Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 123 ... LastLast
Results 36 to 70 of 114

Thread: Phil Bolger consensus?

  1. #36
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    8,469

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Despite their flat bottoms, the lines drawing for the Shearwater reveals a very shapely hull

  2. #37
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    8,469

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I own several of Bolger's books. My first wife was a highly qualified critic of writing and thought SCHORPIOEN (Edey & Duff retailed copies inscribed by Bolger) very much worth her while.

  3. #38
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Australia and Tasmania
    Posts
    12,043

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I find his boats ugly. Americans seem to have a greater tolerance for boxy boats than we, by which I suppose I mean UK, NZ and Aus. I don't mind utilitarian at all, it is usually very beautiful, be it a tug boat or a farm tractor. But I can't find a place in my heart for a boat that looks like a packing crate.

  4. #39
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    42,764

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Boxy?


  5. #40
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,950

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Ian, that is beneath you. Poor joke.

  6. #41
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    42,764

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    In one aesthetics class I had fun with the issues of beauty and function contrasting a nice stoneware pitcher my ex had thrown with a regular milk carton with those cool tetrahedron milk containers. Some of Bolger's design work reminds me of that. He could draw boats of pure beauty that also was total function, but he also sometimes argued the beauty of the milk carton.

  7. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
    Posts
    4,860

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I would sum him up by describing his boats as the solution he thought right for the needs and abilities of the person(s) building and using them.The box boats enabled people to get afloat in a boat of their own creation and he did a good number of conventionally good looking boats.







  8. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    23,551

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I built two Cartoppers and a Diablo. The Cartopper really needs built in floatation, it's impossible to right if you capsize. The Diablo is easy to build and a real load carrier, we put a 25 hp outboard in it and it flew.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

  9. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,711

    Default

    My favorite Bolger box that doesn't look a bit boxy is the Sneakeasy.

    http://www.boats.backwater.org/Sneakeasy/picnic2c.jpg
    -Dave

  10. #45
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Willard, Utah
    Posts
    322

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I think many of the photos I've seen of Bolger's "box boats" look like they were built by people who had no sense of aesthetics. I mean, the architect is responsible for basic shapes and function, but it's the builder's job to give it a finish. Many of the photos I see on line have terrible paint jobs, or the building ended as soon as the hull form took shape without using finishing touches like inwales, gunwales, rub-rails, etc. Because it was marketed as "quick to build" the builders quit when they got impatient and called it done.

  11. #46
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Wow-Ming
    Posts
    16,125

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    About seven years ago, I bought a Bolger Gypsy that was in poor shape, lots of peeling paint and some checking. Sailed it for the rest of the season and liked it well enough to do a rebuild that winter. Among the changes were decks fore, aft, and side, coamings, and sealed flotation. I also changed rope-loop steering. The result is a good-looking skiff that sails like a witch.



    Bolger used the same 59 sq. ft. sail for a whole bunch of small boats, regardless of the suitability. Three years on, I replaced that leg-of-mutton sail with a larger balanced lug, which made her faster and simpler to handle, and much more suited to our local conditions.



    She's only 48 inches wide and very tender, so I added a couple bags of ballast, that settled her down considerably. She rows beautifully and I also built a transom mount for an electric trolling motor that pushes her as fast as I care to go.

    Didn't care for the hard chines, seen from the rear, but I've gotten used to the angular quality, and they seem to help her track straighter when heeled.



    In contrast to some of the comments, this is very specific: she's a damn sweet boat and I'm happy to spill a few drops of whisky in memory of Phil Bolger.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  12. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    North East England
    Posts
    677

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Rat View Post
    I think many of the photos I've seen of Bolger's "box boats" look like they were built by people who had no sense of aesthetics. I mean, the architect is responsible for basic shapes and function, but it's the builder's job to give it a finish. Many of the photos I see on line have terrible paint jobs, or the building ended as soon as the hull form took shape without using finishing touches like inwales, gunwales, rub-rails, etc. Because it was marketed as "quick to build" the builders quit when they got impatient and called it done.
    I think many also had no boating heritage but suddenly decided they wanted a boat and finished it the way the might a garden shed. They gave no thought to picking out parts to varnish as a sailor would for example and so to a sailors eyes produced something not quite right. They probably had a great time building the boat a got afloat and had a lot of fun so well done Mr Bolger. A not quite aesthetically finished wooden boat beats a jet ski any day.

