Our goal was not only to develop a sailboat suitable for young children, but also to develop a system that appeals to their sense of learning. Learning to sail with the Bumblebee relies on the process of play and learning through trial and error instead of commands or instructions. They can first learn to steer without the sail, and the sail can later be introduced when the child has mastered the tiller and is comfortable with the boat.
Note: The Bumblebee should only be used on small enclosed bodies of water such as swimming pools or ponds, with close adult supervision. In the event of the child falling in the water, rescue should be within seconds.
Watch the video below to see 1 and 2 year old kids using the Bumblebee Sailboat.
It's a Motor Boat Too
The Bumblebee Sailboat is also a motorboat. It uses a child-friendly impeller jet motor, which unlike propeller drives does not have rotating blades for little fingers to get caught in. The motor is made from a robust bilge pump, which is easy to source for those building from plans and included in the kit. The impeller motor is mounted right in the rudder, which makes steering much more effective, similar to an outboard motor.
The motor is perfect when there is no wind. Additionally, it’s much easier for a youngster to learn to master the tiller without the added complexity of the sail when starting out. And sailing in conjunction with the quiet motor is the perfect way to avoid the frustrating pitfalls associated with improper sail handling. Two seats mean the fun can be shared with a friend, and a broad flat bottom provides maximum stability.
Click on the image below to see a photo gallery of the Bumblebee Sailboat.
Great Toy Outside of the Water Too
The gorgeous finishing and mahogany trim makes this boat just as suitable as a focal point in bedroom or play room, as out in the water. A twin bilge keel allows it to stand upright on land to double as an indoor pirate ship.
Length overall: 4' 6.5" (139 cm)
Beam overall: 32.2 inches (82 cm)
Weight: 21 lbs (9.5 kg)
Maximum capacity: 90 lbs (41 kg)
Speed with motor: 2 mph (3.2 km/hr)
Max. sailing speed: 3 mph (5 km/hr)
Draft: 5.3 inches (13.5 cm)
Sail Area: 7.25 square feet
Easy to Build
This is the perfect boat-building project for a first time boat builder or someone who doesn't have a lot of time. Its small size and simple lines makes the construction straightforward and intuitive. The Bumblebee is an excellent introduction to stitch and glue boat building, and will give you the skills you need to take on a larger project.
The total active build time (excluding painting) when building from kits is about 16 hours, and 20 hours from plans. Our Bumblebee Builder's Resource offers photos, videos and tips to help you through the build process. The Builder's Resource also includes a complete list of where you can buy all required materials online, along with hyperlinks. Click on the image below to see our Bumblebee Build Photo Gallery. Be sure to click on the 3 dots below the description to read it all and the arrow to move to the next image.
Three Build Options
We offer 3 packages for the Bumblebee Sailboat: Downloadable Plans, Full-sized Plans, and Kit.
Bumblebee Downloadable Plans
Our downloadable plans are unique, and are much more accurate than lofting. The pages are printed on your home printer, and are easily and accuratly reassembled to create full sized plans. The files also include the manual, and the regular full sized plans, so you also have the choice of simply printing them out at your local print shop.
The advantage to downloadable plans is it is cheaper, instantaneous, there are no shipping costs (particularly advantageous for our overseas customers), and you have the satisfaction of truly starting from scratch. It's also a fun task putting the plans together with a child - much like a very easy big jigsaw puzzle.
Watch our video below to see how you can use our plans to print off full-sized plans on your home printer.
Bumblebee Full-Sized Plans
You'll receive full-sized template plans and a step by step instruction manual. The plans and manual will arrive in a mailing tube, and all you need to do is roll them onto your wood and start following the step by step instructions.
You can also add on DXF files for the marine plywood parts. This will allow you to have the pieces cut out at a local CNC shop. DXF files can only be ordered as an add-on to the plans package and cost an additional $20.
Our kits include CNC cut plywood components, seats, hardware, epoxy, fiberglass, mast sail, bilge pump jet motor and more. Everything required to build the complete boat is included in the kits apart from the 12 volt battery, paint and sandpaper.
Bumblebee Sailboat Plans and Kit Pricing
Click on the red link to go to our store and buy the boat, plans or accessories.