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Thread: Cartopper curiosity

  1. #1
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    Default Cartopper curiosity

    Phil Bolger’s Cartopper is clearly a well know and published design which in Boats with an open Mind Bolger says it was something he and Dynamite Payson developed as an ‘Instant Boat’

    I happened to be flicking through John Gardners Building Classic Small Craft an came accross ‘A Car-Top Semi Dory’. This design looks very similar to the Bolger Cartopper though it has more planks and not designed for sailing.

    I’m in no way criticising Bolger but just curious, is there a link between the two design? Does it go deeper into the history of American small craft? Is it just a very good design for producing a capable and light small boat?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    I was so impressed when I first saw a picture of the Cartopper that I built two of them. I have since realised there are better designs around.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I was so impressed when I first saw a picture of the Cartopper that I built two of them. I have since realised there are better designs around.
    What would you say the better designs are? Based on what criteria?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    What would you say the better designs are? Based on what criteria?
    Good question and others could answer that better than I. I thought the Cartopper was pretty good but you capsize it while sailing and then try and get it upright and bailed out. It rows okay but I rowed a big clinker dinghy a while back and it was a dream in comparison.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    The Cartopper is quick to build and despite what I said about capsizing it I've sailed one in some strong gusts and as long as you have your wits about you it can be fun. Watch it if you gybe though she can be real tender and that is often where the swimming comes in. A lot of built in flotation would probably fix that.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    So no one else has an opinion, have a scared you all away?
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    sigh..

    cartopper is 11.5ft LOA, - not big
    I have built two rowing boats, and these were 18ft & 13.5ft. In terms of speed going at a reasonable walking pace & exerting a moderate amount of force, I think waterline length of 12ft gives this. If the boat is shorter you might risk a slow boat that is hard work to row. I designed the 13.5ft boat myself an it goes very well. If I were to build again I would probably go to 14ft

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    The Op question is about my curiosity about the link between the Bolger and Herreshoff Car-toppers and traditional American craft

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    The similarities come from the facts that: both Gardner and Bolger were profound students of historical boat design; there are only so many things you can do bending flats of wood; and the requirement that the boats be small and light enough to hoist up on the family auto. When you get to flattie and semi-dory skiffs, differences can be subtle - 1/4" more rocker, deadrise, lots of detail.

    Since Herreshoff was mentioned, LFH designed the dink for his Marco Polo to be a heavy boat, meant for hard hard use. I've rowed one version as designed and one that was made as light as possible and could well be car-topped. Both rowed equally well both light and laden. This dink is not designed to be instand build or especially "easy to build" but is not hard. Because she's a more developed shape, she is an easy rower and good sailor over a greater range of lading than either of the two car-toppers in the OP.

    Even if you take the same design brief envelope - 12'x4' flat bottom, light, able enough oar and sail, maybe not crazy with small outboard - you'll get boats that only look alike to the untutored eye.

    One final example: The pic of the little Spaulding Dunbar flattie shows her at her most prosaic and I doubt even the best eye could pick out her virtues from just this. Even with those stupidly short oars, Cub rows well whether light or with three people, some coolers, and a small dog. I think it's due to Dunbar's very sophisticated understanding of the chine curve and bottom rocker.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    Thank you Ian, over in the UK with the the ply dinghies of Jack Holt and the like the semi dory is an unusual form but one if find very interesting.

    I appreciate how important the subtle changes in the curves can do in simple shapes, how do you think Phil Bolgers ‘sea of
    Peas’ helps explain the flow?

    As side issue, over here a Dink is a couple with Double Income and no Kids - I presume it just means a simple knockabout dinghy in your context.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cartopper curiosity

    I'd forgotten the Sea of Peas metaphore but it's a brilliant heuristic that turns some very complex hydrodynamics into intuitive sense.

    And yes, dink is just a contraction for dinghy. We also had Double Income No Kids but it lost its own little culture war to yuppie.

    See also http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-in-a-pirogue&

    Sea of Peas starts at post #6.

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