  13. #48
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    central cal
    Posts
    10,617

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    My favorite Bolger box that doesn't look a bit boxy is the Sneakeasy.

    http://www.boats.backwater.org/Sneakeasy/picnic2c.jpg

    I agree. Having spent some amount of time inspecting (ahem) one up close, I totally agree. It is very easy to forget this boat is a box with a curvy top.

    Phil was one of a kind. I'm pretty sure I made him pretty mad once over a boat design. He wrote nice letters.

    I have always wanted to be as brave as he and Dynamite were.

    Peace,
    Robert

  14. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    41,964

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    I think many also had no boating heritage but suddenly decided they wanted a boat and finished it the way the might a garden shed. They gave no thought to picking out parts to varnish as a sailor would for example and so to a sailors eyes produced something not quite right. They probably had a great time building the boat a got afloat and had a lot of fun so well done Mr Bolger. A not quite aesthetically finished wooden boat beats a jet ski any day.
    Just so. The box boats were specifically designed to make it easy for non-builders and other newbies to go ahead and build a boat.

    Of course you will then see a wide range of sensibilities and competencies exhibited.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  15. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    41,964

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Chip - and she's a fine looking boat - as a design, and via your tasteful execution.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  16. #51
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    41,964

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I find his boats ugly. Americans seem to have a greater tolerance for boxy boats than we, by which I suppose I mean UK, NZ and Aus. I don't mind utilitarian at all, it is usually very beautiful, be it a tug boat or a farm tractor. But I can't find a place in my heart for a boat that looks like a packing crate.
    I think you are limiting your impression of Bolger's designs to his BoxBoats. Which is a mistake. As has been shown here - his design portfolio encompasses facility with a much wider range than that. And besides - the box boat (many of them, but not all) accomplished their design brief quite well, and showed off what genius can manage when asked to push the envelope quite far in one particular direction.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  17. #52
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Flattop Islands
    Posts
    2,173

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    During his best years, Phil's approach to design was pretty much directly opposite that of other designers. Most designers want to be popular and liked, so they stick to producing the mainstream stuff that people expect. Like some great painters or musicians, Phil wanted a reaction from his work, he wanted to force the viewer to think. What is a boat? After exposure to various "box-boats", our ideas about what a boat may be have changed, or not!

    It was, in many cases, completely beside the point that the thing was easy (or difficult) to build or that it did in fact sort-of function. That many concepts were so far out as to not be taken seriously was fine with him. Many Bolger designs are not very good boats, and a few are really superior. But all are of interest to the student of design because they offer alternative solutions.

    I'm very grateful to Phil for expanding the range of possible solutions. If you want to know how a person's work is regarded, ask his (or hers) peers. Every designer I know holds Phil in very high regard. The boats he designed must be evaluated on their own merits.
    Last edited by TR; 02-06-2017 at 02:45 PM.
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  18. #53
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Oakland, California
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I have always wanted to be as brave as he and Dynamite were.
    and as self critical when called for...another form of bravery I strive to emulate. His stated goal was to approach boat design & building with "an open technical mind" (his quote) & he certainly achieved it to a remarkable degree. He was more thinker/engineer/artist than boat designer & was fortunate to live long enough to express those often conflicting interests (obsessions....?) in thousands of real boats. There is no typical Bolger boat...

    An absolutely valid criticism is he often couldn't restrain his need to push the boundary's of boat design - resulting in a number of real failures - I know this because he told me - and you if you read his books.

    The last word on a Phil Bolger? Never gonna happen...but TR's response is as close as it's gonna get...Moe

  19. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Wow-Ming
    Posts
    16,125

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Chip - and she's a fine looking boat - as a design, and via your tasteful execution.
    Thanks. She's just out the door, under the overhang of the house, with her cover flapping in the winter wind. I'll relay your kind words.

    One quality that struck me, after sailing Soling keelers and Hartleys in NZ, is that Gypsy can make way and answer the helm in air so light it's barely perceptible. She tacks on a whisper. I've never been stuck in irons.

