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Thread: Phil Bolger consensus?

  1. #176
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by rudderless View Post
    Currently they have a copy of his "small rigs" book, although it has a weird cover that is unlike all other copies I have seen.
    There are two versions - 100 and 103, with different covers. Either one is worthy.

    Interlibrary loan can get you any book you want, btw.
    Dave

  2. #177
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by DGentry View Post
    Interlibrary loan can get you any book you want, btw.
    Thanks, altho our state library charges $10 just to look for an ILL book (no refund) and then charges can accumulate for mailing and borrowing fees. Of course our state university gives free ILL to members, but not to us taxpayers subsidizing it at any price. Anyway I find Phil's books best read slowly without a return deadline; they appear to be in clear casual english, but the sentences can be packed with unconventional meaning.

    So it still can be worth buying the "open minds" book which is sometimes available at a competitive cost. The "100 rigs" book seems more rare and costly which is what brings the "ebay bucks" program to mind. You can enroll for it in the US; in the UK "you may be eligible to earn rewards through Nectar" whatever that is. Phil's other books may be so expensive or unavailable to make ILL the best option.
    Last edited by rudderless; 01-06-2018 at 04:23 PM.

  3. #178
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I have a healthy (ridiculously large and unnecessary - my wife’s view) collection of boating books. Open Minds lives in the upstairs small room and 100 rigs in the downstairs small room and as a consequence are my most read and most enjoyed books.

  4. #179
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Bolger's books being expensive seems unusual to me. Must be getting old. I bought a bunch of his books 10-15 years ago and as I remember it the books were regularly priced and easy to find.

  5. #180
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Nope, they have always been expensive.

    Worth it, though.

    Boats With An Open Mind is a very clever title -- totally expressive of his nautical philosophy.

  6. #181
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Always is a relative term.....

    I bought Small Boats(pub 1973) from International Marine in 1975 for $13.95. I thought that was fair.

    Published the next year, The Folding Schooner had a cover price of $13.50.

    Different Boats in 1980 was up to $22.25 and 30 Odd Boats two years later (1982) was $27.00. That was getting expensive.
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  7. #182
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    It may amuse Ian to know that Henry Wood, one of the Government Center architects also owned Bolger's Pointer. Henry is also famous for rescuing Clingstone, the house on the Dumplings just across from Newport, staging bohemian raves in the 70's and mooning anyone and everyone he felt deserved such treatment. He too has crossed the bar, and has left the world a lesser place.
    SHC
    FWIW...
    "Clingstone"

    IMG_3493.JPG

    IMG_3494.JPG

  8. #183
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.P1070138.jpg
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  9. #184
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Bolger said a boats performance depended just as much on the sails as on the designers effort. Being sailmaker I appreciate that

  10. #185
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I think his incomplete designs reflect his self-imposed overload of projects. In fact, my own Bolger project ("Becky Thatcher") has been singled out for a bit of indignation on that score. I'll rub a little salt in the wound -- he didn't charge me NEARLY enough for the work.

    There is a lot of truth in this discussion, and much of it concerns Mr Bolger's adherence to the original statement of requirements as the design developed. There was a lot of ". . . for what you're trying to do . . ." in the correspondence.

    "Becky" hasn't been wet for years - we dropped from sight after our cruise, mostly due to simple exhaustion. This was unkind to the people interested in the design. I'll attach a few pictures. Maybe we can catch the eye of somebody who's still interested in a slow boat to Buffalo.

    I have spent WAY to much time in Bolgers' books, particularly the "rigs". It's time I got some real-life experience with a boomless spritsail and nowhere in particular to go.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #186
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by BeckysDad View Post
    I think his incomplete designs reflect his self-imposed overload of projects. In fact, my own Bolger project ("Becky Thatcher") has been singled out for a bit of indignation on that score. I'll rub a little salt in the wound -- he didn't charge me NEARLY enough for the work.

    There is a lot of truth in this discussion, and much of it concerns Mr Bolger's adherence to the original statement of requirements as the design developed. There was a lot of ". . . for what you're trying to do . . ." in the correspondence.

    "Becky" hasn't been wet for years - we dropped from sight after our cruise, mostly due to simple exhaustion. This was unkind to the people interested in the design. I'll attach a few pictures. Maybe we can catch the eye of somebody who's still interested in a slow boat to Buffalo.

