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Thread: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

  1. #1
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    Default Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Phil Bolgers boxy boats have never really interested me but afte reading about his Martha Jane in the WB 2011 Small Boats Mag. I think that it fulfills all the right criteria for me and where I sail mostly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu2t7CdOZWU
    and a previous build
    http://mkstocks.tripod.com/boats/martha_jane/



    It's ugly duckling appearance is somehow appealing but I cannot quite get used to that stumpy bow transom though the steps are an idea I had already considered. I have sailed a Birdwatcher and liked it's practicality, the high house option looks a bit odd but probably is more friendly for overnighting etc. Water ballast reduces the overall trailerable weight but I too would hesitate about having in direct contact with wood in a badly ventilated area. Some sort of fabricated plastic tank/s might be the answer.
    Has anyone any comments, Birdwatcher is probably a bit big for my purposes though I like it better.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Has anyone any comments, Birdwatcher is probably a bit big for my purposes though I like it better.
    I'm confused by this ... in what sense is Birdwatcher "bigger'? Martha Jane is just as long as Birdwatcher, but she's a bit wider and MUCH heavier.

    Martha Jane is 23'6" long with a 6'0" beam and a dry weight of something like 1300 to 1400 pounds.

    Birdwatcher is the same length, but the beam is 5'7." I can't find anything here with the weight, but I don't think the original version weighs more than 800 pounds.
    Last edited by Steve Paskey; 03-09-2011 at 09:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    If you want an ugly boat then Martha Jane deserves a place on the list.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Sku, by all means, do whatever is necessary to meet somebody who has one to go sailing on a Martha Jane before you do anything rash like start building one from a magazine description written by an owner enthusiast. You really, really, really ought to make an objective assessment yourself to see if this particular set of features and compromises corresponds to your preferences. This kind of boat has next to no resale value so you really had better make sure unless you've got money to burn.
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    a friend built a martha jane, sailed surprisingly nice.
    when we sat up by the mast the front hole filled up with water coming in the foot holds it really messed up the control of the boat ; ) oops

    inside the cabin was like being in a 55 gal drum with some one beating on the side, even a little ripple against the hull was to much to bear.

    the birdwatcher sail really well and was comfortable in side, don't know what the difference was but it did not have the drum sound in it.

    Both boats were fun to sail in. The birdwatcher seemed smaller than the martha jane

  6. #6

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by dld View Post
    a friend built a martha jane, sailed surprisingly nice.

    I got a chance to see George Brodlicks Martha Jane sail at Gloucester during the Bolger Memorial event, and it had jaw dropping speed compared with the keel boats also sailing in the harbor that day.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Resale??? A guy builds a boat ...resale is not a huge consideration. A Bolger design will sell to certain people, these boats have a lot of fans. My own choice in boats does not include a Bolger box, but I very much admire the path the Mr. Bolger followed and his descriptions to go with them all.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    FWIW, that's a Birdwatcher II in the pic - a much more complex build.

    My aging copy of Bernie Wolfard's old catalog claims that the original Birdwatcher weighs 600lbs, empty.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I have to admit that I'm a Bolger fan, and so... biased. I think both the BWII and the MJ are interesting boats... each in its own way. And odd boats as well. You just have to decide which sort of oddity best suits your needs - if either of them does. I've never seen a MJ in the flesh. There is, however, a BWII in the Coots fleet. Looking at the plans, my impression is that there is more volume of space 'below' in the MJ, and a more enclosed feeling space. The BWII has a fair amount of usable space. It's all sitting height. With all the glass, it's quite airy in there. With the length, it's easy to dedicate areas for specific tasks. Sailing performance manages to be both brisk and comfortable. The rig is easy to set up. I'm guessing she's also considerably easier to trailer, launch, and retrieve. But... keep in mind... you're always inside. Unlike the MJ - there is no cockpit. Think that over. Is that really sailing... for you? Here in the Pacific NW, it serves to extend the sailing season considerably.

    The looks are considerably different as well. I can appreciate the MJ as a sort of slyly sophisticated, while rudimentary looking, boat. She makes me think of a boat that might have been used in Middle Earth (if they had plywood). Sort of a semi-British, folksy, look. The BWII aesthetic, OTOH, makes me think of the 60's. Sputnik and kidney shaped swimming pools.

