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Thread: Bolger boats

  1. #1
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    Default Bolger boats

    I know his designs were a tad bit polarizing in some ways, among building enthusiasts. But he had an incredible bossy of work, many of which were nothing like the boxy, slab sided designs. It is kind of sad to me that his designs are not easily and readily available these days. I really like his Speakeasy small power cruiser.

  2. #2
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    May 2009
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    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    Bossy of work? Speak English.

    I don't like his simplistic poorly developed boats.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    Oops. Body of work. He understood more of boats than you or I will ever know.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    I have several of his books, they may be available used. I think his partner still sells his plans. Look for Phil Bolger and Friends, Susanne Altenburger. She writes articles for Messing About In Boats.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2009
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    maritimes
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    loved my 23.5' light schooner

  6. #6
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    Oct 2017
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    Berkeley, CA
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    First boat I built was a Gypsy. She was a hoot until my cheap decision to use polyester resin instead of epoxy was exposed when I was out in her a day and a half before hurricane Bob blew through.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    Bolger's wife asked a friend of mine to handle sales of his plans. It is a connection that involved Dynamite Payson in some way. I'll ask him for the web adr.... but while I wait... it might be this.... https://www.instantboats.com/

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    Quote Originally Posted by upchurchmr View Post
    Bossy of work? Speak English.

    I don't like his simplistic poorly developed boats.
    I don't think you've looked into his work enough. If you had, I suspect you'd readily see his genius, and understand what he was up to with his 'box boats'... the depth of his understanding of design and the history of boat design... and the breadth of his curiosity which led to a marvelous amount of experimentation.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "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)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    Correction! He just told me he has the designs Bolger and Payson corroborated on, and it was Payson's widow that asked him to continue handling the site I mentioned. He worked with Dynamite Payson in his later years.

    He also said that it is Bolger's wife that has rest of Bolger's plans, and that she can be a little difficult to reach at times. But he gave these addresses....
    philbolger@comcast.net

    Phil Bolger and friends
    P. O. Box 1209
    Gloucester, MA, 01930
    USA

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    I think Bolger gave a lot of thought to his plans. The square ones were aimed at people who were not very experienced at woodwork, but would perform well within some limitations, most of them visual for trad boat fans. But those were only a part of his over 700 design portfolio.
    I was lucky to have a chat with Payson at his house, by then he was not building full size boats, but incrediby detailed models of older boats and naval service biplanes.
    The Sweet Pea that was featured in my first copy of WB, was under a tarp in the garden.
    Friend of mine also had a long chat with Bolger about a trading schooner for an Island that he had been on. It would have given them some independance from the existing high priced service. But is was clear at the time that Bolger was not very 'concentrated' and Suzanne did a lot of the talking. This was only a month or so before his death.
    A2

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    I think Bolger's genius came from his proclivity to be a contrarian, to go out on a limb and unapologetically shrug off occasional failures. He was (I believe) the most influential writer on boat design of his generation, and my copy of 'Boats with an Open Mind' is falling apart from over-reading. But...while most of his designs are practical boats, many are exercises intended to further a theory or irritate the yachting establishment.

    The Brick-type boats popularized by Bolger have been around for a long time. I built one as a kid in the 1960's from Popular Mechanics plans, identical to Brick but without the pronounced rocker. My friend had a pointy-bow skiff and we would often row together, and he would easily pull ahead in anything but dead flat water. We took two overnight river trips, each in our own boat; our parents dropping us 30 miles upstream and picking us up the next day at a pre-arranged location. The afternoon winds would blow upstream, and the opposing wind & chop was impossible to overcome in my boat. An adventure for 12 year olds but I never again wanted to have a scow. They are said to sail well but I wonder if this mostly comes from their stability and consequent ability to carry a huge sail.

    For me, I admire Phil Bolger the man, his ideas, and his writings - a bit more than I admire his actual boats.

    Jack

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    without freedom of speech, we wouldn't know who the idiots are.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    I really enjoyed my time owning a Bolger Bobcat
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    I haven't owned a Bolger boat but I don't doubt that within his extensive archive there ought to be a boat for every taste.The open mind necessary isn't quite so ubiquitous.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bolger boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I built the yellow and the blue ones.
    The varnished one now looks like this.
    overall 4-1.jpg
    without freedom of speech, we wouldn't know who the idiots are.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Haverhill, MA
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    18

    Default Re: Bolger boats

    In my Portland OR days I was a casual acquaintance of Bernie Wolford, who sold Bolger's plans for him under "Common Sense Designs". Bernie built a number of Bolger's boats, up to the size of Tennessee I believe. All the more remarkable since Bernie was confined to a wheelchair as a result of what was described to me as a horrific hangliding accident, and his Tennessee was wheelchair-accessible.
    Walter G
    Chadwick Pond Boats
    www.chadwickpondboats.com

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