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MPM
01-09-2012, 12:56 PM
In the thread introducing this new section of the Forum, Gerarddm thought the series on Uffa Fox to be "overlong." Gareth responded that he would have remained interested had the series been five times as long. Neither response is terribly surprising, given the varied tastes and interests of our readership. But those comments do set me to wondering: What's the general appetite here for such serial biographies? In long serial articles, we've covered the South Coast Boat Co., Ted Geary, Starling Burgess, William Fife, and Edson Schock, to name just a few. Do you like reading such histories? Do you like that level of detail? And do you like those articles if they're about people or companies far from where you live, or outside of your realm of direct experience?

While you're pondering that—and if you like such pieces: Who else would you enjoy reading about?
--Matt Murphy

Canoeyawl
01-09-2012, 01:01 PM
I enjoyed the Uffa Fox piece.

P.L.Lenihan
01-09-2012, 01:09 PM
I would vote heartedly in favour of more such serial biographies. No names nor companies come specifically to mind, and that is good, for it tells me I could use a whole lot more education which is one thing I count on from WOODENBOAT magazine. Near or far has little bearing either, I want to learn and discover the variety out there.


Thank you for the opportunity to give direct feed back , Mr.Murphy


Cheers!


Peter

Ian McColgin
01-09-2012, 01:17 PM
I have loved the historical-biographical series, including those that were more topical like the serial on replicas.

I'd love to see more stuff on aspects of navel architecture, expansions on the various ways the topics have been handled. Some duplication from slightly differing perspectives would be fine, which might open the way for some willing NA's who have already published their own books to think anew and find a way in just a few thousand words to make one or two salient points. No harm that these might become teasers for the books. The hard part will be shortening down.

David G
01-09-2012, 03:55 PM
I love the serial biographies, and would welcome more.... and even expansions of the shorter ones you've already done.

Names? Well, off the top of my head: John Welsford; the Atkins; Bruce Kirby; Ruehl Parker; Michael Storer; Graham Byrnes; Francois Vivier; Mark Bowdidge; Brian Schulz (Cape Falcon Kayak); Dave Gentry; Harry Bryan; Paul Gartside; Don Kurylko; Tracy O'brien. I'm sure there are more that'd be interesting as well.

John Meachen
01-09-2012, 03:55 PM
I would be happy to read more serial biographies of designers.The difficulty might be to find subjects with an appeal to a global readership and not solely of interest to those in the region where the designer operated and if the adherence to wood as a construction material is significant,not too many designers presently in business would be eligible.The "Old Masters" are fairly well known,where does one find more recent designers of note?

Ian McColgin
01-09-2012, 04:01 PM
Actually, there's great value to showing regional talent to a more global audience. That's why the articles of the various antipodian and european and regional American yards, traditions and designers have been such fun. It's how we learn.

mcdenny
01-09-2012, 07:24 PM
As many of David G's candidates above, living designers producing boats for amateur builds would be much more interesting (to me anyway) than the historic bio pieces like the Uffa Fox piece just concluded.

Maybe more about the boats and less about the person...

Gerarddm
01-09-2012, 07:46 PM
Good point, mcdenny. It's not that I didn't like the Uffa series, I just thought the details of his marriages and other such fluff weighed down the very interesting narrative of his design development.

Howard Sharp
01-09-2012, 09:11 PM
I like the biographies. Found the one on Spaulding Dunbar particulary interesting, because I'd never heard of him, and the boats were unusual. I thought I knew about Uffa Fox, had no idea he was so strange.

coucal
01-09-2012, 10:19 PM
The article about Lyle Hess some years ago is one of my all-time favourites. I *wanted* Renegade.
Jack

rbgarr
01-11-2012, 01:45 PM
I think they are the very best things the magazine prints, but that 'field' is my main interest in boats altogether so who's surprised.

Local, regional and worldwide topics all interest me (and some of the suggestions that follow have already been covered but I'd devour anything more on them!):

The Goudy and Stevens, Gamage, Hodgdon Bros., Camden Shipbuilding, Bath Iron Works, Samples and Malcolm Brewer/Elmer Collemer boatbuilders. Designers Murray Peterson, Henry Scheel, Sidney Herreshoff and Bob Baker. The Frost/Lowell family of lobster boat designers and builders. Ted Hood.

