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Thread: Phil Bolger consensus?

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Yes, we disagree. But, since no one had made a Gypsey with the extra chine, we've not an empiracle basis for the discussion of exactly this boat. Perhaps due to my very happy time with Leeward, my Chamberlain Gunning Dory, I am very comfortable with very narrow bottom and wide low deadrise garboard type boats. I never found that they sailed best on their bottoms, seemed to like a bit of heel, but it's all in knowing the boat and in personal comfort. Owner's preference takes precedence.

  2. #142
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Good points, Ian. I suppose I had assumed that Gypsy was a sailboat rather than an oar and sail boat, which does change things.

    Wox, with respect as a few of us had noted earlier on this thread, Bolger seems to be very little known in major sailing places like the UK and Australia (a couple of us noted that we had only ever seen one or two of his boats in major sailing centres like Sydney and the Solent) so whether he's had much impact outside of the USA is an open question, let alone the non English-speaking countries.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    So if something like a Gypsy is tender and hard to sail in strong winds, may one ask why are they seen as great designs?
    I don't think I said it was a great design, only that it was fairly conventional and simple to build. Virtually any light skiff that's unballasted and also narrow will be tender. With an unstayed rig, a bit of tenderness is a good thing. I mostly sail solo, and adding ballast increases the effective beam and makes her feel more stable, while slowing her down a bit. Gypsy is intended for sheltered water and light air, not bashing into steep swells with twenty knots.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    And if people think they are fast, in what way?
    Again, Gypsy's hull is easily driven and excels in light air. When the water is like a mirror, she actually makes way, and tacks so nimbly that I've never been in irons. Given a nice puff, she accelerates quickly, perhaps not going fast in absolute terms, but certainly lending an impression of speed. When the wind builds, she's relatively forgiving owing to the chine, which is like riding a rail: she goes over so far and finds her groove. Looking at my photos, you'll see there's not a lot of freeboard, so beating up into waves she ships a fair amount of water, but I've never dumped her in seven years of sailing in Wyoming, where winds are shifty and change fast. You do have to stay awake. But that's the fun of it.

    I've steered an America's Cup yacht (NZL 41), so I do have an idea of what a high-performance hull and huge rig feels like. Gypsy's modest in comparison, but given the cost and the simplicity of the build, stacks up nicely in terms of sailing pleasure.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Thanks, that gives plenty of good information to put it all in context. Great to see her fitting you so well.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Because it fulfills the parameters of its design mission beautifully. The criterion of " being inexpensive to build by an amateur," is as much design criterion as it its ability to point or its SA/D ratio. The Laser was designed to be a profitable consumer commodity, among other things, and I would also call it a great design.

    Kevin
    Yes, my definition of "Performance", is "suitability for purpose. Many of Bolgers boats were very good boats in that context, remembering that achievability in terms of build skills and resources required, sailing ability in the waters that the boat was intended for, cost, transportability, and all those things that are not normally considered when one sees a picture in a book, all are part of what made that picture possible.

    While I like some of his boats a lot, some I find interesting but not to my taste, and some I just plain disagree with, I learned a great deal from Phil Bolger, and am very grateful for that.

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  6. #146
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Yes, it's a very fair point, but doesn't that mean that a cardboard box built to paddle 20 yards across a farm dam once before it sinks could be described as "high performance" if it did so, whereas the boat that Oracle failed to defend the America's Cup in could be described as "low performance" as it failed at its design intention, as could a superbly built Bolger that didn't gladden its owner's heart as they had hoped?

    My asthmatic rusty old '71 Kombi was great for the purpose of taking windsurfers to the beach, but was it higher performance than the Minardi that failed to win in Formula One races that same era?

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I havn't seen a Bolger in the Solent. But neither have I seen a Herreshoff.

    Chris from someone who's enjoyed a 59'er, RS200 and a Laser Stratos...objectively the low performance aspects of modern skiffs would include

    1. Rigging time off the trailer.
    2. High wetted area for their length.
    3. A low weight and wide, short and assymetrical waterplane gives them higher roll, pitch and heave motions in waves.
    4. Cost more to go sailing and repair or replace.
    5. Assymetrical reserve buoyancy generates more heeled weather helm and vertical heave motion as it rolls.
    6. Require correct crew weight and crew effort to achieve performance.
    7. The flat bottom chined topsides, higher prismatic coefficient and aft LCB is a less efficient shape at low froude speeds.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Sure, some of those are significant issues - and the reason I don't sail skiffs much myself. However, if we bundle everything from rigging time to crew expertise to cost to speed to seaworthiness into the one word "performance" isn't it all going to get a bit confusing? And if being good at any one or two aspects is enough to give a craft the label 'performance' then isn't just about every craft a 'performance craft' and therefore the term becomes redundant?