    Sailing reports on the MJ seem to be good. I can report that the BWII sails very nicely, goes to windward decently, is comfortable and forgiving, and is comfortable to sleep aboard if you want a cruiser. Keep in mind, though, that I'm not an experienced sailor. There may be nuances I do not apprehend.
    Last edited by David G; 03-10-2011 at 09:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Steve, I must have misread the article re the length, I was thinking of 18' or so. I like the OS cockpit and with my very thin water leeboards and her bottom shape are just about perfect. BTW, the Mayfly plans you sent me are in the queue.
    I know the design is not everyones cuppa of course and not really mine but the review and remarks here encourage me. I will look at Birdwatcher again but I hadn't thought about the lack of a cockpit.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Just out of curiosity, out of my own ignorance perhaps, why on earth would anyone build a boat like these ones, which are essentially just heavy sharpies with extra freeboard, instead of building an actual sharpie, like one of reuel parker's designs?





    The first, a traditional new haven sharpie, would be blazingly fast, though prob has limited seaworthiness and cabin space. The second, an egret, would be very seaworthy as well and probably has similar cabin space to the MJ.

    Both of these designs are easy to build and would be prob just as cheap as bolger's box boats, but they are soooooooo much prettier, and the 27'new haven sharpie supposedly can plane at 15 knots in the right conditions. MJ doesn't do that...

    However, there must be a reason, or else nobody would be building these boats, right? ahem, right?
    “The difference between an adventurer and anybody else is that the youthful embrace of discovery, of self or of the world, is not muted by the responsibilities or the safety-catches of maturity.” Jonathan Borgais

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Another Bolger boat, Black Skimmer, was said to be able to "sail circles" around a Egret. The BS is mentioned in the Martha Jane chapter in Bolger's "Boats with an Open Mind" as a starting point for the latter design... and MJ cabin was described as "cavernous" by Bernie Wolfard of Common Sense Designs who was marketing Bolger's designs before the split...

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
    ... why on earth would anyone build a boat like these ones, which are essentially just heavy sharpies with extra freeboard, instead of building an actual sharpie, like one of reuel parker's designs?
    Presumably for the cabin space and general roominess, although as another poster says, all these thin walled plywood boats are incredibly noisy inside. If you really want a practical, usable cabin you have to think insulation and sound dampening.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    How about the Chebacco version with the big cabin? Not nearly as ugly and if it turns out the cabin drives you nuts you can cut it off and have a pretty boat left over.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by pippo View Post
    Another Bolger boat, Black Skimmer, was said to be able to "sail circles" around a Egret. The BS is mentioned in the Martha Jane chapter in Bolger's "Boats with an Open Mind" as a starting point for the latter design... and MJ cabin was described as "cavernous" by Bernie Wolfard of Common Sense Designs who was marketing Bolger's designs before the split...
    Lots of things are said by people interested in selling boat plans. And Mr. Bolger was an excellent and very persuasive writer. . . . . .. .
    But I'll go ahead and repeat what I said--you'd better try it out for yourself before committing. Actual sailors as opposed to armchair sailors aren't always as persuaded by words as they are by empirical testing.

    You'd better check out what Lance Gunderson says about his long-term experiences sailing his Black Skimmer. Also, sailing circles around a trad. Egret is no particular feat. I've done it myself in a skin-on-frame umiak, fer goshsakes!

    That doesn't mean a MJ or BS might not be for you, but go into it eyes open and take the hype with a grain of salt.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Here is a picture of George Broadlick's MJ in 2009.

    I think this is not a boat for someone concerned about the appearances. It does have some positives going for it... Being gigantic in capacity for a 23'6" boat. Extremely shallow draft. With the water ballast tanks empty, makes a great trailer sailer. The balanced lug cat yawl rig is well liked by many. And, I can speak from first hand observations, it is a great boat if you enjoy sailing fast and beating the pants off of some other boats costing 10x the price.



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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Just be sure you're comparing apples to apples. Many other light centerboarders are faster in calm conditions than heavier blue-water cruising boats--what does that have to do with anything? Now if you claimed you were beating an Etchells or Dragon upwind then I'd actually be impressed. Of course if you really like sailing fast then a planing dinghy or a multihull is very much faster yet. I do like lug cat-yawls very much though. I gave up a sloop-rigged planing dinghy to focus on my ballast-keeled Stone Horse and my trailerable sail & oar boat myself. I've also decided I don't care for the compromises to all-season cruising or the compromises for trailering, daysailing or rowability of an in-betweener trailerable cabin sailboat, preferring a dedicated example of two different types. Of course your mileage may vary if you have different requirements or strictures. . . .every boat is a compromise.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I think I'd better continue my research, Bolgers box boats certainly seem to polarise and I do take the point about resale of such radical designs. I'll get hold of Bolgers "Boats with an Open Mind". Im trying to remember if Birdwatcher was noisy as I only had one out for an hour or two. I wonder how many have actually been built, and if they were a work in progress for Phil Bolger in that the continuing development of the design principles was the main point.
    Thanks for all the input, I'll look at the Sharpies as well now.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I know the owners of TWO Martha Janes, an have sailed my 28-ft Shearwater Yawl in company with both. While my Shearwater is a bit faster, it's not by much.

