[bolger] Sweet Pea
- I'm relatively new to the list. Thought I'd mention that I built a
Bolger/Payson "Sweet Pea" a few years ago. For those of you unfamiliar
with this design, it's a peapod or maybe a surf dory, 15 ft. long, 5
ft. wide, double chines/5 bottom panels. Designed for "Dynamite"
himself, so he could row standing up and ocaisionally sail it. It has
built in flotation and a removable full length keel. Plans and
directions appeared in Wooden Boat No.'s 104 & 105.
I built it in the backyard under a tarp. I used luan, Raka epoxy and
glass, leftover 1x4 stock, drywall screws, galvanized nails, Bondo,
"Ace Hardware" brand primer and marine paint. Despite the crummy
materials, poor building and storage conditions, and rough treatment
it's held up really well.
To save time, I borrowed the "seat on rails" design details from
Bolger's "Crystal", instead of making the more complex seats called for
in the plans. They are very simple, and have worked well.
To save money, I made thole pins instead of using oarlocks, and made
oars from some wood leftover from a fencing project. I've learned a lot
about thole pins. They took a little getting used to, but also work
I made the keel deeper than called for, according to Peter Specter's
comment in the article. This produced quite a bit of lee helm with my
polytarp version of the sprit rig (as designed), although that may have
been caused by an oversized rudder. I made proper sailcloth sails this
summer, for a ketch rig, with a high peaked sprit main and a tiny
bermudan mizzen, and the helm is well balanced now. The design adapts
easily to the ketch rig. Sea trials with the new rig were 4 days solo
sailing in the Apostle Islands - fantastic sailing grounds!
In addition to the keel I've tried various configurations of skegs and
rudders for rowing and shoal waters. Trying different variations is
simple, and has been fun. Maybe some day I'll even try a daggerboard or
I keep it on a flat bed trailer and row and sail (and sometimes drag)
it primarily on the St. Croix River. Crew usually consists of my wife
and our two dogs, a border collie mix and a black lab mix, so it's a
full boat. We're almost always the only row boat on the river, and
always the only sailboat on the upper reaches. It's a great design, and
a great boat.
- Charles Buchwald