    Maybe there's room for us to use more specific terms, in the same way that cars seem to refer to "roadholding" and warship designers to "seakeeping"?

    By the way, looking at the classes from where the Skiff term as we use it in dinghy racing comes from (ie 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s), we can see that there's no real generic hull shape nor do they have all the characteristics you mention; the Skiff geneology comes out in different ways. And the 200's designer says it's got no skiff heritage, BTW. But that's enough semantics from me.
    Last edited by Chris249; 12-19-2017 at 05:52 AM.

  9. #149
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Bolger did do one trimaran cartoon, a little thing for the 9 meter class. I don't know if one was ever built, but being Bolger he ignored the collective knowledge about trimarans and gave it a generously wide main hull, arguing that wide and shallow can be as fast as skinny and deep.

    He did some catamarans, too, including a huge one that was built by a sometimes visitor to these pages.

    His box boats were always cost conscious creations, and building and fastening together multiple hulls is never the quickest and cheapest way to get afloat. I'd really like to know if the Wally boat designer had studied Bolger before coming up with the likes of this craft. Bolger's thinking certainly has percolated through the boating world.




    - So his Tri design seems to be something of a half-hearted effort, and the same is true of his proa effort.
    Talking about it never being the cheapest or quickest way to get afloat by building and fastening together multiple hulls ?....we have James Wharram to argue with,

    Very simple, low cost hulls of sheet-stock (as are Wharram keel chine V hulls) go a good way in achieving quick and easy without high cost, and at the same time getting away from the boxy theme.






    Talking about it never being the cheapest or quickest way to get afloat by building and fastening together multiple hulls ?....we have James Wharram to argue with,

    Very simple, low cost hulls of sheet-stock (as are Wharram keel chine V hulls) go a good way in achieving quick and easy without high cost, and at the same time getting away from the boxy theme.

    Percolation of Bolger’s idea’s doesn’t seem to show much in the multihull world

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris249 View Post
    Yes, it's a very fair point, but doesn't that mean that a cardboard box built to paddle 20 yards across a farm dam once before it sinks could be described as "high performance" if it did so, whereas the boat that Oracle failed to defend the America's Cup in could be described as "low performance" as it failed at its design intention, as could a superbly built Bolger that didn't gladden its owner's heart as they had hoped?

    My asthmatic rusty old '71 Kombi was great for the purpose of taking windsurfers to the beach, but was it higher performance than the Minardi that failed to win in Formula One races that same era?
    If you tried to use the Minardi to take 4 surfers, their boards and their camping gear to the beach you'd have been disappointed at how it performed the task.
    As to the cardboard canoe, if thats what it was designed and built to do, and it performed its task, then thats good performance.
    The Oracle boat, was a high performance boat in terms of its design intention, and indeed it performed very well, but there was one other boat that performed just a little bit better. Same as a formula one car that finishes second, its still performing very consistently to its design intention, just that there is one other thats a whisker closer.

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  11. #151
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Oddly enough, no one boat does everything well, or even at all. If Bolger's work means anything, it means that clarity of mission is the absolute prime requisit of boat design.

  12. #152
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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    However, if we bundle everything from rigging time to crew expertise to cost to speed to seaworthiness into the one word "performance" isn't it all going to get a bit confusing
    The topic of this thread has subtly shifted. Post 128 we were addressing the question of , " great design," and now we have shifted to, "great performance," which is a different thing.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    If you tried to use the Minardi to take 4 surfers, their boards and their camping gear to the beach you'd have been disappointed at how it performed the task.
    As to the cardboard canoe, if thats what it was designed and built to do, and it performed its task, then thats good performance.
    The Oracle boat, was a high performance boat in terms of its design intention, and indeed it performed very well, but there was one other boat that performed just a little bit better. Same as a formula one car that finishes second, its still performing very consistently to its design intention, just that there is one other thats a whisker closer.

    John Welsford
    Okay. It does make the term very subjective and dependent on what we know of the design objectives, though - if the Oracle cat and the Minari F1 car both had the design intention of winning the world's biggest events they would be regarded as low-performance.