For what it's worth I'd also like to see an(other) article written about Bror Tamm, a boat builder and amateur designer who worked with LF Herreshoff and for Lawley's.

Chip-skiff
01-11-2012, 11:51 PM
Liked the Uffa Fox series. Found we have one thing in common: I think best in the bathtub.

CapnJ2ds
02-05-2012, 07:01 AM
I'd love to see more stuff on aspects of navel architecture.
You guys even have people to design your navels? :d

But I agree with Ian on covering aspects of ... um ... boat design, and on the interest of seeing regional types.

My real complaint about the serial features is ............ not enough actual designs |:(. I don't care how many issues a serial article goes for - it's an opportunity to show more of the featured designer's work.

Keith Wilson
02-05-2012, 08:52 PM
I've always liked the biographies, including the details of their lives other than their work. I took Paul Gartside's design class at the Wooden Boat School a few years ago; he's a great guy.

Rob Hazard
02-06-2012, 07:22 AM
I enjoyed the whole series on Uffa Fox immensely and read it through repeatedly. I only wished it had included more lines drawings, photos, and detailed illustrations of his early 14' dinghies, showing the changes in design and construction he made to keep his boats so competitive in those early years.

sailboy3
02-06-2012, 07:36 AM
The biographies are great. I'd second one on Bob Baker, and I'd REALLY like to see one on Al Mason.

Rob Hazard
02-06-2012, 09:56 AM
Has the magazine ever done a history of the Henry B. Nevins yard? They built an awful lot of iconic yachts in early and mid 20th century. Likewise, I'd love to read about the Hinkley yard before they made the switch to foobergloss.

While I'm at it, I wished the article on C C Hanley a few issues back had shown more lines of his small catboats. In fact, if someone researched and published lines and construction details for a Hanley racing cat in the 15' to 18' range, it might prove to be a popular addition to the WoodenBoat collection of building plans.

Walter Muelhauser
02-06-2012, 11:15 AM
Hi , sailboy

WoodenBoat magazine wrote about Al Mason in no.108:54 (profile) , 109:4 (letter) , and 97:76 (comments) , have a good read Walter

Rob Hazard
02-06-2012, 06:31 PM
I'll like to see biography on Bob Baker too. If you ever do one, there's a 13ft sailing dinghy he designed and built that was written up in one of the first issues of WoodenBoat. It's a awfully pretty little boat, but I can't find it in his catalog, and I'd love to see the design resurrected and published.

sailboy3
02-06-2012, 06:34 PM
Hi , sailboy

WoodenBoat magazine wrote about Al Mason in no.108:54 (profile) , 109:4 (letter) , and 97:76 (comments) , have a good read Walter

Ahh, thanks, I'll have to review my collection.

rbgarr
02-06-2012, 07:14 PM
I'll like to see biography on Bob Baker too. If you ever do one, there's a 13ft sailing dinghy he designed and built that was written up in one of the first issues of WoodenBoat. It's a awfully pretty little boat, but I can't find it in his catalog, and I'd love to see the design resurrected and published.

I suspect you're talking about Nellie, which is Baker's North Shore Dinghy, plan #91 in the 'Dinghy' section of his catalog. It was featured in WB issue #1.

Breakaway
02-06-2012, 07:54 PM
Yep. Biographies of influential designers and builders welcome. Can be "old guard" credited with creating tradition as well as "young blood" who may be changing the game, or just keeping it going in some significant way. The key for me is that the person should be shown as being influential, or potentially influential, on both the art and craft of wooden boat design and construction.

Kevin

Rob Hazard
02-06-2012, 08:08 PM
"Nellie" sounds like the name I remember, but Design #91 is not the boat I'm thinking of, and the image of the North Shore Dinghy doesn't seem to scroll up. I'm writing to Anne Baker to investigate further.

switters
02-15-2012, 09:17 AM
I like the biographies, but was not happy when I looked at the getting started in boats section and saw yacht designers. The article was good, I just didn't think that the getting started section was the right place for that. As I dislike criticism without suggestion, I have been thinking of a few topics for the getting started section.

Sourcing boat building materials. Not all of us live in Maine, sometimes I feel like the only person in this town that knows what a chandlery has to offer. It could have tips like getting the best deals for consumables, creative places locally that might carry epoxy.

