How it Goes Together

Length: 2.4 m (8 feet)
Beam (width): 1.2 m (4 feet)
Weight: 40 kg (88 lbs)
Sail Area: 4.5 sq m (48.5 sq feet)


Construction is plywood and timber. Plywood thickness is 4 mm (3/16") except for the bottom which is 9 mm (3/8"). Glue, nails and some screws hold it all together.

Paint can be brushed by hand. The style suits bright colours, multicoloured sails and computer cut stick on names and graphics.

Clever Design Features

The design is optimised for foolproof construction. Some of the features that make building easier are:

1. The deck is dead flat. This means that the top surface of the building jig (it is built upside down) is the datum for setting up. So, provided that the jig is set up level with a centreline, accurate assembly is assured.

2. The hull shape repeats, ie starting at the centre of the cockpit, the shape is the same in both directions. This repetition means that the two cockpit bulkheads are identical and the stern is the same shape as occurs under the mast. If you took the after end one station (module) further the boat would be double ended, just like the Auckland's Devonport ferry.

3. The angle at each of the chines is the same for the entire length. The chines and gunwales therefore have the same cross section for their entire length, ie no complicated shaping.

4. Marking out. All of the above features mean that lofting (marking out) is relatively simple. Full sized patterns are available if required.

5. The bottom is exactly a half sheet of ply. This is a check on straightness. When this is fitted in place any inaccuracies which have occurred are made clear and can be corrected.

6. Thick bottom ply. The ply which forms the bottom is 9 mm (3/8") thick. This initially appears excessive but there are good reasons:

It needs to be strong for crunching rocks on the beach, bumping ramps etc.

It is also the cockpit floor - extra strength means no need for floorboards.

It spreads the loads from the mast .

Weight low down helps stability.

Class Rules and Copyright

A set of class rules ensure that the Firebug remains a basic learning class, free from the 'fat cheque book competition' which dogs some classes. It is an easy boat to use and does not need expensive equipment to sail properly. The copyright for the Firebug design is held by FBHQ. Anyone with commercial intentions are advised to make contact at an early stage.

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Good rules mean a strong class.

The Firebug Rules are in Adobe Acrobat format. If you do not have Acrobat Reader you can download it by clicking on the "Get Acrobat Reader" button below.

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Firebug Rules - 116KB

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