I built a Bolger Bobcat back in 1998 and, while I very much enjoyed building and sailing it, three years later I sold it as I turned my attention to another boat. I soon came to regret selling my catboat. This past winter, with space in the shop and no project to tide me over, I decided to build another one and purchased Harold “Dynamite” Payson’s Build the Instant Catboat. This 42-page building manual notes that the 12′ Bobcat was designed in 1985 by Philip Bolger for H.H. Payson and Co. as a hard-chined, tack-and-tape plywood adaptation of the carvel-planked Beetle Cat designed in 1921 by John Beetle of New Bedford, Massachusetts.In his book, Payson lays out the project in great detail and with frequent humor. He includes multiple detailed drawings, photos, and step-by-step instructions, including rigging the sail and what type of line to use for the halyards.The hull panels and permanent bulkheads are drawn out on sheets of 1/4″ plywood; all of the parts can be made with 10 sheets, including the deck panels, centerboard trunk, centerboard, and bulkheads. Payson recommends marine-grade or AC exterior plywood; I went with fir AC. The plywood I got was excellent quality, and I had no problems bending the panels into the shapes they needed to be. The manual provides measured drawings for the hull planking—there is no need for spiling the shapes from the building form—and goes into great detail on drawing and cutting out the pieces.

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