Same for tools, and how to sharpen them. I can go into lowes or home depot and buy a plane, but at least here the materials necessary to get a good edge on it are scarce.

Picking a design, questions to ask your self and the difference between free plans and the ones you pay for.

My favorites so far have been builds of actual boats.

Thanks,

Canoeyawl
02-15-2012, 11:10 AM
Perhaps this one?

Baker, Robert H. (Bob), author: "How to Build PICCOLO: Part I," 36:44

peter radclyffe
02-15-2012, 11:45 AM
Alexander Stephens of glasgow

and Richardson

A Cary Smith

peter radclyffe
02-15-2012, 11:47 AM
Cox and Stevens

Townshend and Downey

John Bell
02-15-2012, 12:01 PM
I really enjoy the builder/yard articles. Most memorable for me is the Paul Luke article. That was incidentally one of your best-ever issues: Paul Luke, K. Aage Nielsen, and ROSA II. I liked how the three articles were artfully interwoven.

Other memorable yard/builder stories were Mathis-Trumpy, Van Dam, Gannon and Benjamin, and Harold Burnham.

rbgarr
02-15-2012, 12:58 PM
The brief bios in 'Getting Started in Boats' is great for those who are new to the scene and want to get a feel for the waterfront, so to speak. The whole idea of GSiB is for use as a primer, after all. The links and references to earlier WB articles are useful guideposts for those who want to learn more.

Lance F. Gunderson
02-15-2012, 05:39 PM
I like the biographies. The more detail the better for me. How about one on the late Phil Bolger? I for one prefer his earlier work, which few seem to know about...I'm thinking of his small schooners, Story's Africa, McManus's Squash Meadow, Peter Duff's Black Gauntlet, ect. Bolger is ripe for a biography.

Cedric Rhyn
03-07-2012, 07:29 PM
In the thread introducing this new section of the Forum, Gerarddm thought the series on Uffa Fox to be "overlong." Gareth responded that he would have remained interested had the series been five times as long. Neither response is terribly surprising, given the varied tastes and interests of our readership. But those comments do set me to wondering: What's the general appetite here for such serial biographies? In long serial articles, we've covered the South Coast Boat Co., Ted Geary, Starling Burgess, William Fife, and Edson Schock, to name just a few. Do you like reading such histories? Do you like that level of detail? And do you like those articles if they're about people or companies far from where you live, or outside of your realm of direct experience?

While you're pondering that—and if you like such pieces: Who else would you enjoy reading about?



--Matt Murphy

I'm not sure about serial articles, I tend to miss the occasional issue and my memory is not so great over a couple of months so from one ot another I lose the flavour a bit . But I've just seen the article on John Welsford, and although I know him very slightly and have read a lot of his writing that article was a real eye opener, there is much more to his design work than I ever imagined. I suspect that there is more yet, I'd like to hear how he chooses the styling, the rigs, and how he matches his custom designs to the environments where they will be used.

But great article, more like those please, I like the old guys, but some of them have been writted to death. So, contemporary designers working on the future to balance the history please.
Cedric Rhyn

WI-Tom
03-07-2012, 07:59 PM
Cedric,

I'm glad you liked the Welsford article (full disclosure: I wrote it), and you're right, there's much more to John's design work than can fit in one article. If you follow some of the links in the article sidebar, you'll find a lot more about John's approach to design on his own website, and in his design column at Duckworks. I particularly liked hearing about his Mini-Transat racer--that's one he REALLY tweaked to fit the environmental conditions it was going to sail in. He's got at least one Duckworks article about that boat. He writes well about a lot of the questions you mentioned in your post.

Tom

switters
03-08-2012, 11:00 AM
WI-Tom, I just read that one yesterday at lunch, well done. Welsford has been one of my favorite designers since I get into this silly hobby.

Full Tilt
03-08-2012, 12:05 PM
As a skiff sailor in an Albacore dominated club it's good to know who I have to blame for having to skirt a racing fleet of fifty plumb stemmed dinghies every time I want to go sailing! Uffa Fox! I very much enjoyed the series and appreciate the depth to which it went. Any shorter, and it would only have included the stuff I already knew about the man, having already read a couple of his books.
As a Canadian, I would love to see something about the Watts brothers. Designers of the Collingwood skiff, aka a Mackinaw boat. I consider them to be our Herreshoffs. I don't see the point of serial biographies of active designers, their final chapters cannot be written, and most have web sites that reveal everything they wish revealed.
Mike

M. J. Notigan
03-08-2012, 12:21 PM
For years I awaited an in-depth interview and article on Phil Bolger. WB covered the honor bestowed upon Mr Bolger at the Wooden Boat Show not long before his passing. I could never get enough of this man's designs and philosophies.