    Part of that owes to light weight and the easily-driven shape, and also to the pronounced rocker of the bottom, which reduces drag at the bow and stern. The daggerboard is a fulcrum of sorts, that she pivots around in a tack. For rowing, it's not great since she doesn't track straight, needing constant correction to hold a course. But I sail 90% of the time.
    We're merely mammals. Let's misbehave! —Cole Porter

  20. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    41,964

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    During his best years, Phil's approach to design was pretty much directly opposite that of other designers. Most designers want to be popular and liked, so they stick to producing the mainstream stuff that people expect. Like some great painters or musicians, Phil wanted a reaction from his work, he wanted to force the viewer to think. What is a boat? After exposure to various "box-boats", our ideas about what a boat may be have changed, or not!

    It was, in many cases, completely beside the point that the thing was easy (or difficult) to build or that it did in fact sort-of function. That many concepts were so far out as to not be taken seriously was fine with him. Many Bolger designs are not very good boats, and a few are really superior. But all are of interest to the student of design because they offer alternative solutions.

    I'm very grateful to Phil for expanding the range of possible solutions. If you want to know how a person's work is regarded, ask his (or hers) piers. Every designer I know holds Phil in very high regard. The boats he designed must be evaluated on their own merits.
    Tad,

    But only if she/he is a boat designer, eh? Otherwise... consult their peers. <G>

    OK - seriously - thanks for that perspective. You put even more emphasis on his tinkering with technical envelope-pushing than I have. But I have no problem believing that your slant is even more accurate. I'll file it away as I re-read Bolger. Much appreciated.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  21. #56
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Lenox, MA/Vineyard Haven, MA
    Posts
    748

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    I have quite a lot I could say about Bolger, but I'll try and keep it fairly short. I'm with David G. and Ian C. and others on the very "pro-Bolger" side of the aisle (and there aren't any real detractors here so far).

    I started reading his books in the 70s, and finally in 1985 I had the money to build a boat. It wasn't hard to pick one. I was attracted to his experimentation, and strictly out of curiosity as to how it would perform, built a Black Skimmer. Whether or not you think it's possible to build an attractive box, even his most basic designs are full of fairly sophisticated flourishes and lines that unmistakably say "Bolger." (Not to bash Michalak, but he (to my mind) is a kind of mini-Bolger minus that special drawing and visualizing talent.) Bolger apprenticed and worked with some of the finest in the business (L. Frances, Hunt, and others), and once you start reading and building his stuff, you begin to understand just how deep that knowledge went, and to what degree he really was fully in control of his choices. Every design is a history lesson. If a boat looked awkward, it was because in his self-identified libertarian way, he'd decided it wasn't an issue for that particular boat. He could be very firm about that kind of thing. His unapologetic approach to some of his more functional (ie, ugly) designs definitely gave him a bit of a curmudgeonly air--but also won him a lot of friends. Generally he was open and honest to the point of bluntness about whatever specific qualities he was looking to produce. IF anything, he tended on the side of self-doubt, or skepticism in his final analysis, more than willing to point out his failures. And again, as already pointed out, let the buyer beware if he/she has uninformed or unrealistically elevated expectations of, for example, something called, after all, an "instant boat," or, as in the tragic anecdote above, decides to ignore the sometimes very narrow design parameters he specified. This also I think in some cases lead to disappointments. Other designers generally design boats right square in the middle of the performance and aesthetic envelope, and their lack of trust in the operators of their boats and concentration on main stream appeal leads to fool-proof and (to me, anyway) totally boring looking and behaving boats. My Black skimmer, for example, wasn't exactly a rocket to windward in choppy water (though very good in smooth seas), and had no head room, but on a reach or a run on a brisk day it went fast and self-steered, and more than made up for any shortcomings. And of course, it drew about 5". I'm drawn to those kind of extremes, and so was he (not to mention, he was a shallow draft savant of sorts; though there are others)

    A problem I have had over the years with him, however, is that, as already mentioned in this thread, at some point he really started pushing his "instant" designs that gave him the reputation for unattractive boats and again, I put that down to almost a compulsion to thumb his nose at the NA community who (and I agree) he felt were mired in a kind of commercial rut characterized by conservatism and fear of innovation and fresh thinking. This tendency led him to some strange, but no doubt interesting, things. "Interesting" obviously meant a lot to him, sometimes even to the detriment of a design or two.