    There's also the interesting question about whether the Laser, Dragon, J/24, AC72 cat, windsurfer and Moth could perhaps be seen as "low performance" since they were not originally designed and built to be what they became.
    Last edited by Chris249; 12-19-2017 at 08:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    The topic of this thread has subtly shifted. Post 128 we were addressing the question of , " great design," and now we have shifted to, "great performance," which is a different thing.

    Kevin
    My fault - people have said that designs were great because their performance was great and I was wondering how they used to the word.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Besides that, here on the WoodenBoat Forum we don't do consensus, except that we dig cellulous.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Besides that, here on the WoodenBoat Forum we don't do consensus, except that we dig cellulous.
    wow we can all agree on that... what's not to love about cellulose... an incredible composite material... which people still can not "make"!

    As I was building a dory I thought to my self, isnt' it impressive that I can build a boat out of a common pine tree, a boat which can take me out onto the ocean... then I thought, wait a minute!!! a pine tree is a far more impressive feat of engineering than the boat I am building... and I do not have the ability to even consider how to begin "building" a Pine Tree!!!

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    I think most people see performance as speed as other attributes should be described using other words. Probably not the words used in the commercial chart above but it is a good way to show the character of a particular craft.




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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Nice one, Tink. Some magazines have used similar charts to provide valuable context and information. Otherwise everything from a kiteboard to a Colin Archer can be described using the same terms, which means a lot of information is being missed.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    If Bolger's work means anything, it means that clarity of mission is the absolute prime requisite of boat design
    Brilliant summation - bravo! Moe

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    {If Bolger's work means anything, it means that clarity of mission is the absolute prime requisite of boat design}

    As far as I know most of his designs were commissions from knowledgeable sailors and watermen with very specific needs and wouldn't have necessarily translated all that well into the mainstream. EVen his Instant Boats are fairly narrowly focused on some aspect of performance or another, for the most part. And as others pointed out, Bolger took a very holistic attitude toward "performance" meaning all factors were included--cost and speed of building, building conditions, country of intended use, range of intended power, complexity of rig, owner's experience, etc etc which means you can look at some of his boxes and simply judge them on the surface appearance, not knowing how much mental effort was behind every aspect of it, right down to the intended paint used on the topsides. It's why studying his books is so rewarding. His thought process is sometimes the most appealing thing about a particular design.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I only met Phil once and admired his contrarian views even when I didn't agree with him. I think the world was a more interesting place with Plil and later Susanne skating their lane. Phil's attitude always made you think about what you were doing and why it made sense.
    Personally, I thought some of the brutalist nature of his designs were sort of a fetish. I never found adding a little flare in the topsides, or putting a little compound curvature in a piece of plywood was that difficult, and a little goes a long way. It seemed that part of the value of his designs should have been to elevate the simplest possible hull shape into something with some elegance to it. (The arc in Hunt's 110's deck, topsides and bottom being an example of what I am talking about.) Somtimes, I think Phil's reluctance to embrace a degree of sophistication, compromised the potential of some of his more off beat concepts.
    I disagree about good sails, tight rigging, good centerboard and rudders, and keeping things light stiff and smooth. You don't need these things, but they are better, and in my opinion, affect how enjoyable it is to use the boat. Two hours into a long row, or climbing off a lee shore, I will always want the good stuff, and take some pride in building it and knowing how to use it. Knowing this, it's hard to settle for inferior performance just to prove a point. I think Phil thought this was kind of decadent because it didn't maximize the cost benefit equation as he defined it, but my fascination was never about how much I could get away without, but how I could make what I had sail better.
    SHC

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    Over in the UK we have a self built house program Grand Designs. I am sure locally you have similar programs. Many of the buildings are boxes, box shapes or a combination of boxes and go to win awards for architectural design. This type of shape is chosen for simplicity and the use of materials and finishes transform into a more aesthetically pleasing building.

    A simple Bolger design could be transformed in a similar way, like as mentioned before Wally Yachts etc.
    We come into sailing immersed in the history, shapes and aesthetics of sailboats over the centuries. Some people don’t, they see a river and think I will build a boat. I met a man and his family on the river this year in a if not Bolger a Bolger inspired design. It was built by him and his young children and let’s say wasn’t going to win any best at show prizes. He was so happy and excited telling me all about it and where he had been - he was enjoying it as much anyone on this forum has enjoyed his boat. If people can get on the water quickly and safely in a boat they have themselves but it does meet our traditional aesthetic values the problem is with us.

    If Bolger had been an architect he would have been famous



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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Just as there are many "brutalist" style boats that rather profane Bolger's design ideals, so also on land. I rather like spare architecture and even some brutalist stuff. I am the only person I know who thinks Boston City Hall has possibilities. But two things on land archtecture undermine it all: AC and modern roofing.