    I have spent WAY to much time in Bolgers' books, particularly the "rigs". It's time I got some real-life experience with a boomless spritsail and nowhere in particular to go.
    We would love a boat like this. I think it’s perfect for the right place, and we have some of those places nearby.

    Peace,
    Robert

  12. #187
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Personally, I'm a fan of his thought process and approach. But just as important, he gave me permission to continue to dream about building a boat myself. After dreaming for 10+ years, I finally started. And although I didn't end up choosing one of his designs, it's hard to imagine being here without his influence.

  13. #188
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    As near as I can tell, Phil never offered any evidence of his theory's on flow other than, if you get it right it doesn't matter much. Which is pretty tepid. Match the topsides curvature to the bottom curvature and she'll be right? Or I'm going to keep this mysterious so people think there is some magic to it. I am not aware that he ever offered any proof or any evidence of scientific study to support his claims. He was so charismatic that he was taken at his word.

    SHC
    That's the thing that's so odd about Bolger- he just seemed to have much of what he said accepted with little question. There seems to be no evidence whatsoever that he created theories about hard chines that were unusual and had credence, as you say - certainly boats like the Light Schooner are actually very slow considering the potential of their dimensions. Sure, Bolger says that there shouldn't be much cross-flow over the chines forward - but lots of people know that. And he reckons that rounding the chine off works well - but again, the good racing dinghy designers have had a sophisticated understanding of when to round chines and when not to round them off for decade. If Bolger's boats had such good flow then why is the Light Schooner beaten out of sight by much smaller, older and heavier boats with cabins?

    And certainly a significant amount of what he said is simply wrong - to recall two examples from one book, he claimed that the masthead rig required a very tight forestay and that cats should bear away in gusts, unlike monos.

    If anyone thinks it's unfair to be negative about Bolger it should be recalled that he was very negative about other designs and designers' work himself.
    Last edited by Chris249; 01-11-2018 at 06:29 PM.

  14. #189
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Taking Bolgers "Romp" as an example, why did boats like this not go into mainstream production? Seems to me a boat with so much capacity with so little displacement would be a winning combination for production builders in terms of cost to produce a spacious but safe hull. I suppose boats like the cat ketch Hoyt designed Freedom 28 is as close as it gets...





    I dunno about the build quality, but having seen the prices, need a good reason to want to build from screatch. Is the Dovkie the only Bolger boat to commercially "make it" ?

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I fell in love with Aningha... I do not know about her sailing capabilities, but I love the minimalisme, simplicity, cubisme of the design. This is modern art. I guess that if the Bauhaus had designed boats, it would have been this one...








    John Harris was inspired by Aningha when designing its Autumn Leaves, but he missed the minimalism of Aningha's deck and cabin.

  16. #191
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    Is the Dovkie the only Bolger boat to commercially "make it" ?
    No. An early (roughly design #90) production Bolger design was the Egg Harbour 33', about 100 of these were built starting in 1957.

    There was an early foray into production fiberglass with Lang Yachts in Maine, about 80 28' powerboats were built and lots of them are still around, also some larger sizes.

    There was an early production plywood boat called the Out 'A Gloucester (sp). I think 28' but it has disappeared.

    And there were the first Striker metal sportfishing boats, Bolger did a 28', 31' and 33' in steel and quite a few were built. Then the builder switched to larger aluminum boats built in Norway and Bolger dropped out. But all Striker's use his semi-planing multi-chine hull form.

    V21N17 Egg Harbor 33 photo 1.jpg
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  17. #192
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Philippe Stark, an architect and designer who designed also some boats has been quite inspired by Bolger:







    and Steve Job's boat:


  18. #193
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Thanks Tad for the history lesson. Bolger had a far greater body of work than some realise, myself included.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    There's also the Shearwater, also from Edey & Duff

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I don't look often enough at this thread. A "Phil Bolger Consensus" is not possible. Phil was a Picasso. No one ever looks at the more conventional work.
    http://www.pablo-ruiz-picasso.net/images/works/8.jpg
    http://www.tate.org.uk/art/images/wo.../T05010_10.jpg
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/ff/8d...ab73e5de3c.jpg
    http://www.ace.net.au/schooner/sbAS19b.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    Always is a relative term.....