    I also think he could be criticized for abandoning some designs a little early. For example, with the Black Skimmer, the rigging was flat-out crude, full of friction, with at least one under-designed spar (the main sprit. And he admitted all this in his write up). However, the mast design was genius, a fairly heavy taper that was drafted down to the last 1/16" over a 36' spar, ending up at about an inch diameter, and under load did exactly as he explained it would, depowering the rig according to wind strength with a subtlety that I don't think was just "guess work." That boat was very Zen, and after growing up with standard production boats like Rhodes 19 and Daysailer and the like, I was delighted by all the ways that MY choices contributed to its performance, like lee board positioning, snotter and downhaul tensioning, and mizzen trimming. It was a pretty steep learning curve but to this day I still look at production boats with heavy stayed masts and ridiculous forestay tensions and rigging loads and genoas flopping shapelessly at anything below a close reach as sad misguided capitulations to some weird, race-inspired standard that came from... where exactly?

    So to close this massive treatise, I have built three of his boats--Defender, Black Skimmer and Auray Punt, and I currently own a Dovekie that I'm getting used to. I would own another Black Skimmer any day, and all of them have been stellar. The Dovekie has potential, sails exactly as well as he describes, but I find the ergonomics of that arch and the leeboard controls fairly troublesome. However, I know for a fact that Edey & Duff "commercialized" that boat and basically dumbed it down a little for the masses. I've seen Dovekie #1 it lacks all the things that annoy me about mine. I think he was really the best possible synthesis of visionary/artist/engineer, with all the rough edges you'd expect. Never boring, never predictable, and always, if nothing else, enlightening and amusing. (PS met him at the '07 Wooden Boat show and he loved the Defender. When I apologized for leaving out the bent ribs, he snorted, "As you should have ....!")

  22. #57
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    Nottingham, NH
    Posts
    971

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Met him on a few occasions including lunch on a rainy day at his house in Gloucester with Suzanne. It was a most memorable experience as we talked boat design and my boat "Redwing", Triple Keel Sloop for a Dry Out Mooring Different Boats Design #328 in particular. Genius.


    Woodenboat Show Mystic.
    "If a man speaks at sea where no woman can hear, is he still wrong?"

  23. #58
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1,453

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    It's possible, with respect, that those who see other designers are "mired in a rut" or "sticking to mainstream stuff" may only be looking at designers from particular area (and that's using "area" in more than one way). As already noted, other designers have portfolios that ranges from kid's dinghies and world champion racing skiffs to transatlantic racewinning 60' tris, transatlantic stand-up paddleboards, and transatlantic rowing boats, or from yacht tenders to 12 Metres, warships and barges, or from 12 Metres to offshore racing powerboats. Maybe Bolger's breadth of designs was less unusual than is often said?

    I must admit I get a bit put off by the overblown claims of some of the Bolger fans (not the ones in this thread, I may add). There's some who claim that the Light Schooner, for example, can beat a C Class racing catamaran; a wingsailed carbon-fibre $500,000 speed machine that was formerly the fastest sailboat in the world. Considering that race results show Light Schooners to be slower than Melonseeds and Lasers, such claims are beyond stupid.
    Last edited by Chris249; 02-10-2017 at 07:27 PM.

  24. #59
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1,453

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by earling2 View Post
    To this day I still look at production boats with heavy stayed masts and ridiculous forestay tensions and rigging loads and genoas flopping shapelessly at anything below a close reach as sad misguided capitulations to some weird, race-inspired standard that came from... where exactly?
    It probably came from the fact that the sloop rig is normally faster, often cheaper, easier to handle in some ways, and suits many styles of boat and of sailing.

    Stayed masts certainly aren't heavier, all else being equal; that's why the people who put them on Moths, racing multis, many racing yachts, sportboats and racing skiffs use them.

    If you liked the Black Skimmer's performance then that's great, but many of those who prefer the "conventional" rigs are not sad misguided fools who have capitulated to racing rules, but simply people who have their own personal preferences in sailing. They may prefer a boat with headsail that is powerful and efficient (if cumbersome in some ways). They may prefer the offshore reliability of a well-maintained and well-stayed rig, or a rig that has a shorter boom and just one mast, or have many other reasons. Some of us really want a boat that goes upwind well in the light and sloppy stuff, when a sloop works really well.

