In February, we published an article on the amazing backyard build of a Glen-L Cracker Box by a highly talented Irish boat builder named Fergal. His skills didn’t end there either! This time we were amazed by the restoration of a Microplas Microboat completed in 2014.
Fergal found this rare boat in a farmers field in Athlone, Ireland and only paid €50 ($54.50)! At the time he didn’t realise that he had bought a piece of Microplas history! Taking the boat back to his home in Ireland he began work restoring the boat to her former glory.
What we liked most about this restoration project was Fergal’s painting skills; using 1 part primers and topcoats to create a finish that looked like it had come straight out of the factory. As you can imagine a fresh lick of paint on an old 1950’s boat looks mighty fine! Anyhow, you might be wondering what a Microplas is, but don’t worry we’ll explain.
What’s A Microplas Microboat?
Microplas Ltd. was spawned in Uxbridge 1952 and for those American folk out there as well as those English who are bad at Geography (me included), Uxbridge is town located in West London. It was the combination of 750 motor club members and the Hunting Family who founded a shipping business in 1874.
Microplas began its industrial life producing body shells for fiberglass sports cars however in 1958 the company relocated to Mitcham, Surrey and began producing boats under the Microplas name.
There are still many Microplas boats in circulation on the waterways today especially those designed for inland use. A lot of the boats Microplas produced are around the 16-21ft mark making them ideal for day cruising, however the Micoplas microboat (as used by Fergal) is only 6ft in total length.
It’s plain to see that the Microplas Microboat takes it inspiration from the British automobiles of the 1950’s. In 1958 they began an advertising campaign claiming the microboat to be robust, practical, lightweight, elegant, safe, versatile and most importantly buoyant! In all honesty, what more could you need in a boat?
On the water with Fergal’s Microplas Microboat
What we like most about Fergal’s boat building and renovation is his ability to make things look awesome! Fergal doesn’t simply buy a boat, attach a shed to the top and cover it in fibreglass; he creates boats of beauty! Speaking to Fergal he told us;
“I like to take on anything odd, old or unusual and she fitted the bill”
We wanted to ask Fergal some questions about the build of his Microplas:
Louis – We noticed you used Pre-Kote by International for your primer coat, how many layers did it take and did you sand in-between?
Fergal – “I gave her 3 coats of the Pre-Kote primer with a light sand between each coat”
Louis – A beautiful paint job on her that’s for sure what topcoat did you use?
Fergal – “I used two coats of red and white Toplac by International roll and tipping them on…”
Louis – In the images, I noticed some crazing of what seems to be the original Gelcoat or paintwork; did it take a lot of effort to sand these out?
Fergal – “Where the crazing was bad I painted on some resin and let it soak in until it was filled. The rest was just surface cracks and were filled with the primer.”
Louis – Where is she now?
Fergal – “Sadly I had to sell her on to help fund the cruiser restoration but maybe one day I will find another as she was great for exploring narrow and shallow waters around Ireland.”
Louis – Okay, Thanks Fergal until the next time!