    I bought Small Boats(pub 1973) from International Marine in 1975 for $13.95. I thought that was fair.

    Published the next year, The Folding Schooner had a cover price of $13.50.

    Different Boats in 1980 was up to $22.25 and 30 Odd Boats two years later (1982) was $27.00. That was getting expensive.
    If you recall, the overall effect of the Arab oil embargo was about 300% inflation in five years. $27 was a bargain.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  21. #196
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Well, I went out and listened to Bolger's WetSails interviews and read some more of his pieces and found some more rather odd claims, as well as some more denigration of other types of boat. For a guy who claimed to have an open mind, he does seem to have spent a lot of time coming to conclusions based on very little evidence.

    Bolger said that he "once saw" a Mass. Bay 18 Footer beat a champion 5.5 Metre. For a start, seeing something once is not very good evidence for any claim about comparative all-round performance. Info dug up by Peter Belenky or Thad here indicates that a Rosinante once beat an I Class/Mass Bay 18 Footer, whereas we know that the Rosinante isn't normally in the same postcode as a 5.5 or MB18. It just shows that saying "I once saw X beat Y" is useless as a true way of working out true comparative speed. I've seen a 420 go past an 18 Foot Skiff once, but that doesn't mean an 18 Foot Skiff is slower than a 420.


    Secondly, Bolger said that the 5.5's tall rig made her crew work harder than the MB18. But Bolger gives no information to back up his claim, nor is there any apparent justification for it. Even back in 1950s, 5.5s had small jibs and only a couple of tiny winches. Most modern 5.5s, I believe, have no winches nor any need for them, and they are a very easy boat to sail. So why would the 5.5's neat little rig be harder to sail than the un-described MB18 rig?

    I can't find specs for the MB18 but it appears that they had a dramatically bigger rig than the 5.5 (which would greatly increase the cost of the sails, all else being roughly equal) and also was more of a flat water boat than the 5.5 which was designed to have finer sections that allowed it to race in the rough waters found elsewhere. Therefore Bolger's comparison showed little, if anything, of value. I would suggest that he made many other comparisons and clams of dubious value, such as his rather odd one that catamarans should bear away in gusts when a mono should luff.

    Bolger is just wrong when he claimed in an interview that the gaff was driven out of racing because the Universal and International Rules which took "no account of the advantages of rigs whose shape allows the boat to carry more sail without being knocked down." That's not strictly correct - Pt XIII of the Universal Rule penalised tall rigs. But more importantly, the rules used for offshore racing DID give gaffs and low aspect rigs a bigger area for the same rating. Secondly, there are many other classes that didn't use the Universal or International Rules but which have found that gaff rigs are slower or more hassle and expense - the Star class, for example, moved to a bermudan rig for reasons that had nothing to do with any rating rule.

    Finally, in the WetSails interview Bolger repeats the claim that catamarans were not as well developed as monos because they were banned after Dominion won the Seawanhaka Cup. For one, there was no such ban, but that mistaken belief was so widelyy held that it's understandable that Bolger believed in it. However, it's a bit cringeworthy when someone who claims to have an open mind is so amazingly closed-minded that they apparently assume that some mythical ban in the USA would have stopped worldwide development of multis. The rest of the world DOES exist, even if Bolger seemed to take very little account of it, and to assume that a ban in one tiny corner of the world would have stopped everyone from developing multis elsewhere is NOT evidence of an open mind - quite the opposite.
    Last edited by Chris249; 01-11-2018 at 06:53 PM.

  22. #197
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Well, I went out and listened to Bolger's WetSails interviews and read some more of his pieces and found some more rather odd claims, as well as some more denigration of other types of boat. For a guy who claimed to have an open mind, he does seem to have spent a lot of time coming to conclusions based on very little evidence.

    Bolger said that he "once saw" a Mass. Bay 18 Footer beat a champion 5.5 Metre. For a start, seeing something once is not very good evidence for any claim about comparative all-round performance. Info dug up by Peter Belenky or Thad here indicates that a Rosinante once beat an I Class/Mass Bay 18 Footer, whereas we know that the Rosinante isn't normally in the same postcode as a 5.5 or MB18. It just shows that saying "I once saw X beat Y" is useless as a true way of working out true comparative speed. I've seen a 420 go past an 18 Foot Skiff once, but that doesn't mean an 18 Foot Skiff is slower than a 420.