    Are you aware of the Bolger design modification specifying a pair of sponsons positioned high on the quarters that keep the hull from swamping if knocked down?

    Neither if the MJ's I've seen have that mod. Both are located in New England. I could ask the owners whether they'd care to show you their boats if you like.

    Moby Nick

  20. #20

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    ...was noisy ...
    This issue of "they are noisy" in regard to Bolger hard chine boats comes up a lot. I own one, and the noise involved is the sound of water splashing and water gurgling under the boat. Whether or not the sound of water gurgling bothers someone depends on the person. Speaking for myself, the sound of water while on a boat no matter how noisy, is not a bother. Ditto with the sound of seagulls, both are natural sounds to my ears.

    (I may not be typical, but the sounds that drive me crazy are the clanging of metal halyard clips on extruded aluminum masts and the noise from jet ski engines. Those sound un-natural and not nautical in my ears.) You be the judge if gurgling and splashing water while on a boat is annoying to your ear.

    Regarding resale value, good luck finding any used boat with a decent resale value! They all are money sinkholes in my opinion. Better to view it as purchasing some enjoyment, and not as "investments".

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Sku, by all means, do whatever is necessary to meet somebody who has one to go sailing on a Martha Jane before you do anything rash like start building one from a magazine description written by an owner enthusiast. You really, really, really ought to make an objective assessment yourself to see if this particular set of features and compromises corresponds to your preferences. This kind of boat has next to no resale value so you really had better make sure unless you've got money to burn.
    I have to admit James, never gave much weight to the resale argument until some random guy ( likely in need of new glasses ) offered me a grand for my GLD. No such conversation regarding my Big Tortoise has occurred.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    ... I think that it fulfills all the right criteria ...
    Pray tell, mate, just what are said criteria?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    ... my 28-ft Shearwater Yawl ...
    I presume you are speaking of one of those Eddy and Duff Shearwater Yawls! Wow, I am impressed. How many exist in the world? No more than a handful is my guess. Bolger designed, sort of a big sister to the Dovekey.


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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    No such conversation regarding my Big Tortoise has occurred.
    That's cuz no one would think for a minute that you could bear to part with it.

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  25. #25

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
    ... why on earth would anyone build a boat like these ones, which are essentially just heavy sharpies with extra freeboard, instead of building an actual sharpie, ...
    The word "sharpie" comes from the long narrow "sharp pointed bow" nature of these boats. Long narrow boats have streamlined more straight flow lines compared with wider boats.

    Interestingly, Phil Bolger deconstructed the 'streamlining' characteristic of Sharpies and developed a series of boats called Advanced Sharpies. The biggest distinction of these Advanced Sharpies is that, (unlike older 'classic' sharpies which have the problem of rooting as result of their flat bottoms), the Bolger Advanced Sharpie carries a deeper curvature in the bottom which solves the rooting problem. The natural extension of the lines from this Advanced Sharpie curvature results in the bow extending above the waterline (in the air). This forward portion of the hull in the air is approximately useless, so Bolger cut it off for economy of length. The effective "sharpie" length:beam ratio of the flowlines of the Advanced Sharpie is measured to the imaginary bow before cutting off. That said, the Martha Jane is a bit wide to be considered a Sharpie, or an Advanced Sharpie, though it does reflect these same Bolger design principles established with his Advanced Sharpie work.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    are the as curvatures of bottom and side the same?

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Yup, brucehallman, "Dovekie's Big Sister", fr'sure! I have hull #7 of 11 built. My TRUE NORTH differs from the others in that she was built with a shorter mast stepped more amidship and rigged as a true Yawl. There was one other rigged like mine, but that boat was refurbished by E&D to include the an original-style Cat Yawl rig.

    I've sailed TN for 14 years, and sailed Dovekie #56 for 12 years prior to that.

