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Thread: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

  1. #1
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    Default Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    The late renegade small boat designer Phil Bolger wrote a number of books, and they just seem to increase in cost for even used ones sometimes exceeding $100. I found one exception where "Boats with an Open Mind" is sold by a used book shop under the B&N website for under $3 - any more bargains? Maybe sell some if you have them.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    Have you checked Amazon.com? Many of us have large collections of boating books for sale there.
    When the last tree is cut
    When the last river is dry
    When the last fish is caught
    Only then will Man realize that he cannot eat money.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    I got the book I mentioned, and it is incredible. Every design is a learning experience as he talks thru the pros and cons of various directions that could be taken. Often the particular design is a failed experiment, but he views most conventional boats as failures too. E.g. sailboats all copying design concepts from racing boats which are artificially constrained by arbitrary rules. He is very witty, concise, and knowledgeable. No wonder Amazon sells his next book I want as a worn out paperback for $645! Why haven't his books been digitized?

    Amazon was the first place I looked, of course. From many experiences I think it first tries to bait you into inflated prices, and in this case offered all ratty paperback versions for $29 to over $100. As usual some books were only found if you misspell the name like one or 2 Ls in Philip - it's not smart like google search which I also used in shopping mode.

    There is even a Bolger page in Amazon, and after I bought for $3 from a B&N used source, amazon showed umpteen $3 used vendors too for that one book but not others. Now amazon is back at mostly triple digit prices.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    I also use Powell's books, and Abe books for used books. I've also been looking for an excuse to use Twice Sold Tales - run by a fellow who contributes here.
    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)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    When I look for books online I usually use www.addall.com and in your case I would select the "used book" option.

    So for your example book, entering the author "Bolger," and title "Boats with an Open Mind," I get three pages of results for this book.

    The lowest price is $2.96 from Goodwill Books on page one, and the highest price is $288.29 at the last entry on page 3.

    I've been satisfied with this site for years now - quick, simple, and decent choices provided.

    I have no idea if anyone ever pays the higher prices listed and wonder if there are ulterior motives behind those listings. I just ignore them and buy at low cost.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    Thanks all. Adall only showed me the book I have, Powell showed 3, and Abe showed a lot. Looks like 100 Small Boat Rigs is $43 from all used sources.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Affordable Phil Bolger design books?

    Quote Originally Posted by rudderless View Post
    he views most conventional boats as failures too. E.g. sailboats all copying design concepts from racing boats which are artificially constrained by arbitrary rules. He is very witty, concise, and knowledgeable.
    He gets some, at least, of his claims about the effect of rating rules wrong. That's not uncommon; it's odd and a bit depressing how many people just pass on second-hand tales about the (supposed) ills of rating rules and how often those tales are complete fabrications. It goes all the way up to professional designers who come up with complete codswallop such as a claim that rating rules use stays to measure the sail area, or the silly claim that sloops are used only because they are favoured by the rating rules, or Bolger's myth that rating rules took no account of the advantages of low aspect rigs. Of course they did - that is why they gave high aspect rigs a higher rating penalty.

    Personally it seems to me any (alleged) claim that most conventional boats are failures is arrogant. What right does anyone have to assume that they are so much smarter than those who chose and designed such boats? What experience did Bolger have lead him to believe that his knowledge of boats was so superior as to allow him to sit back and look at most boats and say "oh I have the right to deem that boat to be a failure, because I know more than the designer and their customers"? That seems more as if it could often be a failure to see such craft in perspective, caused by a narrow-minded lack of imagination.

    It's a bit like Bolger's alleged claim that he knew more about sharpies than anyone else because he had sailed a Star a bit, had owned a few sharpies and designed lots of them. No evidence has been provided to show that he had objectively more knowledge about sharpies and similar hard-chine sailboats than (say) Munroe or Clapham or that of the Kraan (sp) brothers in the Netherlands, or Peter Mander or Norman Wright (to pull out just four names out of many). It's a bit like his claim that the best way to depower a catamaran is to bear away, or that sloops are inherently bad because they always need a completely tight forestay - some of his facts are simply incorrect and yet he based design concepts upon them.

    He did design some cool boats and had an interesting approach, but his denigration of many other designs can be seen to show bias or a lack of understanding of the reasons behind their design. The funny thing is that some people applaud Bolger for insulting other designers, owners and boats and yet get offended if anyone dares to mention any issues with Bolger's thinking and designs.
    Last edited by Chris249; 04-15-2017 at 06:02 PM.

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