    The most experienced cruisers I know, who lived aboard full time for 30+ years while managing to not just cruise around the world but also have top-class careers and win major international sailing trophies while they did it, have a conventional masthead sloop rig. They are extremely intelligent, successful and (in some ways) very unconventional people. If they chose a masthead sloop it is not because they were misguided, but because it was the intelligent choice given their circumstances and preferences. Why denigrate them rather than understand them?

    To bring it back to the point of the thread, it can be a bit saddening to see the way that many people applaud Bolger by denigrating other designs and designers. Surely a truly open-minded sailor or designer could understand the joy and appeal of almost any craft, from a Macgregor Powersailer to a Brick or a Beneteau 40.7?
    Last edited by Chris249; 02-10-2017 at 08:52 PM.

  25. #60
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    42,764

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Chris makes a fair point. Anyone who really approaches boats with a Bolgeresque open mind will, like Bolger, appreciate what different boats are good for.

  26. #61
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    7,711

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Chris makes a fair point. Anyone who really approaches boats with a Bolgeresque open mind will, like Bolger, appreciate what different boats are good for.
    Very true, and I believe Bolger's lifelong argument was just this -- that for many people, the best solution to their boating needs was not the mainstream craft, and he worked tirelessly to get this point across. But he did draw conventional sloop rigs when he saw this as the best sail plan on a given design.
    -Dave

  27. #62
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    42,764

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    As I say, I used to have the fantasy of giving Bolger a design brief that ended with, "And by the way, make it beautiful."

    An aside: Folk who have followed building Meg Merrilies (nee "LastBoat") know that I had our own Michael Mason work out four major changes: Moving all ballast outside; High roach fully battened three cornered main and mizzen; changing the two port transom to a gallery window; and breaking the cabin trunk aft of the main mast and picking it up a little enlarged over the forepeak. These last two are both functional and aesthetic, Michael earned his fee right there (especially the fore house) getting those lines just right, and I like to think both LFH and Bolger are smiling on the results.

  28. #63
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Gone West!
    Posts
    1,322

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Thanks for an interesting thread. I think consensus is one thing I might not have thought possible when assessing Bolger's catalog if participants look at the full breadth of his work, excepting perhaps the use of the term eclectic.

    I have two of his books, “Small Boats” and “Boats with an Open Mind.” I just picked up the latter for the day racing schooner that was also featured in “Boat Design Quarterly” No. 2. I find it hard to love all his work, but that is also true for the work of my favorites - Rhodes, Mylne, and the collection of designers in the Alden office. I think Tad is correct in saying a few are “really superior.” I’d venture to say “at least a few.”

    I don’t have Tad’s skill set to know if the schooner is one of the really superior designs, but I know that it and other designs by Bolger strike a chord. It’s hard, in fact, to keep his Harbinger catboat off the lofting floor. I imagine the breadth of his work has inspired many, many builders and not a few designers.

    If I had to pick one word to define Bolger’s work though, I’d say provocative.

  29. #64
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Although I have not built nor seen a Phil Bolger designed boat, his work has taught me almost everything I know about boat design. I have read Boats With an Open Mind literally dozens of times and have committed most of the text to memory. If there are books by other authors that can teach the fundamentals in such an enjoyable and intuitive way I'd love to know about them! He is a brilliant writer, regardless of how you like his designs. As to my experience of his boats I only have a 1/2 scale teal (to satisfy my interest in the straight cut side panel sharpie shape, (my interest went no further)) and a brick, both of which are unsatisfying boats (for me). But man did I learn from them! And rowing a brick, perversely, makes you see just how awesome the advanced sharpies could be. I don't want to rubbish Bolger designs in the slightest, I have deep respect for them, but my feeling is that there are better designs now available in comparison to Bolger's instant boats and his smaller plywood designs. And you can bet that folks like John Welsford and Ross Lillistone have been heavily influenced by Bolger. The other observation I would like to make is that Bolger was a champion of the first time or inexperienced builder and perhaps sometimes simplified his designs accordingly. This is a great thing if it makes someone take a leap of faith and start a project, feeling the task to be within their ability, but in reality the finishing is what takes time (on a plywood boat), and I don't believe, especially on larger boats, that the time saved in an extremely simplified hull shape is worth the compromise.