    TN has been towed to Maine twice, to the Strait of Georgia once, to Kentucky Lake several times, to the North Channel 3 or 4 times, to Vineyard Sound once, to the Texas Gulf Coast once, and to many other lakes around the USA. Shearwater really is no more difficult to tow over long distances than a Dovekie, provided a more powerful tow vehicle is employed.

    Moby Nick

  28. #28

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by wardd View Post
    are the as curvatures of bottom and side the same?
    Yes, nearly identical curvature in the sides versus the bottom.

    If you heel a hull shaped like this over 45 degrees on its side (and disregard everything in the air), you see what looks to be an extremely efficient "V-hull".



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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    One feature of Dovekie and Shearwater that works against them, compared to Martha Jane and a lot of other Bolger designs, is the utterly flat bottom (no rocker, no deadrise). When Dovekie and Shearwater are heeled, it is curved topsides working against flat bottom, and no wonder a Martha Jane can keep up pretty well inspite of it's "ugly Bolger Box" design.

    Moby Nick

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    The latest copy of Messing About in Boats shows the latest development of a 23' and change sharpie from Phil Bolger and Friends. It's much more attractive both to look at and in practical terms. It starts with a sharpie hull, adds the walk-through, glass sided cabin of a Birdwatcher, and adds the forefoot from the advanced sharpies. The result is a boat that's roomy, airy and still a relatively quick and easy build. I'd do one of these over the Martha Jane -- which I have the plans for -- any day of the week.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I saw George Brodlick sail his Martha Jane in the Texas 200 this year. Surprisingly fast boat for its looks, and he had no problem at all tacking up a narrow channel dead upwind to the Padre Island Yacht Club. Never missed a tack. At the remote camps he just ran it up onto the beach, very convenient indeed. MJ is not for me, but I was impressed.

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  32. #32

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I saw George Brodlick sail his Martha Jane in the Texas 200 this year.
    I saw him in Massachusetts, you saw him in Texas. He told me how many miles he had trailered his Martha Jane, but I forget. It was many many thousands of road miles, sailing her everywhere and back. The MJ is plainly a workable trailer sailer.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by JimD View Post
    Pray tell, mate, just what are said criteria?
    Easily trailerable but not too heavy, roomy and steady enough to accomodate a not-very-nautical SWMBO, a fair turn of speed, single hander, useful as a camp cruiser and most important, be suitable for very thin water. She doesn't seem a difficult build either and that's good. I already have a boat with a leeboard and am cool with that. She doesn't look like any boat I've contemplated before but........... she seems efficient ans ticks most of the boxes. But I'm not decided yet.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I seem to remember that the MJ design was recently revisited by PB&F who specified to add ballast in the form of a steel plate on the bottom in order to stiffen the boat a little bit...

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    45 degrees of heel? Yikes! That's not really what those boats are designed to sail at, is it? I would find that totally ergonomically unacceptable. You can't sit comfortably or safely move around the boat at that heel. I'll put in a reef when it gets to 20 degrees.
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  36. #36

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Just be sure you're comparing apples to apples. ... Now if you claimed you were beating an Etchells or Dragon upwind then I'd actually be impressed.
    James sometimes you are funny. Admonishing us to be sure to compare apples to apples in one sentence, and then two sentences later implying that a Martha Jane is deficient because it can't better the Etchells and Dragons upwind.

    What is your point? If you need to Bolger bash to appease your bias, please be more blunt. Obviously the unconventional character of a Martha Jane is unsuitable with people who have tastes in boats like you. That is fine. That doesn't mean that a Martha Jane doesn't do what it does well. Nor, that for certain people with different tastes in boats than you a Martha Jane might be a perfect fit.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    if you're out on your boat you don't get to see much of it so those snazzy looks are just to impress others

  38. #38

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    45 degrees of heel?
    Resistance to overturning moment can be achieved in three ways. 1) ballast down low, 2) width (like traditional cat boats), and/or 3) reserved buoyancy high up. Many Bolger boats, like the Advanced Sharpies and Birdwatcher use the method 3, reserve buoyancy high up. This method 3 depends on sailing the boat at a steep angle of heel.

    In the case of Birdwatcher, the seated position of the helmsman, and crew inside the cabin with their butts on the bottom and their feet braced on the lower side is reported to be comfortable. That said, my illustration above showing 45 degrees of heel was more intended to illustrate the illusion that the "box boats" are not hydrodynamic (which I think comes from the 2D view on paper giving the perception) that they are "packing crates" When viewed in 3D and heeled over, you can see that they actually have a good looking hydrodynamic streamline shape. Per design these boats are intended to be sailed at steep angles of heel, momentarily in gusts at 45 degrees, but not sustained at 45 degrees.



    Last edited by brucehallman; 03-11-2011 at 10:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Just be sure you're comparing apples to apples. Many other light centerboarders are faster in calm conditions than heavier blue-water cruising boats--what does that have to do with anything? Now if you claimed you were beating an Etchells or Dragon upwind then I'd actually be impressed
    Brucehallman: . . . What is your point?
    James' point, as I read it, was that people just saying a Martha Jane - or any boat - sails well, or is faster than other boats is meaningless unless you can provide specifics as to what you are comparing it to - and what the conditions were at the time. A real yardstick, one that would actually provide a useful frame of reference, would be hearing how an MJ directly compared to a proven performer.

    So far, the only specific comparison here has been with the Shearwater. Unfortunately, there are only a few of those in existence, and only a few people alive who know how those compare to conventional designs, so that still doesn't tell us much about how the MJ performs.

    I, personally, like the MJ a lot for what it is supposed to be, and do, and I daresay it is pretty fast in some conditions. I'd be happy to have one for trailerable camp cruising. Still, it would be more useful for potential builders to have some real and specific comparisons - or at least some gps data - instead of people just saying "it's fast."

    Suggesting that resale value, and unknown performance, might be considerations for a builder doesn't seem to much like bashing either Bolger, or unconventional boat characteristics.

    Nice Birdwatcher pics!
    Last edited by DGentry; 03-11-2011 at 10:46 AM.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    James' point, as I read it, was that people just saying a Martha Jane - or any boat - sails well, or is faster than other boats is meaningless unless you can provide specifics as to what you are comparing it to - and what the conditions were at the time.
    Well, yesterday I wrote: "I got a chance to see George Brodlicks Martha Jane sail at Gloucester during the Bolger Memorial event, and it had jaw dropping speed compared with the keel boats also sailing in the harbor that day." plus I included a photo of the MJ sailing so you can judge for yourself the conditions if you want. That is about as specific as I can get. It was just an impromptu informal menagerie race among the boats there that day, and the Martha Jane beat the pants off the keel boats. I will grant you that in a club race under committee rules (avoiding shoal water) that some keel boats will certainly beat a Martha Jane as long as you don't handicap the race based on price of the boat.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    The point about speed being relative to other boats is well taken. George Buehler, another designer that engenders strong feelings, said in one of his books that he did not know if his boat was slow or fast until he sailed in a fleet.

    My Bobcat, another Bolger design although not a box, does fine to windward so long as I don't watch the Hobie cats blasting upwind at twice my speed.

  42. #42

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I just whipped out a 3D rendering of the Martha Jane boat hoping to give myself a better comprehension of the boats shape and function, which I share here for others:

    http://hallman.org/bolger/MarthaJane/


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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    One nice feature concerning the Martha Jane is that when you are sailing one, very few onlookers will have anything constructive to offer in regard to criticism.

    More than a few sailors will be mightily impressed by that big lugsail. More than a few casual observers will be impressed by MJ being a "two sticker".

    One aspect I always appreciated about my Shearwater, and the Dovekie before that, is that few yacht clubs will have a single member who ever trimmed a leg-o-mutton spritsail, nor know what the h--- a "snotter" is.

    I did once gratefully accept a compliment from an exceedingly dignified grey-haired gentleman (back before I had any grey, myself) who walked over to the launch ramp in Michigan City Indiana and said, "that was a nice bit of rowing out there, sir". I had just rowed my Dovekie off Lake Michigan into the harbor basin in the midst of more than a few powerboats and a fresh breeze, my 21-ft Dovekie never having had a motor. The gentleman had to have walked aways, because there is no good view of the channel from anywhere near the launch ramp. It was one of those moment those of us who mess around in unique boats treasure.

    As I posted above, my Scoutmaster when I was kid had been a very good teacher. He was a Professor at Notre Dame, and had come to South Bend from Boston where he had acquired rich ecperience as a boy himself in small boats.

    Moby Nick

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by brucehallman View Post
    . . . That is about as specific as I can get.
    I do not doubt that you saw what you did and were convinced of the MJ's performance. I was quite glad to read about the MJ's speed, too! But, not being there, all the rest of us have to judge that statement on a lot of unknown factors.