    Secondly, Bolger said that the 5.5's tall rig made her crew work harder than the MB18. But Bolger gives no information to back up his claim, nor is there any apparent justification for it. Even back in 1950s, 5.5s had small jibs and only a couple of tiny winches. Most modern 5.5s, I believe, have no winches nor any need for them, and they are a very easy boat to sail. So why would the 5.5's neat little rig be harder to sail than the un-described MB18 rig?

    Interestingly, here on WBF Thad said that the Mass Bay 18s raced in the I Class, which was broken down into divisions by rig type and included a marconi/bermudan division. If low aspect rigs were faster (as Bolger claims) then why would the later Marconi boats have existed at all? Of course, we know from many examples (Stars, Renjollen, offshore racers etc) that the low aspect rigs are NOT faster for the same area.

    I can't find specs for the MB18 but it appears that they had a dramatically bigger rig than the 5.5 (which would greatly increase the cost of the sails, all else being roughly equal) and also was more of a flat water boat than the 5.5 which was designed to have finer sections that allowed it to race in the rough waters found elsewhere. Therefore Bolger's comparison showed little, if anything, of value.

    Bolger is just wrong when he claimed in an interview that the high aspect rig was created by the Universal and International Rules. Most performance classes use high aspect rigs because they are faster, even when they simply measure sail area without adjusting for aspect ratio, or when they don't measure area.

    Finally, I heard Bolger repeat the claim that catamarans were not as well developed as monos because they were banned after Dominion won the Seawanhaka Cup. For one, there was no such ban, but that mistaken belief was so widely claimed that it's understandable that Bolger believed in it. However, it's a bit cringeworthy when someone who claims to have an open mind is so amazingly close-minded that they apparently assume that some mythical ban in the USA would have stopped worldwide development of multis. The rest of the world does exist, and to assume that a ban in one tiny corner of the world would have stopped everyone elsewhere is NOT evidence of an open mind - quite the opposite.
    I once beat an International 14 in my Snipe, and in another race in the same boat, lapped a Dragon in a twice-around-the-lake race. I was under no illusions about the Snipe being faster than those boats, and attributed my success to the incompetence of the beaten skippers.

    That said, I don't find it incredible to believe that a Massachusetts Bay 18, with either rig, could find conditions where it would be faster than a 5.5 Meter. The scow-like hulls would have given a similar sailing length, and they would have had half again as much sail area.

    The Marconi rig became preferred because sail area was restricted. Therefore, efficiency per square foot, rather than efficiency for a given level of stability, was what was important. To see why the 5.5 meter was a better boat, consider the stresses of a Marconi rig on that scow hull:

    Massechusetts Bay 18 by Mower 1-11-2018 3-54-34 PM 989x518.bmp.jpg

    Now, I'm inclined to think the Marconi rig is faster for a given level of stability, especially with a fathead main. But the fact is, comparing results in a class where a low-aspect sail didn't get you any more area doesn't disprove Bolger's point. It could be done, but you'd have to compare rigs with equal heeling moment and different aspect ratios.

  23. #198
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Yep, I completely agree that the MB18 could well have been faster because of its hull shape and bigger rig - that's why I couldn't understand why Bolger wrote as if the comparison proved that the low aspect rig was superior. But as your examples show, one or two instances prove nothing about wider principles.

    The MB18s appear to have moved to tall bermudan rigs despite the stresses imposed on the hull, and according to Thad they appear to have been so much faster that they were put in their own class. However it doesn't appear to be the case that the Marconi always became preferred because sail area was restricted, because the Marconi is also preferred in classes that use unrestricted sail area (like the 18 Foot and 12 Foot Skiffs, their NZ counterparts, and Bermuda Fitted Dinghies) and also in those that arguably often have too much area, like Stars in northern European or Australian conditions.

    The early Star sailor Elder and Ian Dear in his book on the history of the Js both note that the bermudan rigs were cheaper, easier and simpler to use than their contemporary gaffers, at least in racing situations. Personally I find it hard to see why a 50% bigger rig would be cheaper for the same level of speed and efficiency, since sailmakers seem to charge by the square metre and sails are an expensive renewable item.