    My consensus is that Phil Bolger is a legend and may his spirit guide the hand and thought of many a boat builder to come.

    I have had years of pleasure and education from my dog eared copy of Boats With an Open Mind and I relish my next Phil Bolger book reading. Any recomendations?

  30. #65
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    23,551

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu Fyfe View Post
    Met him on a few occasions including lunch on a rainy day at his house in Gloucester with Suzanne. It was a most memorable experience as we talked boat design and my boat "Redwing", Triple Keel Sloop for a Dry Out Mooring Different Boats Design #328 in particular. Genius.


    Woodenboat Show Mystic.
    My boat is also called Redwing, though not a Bolger design. Junk rigged Hartley Spindrift 24.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

  31. #66
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    23,551

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenjamin View Post
    Phil Bolger and Dynamite Payson got me started building boats. They presented boatbuilding as an achievable goal in my life and I took the bait. These days, after five or six boats, I'm not sure if it was a blessing or a curse but those two men opened a door for me that will never be closed. I never built a Bolger boat but I did build an "Instant" boat (dory/skiff) of my own design that a buddy and I fished out of for like twenty years. I have most all of Bolger's books and like others have said, his books are a great resource for understanding boat design. Bolger was so honest about the good and bad of his various designs that it really helped a lot in understanding why some boats are good for some things but not for others.

    Another enduring attribute of Bolger was his sense of humor. He wasn't afraid to find the humor in his own boat design adventures. I admire him for that.

    I would have built a birdwing Bolger Beach Cruiser but he wasn't interested in having a birdwing anything but very politely wrote me two different hand written letters saying "no" to my birdwing mast invention. He said it would be too much "me" and not enough "him". At least he was honest and I respected that.

    I did get to meet him in person at the 2007 WoodenBoat Show when he was being honored at the Saturday night dinner. I got to show him a model of my double dory catamaran that utilized two "Instant" built hulls. He said he liked it and that it reminded him of his catamaran oyster carrier. That was a way cool moment for me.

    In closing I'd like to post my favorite all-time Bolger design, his Swedish Cruiser. It is totally impractical unless you need a very seaworthy blue water/thin water boat that can be easily solo sailed and is strong enough to take bottom almost anywhere on the planet. It doesn't even have standing headroom but is unique in that it can store a full-sized dory on its deck. If I were a rich man, I would build one very similar (except for the mast, of course).

    Intriguing design and I must look it up when I get home. I would use a cambered panel JR rig though.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

    John Welsford

  32. #67
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    8,469

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    To sort of "borrow" the title of a well-known book, "First You Have To Sail A Leeboard Boat". You'll find a fair number of opinions about Leeboards. Most are negative, for aesthetic reasons. In order to form a legitimate opinion, you really should spend some time (not just an afternoon) sailing a boat so equipped. I happen to think they lend a bit of visual interest to a sailboats topsides. The majority of the sailboats I have owned have been Leeboarders. Everything Bolger has written about them is true.
    Last edited by Nicholas Scheuer; 02-25-2017 at 09:37 AM.

  33. #68
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    St. Augustine, FL
    Posts
    3,483

    Default

    For the sake of clarity, my favorite Bolger design, the Swedish Cruiser, (shown above) is not a leeboard design but rather featured a very stout oak centerboard. The boat also had over 7,000 lbs. of internal ballast in the form of concrete and scarp steel which Bolger said added greatly to this design's ability to take ground almost anywhere on the planet. The Swedish Cruiser can be found on page 122 of Bolger's book, Different Boats.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  34. #69
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    North Shore, Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,774

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Bolger also did a "Centennial II" design inspired by the original Centennial sailing dory, from Gloucester no less... I'm not a particularly big fan of the C II design, it is but ugly... I wonder why he didnt just do a big banks dory for ply construction and up date the original design a bit... rather than trying to make some sort of instant boat sharpie that had little connection to the very successfull original sloop rigged boat...


  35. #70
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    149

    Default Re: Phil Bolger consensus?

    Great thread. Chip, your adaptation of Gypsy is hard to get out of my mind.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •