed his Jinni in favor of a power sharpie (he needed the trailer, and Jinni was old and in need of too much work).

Check out the original Jinni plan.

The basic Jinni sharpie hull is everything below the white gunwale. She is said to be fast and to throw some spray in choppy water. But every slab-sided boat throws water when pushed into the waves.

The stern hatch and watertight compartment, and a foredeck with flotation are both part of Bolger's design.

With Bolger's normal rig you would see two sprit-boomed leg of mutton sails, the mainsail on a mast just above the numbers at the bow, and the mizzen, or dandy, at the extreme stern.

Jim was experimenting with balanced lug sails made from polytarp. He says he later decided this sail was maybe 25% too large for the boat in all but the softest breezes so he sailed it with a reef most of the time. But in general the balanced lug's a good sail: it's a Chinese junk sail but without battens. No matter what the rig, I think Jinni is a very pretty boat.

Jinni by michalak



to the Top or to The Cheap Page
2.5 03/06/99
2.6 04/20/99
2.1 01/21/10