    AC certainly makes the modern city possible with lower overheads and total ignoring of local weather, natural air flows, and all those other factors that actually forced architects of the past to design beauty.

    Modern roofing is like figerglass on boats - great for what it does and liberating in shapes that can be made to work, but introducing its own set of ecological, structural, and economic factors that all too often leads to just plain ugly.

    Not to say there were no ugly wooden boats in the past. There were. Mostly they's sunk and returned to the elements.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I think Phil liked to keep it as simple as he could. My problem was that I had seen the really elegant shapes that the Brits and others were developing in plywood, and thought Phil's stuff was unnecessarily simplistic. But if you limit yourself to 1/4 inch fir plywood, there are things you just will not be able to do, and I fear mediocrity is the result. Yes, it was cheap and simple to build, but at the end of the day if it really isn't any better than the aluminum Jon boat you could have bought used on Craig's list, why did you bother?
    I'm pretty sure Phil would have agreed with this line of reasoning. So at his best he brought other things to the table, like the Light Dory, which as a light simple pulling boat is hard to beat. Or really easy, make it a little longer and a little lighter. And there is no commercial alternative. The Folding Schooner was just plain fun and SpeakEasy was elegant. But I fear I find most of his design solutions pretty obvious. And if they are obvious to me, they probably aren't genius.
    SHC

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    One point Bolger made quite obviously in larger boats but very subtly in smaller boats was the engineering concept of progressive failure as a safety factor. Not nearly enough attention to this radical (in today's world) idea.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    But I fear I find most of his design solutions pretty obvious. And if they are obvious to me, they probably aren't genius.
    SHC
    I find Dr Seuss obvious, I could write that simple nonsense all day. It's a wonder no one else did prior or since.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    I think Phil liked to keep it as simple as he could. My problem was that I had seen the really elegant shapes that the Brits and others were developing in plywood, and thought Phil's stuff was unnecessarily simplistic. But if you limit yourself to 1/4 inch fir plywood, there are things you just will not be able to do, and I fear mediocrity is the result. Yes, it was cheap and simple to build, but at the end of the day if it really isn't any better than the aluminum Jon boat you could have bought used on Craig's list, why did you bother?
    I'm pretty sure Phil would have agreed with this line of reasoning. So at his best he brought other things to the table, like the Light Dory, which as a light simple pulling boat is hard to beat. Or really easy, make it a little longer and a little lighter. And there is no commercial alternative. The Folding Schooner was just plain fun and SpeakEasy was elegant. But I fear I find most of his design solutions pretty obvious. And if they are obvious to me, they probably aren't genius.
    SHC
    genius is obvious is hindsight. If read his books and listen to him being interviewed his understanding of flow of water around is profound. I would argue to get low drag flow around a box section hull is exponentially hard than around an obvious streamlined hull.

    from an earlier post
    http://www.furledsails.com/article.php3?article=777
    http://www.furledsails.com/article.php3?article=778
    Last edited by tink; 01-01-2018 at 03:57 AM. Reason: Links added

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I thought that post would enliven the New Year.
    The thing that differentiated Dr Suess was his art and illustration. For the verse, look to Edward Lear, W.S. Gilbert, and Lewis Carrol for antecedents , Ogden Nash for contemporaries, and most rappers for subsequent practitioners. Rappers cover topics not typically found on the Woodenboat Forum but the rhyme structure is very similar to Dr Suess. Drop a Beastie Boys beat on Green Eggs and Ham and you will see what I mean.
    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.
    In other cases he was simply wrong, and other evidence shows it. Modern sailmaking is better than traditional sailmaking, and this isn't just rule driven racy stuff. It makes you gag to write the check, but the sails are better. Properly profiled centerboards and rudders pay a significant dividend in performance under sail, and are worth the compromise the moment they can be fully deployed.
    There is lots of scientific study and evidence to support the design and optimization of these things I don't think it is an act of genius to deny it. You may not like the price, but that doesn't negate the science. Your value judgement of what you are willing to pay for what level of refinement is, of course, up to you. But some of it is fairly easy to achieve if you accept the proposition that much of what the racing sailors do is to make very ordinary boats sail better, they aren't all stupid, and what they know might make your simple boat sail better and therefore be more able, seaworthy and enjoyable. I view this as part and parcel of becoming an expert and expanding the capabilities of your vessel and your seamanship.
    Next up, Climate Change.
    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

