John Spencer’s & Peter Tait’s FIREBUG

Continuing on the theme of last week’s entry (small wooden boats suitable for Family BoatBuilding), this week we look at the 8′ FIREBUG, designer by John Spencer and Peter Tait.


Firebugs, courtesy Peter Tait

According to Peter, they’ve sold almost 1,000 plans so far.  There is very active racing of the ‘bugs in New Zealand and Australia… and growing in other countries as well.

Peter had hoped to participate in Family BoatBuilding at the WoodenBoat Show this year, but has elected to shoot for 2011 instead.  That’ll give him time to set up the long-distance CNC routines.

More Firebug

More Firebug

From the website:

“The ‘Firebug’ is a 2.4 metre (8 foot) sailboat, a trainer yacht for learning, for club sailing or racing or simply a family fun boat, for holidays at the beach or take it camping. It’s fun to build and fun to sail especially if you have built it yourself.

It’s a Real Boat

This is not a knock-it-up-in-a-weekend throwaway boat – it’s a real boat, light but strong, nice to sail or race and just right for learning boat building and sailing skills.

Build it yourself

Construction is from timber and plywood. You make up the pieces then assemble them on a building frame. Full sized patterns make marking out simple. There is no difficult bending or complicated shapes.

Gain new skills

The Firebug has been designed for the novice builder as well as the experienced. The building technique is optimised to be as foolproof as possible – the step by step construction system is self checking as work progresses. After enjoying building your Firebug your new skills may let you take on a larger project, a bigger boat (how about a live aboard yacht for a Pacific cruise!) or at least do those jobs around the home with new confidence.

It’s popular

With plans in 29 countries and hundreds of boats built already the Firebug is attracting a lot of interest. As one builder said, “At last I have found the design I have been looking for! Great, I can’t wait to get started!””

See the Firebug for yourself.  The website is here:
More Firebug

More Firebug

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One Response to John Spencer’s & Peter Tait’s FIREBUG

  1. Ross Venner says:

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking of the Firebug as another 8 foot kids boat. I weigh in at 87 kg and have won the class championship. 8 ft, yes but with 50 years experience, I still find it challenging to get the best out of her.

    We race in conditions up to 25 kts and I have sailed in more than 30 kts on a number of occassions. The photo attached was taken in about 18 kts, driving hard to windward on the Parramatta River.

    In four years of regular competitive sailing, I have had zero breakages.

    Ross Venner


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