    And, that's exactly my point - you provided almost zero specific information, and there's no way we can accurately judge an MJ's performance from your statement, or others like it.
    What kind of keelboats were they? Was it just those two Micros? Or were there others? What were they? Cape Dory Typhoons? J22s? Ingrids? Knowing what kind of boats the MJ was up against would have told us a whole lot more. But . . . there are many other factors that could be very helpful as well. Like, did those other boats know they were in a race (I presume they did, but informal means a lot of things)? And, importantly, were they sailed by competent racers (which is different from being a competent sailor)?
    If so, that would do a lot to add to the usefulness of your speed statement. As it is, we are left wondering at the circumstances.

    It would also have been nice to know if it was a race course that featured upwind, reaching and offwind legs. Or was it just a point to point type thing, on say, a beam reach, only? And, knowing that, how did the MJ do on each leg, relative to the other boats? Was she pointing higher? Was she jibing back and forth on the run, or heading straight down wind? Etc.

    For example (and I'm just making this up): "In two boat testing today, the MJ sailed a triangular course against an Etchells in 12 kts of wind and small chop. Upwind, the Etchells pointed noticeably higher, and was faster. On the reaching legs, however, the MJ actually was catching up until the E-22 hoisted it's spinnaker, which made their speeds basically even."

    There are just so many variables in sailboat performance that I, for one, would garner a lot more information from a statement like this, rather than from a blanket statement that provides zero reference points.

    Again, though, I am happy to hear that a MJ has some speed to her. I just wish I knew relative to what! And don't feel like I'm singling out your statement - it is ridiculously hard to find useful performance references for just about any homebuilt boat.
    Last edited by DGentry; 03-11-2011 at 02:57 PM.

  45. #45
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    Nov 2004
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    ...or even GPS speeds on a bearings. A friend who is more techy than I am was able to do a rough polar based on known wind speeds and directions in the area as seen here.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by pippo View Post
    I seem to remember that the MJ design was recently revisited by PB&F who specified to add ballast in the form of a steel plate on the bottom in order to stiffen the boat a little bit...
    The article I read by the owner said the steelplate was because he didn't like the idea of water ballast in a wooden boat.
    And thankyou Brucehallman for the 3d diagram, I'm not bad at rreadin drawings but thperspective it gives is useful. It was interesting to read that the cut off bow was because a continuation of it to it's 'logical' point would add unnecessary and useless length. I must get his book, I'd like to get my head around his designing thought processes. Reductionism seemed to be the philosophy.

    BTW, I'd like to bow to much superior knowledge here, I'm just a bloke whose looking to build a practical boat for particular conditions.

  47. #47
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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Well, if it's "Performance" we're after, what about MJ's PRF, and what wbout her Prismatioc Coefficient, while we're at it?

    My point is, in a MJ, who cares? I know the two MJ couples I've sailed in company with don't give a hoot about PRF (or is it FPR?, I don't care what it is for Shearwater, neither).

    BTW, as for heeling, I never press my Shearwater as hard over as the cover photo brucehallman posted illustrates.

    While I like the lines of my Shearwater a lot more than those of MJ, I believe MJ's are great boats for anyone desiring maximum capacity (interior volume) on minimum OA length.

    Moby Nick

  48. #48

    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    The article I read...
    This likely the Bolger article published in June 2000 describing how a couple Martha Jane's had capsized, or came close. Attributable to unauthorized design modifications, still, Bolger and Friend re-examined the reserve buoyancy curves of the design and found the stability curve too close for comfort. Meaning, with pessimistic assumptions, a point of no return of a standard unaltered MJ was 60 degrees of heel, where it would then rest on its side stabilized by buoyancy of the wooden hollow masts and yards.

    In response, to beef up the reserve buoyancy safety factor, they recommended one or more of three MJ modifications. (In addition to the existing 500 lbs of water ballast) 1) A steel plate "armor" shoe on the bottom of the hull weighing 500 lbs. 2) Two buoyant sponson flotation boxes mounted on the aft quarters. and/or 3) A raised watertight 'high house' cabin.

  49. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    Interesting. Although the high house would work for his "marina crawler" (sorry, left BWAOM at home) and anchoring convenience, it would impact sailing performance. That said having a boat that is self rescuable seems like a very good idea.

    I was very smitten with the sharpie bug for a while, but my outriggers have been able to keep it at bay for now.

    Dan
    Last edited by Dan St Gean; 03-11-2011 at 03:13 PM.

  50. #50
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    Jan 2002
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    Default Re: Phil Bolgers Martha Jane

    I thought the MJ with the original high house was used mostly under power? I frankly think that it ruins the lines, such as they are.

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