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    I thought that post would enliven the New Year.
    The thing that differentiated Dr Suess was his art and illustration. For the verse, look to Edward Lear, W.S. Gilbert, and Lewis Carrol for antecedents , Ogden Nash for contemporaries, and most rappers for subsequent practitioners. Rappers cover topics not typically found on the Woodenboat Forum but the rhyme structure is very similar to Dr Suess. Drop a Beastie Boys beat on Green Eggs and Ham and you will see what I mean.
    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.
    In other cases he was simply wrong, and other evidence shows it. Modern sailmaking is better than traditional sailmaking, and this isn't just rule driven racy stuff. It makes you gag to write the check, but the sails are better. Properly profiled centerboards and rudders pay a significant dividend in performance under sail, and are worth the compromise the moment they can be fully deployed.
    There is lots of scientific study and evidence to support the design and optimization of these things I don't think it is an act of genius to deny it. You may not like the price, but that doesn't negate the science. Your value judgement of what you are willing to pay for what level of refinement is, of course, up to you. But some of it is fairly easy to achieve if you accept the proposition that much of what the racing sailors do is to make very ordinary boats sail better, they aren't all stupid, and what they know might make your simple boat sail better and therefore be more able, seaworthy and enjoyable. I view this as part and parcel of becoming an expert and expanding the capabilities of your vessel and your seamanship.
    Next up, Climate Change.
    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
    I think someone so steeped in racing boats and commercial sailboats will find it difficult to appreciate what Bolger achieved.

    You are on record for saying that the Sunfish is you benchmark small dinghy and though it pre-dates Bolger's work it mirrors many attributes of his work. Imagine a world where Bolger had not existed would it for the backyard boat builder have been so rich? The people that Bolger pulled into sailing where / are not the usual sailing crowd. I would speculate a large percentage had sailed or belonged to a sailing club before they built their boats. Bolger enabled people to get afloat on something they had built.

    He probably had a negligible effect on the sport of sailing but his impact on sailing and boating are unmeasurable.

    The thread got confused earlier about that Performance word, my open canoe and simple Streaker dinghy out-perform the International Canoe I once owned in ways that are important to me.

    yes good to enliven the New Year, life would be very boring if we all thought the same.

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    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    tink, what you don't know is that I grew up on a single family island in Massachusetts. Summer or winter, the only way of was I one of our boats. Even a day like today when it would struggle to get above single digits, you took a boat ride to get to school. So my experience isn't limited to speeding around buoys. There was a reason why there was a hammer next to the helm of the lobster boat. Literally thousands of hours in small boats, summer and winter, I know how hard boats can have to work because I have worked them.
    I also have been fascinated by sailboats my entire life, and have spent countless hours in and around them getting from point A to point B, and have little patience for not getting that done quickly, safely, and properly. I have been so cold,wet and tired that I would have traded at least one sister for 3 degrees more pointing or half a knot of speed because it would make the difference between being unhappy or starting to be in trouble. So I don't approach this as a dilitant, but from the practical point of view that if it is available, affordable and possible, you ought to capture it because you are going to need it sooner or later.
    The quest for efficiency under sail is a rabbit hole I dove into and spent years exploring and learning a thing or two. I report back that it isn't all bull****, and some of it should be seriously considered by all seamen because they are good solutions to common problems.
    For those of us who have more than one boat and can choose our weapon for outing, it gets much simpler. I roll my own boats, which no one else wants to buy, so I have lots of options, but also cannot turn off the lifetime of asking, " Hoe do I do to this better?" Whether it is a different way of helming, weight distribution, sail trim, favored tack, current or, "why wouldn't you move the centerboard back 6". How hard would that be?"
    The Streaker is a very nice dinghy. Would you say it is more or less desirable than Bolger's Gypsy? If you applied half of the difference between the two boats, would the Gypsy be improved by becoming more Steaker like, or would the Streaker become better by becoming more Gypsy like? Jack Holt is one on my idols, and the man whose work I most compare to Bolger's small boats. Nothing Phil did holds a candle to the impact the Enterprise, and Mirror dinghy had on British sailing. That's before you consider all of the other very cool designs.
    None of this diminishes my respect for Phil Bolger and his work. He accomplished many great things, but all that he accomplished was not great. Human Condition 205.
    SHC

  31. #171
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    8,894

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I consider it a privilege to have met and enjoyed a brief conversation with Phil Bolger just months before he died. We sailed his Dovekie design for 12 years and his Shearwater (Dovekie's "Big Sister") for 18 and were never disappointed in our purchases.