I would like consideration of our modern small boat, canoe and kayak designs. Men like Rob Macks, Nick Schade, John C. Harris, Jim Michalak, Tom Hill, Stephen Redmond, Colin Angus. Their designs may not have won an America's Cup or brought a lobster up from the bottoms of the ocean, but they have brought much pleasure to the people who have built, sailed, paddled, rowed and motored their designs.

Take Care,
Mike

john welsford
03-08-2012, 01:46 PM
Cedric,

I'm glad you liked the Welsford article (full disclosure: I wrote it), and you're right, there's much more to John's design work than can fit in one article. If you follow some of the links in the article sidebar, you'll find a lot more about John's approach to design on his own website, and in his design column at Duckworks. I particularly liked hearing about his Mini-Transat racer--that's one he REALLY tweaked to fit the environmental conditions it was going to sail in. He's got at least one Duckworks article about that boat. He writes well about a lot of the questions you mentioned in your post.

Tom

Hi Tom. I must say that I enjoyed our interviews, they got to feel more like being with a friend than being grilled by an inquisitorial journalist.
But hey Matt, why dont we have short bios of the writers who produce the articles we enjoy, Tom as an example is a small boat adventurer in his own right, has an interesting background, and is a very engaging character. If we knew the writers a little, we'd know where they are coming from with their point of view and we'd have a better slant on what they are telling us.

John Welsford

WI-Tom
05-02-2012, 03:53 PM
Ah, John--

now you're getting subversive! Don't you know us writers want to write, not be written about? Hope all is well back home.

Tom

CapnJ2ds
07-09-2012, 09:41 AM
I consider them to be our Herreschoffes.\

What's a Herreschoffes:d?

Full Tilt
07-10-2012, 08:38 PM
Dear CapnJ2ds,
My apologies for blaspheming, I corrected my mistake and thank you for pointing it out. I wouldn't want to be at sea aboard one of the fine vessels these men designed with that hanging over my head!
Hey, you're not even Yankee! :(
Mike

blackie
12-11-2012, 09:08 PM
the Fox series is very interesting and good reading including all the social detail. others like Hickman etc are very interesting and make good reading. there are outstanding designers and builders , dead and alive, who would never make good reading like the two above. they are clearly more complex characters than just outstanding designers and that makes the article very interesting. there must be lot more of these very interesting characters to review.

Sailor
12-11-2012, 09:41 PM
How about Hercules Linton? I'd love to read up on him. He designed what is arguably the most famous merchant sailing ship in history, Cutty Sark. Talk of her build, the yard, the bankruptcy etc would be an interesting read. With lots of info about Cutty Sark herself of course.

coucal
12-11-2012, 10:40 PM
There was a great article some years ago about the Sano family boatyard in Japan, with an update earlier this year. It's great to see articles about individuals from very different boatbuilding traditions, rather than just broad 'wooden boatbuilders of Japan' type articles. Kudos to WB for that; more please.

Please keep the net spread to include interesting boatbuilders and designers in Asia, South America, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe etc. There must be some interesting stories and characters, and hopefully some cruising journalists available in those places to collect them...

...And I agree with what previous posters have said about photos, drawings, plans - plenty of them too, please.

Jack

Sailor
12-12-2012, 08:14 PM
How about an article about the upkeep of historic ships such as HMS Victory and the Charles W. Morgan? There's a thread going on right now about the Morgan that is absolutely enthralling.
Lots of plans drawings and pictures are always great. As we say here, no pics, didn't happen. :D

Tom Jackson
12-13-2012, 07:21 AM
I guess you must have missed WoodenBoat No. 226, May/June of the current year, which carries my 12-page article on the current restoration of the Charles W. Morgan. I worked alongside the shipwrights on framing and ceiling planking for a total of three weeks to research the article, as I did with the C.A. Thayer in Alameda, California, some years ago (WB No. 186). I am also writing a book related to that subject, though it has no publisher as yet.