Tag Archives: bolger

Chebacco boat designed by Phil Bolger, built by Academy ex-student Connie Mense

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One exhibit at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show made the case that the recently deceased designer Phil Bolger should be remembered for his very pretty boats as well as his boxy easy-to-build plans.

This is an almost-complete Bolger Chebacco boat, as built by an ex-student of theBoat Building Academy down at Lyme, Connie Mense. I think it’s a terrific-looking craft and that Connie has made a very nice job of building it. The boat was on the Water Craft stand because editor Peter Greenfield is currently building a Chebacco boat from the same moulds.

There are precious few Bolger boats in the UK and I’m always interested in them, so when it’s on the water, can Julie and I come for a sail please Pete?

PS – Don’t miss the ad for Water Craft in the right-hand column of this weblog. It’s well worth a subscription!

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A sad farewell to Philip C Bolger

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Probably Phil Bolger’s most frequently built boat, the Gloucester Light Dory is
a plywood classic that will continue to be built, re-worked and adapted for
many years to come. Writing of its popularity, he joked that it would one day
secure his entry into heaven. Photo by Susan Davis, taken from the Wikimedia

After an idyllic few days on the Norfolk Broads we’ve just returned home to the sad news that the designer Phil Bolger has ended his own life at the age of 81.

I’d like to add my tribute to the many obituaries appearing around the World Wide Web.

Phil Bolger was a man who inspired many people by alternately drawing beautiful boats, utilitarian boats, and utterly original boats that could only have come from the drawing board of someone who had a special gift for ruthlessly teasing out the logic of a design brief.

He was also a superb communicator – in his articles and books he would often excite readers about the ideas behind his designs as much as the designs themselves, and this won him many, many fans.

Bolger was often a controversial designer and frequently misunderstood by those who could not see past the boxy appearance of some of his more easily built designs. However, I think it should be clear to all that he was touched by greatness.

I never met him, but have copies of most of his many fascinating books, which I’ve read and read again many times. I’ll miss him and his writing, as will countless others, but I’m confident his influence and legacy of boat designs will live on for a very long time to come.

For more intheboatshed.net posts on Phil Bolger and his boat designs click here.

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YouTube clips of ice yachting in Holland

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Ice yachting in Holland

Dominic von Stösser has emailed to point out another intriguing YouTube clip, this time showing ice yachting in Holland:

‘Hi Gavin!

‘Seems USians aren’t the only ones sailing on ‘hard water’ — I found a YouTube clip of ice sailing in Holland:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3FM1gTTmws

I’t looks like they’ve just strapped their gaff-rigged ‘soft water’ skiffs onto runners!

‘I can’t help but wonder what a Bolger Light Schooner would be like on ice…

‘Cheers –

‘Dominic’

Many thanks Dominic! I doubt the boat-shaped ice yacht fuselages could possibly sail with those huge rigs, but it’s fun to imagine.

Dominic’s email piqued my interest in what else might be around on YouTube, and searching revealed this sequence, which includes graphic evidence of what happens when one of these ice yachts falls through the ice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvpNIkFtMEE

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Accident on the ice

PS Jaap in Holland has made some interesting comments – see the comments link below – and included some splendid links. If you’ve interestede in ice sailing in particular, you definitely should not miss this one in particular: http://www.ijsschuiten.nl/ and http://www.icesailing.nl/robbenvloot.html – amazingly, they’ve got a ice yacht that goes back to the 1830s.

Now, I have a historical question: was it the Dutch who taught New Yorkers to sail on ice?