  32. #172
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by SHClark View Post
    tink, what you don't know is that I grew up on a single family island in Massachusetts. Summer or winter, the only way of was I one of our boats. Even a day like today when it would struggle to get above single digits, you took a boat ride to get to school. So my experience isn't limited to speeding around buoys. There was a reason why there was a hammer next to the helm of the lobster boat. Literally thousands of hours in small boats, summer and winter, I know how hard boats can have to work because I have worked them.
    I also have been fascinated by sailboats my entire life, and have spent countless hours in and around them getting from point A to point B, and have little patience for not getting that done quickly, safely, and properly. I have been so cold,wet and tired that I would have traded at least one sister for 3 degrees more pointing or half a knot of speed because it would make the difference between being unhappy or starting to be in trouble. So I don't approach this as a dilitant, but from the practical point of view that if it is available, affordable and possible, you ought to capture it because you are going to need it sooner or later.
    The quest for efficiency under sail is a rabbit hole I dove into and spent years exploring and learning a thing or two. I report back that it isn't all bull****, and some of it should be seriously considered by all seamen because they are good solutions to common problems.
    For those of us who have more than one boat and can choose our weapon for outing, it gets much simpler. I roll my own boats, which no one else wants to buy, so I have lots of options, but also cannot turn off the lifetime of asking, " Hoe do I do to this better?" Whether it is a different way of helming, weight distribution, sail trim, favored tack, current or, "why wouldn't you move the centerboard back 6". How hard would that be?"
    The Streaker is a very nice dinghy. Would you say it is more or less desirable than Bolger's Gypsy? If you applied half of the difference between the two boats, would the Gypsy be improved by becoming more Steaker like, or would the Streaker become better by becoming more Gypsy like? Jack Holt is one on my idols, and the man whose work I most compare to Bolger's small boats. Nothing Phil did holds a candle to the impact the Enterprise, and Mirror dinghy had on British sailing. That's before you consider all of the other very cool designs.
    None of this diminishes my respect for Phil Bolger and his work. He accomplished many great things, but all that he accomplished was not great. Human Condition 205.
    SHC
    I was unaware of your your early boating history but feel you are reinforcing the point I made. Bolger appeals to people with blood rather than salt water running through their veins. I myself was 4th generation merchant marine (I used the Americanism) and have seen the sea in all her glory (though from the safety of a big ship) and I wouldn’t take a Bolger boat, or many other small boats, more than a few miles out to sea. People wanting to do that where not I suspect of much interest to Bolger.

    Through my club I get involved in introduction to sailing to sailing events and training. When you ask these people why they want to sail there reasons are as simple as ‘it looks fun’, ‘I just fancied it’. The route to that for an inner city ‘land lubber’ is complex and expensive: join a club, do a course, at a cost, buy a boat - usually a race boat because most clubs are all about that. Bolger enabled the average Joe to get afloat without the shackles of the establishment.

    Bolgers legacy is simplicity, in the racing world Jack Holt had a massive effect and though they transformed sailing compared to Bolger they are complex boats construction wise. Throughout my professional career and amateur boat designs I have always strived for simplicity.

    The world of none competitive small boat sailing must not be forgotten and therefore who would you say is the most important small boat designer in this field?

  33. #173
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    honolulu,hawaii,usa
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    191

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Lathrop View Post
    Like many, I have read Bolger's books
    Even raggedy used copies are quite expensive now. What I have been doing is applying rebates to buy them. Amazon gives juicy rebates if you use their visa credit card, but I hate to use those because they don't seem to expire and will be useable for other regular purchases. A few of his books are on ebay, and once in a great while I get their "ebay bucks" rebates which expire in a month when I may have nothing else conceivable to buy there. 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.

  34. #174
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Amazon prices for Bolger appear to fluctuate quite wildly I have seen 100 rigs be £100 one week and £25 a month later. It is worth being like a hospital- full of patience (that probably doesn’t work written down)

    Anyway, that is my experience

    I have 100 rigs and open minds and both inspiring books- that said you have to be open to unconventional.

  35. #175
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    977

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Amazon prices for Bolger appear to fluctuate quite wildly I have seen 100 rigs be £100 one week and £25 a month later. It is worth being like a hospital- full of patience (that probably doesn’t work written down) Currently between £55 and £250.

    Anyway, that is my experience

    I have 100 rigs and open minds and both inspiring books- that said you have to be open to unconventional.

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