    It's also interesting to read how earlier in the 1800s, versions of the bermudan rig were sometimes said to be cheap, easy and slow. It's not hard to see how changes in design and technology made them into the faster alternative, but hard to see why they should have become harder to sail, all else being equal. Even around WW2 or later, experts like Uffa Fox normally preferred bermudan rigs but said that gunter was better in certain classes that had large rigs. It seems to indicate that some claims that the gaff is easier to use but discriminated against by rules and experts must be treated with a very great deal of suspicion.

    The more I look at the history of sailboat design, the less I see to criticise about what sailors and designers have done now and in the past. Designs and rules are normally intelligent responses to the situations that are faced and the technology of their time. The criticisms slung around so often and freely by Bolger appears to be based on little real evidence and a great deal of his choosing "facts" to back up his own particular preferences. Of course, that in no way undermines the fact that some of his boats work very well for some people.
    Last edited by Chris249; 01-11-2018 at 08:06 PM.

  24. #199
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I think the reasons for Bermudian rigs going from slow to fast had to do with rigs getting lighter and stiffer. Solid spars and slack luffs on the jib would have made the boats less stable and less weatherly. Stainless steel rigging and waterproof glues have made a huge difference. It's really a story of materials science.

  25. #200
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    one of the prettiest sets of lines around, bar none... anyone know if any of these are left sailing?

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    That's an ugly unatural boat Daniel. An aberation of naval architecture self imposed by man.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    That's an ugly unatural boat Daniel. An aberation of naval architecture self imposed by man.
    to what are you referring to, certainly not post 200

  28. #203
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    That's an ugly unatural boat Daniel. An aberation of naval architecture self imposed by man.
    I'll second that !

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Noyes View Post
    one of the prettiest sets of lines around, bar none... anyone know if any of these are left sailing?
    Don't know, most of them didn't last very well. The hulls of these length on waterline boats tended to be weak, and they weren't fast proportionate to their expense.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson View Post
    That's an ugly unatural boat Daniel. An aberation of naval architecture self imposed by man.
    I had typed a long reply but don't want to continue the thread diversion. All I'll say is that for that purpose in that time and place, and given what had preceded it, the MB18s seem to be a reasonably sound type.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    I had typed a long reply but don't want to continue the thread diversion. All I'll say is that for that purpose in that time and place, and given what had preceded it, the MB18s seem to be a reasonably sound type.
    You must have posted the long reply and edited it out later because it in my inbox. It is a shame because it was very informative. Perhaps it should just be in a new thread.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Chris, catamarans in a gust often bear away because centrifugal force when luffing may capsize them. And in my country we have several lake districts connected with canals with bridges, so most boats have a tabernacle and lowering the mast is considered easier with a shorter mast. When native boats were used most of them had a wooden mast and gaff rig, now it is plastic import bermuda with spreaders. And especially gunter rig is just as fast as bermuda. I will show a class where all racers choose gaff instead of bermuda

  33. #208
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    vrijheid voor wbf.jpgEvery racer preferred the gaff version of this boat. It is designed in 1945 and still a popular boat. It is a 'Vrijheid', loa 5,4m, 1,65m wide, draft0,75m, sa 14,2m2

  34. #209
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    DSCF2579.jpgI cruised my Shearwater, the TRUE NORTH for 18 years, preceded by 12 years in the Dovekie, Pilgrim Pelican. Bolger served my passion for boats exceedingly well.

    Bolger's designs did not excel in the marketplace simply because they were not "conventional". Any Yacht Club is chock full of folks possessing little in the way of imagination. They'd much rather impress their friends with a known quantity rather than run the risk of having chosen an "unconventional" boat.

    I consider his Moccasin one of his loveliest works by, any measure other than numerous sales.

  35. #210
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    DSCF2584.jpgContinuing #209; we shared that Benjamin Islands (North Channel) cove with nobody, because anything drawing more than 12" could not pass over the granite shelf blocking the entrance. That dinghy is how I rowed our dog ashore.

    As for "conventional" preferences in boats, there's no way someone enamored with cunninghams and vangs will purchase a boat in which a snotter is the principal tool for shaping the mainsail.

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