PolySail International

High Performance/Low Cost Sails for Small Sailboats


Go Kart on the Water–Hot Tub IV

4’x8’ NASCAR-Themed Racing Boat



























Testing Hot Tub III at a Michigan Messabout












            I’m still not certain why I built this boat. I’m usually a sailboat kind of guy. In fact, I was restoring one of my sharpies when I suddenly got this itch. Maybe it was the excitement of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup race. Maybe it was just the need to speed up the pace of my own life. Or maybe it was the desire to try to “improve” on a wonderful Phil Bolger/Dynamite Payson design that I’ve learned to admire over the years. In any event, here it is–the fourth generation of the 8’ wood/styrofoam/ fiberglass/epoxy scow that I originally named Hot Tub, whose heritage is the Bolger/Payson Skimmer.  (For the full history of this little boat, click on the “Hot Tub” button at the left). This model, however, really deserves the Hot part of the name....




    For those of you who don’t follow NASCAR, this is the Tony Stewart/Home Depot prototype. Tony is a local Indiana boy who started out in go karts and made it into the big time. He joins an exclusive group of Indiana racers that includes Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, and others on the NASCAR circuit. Of course, living near Indianapolis, racing has always been in the blood. As a fan, it seemed only fitting to add a little orange paint and a few decals to customize this little racer. (2009. However, now that Tony has his own team, this boat has become an anachronism).


     Powered by the new 4-cycle, 5hp, FNR-shift, environmentally-friendly Briggs and Stratton motor, this little craft should really scoot.  A picture at the left shows Hot Tub III being tested at a Michigan Messabout about four years ago.


     This latest version has a hull weight of 114 lbs. as shown and 170 lbs with the motor and (empty) 3 gallon tank that comes with the Briggs motor. With the 3 gallon tank, the motor can run wide open at 4000 rpm for six hours in just a few inches of water. The exterior hull and interior floor are fully fiberglassed. Other features include built-in side and deck flotation panels offering roughly 120 lbs. of positive flotation along with a seat that slides forward and back for legroom and/or trim and swivels 360° for fishing or just getting your legs situated under the deck. Nautical lighting, steering/shifting/throttle controls, and a special trailer are intended to be options for this model. Deck, windshield, and seat assembly can be removed by loosening a few of the stainless steel screws if you just want to lighten the boat by about 40 lb. —or if you want to make room to offer a thrill to a companion or two. While this boat was intended to be a single seat racer, it would also be easy enough to mount two of the plastic seats side-by-side on the seat frame and reconfigure the steering if desired.










     A second power option is the electric trolling motor. A 30 or 34 lb. thrust electric motor will provide ample speed for messing about on most small lakes and ponds. The electric motor is a good fishing option and probably about right for youngsters eight and older to operate. Although the battery can be weighty, the motor itself is much easier  to handle than the 56 lb. Briggs both on and off the boat. I was able to test the electric option in our lake where the boat is pictured, but our lake is off limits to gas-powered motors. Winter now has a fairly strong grip on our region with the lakes starting to ice over, so the Briggs testing will now have to wait for spring.    

     Electric power is usually the option I choose if I’m loading a Hot Tub into the bed of my Dodge Ram pickup. With the windshield removed, the boat fits nicely under the bed cover. The combination of the bed cover on my short bed extending over the stern and the deck extending out to the bow prevents unexpected showers from soaking the inside of the boat while it’s being transported. Strap-on wheels can help ease the task of getting the boat to the water if no ramp is readily available.


        My intent is to have at least one more of these boats ready to go by spring so that I can go racing around with friends. If the concept proves interesting to other boaters and the NASCAR crowd, I think I can have plans, kits, and maybe a few more finished boats ready to offer by midsummer.  Stock class rules and a racing venue would be the next logical steps. Of course, maybe I’m just dreaming. But then, I was messing around with lawnmower engine-powered soap box derby cars a few years before the go-kart phenomena began. Those were some of the most exciting days of my young life.


PolySail Home






Old Boats

Free and Low-Cost Boat Plans


PolySail International

2291 SE Gaslight St., Port St. Lucie, FL 34952-7332

 Email polysail@polysail.com or call Dave Gray at 317 385-3444

PolySails–Sold on the Web since 1996. Customers in all 50 states and around the globe.


This page updated on 4/3/2009