MUSICBOX3, CABIN SAILBOAT, 15' X 6-1/2',
800 POUNDS EMPTY
Musicbox3 is about the same size as
the Bolger Micro and is clearly derived from it. I've
sailed on a couple of Micros. Amazing boat in a lot of
ways, especially in the amount of room inside a 15' boat.
The volume is the result of a 6' wide beam and flat bottom.
I thought that in most ways Micro's
strength and weakness was in its keel - about 450 pounds
of lead casting permanently fixed for a draft of about
18". The strength is that Micro is very stable and
self-righteous. The weakness is in the difficulties in
launching and using a boat with that much draft, and in
making the casting. For all the griping about making the
casting, I never heard of anyone trying one with internal
ballast, or using a leeboard on Micro, both mods would
be quite possible. So I tried both on Musicbox3. The ballast
shown on the plans is in the form of a water box which
holds about 500 pounds of water. That could be replaced
with lead or steel bolted to the bottom of the bulkheads
if you didn't mind trailering the ballast - it would give
more room inside, too. So Musicbox3 should float off the
trailer in just 5" of water, and float in 7.5"
with the ballast tank flooded, and about 9" with
two full sized adults with their junk.
The pivoting leeboard and rudder allow
the boat to be driven full tilt over shallows or onto
a beach, something you would never do with Micro. But
keep in mind that the ballasted Musicbox3 weighs about
1300 pounds and you will have to lift and push that back
into the water. I suppose in a tough situation you could
pump out the ballast water to float her, as they used
to throw cannons overboard in Columbus's day to refloat
a grounded boat.
I used a gaff rig on a tabernacle on
Musicbox3 to improve on Micro's set up time, and I think
Musicbox3 would be far and away the better of the two
if you had but an afternoon for sailing. I didn't show
a gallows but you could add one such that you can fold
the sail rig with the yard, boom, sail, and mast all in
a neat package, with all the rigging ropes left installed.
Micro's yawl rig is superior for cruising, especially
for anchoring in open water. I think Musicbox3 could be
tinkered with to add the mizzen mast. To me the best cruising
rig might be this gaff with a shortened boom, a small
mizzen sail, and a very good outboard motor. Musicbox3
has a small well in the stern for the motor, and a small
well in the bow for anchors.
The capacity of these boats comes at
the expense of weight and materials - after all, they
are 20' boats compressed to 15'. Musicbox3 requires 5
sheets of 1/4" plywood, eleven sheets of 3/8"
plywood, and one sheet of 1/2" plywood. She is more
robustly built than Bolger's drawings show Micro, but
I suspect most Micros are built heavier than the drawings