Spur II- Bolger

Spur II (Boats With an Open Mind- Philip C. Bolger



  • 15’4” x 4’6”
  • Just under 100 lbs


  • Row boat with spoon-blade oars
  • Sail can be attached, however (would add about $1000 to modify it)
  • Leeboard attached that can be removable, and can also be used as a seat (alternative to the gunwale.)
  • Can fit 5-10 people
  • Seating could be two benches laid across the boat, next to two sets of oar locks (4 people rowing)
  • Small Shoe Skeg
  • Oar lock is a curved piece with a pin that can be screwed into the end to secure the oar in place, which gives the oar enough room to be maneuvered, while also locking it.


  • Flat enough bottom to install a glass panel
  • Possible to sail, possible to row (versatile)
  • Can fit a small class without being too large or heavy
  • Low waterline for its displacement
  • Simple design- one we’d be able to build, provided a few steps are simplified or less planks are used.
  • Flexible build, which would help stability in rowing.
  • Room to add some sort of canopy to shade glass panel.
  • Very aesthetically pleasing, and streamlined shape cuts through water easily, best for shallow, calmer waters such as the bay.
  • Seating could allow for enough room in the middle for a larger glass panel.


  • Not very fast-moving
  • Sail can’t be easily added without sacrificing speed and stability, probably best to leave it out altogether
  • Could be pricey
  • Brendan hates leeboards.
  • May not be able to build it in a couple of weeks, but it’s possible.
  • Planks may complicate boat-building construction (could be switched to plywood construction similar to Nymph.)


A Spur II would function very well as a glass-bottom boat, as it provides plenty of space for a small class, can be fitted with a canopy, and rows easily, particularly on a bay such as Sarasota’s. It may be time-consuming to build, but some of its design could be simplified to fit the time frame we have for the rest of the ISP. It is lightweight, relatively flexible, and a good size. The process to build it would be similar to the Nymph’s, as it relies on bulkheads for its shape. Besides this, it is a basic enough design that anything can be adjusted to customize it to fit our needs.

Estimate of Materials and Costs (not counting tools such as saws, sandpaper, etc.): 

  • Plywood
    • Framing (bulkheads, base, skeg): 2 sheets 4’x8’- approx $80
    • Planks: 3 sheets 4’x8’ (1/4”)- approx $120
    • Benches: 1 sheet 4’x8’- $40
    • Leeboard: 1 sheet 1’x2’- $20
    • Tiller/Rudder: 1’x2′- $20

Total: $280

  • Epoxy (taken from West System website)
    • Epoxy Resin 105: 1qt- approx. $42
    • Epoxy Hardener 205: 1qt- $22

Total: $64

    • Glass tape: 3”x 50 yds: $72 (can be found for cheaper)
    • Blue fabric strips (roll of it): $20

Total: $92

  • Paint: (taken from Home Depot website)
  • 1 gallon primer: $20
  • 1 gallon (for exterior)- $40
  • 1 gallon (interior) paint: $40

Total: $100

  • 4 Spoon-blade Oars: Anywhere between $50-200
  • Oar locks: $20-30 per pair x2= $40-60
  • Glass panel (plexiglass?): 4’x 3’- $20-$30
  • Gunwales: 2 20ft mahogany poles: $30
  • Mast: approx $50
  • Sail (20×10 ft tarp): $30
  • Rope (approx 100 ft): $15

Rough Total: approximately $820

Basic Steps of Construction: 

  • Lofting (done in Boats with an Open Mind)
  • Trace bulkheads, planks onto plywood. (double check measurements with second person)
  • Cut bulkheads, planks, any other wooden structures using a table saw or jigsaw based on the shape.
  • Put frame together (consisting of bulkheads, stern and very bottom planks) by laying them out, drilling holes in corresponding places, and stitching them together using zip ties or some sort of staple.
  • Once frame is constructed, add planks by bending them over the bulkheads into the shape of the boat, and using the same stitching method to attach them.
  • Boat will be roughly put together, and dimensions can be taken to ensure it is the right area.
  • Mix together Epoxy resin and hardener (and wood flour if making a putty), and prepare for application to boat.
  • Measure and cut strips of glass tape, and cloth to cover epoxy and tape in order to smooth out any harsh edges the epoxy will leave when hardened.
  • Apply epoxy putty to all joints in boat (between planks, bulkheads, where the stern is attached to planks, etc.)
  • Smooth epoxy putty using squeegee tool, so that space is fully filled and covered
  • Line with fiber glass tape
  • Cover glass tape with liquid epoxy solution (made without the wood flour)
  • Once thoroughly coated, line with strips of fabric- ensure everything is covered and completely smooth (without bubbles or sharp edges).
  • Wait until dry (few hours-a day), then peel off fabric strips.
  • Cut zip ties (remove staples), sand any rough edges on surface of boat (including epoxy) until every inch is smooth.
  • Cover every drill or staple hole with putty
  • Sand edges where planks meet so there are no sharp corners.
  • Cover bottom (and perhaps sides) with a layer of glass fiber cloth (to prevent rocks from scratching paint and damaging wood) and coat thoroughly with epoxy, as well as outside edges. (essentially same process as coating with epoxy on inside of boat.
  • Once epoxy is covered with fabric, wait to dry and peel off outside edges before sanding edges once more to smoothen. (be sure edge where fiber glass cloth meets the plywood is completely smooth)
  • Attach seats, using epoxy
  • Attach gunwales using epoxy; hold in place, and fasten them to sides of boat using a screw driver and drill.
  • Add a place to attach a mast, such as a hole or supports (using epoxy)
  • Also add a support to attach the leeboard to.
  • Wait until epoxy dries, sand any rough edges, remove screws from gunwales and cover them in epoxy putty.
  • Paint entirety of boat with primer.
  • Cover primer with 2-3 coats of latex paint.
  • Rigging- make any adjustments that will allow for attaching a sail and the accompanying components of a sailboat.
  • Also add oar locks to the sides of the boats.
  • While the actual boat is being built, other components should be constructed as well, such as the rudder, tiller, leeboard, seating and oars.
  • Sand oars, and coat with 2-3 coats of wood varnish, along with any other wooden pieces that will remain their natural color.

Spur1 Spur2 Spur3


5 thoughts on “Spur II- Bolger”

  1. Nice write up – couple of things to clean up/edit so it’s ready for prime time.

    1. rotate your pictures as neccessary – media>library, find your image, mouseover and edit >edit image>save. perhaps add one color pix on top? so we can see what you are talking about right away?

    2. your materials costs are too low – good plywood costs twice that, paint etc. try to think of the details, they add up.

    3. “adding oar locks, glass bottom, seating, etc” – these are all steps that should be written out with some detailing.

  2. “Can fit 5-10 people” Never, no way in the world could a Spur II accommodate 5-10 people. 3 adults maximum. I know this for fact as my father built one which I use whenever possible. 2 Adults and 2 small kids are about it in a Spur II ‘s carrying capacity.

  3. Oh and by the way the photo you have used is a picture of my father rowing his Spur II, “Greyfax” near Port Sorell in Tasmania Australia. Rows superbly, bets with 1 to 2 adults, with 3 you can pull double oars, but you are wasting your effort unless going into a chop and a head wind. Best suited for a single oarsmen.

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