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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