Re: Bolgers most recent, Advanced Sharpie AS-34
Steve Paskey asked,"If you think that her influence was generally positive, can you point us to detailed accounts from happy, well-satisfied owners who've built and operated one of the designs that she strongly influenced? For instance, are there any reports on the performance of boats with a hull shape similar to this one? "
I have yet to read nor am I aware of any specific reports concerning these second generation or new Bolger/Altenberger designs Steve. However, I suspect this may be due to most of them being larger designs and many may have yet to be completed yet. Furthermore, these Bolger/Altenberger designs are fresh new designs,pretty much in the category of prototypes and as such some may experience un-expected surprises, both good and bad, as sometimes occurs with prototypes. Such events are perfectly normal to trail-blazers and errors need not be all damming toward the designers.
However, compounding factors somewhat is something WoxBox mentions when he wrote"....is designed to go together very quickly and easily." Speaking strictly from my own experience with my present build(Bolger WINDERMERE design, a 31' estuary cruiser). I've discovered there is a world of a difference between the concept and the excecution of the concept. Unless one has already a large yard, with enclosed,heated/cooled shop space big enough to build the entire boat in, along with pretty much some full time help and lots of personal time to devote to the build, these big sharpies are not necessarily "easy" nor "quick" for a solo builder working in less than ideal conditions. This sort of"discovery" by an amateur builder may cause all sorts of grief for the project and may result in the builder tossing in the towel and/or becoming very dis-illusioned to the point of lambasting someone......
Plywood is a fine medium for building a boat with. Small boats, say in the dinghy class, often require only a couple of sheets of ply,some dimensional lumber and presto,a boat is built quick and cheap in a garage or apartment. Bolger designed a small dink called BRICK which is about as ugly and cheap as one can go.If I recall correctly, Bolger wrote of it saying....[she is so ugly it will unlikely ever get stolen and so cheap to build, it wouldn't break your heart if it was stolen.] I dare say the"cheap" part may apply for most plywood boats up to near twenty feet. Once you begin going much bigger with a plywood boat, the costs of just the building infrastructure and the committment of time required to realise the project get to the point where going the quick-n-dirty route is just plain reckless if not careless on behalf of the builder. Expressed another way, it would require about the same commitment of time and infrastructure costs to build a 30 footer out of garbage plywood as it would if one went with the most expensive plywood available. With this in mind, I believe it best to not cheat too much on materials nor aim too low in the "good enough" standard ratings for workmanship. Afterall, there is an expectation of use once the boat is finished and robust longevity of the product is important to acheive if one wishes to truly enjoy the fruits of ones labour. Big plywood boats are not intended to be virtually "disposable" boats, the way a BRICK may be viewed.
This brings me back to these big Bolger/Altenberger designs. They may not be everyones cup of tea in terms of looks nor may they be the best design for everyone. What they are is the manifestation of a particular clients' "wish list" and a designer generally attempts to deliver the goods to the best of his/her abilities. It is also in the best interest of the client to have a crystal clear wish list of what he wants, know clearly how he is going to go about building it, and in the end know how he is going to use it.Any lack of clarity in one of these three areas could be heart breaking if not dream shattering once the project gets under weigh.
I've been rather fortunate so far with my own project as it continues to excite me and feed happy dreams of future use. I can only hope the same for the client(s) who commissioned the AS-34, illustrated here so well by Bruce Hallman.
Do it,do it,do it,do it,do it,do it,do it,now!
This boat was built with ten thumbs.No fingers were harmed in anyway.